William James

William James
We must get by on what truth we have today, and be willing to call it error tomorrow.

Monday, November 22, 2010

On Disagreement As Proof That The LDS Church Is True

The comment was made:

"In his 1982 book "The Millennial Messiah" Elder Bruce R. McConkie stated that there will be an increasing polarization of views.
"In the very nature of things, the signs of the times will not cease until the Lord comes. Those that involve chaos and commotion and distress of nations will continue in the future with even greater destructive force. Men's hearts will fail them for fear in greater degree hereafter than heretofore. Wars will get worse. Moments of armistice and peace will be less stable. Viewed in the perspective of years, all worldly things will degenerate. There will be an increasing polarization of views.
There will be more apostasy from the Church, more summer saints and sunshine patriots who will be won over to the cause of the adversary. Those who support the kingdom because of the loaves and the fishes will find other bread to eat.
While the faithful saints get better and better, and cleave more firmly to the heaven-sent standards, the world will get worse and worse and will cleave to the policies and views of Lucifer" (McConkie, Millennial Messiah, 404).
I have observed that polarization happening for several years. And happening in increasing intensity, particularly as I interact online with others on the subject of religion, and even more particularly as I observe the ever growing difference in the thinking of conservatives and liberals on the political scene.
1. Have you observed such a polarization of views?
2. If my observations are valid, is that increasing polarization part of the prophesied future separation of the righteous from the wicked?
"And until that hour there will be foolish virgins among the wise; and at that hour cometh an entire separation of the righteous and the wicked; and in that day will I send mine angels to pluck out the wicked and cast them into unquenchable fire." D&C 63: 54
What say you?"

To which I responded:

We have a "modern day bias" which causes us to reach conclusions about the world without adequate knowledge of history. If war and conflict are any evidence of "polarized views," then I would likely conclude that views have become much less polarized over the last century or so; people have managed to live in relative peace when compared to the level of wars, racism, oppression, savagery, etc. in prior historic eras.

Brother McConkie was probably focusing, as usual, on the perceived breakdown of the traditional family, due in large part to more liberal attitudes towards both individuality and sexuality. There is no doubt that the broad, general modern trend in the world has been away from religious dogma and towards more tolerance and understanding for different views and lifestyles. One negative side effect of that has been the rise of moral relativism and in some instances practically militant hatred towards religion in general. But that is not true about western culture across the board. I perceive that a great many people, who, although they reject some strict religious teachings (including puritannical brands of chastity), nevertheless retain a great deal of tolerance in allowing everyone to hold whatever private beliefs they wish, including religious fundamentalism.

Science and the availability of information have greatly changed the landscape of the evidence available to be considered by people in reaching their conclusions about religion. It is no surprise that the LDS church, which continues to cling to puritannical brands of chastity, feels threatened by the world's movement away from that philosophy. So far, the church has largely reacted by entrenching itself in its position (other than conceding that some people through no fault of their own have to deal with same-sex attraction and backing off on the prohibition on intra-marriage oral sex). If the church's actions, concurrent with the world's continued movement towards liberalization and tolerance towards sexuality can be considered a "polarization of views," then certainly it is happening. But it is by no means proof that the Second Coming is near. It is easy to point to the "polarization of views" as a fulfilled prophecy that proves the truth of McConkie's position that the LDS doctrine is correct and that the world is getting more wicked. But in fairness, I think we can say that people will always disagree, and that such disagreement proves little more than that the truth is not as obvious as some zealots claim.

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