Dehlin’s Progressivism is illogical

 

 

Ralph Hancock has a very good response to statements recently made by John Dehlin regarding the progression of revelation in the Church.  Hancock criticizes Dehlin’s picking and choosing of events (some of which have nothing to do with Church decisions and revelation: stop publishing of Mormon Doctrine, for example; or are questionable as whether they are actual driven by revelation); rather than looking at the whole picture. Dehlin tries to use specific things to show the Church will inevitably accept LGBT relationships, etc.  Hancock notes that Dehlin ignored the Proclamation on the Family that has frequently been quoted and requoted in General Conference since its debut about 20 years ago.

I would like to add another dimension to the illogic of Dehlin’s statement:

By Dehlin’s logic of progressive-ism, it will only be a matter of time before the Church okays all types of relationships: multiple partners of either sex, of any age, and of any species.

If Dehlin draws a line somewhere, one which we cannot pass (man/child relations?), then what makes his line any less arbitrary than the lines he is fighting?  If he does not draw any moral lines, then how immoral is he?  Is he a compass without pointers?

If there is no moral line that prophets can draw via revelation, then religion has no meaning. If there is no opposition, then there is no law, there is no good, there is no evil, there is no God (see 2 Ne 2).

There is a reason Isaiah and others warned us about those who would “call good evil and evil good.”  Either God has a plan of happiness that includes eternal commandments, or he does not. If he does not have any commandments, then there is no reason nor purpose for the LDS Church or living prophets.  There is no reason nor purpose for ancient scripture or modern revelation. There would be no difference whether God lived or not, because nothing we would do would be sin, and therefore there would be no judgment.  We would all end up as worm food or saved in God’s kingdom, regardless of what we did or believed here.

Yes, revelation means change.  However, just because people should have an open mind, does not mean they should open their minds so wide that all their brains fall out.  Revelation comes to imperfect people, “line upon line, precept upon precept.”  While changes do occur, the foundations of the gospel do not change. Never in our history have we stopped believing in God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost as the Godhead.  We still believe in the atonement and resurrection.  There will be no revelation saying that these things are no longer no applicable.  As such, there will be no revelation saying that the family unit, as ordained by God and enthroned in the temple ceremony, will be so changed as Dehlin would suggest.  Why? Because sinful behavior cannot replace the core doctrines of Christ.

Your thoughts?

42 thoughts on “Dehlin’s Progressivism is illogical

  1. The most potent aspect to me of Hancock’s argument is “where do we end up”. And we know that the whole concept of the plan of salvation is our potential to end up like our Father in Heaven, eternally united with a Mother in Heaven.

    This is certainly the crowning doctrine of the church, and light comes line upon line and many sacred things God reserves to reveal directly to us on an individual basis. It’s no surprise that those who reject the a combination of the foundation and future destiny of God’s children are not receiving further light on this issue.

  2. A while back, but long after he started his high profile online presence, Dehlin finally admited that he had stopped believing the foundational truth claims of the church. (At what point he stopped believing, I don’t know.) I had suspected as much after viewing one of his earlier “please stay in the church” powerpoint presentations.

    His plea for people to ‘stay in the church even if you don’t believe it’, carried an undertone of and an obvious (to me) implication of ‘I don’t believe it either, and i’m staying in the church’.

    Although he claimed to be trying to keep people in, it seemed to me he was helping them edge their way to the door. Because right behind his primary message of “please stay even though you disbelieve”, he was also tacitly saying “It’s okay to disbelieve. Not a problem.”

    Instead of helping people to resolve troubling issues, or “put them on the shelf”, I thought he was tacitly confirming those as issues sufficient enough to disbelieve the whole set of foundational truth claims.

    I’m confused as to what to make of him. I remind myself that it’s up to the Lord and his church leaders to judge him, not me. I don’t know which way the scales are tipping; whether he’s doing good by helping to keep people in the church even though they disbelieve, or whether he’s confirming and spreading disbelief to a degree that it’s helping more people out of the church, or both at the same time, and to what degree either way.

    His “please stay in the church, even though….” campaign at first seemed laudable. But I very quickly got an icky feeling in my stomach after I actually read and listened to the details in what he was actually writing and saying.

  3. As much as I hesitate to give Dehlin any more publicity, I do think the point raised by Rameumpton is worth emphasizing. Progressivism implies progressing to someplace eventually. I don’t think progressives have thought through there where that place is and I don’t think anybody will like it when we get there.

  4. In some ways Mormons were the progressives of their day. The difference was the Mormons had a way to stop ‘progress,’ through revelation. Progressives don’t. They are doomed to keep on cranking out ever more desperate attempts to achieve utopia until they stop mistaking their ideology for a means instead of an end.

  5. I’m glad that Isaiah was included in this dialogue. He foresaw all of this. I would like to invite our friends St. Peter and St. Matthew into this discussion as well. While I fervently concur with Elder Uchtdorf’s observation that not everyone leaves the Church because of sin or because they have been offended, it is important to remember that our great arch-enemy, Satan, is on the rampage like never before: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8) “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.” (Matt. 24:12) Let us not impute to Dehlin, or to any of the precious souls of our brothers and sisters, the evil and the lies and the iniquity that now abound. The love of many is waxing cold, and Lucifer, the author of sin, is to blame.

  6. If Dehlin draws a line somewhere, one which we cannot pass (man/child relations?), then what makes his line any less arbitrary than the lines he is fighting?

    What about man/child murder, alla Abraham? It is all arbitrary, morality, commandments, cultures, values. The one constant is: “whatever God asks at the time is right.” Dehlin can see that the church is arbitrary, but what he doesn’t get is that God is what is making it arbitrary, and we wait on Him.

  7. I don’t think God or His laws are arbitrary, but I do believe that they are complex enough in scope that we mortals cannot always see the underlying eternal principles that lead to any given law. Everything we perceive as change or contradiction in divine law is actually just the natural interaction of prioritized eternal principles. Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son not because God was being arbitrary but because other eternal principles were overshadowing the general commandment against the shedding of blood.

    And because God is the only one with the wisdom and intelligence to fully grasp and weigh these many eternal laws He is the only one with the right to dictate which simplified mortal laws should be in effect at any given time.

    Which occasionally leaves us in the position of a child wondering why his Dad is randomly starting and stopping the car because we are not big enough to see over the dash or old enough to understand the point of traffic lights.

  8. “Which occasionally leaves us in the position of a child wondering why his Dad is randomly starting and stopping the car because we are not big enough to see over the dash or old enough to understand the point of traffic lights.”

    NICE.

  9. “Yes, revelation means change. However, just because people should have an open mind, does not mean they should open their minds so wide that all their brains fall out. ”

    Best line of the post!

    Thank you for writing this. I think it needed to be said, and you did so boldly and frankly. It was very clear to me, thru the leaders of the Church, that the Lord’s standards are the same.

  10. Abraham desired to become like God. God said, in effect, here is how far you would need to go, as this is what must be done by the Father (and the Son).

    Again, the end result being, the blessings of Abraham, endless posterity, eternal lives — exalted to the level of our Heavenly Father. We know the end result of what God has in store for us.

    Compare that to Homosexuality, which does not fit into the eternal relationships of who we are to become like. We do not see the end result, it doesn’t point us to our Heavenly Parents and foreshadow our potential.

  11. “Progressivism implies progressing to someplace eventually. I don’t think progressives have thought through there where that place is and I don’t think anybody will like it when we get there.”–>Love this. Thanks.

  12. “Progressivism implies progressing to someplace eventually. I don’t think progressives have thought through there where that place is and I don’t think anybody will like it when we get there.”

    Do people like 2013 better than 1955?

  13. Progressivism is a philosophy stemming from the Enlightenment. Before that, people believed in cycles of growth and decay. Progressivism has served mankind well since the Enlightenment, and I don’t think it has outlived it’s usefulness. On the contrary, I believe it will yet lead to even greater tolerance, peace, and prosperity all over the world.

    But members like Dehlin, intoxicated with the virtues of progressivism, are unable to see that it is a philosophy of the world, not of God. Ours is an ancient religion which still views life in terms of growth and decay, like the Book of Mormon pride cycle. The church sees itself, not as a bulwark of modern progress, but a harbinger of Apocalyptic doom, a latter day Noah’s ark against mankind’s certain fall.

    I myself am intoxicated by progressivism, and all mankind has been able to achieve since it was enshrined during the Enlightenment. But my spiritual experiences have led me to this crazy church, so I find myself sitting in Noah’s ark, unable to see the storm clouds the apostles claim are brewing, because to me, it looks nice outside: good weather, decreasing violence, increasing empathy, peace and well being out among the Gentiles. But I’m staying in the ark anyway, because I was told to be here.

  14. nate,

    Sure, a lot of good metrics are “up”.

    But there are a lot of other good metrics that are “down”. For example, marriage and family don’t seem to be doing as great as they could be.

    There are also a lot of potentially bad metrics that seem to be on the rise. National debts are going off the charts in countries all over the world, leading to the worrisome thought that a lot of our recent prosperity might be an illusion.

    So I guess my concern with labeling progressivism “good” is that I’m not sure what metrics we’re using, how to measure them, why they’re better than the metrics we aren’t using and why progressivism should get more credit for any of this than the billion other movements, people, inventions and coincidences that were all happening at the same time.

    Socioeconomic certainty is an elusive beast! Although if you’re going to philosophize about I suppose inside the ark is the safest place to do it from ;-)

  15. “Do people like 2013 better than 1955?”

    In many ways, no. In 1955, there was a nationwide consensus that we needed to move toward balancing the budget and promote wholesome entertainment. There was prayer in schools and a sense of national optimism. Going to the doctor costs you a few dollars. Now, we have massive debt, Miley Cyrus, no prayer in the schools, national pessimism and unaffordable health care controlled by the government.

    Clearly, there has been progress on racial relations and women’s rights. I love modern technology, which has saved lives and helped makes peoples’ live easier. But overall I would probably take 1955 over 2013.

    The mistake of the progressive is to think that all of the good things of modernity are due to the efforts of activists. Some are — some are simply the work of people like Steve Jobs pushing the barriers through good ol’ fashioned free enterprise. Many advances would simply take place on their own as a free people learn to interact with each other freely. (It was government, btw, not the market, that enforced many of the Jim Crow laws. Free people pursuing self-interest would eventually have overcome ugly discrimination).

    The problem with the progressive vision is it does not see the end point and does not consider that the end point may be very ugly indeed. In the last 15 years we have gone from same-sex marriage being unimaginable to it being inevitable. When does that “progress” end? I see many ugly possibilities and no pretty ones, from a Gospel perspective.

  16. Activists don’t take out many patents and don’t found many businesses. Most things I would prefer from now to then fit that category. Oh, plus the fall of the Soviet Union, which happened despite progressives.

    Some activism circa 1955 has been, in my opinion, and improvement. Civil rights would be the biggie.

    But John F.’s comment shows exactly why progressivism is so dangerous and so unthinking. There is no idea of an end state. There is only a mythology of activism that has to be enacted over and over again whether it makes sense in a particular context or not. And if you dispute it, they crudely shout ‘progress, progress.’ Or its equivalent ‘would you rather live in 1955?’ Its the chronological equivalent of the ‘if you hate America so much, why don’t you leave’ that makes liberals like John F. get their knickers in a twist.

  17. Change is a mixed bag, to be sure. In overwhelming metrics, society in 2013 has progressed significantly and beneficially from the state of things in 1955. In some respects, however, things have certainly deteriorated.

    But overall I would probably take 1955 over 2013.

    Would that still be true if you were black or any other race or ethnicity than a middle-class (or elite) white American male, or if you were a woman?

    In 1955, American society was steeped in the pervasive, suffocating, and all-encompassing real evil of racism, segregation, and discrimination of all kinds — discrimination against all things not characteristic of the life of white middle class or elite males (including their majority religion). I honestly would not want to live in that environment. Perhaps people lived in that time and felt themselves righteous despite their partaking of these evils because they somehow did not see the wickedness of it all. (Blinded, perhaps, by the machinations of the adversary?) Undoubtedly, however, evil manifested itself more uniformly on the earth then based on the racial hatred and oppression that was accepted as normal and even morally right by the vast majority of white people worldwide. Women were partially emancipated by 1955 but far from being viewed as autonomous moral beings with full human dignity in their own right; their existence was in every way subordinate to and determined by white males. This was also incorrigibly evil in denying half of humanity meaningful moral agency.

    In 2013 society displays an unfortunate and ugly deterioration in its understanding of or willingness to adhere to traditional sexual mores (which are rooted in objective morality). Freedom and liberty have thankfully expanded exponentially, allowing each individual to follow his or her own conscience in worshipping or not worshipping God or in complying or not with the moral laws that we believe ultimately stem from God. Unfortunately, many people have exercised this newly widely available and unencumbered moral agency to seek out pleasures of the flesh or treasures that do not satisfy or endure.

    But our freedoms in all developed Western democracies have also exponentially expanded (and have been not only preserved from their origins in the European and American enlightenments but also greatly strengthened) to exercise our moral agency as religious believers to persuade others to voluntarily submit to the moral code that we believe reflects God’s will and is objectively discernible and accessible by all people. That is also a difference in which progress has greatly favored 2013 over 1955: our freedom to persuade others to adhere to the objective moral code that we understand through our religious faith is far greater now than it was in 1955 or at any previous time in the history of the world.

    Returning to your initial provocative statement (“I don’t think progressives have thought through there where that place is and I don’t think anybody will like it when we get there”), the above are two or three very quick examples among many which show that having arrived “here” in 2013, we are in a far better “place” and time than 1955, thanks to “progress,” which apparently has somehow come to have a negative meaning among a certain sub-segment of Mormons.

    There are many more metrics that bear this out, even in the face of other areas of deterioration in society’s adherence to traditional morality. Despite depressing headlines that are the hallmark of a media based on the profit motive (they are only giving us what we are demanding in their sensationalistic reporting — it’s not a conspiracy), we are living in an age of unprecedented peace and prosperity. Violence is at an all time low in the history of human existence, at least recorded history — not just in macro terms of wars, pillaging, and raping between rival tribes or nations but also in micro terms of interpersonal relationships (abuse of children, women, the handicapped or mentally ill, the violent exploitation of labor and environment, etc.). But this good news is all the more reason to be extra careful in our adherence to God’s laws (i.e. an objective morality), since the Book of Mormon teaches that pride is often a natural companion of such a state of prosperity.

    Therefore, in addition to complying with standards of sexual morality, do we otherwise comply with objective morality in our treatment of our fellow human beings? Do we value their well-being and provide a means to care for their needs as effectively as possible? Do we exploit them economically? Do we blame them for their own misfortune and poverty or do we view them as peers in all being beggars before God? Do we have anything to say about crushing poverty and income inequality? Or are all those issues just to be dismissed as “liberal” concerns in the political discourse of the present time?

    Do we see ourselves as co-participants in civil society, equally yoked in the constitutional framework, sharing a joint commitment to an element of the moral code that exists alongside requirements of correct sexual behavior — a commitment to life and liberty guaranteed as inalienable rights by which we respect the freedom of conscience of others to the same extent that we expect our own freedom of conscience to be respected?

  18. “By Dehlin’s logic of progressive-ism, it will only be a matter of time before the Church okays all types of relationships: multiple partners of either sex, of any age, and of any species.”

    Likewise, recently there has been much said on various websites and podcasts in regards to the inevitability of women receiving priesthood ordination and administrative responsibilities. I have heard some anticipate that this will occur in 20 to 30 years when the prophet receives the expected revelation. The historical occurrence always referred to in anticipation of the Church adapting to the current cultural norms of some members is that of the 1978 revelation which extended priesthood ordination and temple blessings to all qualified members, regardless of race. When such a reference is made to the 1978 revelation, in anticipation of the future “progressive” changes addressed above, two fundamental facts are ignored in regards to the 1978 revelation. First, being black was never considered a sin prior to 1978. In fact, my opinion is that it is possible that, as a race, blacks through history have been more in line with God’s commandments than other races. God did not need to “change His mind” in what constituted sin in order for blacks to be eligible for all blessings our Church teaches are in store for those who qualify. Second, the 1978 revelation now qualifies each and every one of God’s children, regardless of race or sex or anything else, to qualify for full fellowship in the highest degree of Celestial Kingdom. Women are not penalized because they do not hold the priesthood, just as men are not penalized because they cannot, as individuals, bring new life into the world. All are alike, all qualify, that they might with a partner…a man and a woman…be exalted in Heavenly Father’s kingdom. And, all will be given equal opportunity, in this life or the next, to find and join with that partner in an eternal bond that will bear children. The only things we need to do to qualify are to receive the proper ordinances and to overcome through Jesus Christ, in this life and the next, those sins and tendencies that keep us out of conformity with God’s plan. Certainly, none of us, regardless of race or sex, whether we hold the priesthood or not, has enough time to perform the Christ like service asked of us. Those that pine after responsibilities for which they do not qualify in God’s revealed plan, whether male or female, perhaps are neglecting those they already have and for which they do not appreciate.

  19. By the way, nothing I have written here relates to “Dehlin’s Progressivism” whatever that is. I understand that Rameumptum meant that to be insulting but I am not sufficiently versed in what his supposed “progressivism” is. My comments are in response to Rameumptum’s request that people share their thoughts and the intentionally provocative statement about progress being unquestionably bad and that no one will like the society that progress produces (though we are living in that society right now — hence my comparison to 1955, which many who take this approach of decrying progress seem to fetishize as a benchmark for right living).

  20. John F.: I am glad you weighed in here. Setting aside the question of what Dehlin’s progressivism is, what is yours? How do you define progress? I agree that progress has occurred in several areas in the U.S. since 1955, but we as a society have also backslid rather substantially in others.

  21. John F: “Would that still be true if you were black or any other race or ethnicity than a middle-class (or elite) white American male, or if you were a woman?”

    This shows the shallow nature of your thinking, John F.

    It is obvious to everybody that African-Americans have progressed significantly in terms of civil rights. But how about in terms of getting a job, and how about in terms of having a united family with a father and mother in the home? The black unemployment rate is significantly higher now than in the 1950s, and single-parent homes are the norm now whereas in the 1950s they were the exception. (Btw, I do not blame this on the people suffering through this situation, i.e. black Americans — it is the white progressives who have promoted programs of dependency who are responsible for the deterioration of black families and the disappearance of black jobs). As a progressive, you ignore data and information that does not fit your worldview.

    As for women, again, most women would clearly see a number of advancements, but there are many others who look wistfully at a time when women were not expected to work outside the home and when they were not expected to be a size 2 or a size 0. Again, the story is much more complex than your shallow thinking allows.

  22. Geoff, the progress I am talking about is white’s being forced to drop their racism, legislated segregation, and ubiquitous discrimination. Unfortunately, our system is still very severely stacked against blacks because of the racism that still lingers in the hearts of many whites, particularly in their reluctance to assist in creating a more level playing field so that formerly severely oppressed blacks who are still disadvantages as a result of this previous treatment can begin to receive equal opportunities for education and advancement. The Book of Mormon warns that disparities in opportunities in education among classes of people contributes greatly to the downfall of civilizations, for example.

  23. Again, the situation is much more complex than you imply. Yes, there is still racism against blacks, but there is also racism against whites, which is, in many cases, more prevalent and tolerated. Yes, many blacks are underprivileged and unable to receive many of the same opportunities, but so are many poor whites. The fact that you can only see one side of the story shows that your vision of “progress” is unfortunately skewed.

  24. European Saint, as any true conservative, I am “progressive” on all the right things and never once during my intellectual life viewed “progress” as a dirty word. The social ills at issue here aren’t progress. They’re deterioration.

    On the other hand, as a Mormon the Book of Mormon teaches me that there can be real problems with the “traditions of our fathers,” problems that can derail and inhibit society from making the right kinds of secular and spiritual progress for a generation or more. In fact, the Book of Mormon shows that such traditions can exist within the Church too. But, of course, no one here thinks that could possibly be the case now with how we’ve allowed the rhetoric of the secular Culture Wars to invade our religious discourse within the church and how we treat and judge each other internally. All is well in Zion, right? Press on with the Culture Wars instead of existing outside and above them!

  25. “But, of course, no one here thinks that could possibly be the case now with how we’ve allowed the rhetoric of the secular Culture Wars to invade our religious discourse within the church and how we treat and judge each other internally. All is well in Zion, right? Press on with the Culture Wars instead of existing outside and above them!”

    There would be nothing to discuss and absolutely no culture wars among Church members if members followed the prophets.

    Prophets: keep the commandments, including the law of chastity.
    Questioning Mormons: don’t listen to the prophets.
    Non-Questioning Mormons: yes, listen to the prophets.
    John F: you Non-Questioning Mormons, stop trying to create a culture war.

    I wonder who is out of touch among these people?

  26. The problem is that John f. assumes that the prophet’s support for civil structures that scaffold traditional families is simply a “tradition of our fathers” rather than prophetic foresight. And why? Because he thinks he knows better than they.

  27. One of the ways in which people in our day dismiss and marginalize prophetic warnings is to chalk them up to “culture” and “tradition,” rather than to inspired approaches. And how are we to know what prophetic warnings are inspired, and which are merely culture? Of course, the ones that make it difficult to get along with our progressive colleagues are the ones that are tradition.

  28. John F, I have no problem with many of the progressive things that have occurred over the years. I do have a problem with Dehlin’s use of progressivism to push his agenda and attack GAs such as with his “Oak’s Fail”.

    His litany of changes do not add up to what he thinks.

    Revelation occurs often as a response to a true need. A temple is built in Brazil, and Pres Kimball needs to know how to deal with the a Church that is now global and the issue of priesthood ban. The Lord lifts the ban.

    Clearly there is a process, often based on need. The question is, where is the need that Dehlin states? Where is there a need to have LGBT sealings in the temple, in order to bring about the salvation of mankind? How does his view link in to the Proclamation on the Family, which has been referenced almost every six months in General Conference since it came out 20 years ago? There simply is not a pattern that follows for Dehlin.

    Meanwhile, there was a pattern for giving blacks the priesthood, as Joseph Smith ordained Elijah Abel, and even the most racist members believed that blacks would eventually get the priesthood.

    There is a pattern for giving women more power and authority in the Church, as in the original pattern given in the Relief Society.

    However, there is no pattern for approving any sexual relationship outside of man/woman.

  29. Good doctrine strives for truth. Can someone outline for me in universal terms why homosexuality is categorically immoral? Save the “God/prophets/scripture says so” for Sunday School. What is the actual moral truth of the matter?

  30. Discussing the “actual moral truth” with somebody who rejects the idea that “God/prophets/scriptures” are behind morality is a waste of time.

  31. Geoff, you have an interesting point. Political ideology seems blind to some of society’s severe problems: Unsustainable debt deficits, a depopulation bomb that burdens the future generations with impossibly high labor and incomes just to get along? Some societies dropping the civil defense, which can be helpful for mental fortitude when dealing with a variety of circumstances, even stateless terrorism, How is any of that to be considered progress? Society is becoming built on a sandy foundation, and if the church isn’t with God, it will collapse with the rest of society.

    Regarding Dehlin’s logic, he needs to come to terms with whether or not the Church is really one led by God, or if it isn’t. If it is really led by God, then the Church can weather all kinds of disparity and persecution from the world.

    If one thinks that all Wilford Woodruff did was cave into the world’s persecution, Wilford Woodruff invites you in the OD 1 to pray to the Lord for Confirmation as to what inspired him. It’s worth doing.

  32. Geoff,

    Mormonism 101: It’s not true because God says it. God says it because it’s true.

    Because you (and most members) confuse doctrine with truth, leaders with God, and the Church with the Kingdom of God, you dismiss or reject those who simply acknowledge imperfections in the former and strive for the latter.

    The former are fallible and change to better match the latter, if only when prompted. The latter are eternal and unchanging. The former are too often worshiped, when it is only the latter that should be.

    If you can’t or won’t address the actual moral truth of the matter, I must assume you don’t know it.

  33. Veritas,

    Your logic is circular. When you say that most confuse doctrine with truth, you are suggesting that no doctrine is true, that nothing the leaders teach is true, and only people like Dehlin can determine what real truth is, simply because they are not caught up in the doctrine or leaders.

    The Church is based upon certain doctrines held to be true. God lives. Jesus is the Christ. God leads his Church and kingdom on earth through living prophets and apostles.

    If we cannot begin to all accept these concepts, then there is no room for real discussion. It is too easy to dismiss all the prophets say, regardless of the fact that most things they teach now are very similar to what Joseph Smith taught. It is easy to condemn Brigham Young’s speculations on 4 or 5 issues of focus, rather than consider the hundreds of speeches he gave that remain consistent with what we teach today.

    Who is John Dehlin to determine what is true and what is not true? What basis does he base it on, other than a handful of carefully selected events that he brings out to “prove” his point, even when several of them have nothing to do with his goal, while others are very obscure?

    No one is forced to be Mormon. We encourage people to join us, but there are some things that all must agree upon, or we no longer have a special claim to be anything more than just another social organization.

    There is room to discuss some things, such as women and priesthood, as there obviously was power given to various women in history (Deborah, original RS, etc). However, there is nothing in Judaeo-Christian history or writing that ever shows an acceptance of homosexual behavior. Moses condemned it. Paul condemned it. Modern prophets condemn it. In this we find a pattern. Going to Sparta for evidence of its ancient existence begs the question, as they were not Jew or Christian. They also were heavily involved in man/boy relationships – would Dehlin or others who claim ancient history is on their side also accept such behavior today?

    So, besides the evidence of modern decay being called acceptable and the new truth, all we find is a group of people who believe the world’s message is the one God and Church must adopt, simply because that is the one they want adopted. Circular logic that ignores history of both Jews, Christians and others.

  34. And you make my point when you declare my logic circular. You equate truth and doctrine, and leaders and God. Repent ye therefore.

  35. Veritas, you reject the teachings of living prophets and apostles. Repent ye therefore.

  36. You mean teachings like this?

    “…if He (God) should suffer him (Joseph Smith) to lead the people astray, it would be because they ought to be led astray…it would be because they deserved it…” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 4:297-298

    “We are all liable to error; are subject, more or less, to the errors incident to the human family. We would be pleased to get along without these errors, and many may think that a man in my standing ought to be perfect; no such thing.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 10:212

    “I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security, trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation…Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not.” Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, 14:205

    “The First Presidency cannot claim, individually or collectively, infallibility.” Discourses and Writings of President George Q. Cannon, 1957, 1:206

    “I make no claim of infallibility.” Spencer W. Kimball, Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 93

    “Forget everything that I have said, or what President Brigham Young or President George Q. Cannon or whomsoever has said in days past that is contrary to the present revelation. We spoke with a limited understanding and without the light and knowledge that now has come into the world. We get our truth and our light line upon line and precept upon precept. We have now had added a new flood of intelligence and light on this particular subject, and it erases all the darkness and all the views and all the thoughts of the past. They don’t matter any more.” Bruce R. McConkie, CES Conference, August 1978

    “Sometimes traditions, customs, social practices, and personal preferences of individual Church members may, through repeated or common usage be misconstrued as Church procedures or policies. Occasionally, such traditions, customs and practices may even be regarded by some as eternal principles.” Ronald Poelman, 1984 General Conference

    “We make no claim of infallibility or perfection in the prophets, seers, and revelators.” James E. Faust, Ensign, November 1989, p. 11

    “Each man or woman has the responsibility to find the truth… As a means of coming to truth, people in the Church are encouraged by their leaders to think and find out for themselves. They are encouraged to ponder, to search, to evaluate, and thereby to come to such knowledge of the truth as their own consciences, assisted by the Spirit of God, lead them to discover…. Since each one of us has his free agency, the ultimate determination of what is inspired of the Lord, what is right and wrong, true or false, can be made by each of us. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. made this statement: “The Church will know by the testimony of the Holy Ghost in the body of the members [themselves], whether the brethren in voicing their views are ‘moved upon by the Holy Ghost’; and in due time that knowledge will be made manifest”. Each must bear the accountability of accepting or discarding the values of truth, which values if followed will produce his greatest happiness.” James E. Faust, Ensign, Sep 1998, p. 2

    “We have never been encouraged to be blindly obedient; it is an intelligent obedience that characterizes members of the Church. Brigham Young is reported to have said that the greatest fear he had was that members of the Church would take what he said as the mind and will of God without first praying and obtaining a witness of the same for themselves.” L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov 2003, p. 85

    “The ‘truths’ we cling to shape the quality of our societies as well as our individual characters. All too often these “truths” are based on incomplete and inaccurate evidence, and at times they serve very selfish motives. Part of the reason for poor judgment comes from the tendency of mankind to blur the line between belief and truth. We too often confuse belief with truth, thinking that because something makes sense or is convenient, it must be true. Conversely, we sometimes don’t believe truth or reject it—because it would require us to change or admit that we were wrong. Often, truth is rejected because it doesn’t appear to be consistent with previous experiences.” Deiter F. Uchtdorf, CES Broadcast, Jan 2013

    “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.” Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf, General Conference, Oct 2013

    I dare not reject such teachings. I know they are true. And I know it independent of the prophets telling me so. Worship truth (God), my friends, not doctrine (leaders). Otherwise you’ll find your house is built on sand. God be with you.

    Veritas out.

  37. If you think those quotes add up to a blank check to dismiss anything and everything ever taught by prophets and apostles, then why have them?

  38. As I said, a waste of time. Veritas talks in circles and his/her logic has no beginning and no end.

  39. “If you think those quotes add up to a blank check to dismiss anything and everything ever taught by prophets and apostles, then why have them?”

    Excellent question, LDSP. I think we have them in order to test our faith, not because we are all little scientists, searching for “truth.” The Gospel invites us to reject empirical “truth” of our own wisdom and understanding, for the “foolishness of God,” as presented by “the weak things of the world, the unlearned and dispised.”

    I think the persuit of truth as Veritas defines it is a secular philosophy, not a religious one. Religion is not about the pursuit of empirical truth, but about faith and submission to things we cannot know for certain with our mind. The apostles don’t need to give us good arguments as to why God commands certain things. They only have to state the command, and let it hang there for us to accept or reject, based on our humility, and whether we bend our will to God’s spirit to accept it based on personal revelation.

    Whether it is empirically true is beside the point, and Veritas’s quote from Brigham Young supports this: “…if He (God) should suffer him (Joseph Smith) to lead the people astray, it would be because they ought to be led astray…it would be because they deserved it…”

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