William James

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

Monday, May 16, 2011

What the LDS Church could do about "uncorrolated" Mormons

In response to what the LDS Church might do to retain more members, particularly what have been termed "uncorrolated Mormons," I responded:

Eventually, if the LDS Church wishes to maintain a committed membership, it is simply going to have to change its positions and teachings on a multitude of issues. Stop condemning masturbation, period. Stop the overbroad condemnation of pornography, and recognize that it actually has beneficial uses. Admit that denial of the priesthood to blacks was an error of men, and not a doctrine from God. Admit that coerced polygyny was an error of men, and not a doctrine of God. Admit that the BoM may not be what it purports to be, even if it does contain the word of God and true teachings. Actively encourage members to fully consider church history, and concede the points that must be conceded. Abondon the condemnation of homosexuality, and allow God-sanctioned civil unions between committed gay couples. Accept that the law of tithing does NOT demand that people in difficult financial circumstances donate 10% of their income in order to be worthy to participate in temple ordinances. Give women true leadership positions in the church and seriously consider giving them priesthood ordinations. Stop branding people as apostates just because they voice their honest opinions which happen to contradict church leaders. End the cult of personality surrounding the 15 apostles. Get political on the things that really matter- hunger, poverty, slavery, war, disease, corporate greed and corruption, etc. Stop pressuring young, naive people to marry prematurely.

If I were the president of the LDS Church, I think those are just some of the things I would do. The church would likely lose some conservative members, but I believe its membership would explode overall because it would be able to reach the hearts of many more honest people out there who are wanting a church whose values are not so repulsive to secular humanism.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Motivation As A Critic Of The LDS Church

The question was put:

"A critic is anyone who expresses a value judgement.

Informally, criticism is a common aspect of all human expression and need not necessarily imply skilled or accurate expressions of judgement. Critical judgements, good or bad, may be positive (in praise of an object of attention), negative (in dispraise), or balanced (weighing a combination of factors both for and against). Since all criticism must be regarded as having a purpose, a critic may also be definable by his or her specific motivation. At its simplest, and for whatever reason, a critic may have either constructive or destructive intent. My link

Granted, this forum has more "honest critics" than what I have seen in other forums and being rare are very welcomed. Yet, I continue to see "cheap shots" toward our sacred faith with "questions" disguised as "gotchas" or the elusive trail to the "nail in the coffin" for the Lord's Church.

As a "critic", what is your purpose or motivation?

I only ask because I know of no one in the LDS Church who plays the role as a "critic" for other's beliefs and I completely don't understand the need to be one. I am open to understand."

To which I responded:

As a critic, I have no intention of destroying the LDS Church. I remain a member. I criticize the church because of the immeasurable pain many of its teachings have caused in my life (unnecessarily, it turns out, because those teachings were, in my view after study, pondering, and prayer, wrong). My hope is that I can be an instrument in helping to bring about corrections of erroneous teachings/doctrine so that future generations will not have to suffer what I have suffered. I realize that this change is not likely to happen during my lifetime, but I keep hope that it will happen one day, and when it does, a very heavy yoke of bondage will have been lifted off of people who want to keep their faith.

On God's Reason For Giving Us Commandments

The comment was made, that God give us commandments "because he requires obedience." That person also stated:

"Not everyone that says unto Jesus that he is their Lord will be saved. Jesus clearly says that you must keep the commandments. Matthew 7:21."

To which I responded:

That Jesus requires that we follow the commandments does not by itself reveal the reason behind giving them. One of my favorite LDS doctrines, that men are that they might have joy, reveals in my opinion, the reason God created us and gives us instructions- it is for our own happiness. Many conservative LDS use this doctrine as justification or support for LDS commandments/standards themselves (taking the position, for example, that no matter how difficult or ridiculous it may seem to follow a purported commandment, we should follow it anyway because we can be sure that following it will make us happier). I take a different approach- that we can use the doctrine as a tool for helping us to determine whether a purported commandment is genuine. If, given the evidence and logic/reason available, it appears that a purported commandment would have a greater tendency to make people miserable rather than happy, we can take it as a strong indication, or at least a clue, that the purported commandment probably is not genuine.

If I ever subscribed to the idea that God gives us commandments for their own sake, it was long before my adult memory. The very idea is repulsive to me, and if it is the case, then it seems we have a very capricious and egotistical god.