Guest post: ‘O that cunning plan of the evil one!’

This is a guest post by Tom Stringham, who is a returned missionary and student of economics and mathematics at the University of Calgary. He keeps a blog at VirtuousSociety.com, and is on the editorial staff at Hustings.ca and PrinceArthurHerald.com.

True religion, whenever it has existed on the earth, has always had its enemies. Over the period of history recorded in the scriptures, these enemies often took the form of foreign armies, oppressive governments or brazen idolaters. The word “enemy” implies more than a passive conflict with the church—an enemy is usually conscious of his animosity.

If there is a war being waged against the Lord’s church today, it is being waged as a campaign of op-eds, podcast interviews, digital monologues and legal briefs. While the battlefield of the religious world is strewn with many inanimate and inadvertent obstacles, the church also has antagonists, and the method of the modern religious antagonist is rational discourse, or as Jeff G. wrote in an excellent analysis last year, critical discourse.

O the vainness, and the frailties, and the foolishness of men!

Faithful Mormon bloggers and commentators respond to discourse mainly with discourse, at least in the online world. As a result, they are often failing to productively engage their opponents within and without the church. This isn’t to say they don’t mean well. But many writers have allowed the church’s enemies to set the terms of engagement. Under those terms, argument is preferable to testimony, and analysis is better than scripture. In other words, believing intellectuals are falling short because they have not openly challenged the importance of discourse itself by supplanting it with the word of God through scripture, His servants or our own inspired testimony.

“Vainness” and “foolishness” are the right words, for the church’s enemies as well as its misguided defenders, as I know from experience. As a missionary in Oregon, I had only six months left of my two-year service by the time I realized that part of my inability to successfully impart the message of the gospel was that I was relying, very vainly and very foolishly, on my own ability to argue. When an investigator asked a difficult question, I would often respond at length, unloading on the poor student all of my own contemplations on the issue. My thoughts weren’t incorrect or harmful, but I eventually discovered that they meant much less to the investigator than the witness of a testimony, or a verse of scripture.

When they are learned they think they are wise, and they hearken not unto the counsel of God

The elevation of reason to wisdom, symbolized for our civilization in the Enlightenment of the 18th century, has occurred too much in our own hearts. For fear of appearing unintelligent to our theological interlocutors, we tend to rest upon mere rationality, avoiding frank testimony or appeals to the words of prophets. The danger here is that we begin to avoid testifying or referencing scripture at all, even to those who need to hear it most. Once we come to this point, we are hearkening more to the wisdom of men than the counsel of God.

We would do better to respond to challenges the way that Jacob, the highly intelligent Nephite teacher, responded to Sherem, who had a “perfect knowledge of the language of the people” and “much power of speech”. After Sherem assaulted the doctrine of Christ, Jacob witnessed: “I say unto you that none of the prophets have written, nor prophesied, save they have spoken concerning this Christ. And this is not all—it has been made manifest unto me … I know if there should be no atonement made all mankind must be lost.”

I witness that the doctrine of Christ is true, and that testimony of this doctrine will touch the hearts of anyone in a spiritual position to hear it.

They set it aside, supposing they know of themselves

Some members of the church have become its enemies, or at least have nurtured a less-than-total commitment to one side or the other. This usually happens when church members develop an affection for a particular secular ideology.

Most enemies of the church, while they would probably disagree, have not replaced the church’s orthodoxy with a general open-mindedness. On the contrary, they have almost always become an intellectual slave to some modern orthodoxy. The most pervasive of these are perhaps individualism and rationalism—try telling the average Millennial they have a duty to their deceased ancestors or that there is no such thing as their “authentic self” (apart from, perhaps, the natural man). Or telling a college student that tradition should have as much a place at the table as critical reason in the political arena.

Any secular orthodoxy can supplant true religion, including ideologies like modern progressivism (think members who revolt over same-sex marriage) or conservatism (members who reject the church’s stands on the environment or immigration).

But these heresies involve, at their root, a sort of self-worship. Very few members reject a teaching of the prophet without replacing it by their own teaching. Someone who spurns the church on homosexuality is not just rejecting prophetic infallibility—they are necessarily saying that prophetic fallibility is greater than their own.

The duty of Mormon writers is not to forget that our message is a gospel of repentance as opposed to a gospel of affirmation, to borrow a phrase of a friend of mine.

Wherefore, their wisdom is foolishness and it profiteth them not, and they shall perish.

Amidst endless discourse it’s easy to forget the profoundly spiritual consequences of setting aside the word of God as revealed through the Church of Jesus Christ. God gave the opening section of the Doctrine and Covenants to Joseph Smith as a warning:

The day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people … They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god.

Following the prophet, and nurturing faith in the teachings of the Lord by his prophets and apostles, are indeed commandments. The consequence for spurning these commandments to “walk in our own way” is spiritual death; separation from God.

Faithful commentators often misguidedly respond to doubters as if doubt is only an intellectual phenomenon. In fact, doubt is also a spiritual weakness, and one that can be healed by the atonement of Jesus Christ, if there exists sufficient humility to repent. I say this not as a mere assertion, but as a testimony of my own experience, when I rejected almost all of the teachings of the church for at least two years in my late teens, and was later healed by repentance, and not by persuasive discourse. As Moroni teaches, the Lord will make weak things strong unto us, and as Alma teaches, Christ suffered for every manner of affliction.

But to be learned is good if they hearken unto the counsels of God.

What I’ve written requires a few caveats. Of course, it’s not bad to be an intellectual, or to be well-read, or even to be good at arguing. There’s a place for discourse about church teachings. Furthermore, doubt is something that afflicts many of us, and it should be responded to sensitively. But if I made these caveats the focus of my appeal, I would be preaching to the choir. The blogosphere is out of balance, and it is faith and credulity that will balance the scale—not more doubt and skepticism.

I testify that each of us are spiritual children of a perfect God, and that he loved us enough to send Jesus Christ to live and die for us. I believe that Christ’s kingdom is on the earth, and that it is called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I testify that the Lord’s servants are both unusually wise and uniquely positioned to receive his revelations for the world. I know that there is much good learning to be had in the world, but that it only becomes wisdom to us when we hearken to the Lord’s counsel. And I promise that the only path to peace in this world and eternal life in the next is by way of Jesus Christ and his church.

30 thoughts on “Guest post: ‘O that cunning plan of the evil one!’

  1. Welcome, Tom!

    It is so fun to argue. But at the end of the day, arguing doesn’t heal rifts or convince people.

    It is nice when the facts and logic are also there, of course. But I don’t know of anyone who’s ever been argued to heaven.

  2. Tom, thanks for posting with M* today!

    I loved this post. I love the scripture you’ve based it on as well. This has been running thru my head all week.

    I hope you post with us again.

  3. The passage in 2 Nephi you quoted has been on my mind lately. It’s been humbling to see something we all memorized in seminary gain such relevance, not just in the news but in my own life. Thank you for your insights.

  4. This should be the magnim opus of dialogue changes we should have on every forum. All of us included.

  5. “The blogosphere is out of balance, and it is faith and credulity that will balance the scale—not more doubt and skepticism.”

    Amen to that! Awesome post.

  6. Tom, what you are saying is certainly true. But I think it is also a bit unfair.

    It is true that blogging is probably mostly “vain.” For me it is a fun hobby, but I am under no illusion that it is usually much more than whistling in the wind. But it keeps me away from more harmful addictions and scratches the itch in my brain. My hometeaching route is 100 times more important.

    But I think your condemnation of critical discourse in the bloggernacle is unfair because blogging doesn’t really lend itself to preaching, but rather to discussion (or debate). Blogs that are basically sermons or calling people to repentance never get much response, and they feel out of place to me. The church has a place for sermons and crying repentance, and that is church and missionary work. It’s for people who have ears to hear and eyes to see.

    But Mormonism is more than preaching. It is also truth seeking. The glory of God is intelligence. The internet is a giant vortex of miscellaneous facts (and fallicies) all mixed together and unorganized, including many facts about church history which are difficult for people to understand and compartmentalize. The bloggernacle exists for Mormons of a particular intellectual bent, who are trying to make sense of the new deluge of information that the internet has poured upon us.

    At it’s best, the bloggernaccle helps people like this make sense of this deluge of info and align it with their LDS beliefs. But it does not do this through preaching, but through apologetics and critical reasoning. Preaching just makes struggling people assume there is no good answer, because preachers are just falling back on an appeal to authority in the absence of a good rational argument.

    In my opinion, the best blogs at Millennial Star are those, (like Meg’s and many others) who use apologetics or reasoning. Even this blog post uses critical reasoning, and is actually much more insightful than Jacob’s completely un-intellectual and unconvincing assertion “Hey, no prophet ever said anything unless it was about Christ!”

    The Book of Mormon is a pure call to repentance, not a rational argument. It lays down the gauntlet. It demands humility and submission to the “foolishness of God which is greater than the wisdom of men.” But blogs exist to soften the blow of the Book of Mormon, to try and reason about it, to defend it, to think about it and it’s implications. Then the reader, with his heart prepared, goes back to the stark and bold Book of Mormon ready to receive the Spirit in humility.

  7. I like much of this discusison, but I do agree with Nate. There is a time and place for pure testimony, even in blogs. But there is also a time and place for reasoning. Alma and others did not just bear down in testimoiny, but gave reasoning as well (see Alma 32 and the word as a seed analogy).

    It helps many people when they can see evidences that can strengthen their faith.

  8. To synthesize Tom’s thesis with Nate and Ram, apologetics does not create faith but it can illustrate or create a _plausibility_ in which the seed of faith can be planted. Not every LDS needs to be or should be a scholarly apologist, but we should have ready web links to which we can refer the naysayers or the doubters or questioners. Like the apostle Paul said, we need to have “ready answers” which as Tom says, should be mostly testimony of divine personal revelation, but sometimes it can be a “farms/fair/lindsay/peterson has already addressed that.”

    I am glad for apologetic forums such as Farms, Fair, Interpreter, Shields, Jeff Lindsay.

    Let the people with thick skin take the arrows. :-)

  9. Meg, Joyce, thank you for the welcome! Thanks to other commenters for the compliments and thoughts!

    Nate and rameumptom, thanks for your comments as well. I agree with you in part. There’s a place for discourse, including within my own post. I don’t think it should be replaced by testimony; just accompanied by it. Bloggers shouldn’t leave either their rationality or their testimonies at the door. Thanks, Bookslinger, for your way of approaching the idea; I agree that we need faith-oriented apologetics out there!

    But Nate, Jacob’s testimony to Sherem was not un-intellectual: Jacob was an experienced teacher (and preacher, yes) who knew what he was doing. And it wasn’t unconvincing: Sherem and many others were transformed by that witness.

    Drawing a line from “truth-seeking” to “apologetics and critical reasoning”, the way that rationalism does, is very common, but I think it’s an error. The most successful truth seekers approach the world with faith and repentance first, and with critical reasoning and other cognitive methods like intuition as helpful, but incomplete tools.

    I believe that while there’s a place for blogging and everything else, the Book of Mormon is sufficient for anyone, regardless of their “intellectual bent”, to find a witness and a deep knowledge of the fulness of Jesus Christ’s gospel.

  10. I look for blogs that support my faith. As a child and young woman I lived in an environment of scepticism and scorn of religion. Since then I have reveled in ‘faith promoting’ experiences from stories in the Ensign to apologetics. I particularly enjoy General Conference. However the most powerful experiences for me are the personal miracles that have blessed my life. I had enough of criticism of spiritual versus carnal experience to last a lifetime. Even so, even now after several score years of trying to walk the strait and narrow path I know how quickly I could ensnare myself in error. I am grateful for this post and all the others on M. I feel I can trust the editors.

  11. bookslinger, “apologetics does not create faith but it can illustrate or create a _plausibility_ in which the seed of faith can be planted.”

    I agree

  12. I find myself so conflicted over this post. It argues – in defense of the faith – that arguments – even those in defense of the faith – do not in fact nurture faith, just like I argue. (I’m sure Godel would have something interesting to say about that last sentence.)

    I fear, however, that at least one of us have painted with too broad a brush. As I told Howard in another thread, my goal has never been to kill reason or critical discourse, only to dethrone it. Reason and critical discourse – when put to the proper tasks – can do much good. For example, I do think that reason and critical discourse do indeed tend to undermine faith in that which it analyzes… which is why I use it to analyze reason and critical discourse. My posts a very much intended to alienate intellectuals from their intellectualism – something which I hope will help them (re)embrace the Mormon faith. But I have made little if any effort at arguing for the Mormon faith, since I think this is not at all a task to which it is well suited.

    This, then, is the reason for my ambivalence, if not mild hostility toward apologetics. I feel that such endeavors almost always strengthen a faith in reason and critical discourse more than they do a faith in Mormonism. I feel like it is a misguided attempt at providing an alternative conduit of information and authority – an alternative voice for the church – for those people who do not accept that of revelation structured by priesthood authority. My approach, by contrast, is meant to undermine such alternate voices, including (I hope) my own.

  13. Nate,

    “But I think your condemnation of critical discourse in the bloggernacle is unfair because blogging doesn’t really lend itself to preaching, but rather to discussion (or debate).”

    I absolutely agree with this thought, but it is this thought which makes me so ambivalent to blogging about Mormonism. By my lights, revealed religion was always meant to be built around oral and therefore contextual communication. Our intellectual attempts at making this tradition fit into a written and purportedly universal mode of communication makes me very suspicious. These and other aspects of blogging most certainly serve to strengthen the systematic reinterpretation of the gospel along intellectual lines. To whit:

    “Preaching just makes struggling people assume there is no good answer, because preachers are just falling back on an appeal to authority in the absence of a good rational argument.”

    The critical discourse around which blogging is structured unambiguously fosters the impression that an appeal to authority is not a good answer and that any belief which is not supported by good rational argument is a bad belief. I find such notions to be totally in conflict with a religion based in prophecy and priesthood.

  14. “I find myself so conflicted over this post. It argues – in defense of the faith – that arguments – even those in defense of the faith – do not in fact nurture faith, just like I argue.”

    I didn’t mean it this way, and maybe I overstated my case. I meant that bloggers are “generally” failing to persuade because they rely “mainly” on discourse. I still believe that reasonable discourse can change minds (and to a lesser extent hearts)–that’s why I wrote this post the way I did. To your bigger concern over Mormon blogging itself, I think blogging can lend itself well to a teach-and-preach method (as opposed to just teaching or preaching), where the analysis in our blog posts is accompanied by earnest expressions of faith and exhortations to repentance.

  15. I learned very early that all logical argument must depend on an agreement about initial premises. My older brother persistently tried to demonstrate that I was a fool to believe in God. He accused me of wiggling out of his carefully thought out logical traps, but even at the age of ten I recognized that we weren’t using the same premises. Many who try to undermine faith begin several steps up the chain of logic, making the mistaken assumption that their initial premises are ‘true’ instead of being merely politically correct or approved by a given set of intellectuals. Later when I studied philosophy and logic in college I could give names to his errors. Common sense, self evident, rational, and logical are terms used to enhance acceptance of various sceptical arguments just as credulous, gullible, and naive are used to dismiss believers.

  16. “Common sense, self evident, rational, and logical are terms used to enhance acceptance of various sceptical arguments just as credulous, gullible, and naive are used to dismiss believers.”

    Exactly right, but I would go even further by including “fallacy”, “valid”, “sound”, etc. Just because an “appeal to authority” or some other such logical fallacy breaks the rules of critical discourse does not mean that other traditions don’t tolerate or even actively praise such appeals.

  17. Jeff G: “Just because an “appeal to authority” or some other such logical fallacy breaks the rules of critical discourse does not mean that other traditions don’t tolerate or even actively praise such appeals.”

    True, however I think we should recognize that we make appeals to authority because we can’t find a satisfactory rational argument. If the truth claims of the church were self-evident, rational and evidence based, there would be no need for authority whatsoever. The authority of science lies in its self-evident nature. It is demonstrable and falsafiable. Our authority lies not in demonstration, but in faith. If our religious claims were self-evident, there would be no need for faith.

    Religious claims must be understood to be unscientific and unfalsafiable. When we pretend to have rational, self-evident arguments to support our truth claims, we are the ones treading on foreign territory, and it is right of intellectuals to mock our arguments and tear them to shreds. Our kingdom is not of this world, nor is our outlook on truth. We follow because we heard a voice from heaven say, “the Book of Mormon is true.” Did you hear a voice? No? Then there is no way for me to prove to you that the Book of Mormon is true. You have to ask God and see if He answers you too.

    Any discussion on religious truth claims must start on common ground. And there is no common ground between religion and science. But Mormons try to conflate the two, and they get into trouble.

  18. “Faithful Mormon bloggers and commentators respond to discourse mainly with discourse, at least in the online world. As a result, they are often failing to productively engage their opponents within and without the church. This isn’t to say they don’t mean well. But many writers have allowed the church’s enemies to set the terms of engagement. Under those terms, argument is preferable to testimony, and analysis is better than scripture. In other words, believing intellectuals are falling short because they have not openly challenged the importance of discourse itself by supplanting it with the word of God through scripture, His servants or our own inspired testimony.”

    This portion of your post assumes that scripture and the words of God’s servants are clearly self-interpreting. They are not. While I don’t doubt that many faithful commentators have swung too far in the direction you indicate in prioritizing discourse over scripture and testimony, what you appear to be saying is that if we just quoted scriptures more and dropped the mike, our job would be over. It’s just not that simple, and finding the correct balance between pure testimony and discussion is something that we will all always struggle with.

  19. “however I think we should recognize that we make appeals to authority because we can’t find a satisfactory rational argument. If the truth claims of the church were self-evident, rational and evidence based, there would be no need for authority whatsoever.”

    I disagree. I think things can be “self-evident, rational and evidence based” and be vociferously opposed by people who ought to know better. Two quick examples: gun rights and traditional marriage.

    We are, inherently, emotionally-driven creatures. Male and female alike. Most people do not govern their lives by logic, but by instinct and sentiment. Most people are not willing to truly let the facts take them to where they lead, because that takes them to a very scary place and folks are content, fat, and happy where they are.

    “The authority of science lies in its self-evident nature. It is demonstrable and falsafiable. Our authority lies not in demonstration, but in faith. If our religious claims were self-evident, there would be no need for faith.”

    Science must still be *interpreted*. And while it does an admirable job of telling us *what* and *how*, it says nothing about *why*. Science qua science is incomplete.

    I would invite you, Nate, to read Hebrews 11:1. I wrote a pretty decent etymological treatment of the underlying New Testament Greek, and your framing of faith is not accurate, in my opinion. Faith has a basis in evidence. That evidence is actually all around us.

  20. I love browsing science discoveries and I often chuckle at the truth claims many people make for ‘science’. Supposedly science is not based on opinion or prestige, but as in the recent flap over the ‘big bang’, it is quite a moveable feast. I’ve lived long enough to see massive changes in virtually every field of science. Ironically it is the ‘softer’ sciences such as psychology, sociology, anthropology and others that primarily study mankind that cling most fervently to theories supported only by a consensus of dead elites. Those sciences that tie into engineering and real world profit or loss seem far more flexible about welcoming the best, most recent information.
    Science cannot neither prove or disprove religious experience. Scientific methods, applied personally can increase a testimony (“prove me herewith”) but they must be personally experienced and confirmed by the spirit. There is nothing incompatible about a career in science and a testimony of the Gospel, unless it is one of those ‘sciences’ that is based more on prestige and politics than reality. I could name many solid scientists to prove my point, but just as being a scientist doesn’t preclude having a testimony, neither does it make the testimony of a scientist more valid than any other. Elders Scott and Nelson are authoritative because of their calling, not their scientific accomplishments

  21. Pat says “science…is quite a moveable feast.”

    That is another important distinction between faith and science. Science constantly changes with the times as greater knowledge is gained. Truth claims in religion are inflexible and unchanging. It doesn’t matter how much evidence science keeps piling on for evolution, the faithful seem unmoved, doggedly denying evolution and even creating their own pseudoscience to try and make it sound like science, when it is in fact the opposite.

    It also makes sense that the “softer sciences,” psychology, etc. would be a little more similar to religions, with orthodoxies which develop which are difficult to change. The less falsifiabe, the more inflexible the doctrine.

    Michael, I would be interested in reading your treatment of Hebrews 11:1, but I’m pretty sure I would take issue with it, because I don’t think that faith based evidence and scientific evidence have much in common. Faith-based evidence is personal, immeasurable, and private, the voice of the Holy Ghost to our heart. Material-based evidence is measurable and self-evident to all who impartially investigate it.

    Joseph Smith can say, “I saw a vision, I knew it and I could not deny it.” But he was also smart enough to say, “I don’t blame any man for not believing my history. If I had not experienced it myself, I would not believe it.”

    This is the rub. Faith in our truth claims is based upon our individual personal spiritual experiences. We can’t blame Gentiles for not believing if God has not also spoken to them. Our testimony is an invitation to others to seek out God for themselves. But that is all it is: an invitation. If they feel inclined to seek after God, they will. “My elect hear my voice.”

    But preaching to and judging the Gentiles by our truth claims, by our light, and by our revelations is pure folly. God Himself said, “I will shut their eyes and stop their ears that they see and hear not.” If we wish to speak to a Gentile or an unbeliever, we should do so with respect for what God has given them: the science and reason of men. We can say, “let me show you a higher path which is accessed purely upon faith.” If they have ears to hear, they will hear. If not, they are under no condemnation.

  22. Nate, we will simply have to disagree. I strongly object to your framing of the issue as you have.

    But, it seems to be what you are comfortable with. More power to you.

  23. I have been reading a biography of a woman a few years older than me who lost her belief in Christ when she was in college as a result of a question from a teacher. She lived the life of an activist as a graduate student in Berkeley and went on to become an English professor. I am grateful that I had to defend my faith from an early age and when I met similar questions in college I was prepared. I have a fairly extensive education in biology and I am aware that there are some serious deficiencies in the conventional understanding of organic evolution. However I don’t concern myself with details that might change with new discoveries. I simply believe that however long it took, the creation of Earth and all that lives upon it was supervised by God. I do think we all had a hand in it, which is an opinion only. I find comfort in knowing that although situational truth changes, as in Meg’s pregnancy example, and God deals with us as well as we can currently understand, there is Truth, complete and immutable as a solid foundation.

  24. Nate (if you’re still checking the thread),

    “True, however I think we should recognize that we make appeals to authority because we can’t find a satisfactory rational argument. If the truth claims of the church were self-evident, rational and evidence based, there would be no need for authority whatsoever. The authority of science lies in its self-evident nature. It is demonstrable and falsafiable. Our authority lies not in demonstration, but in faith. If our religious claims were self-evident, there would be no need for faith.”

    I disagree with the way this entire paragraph is framed.

    I strongly object to the idea that we only appeal to priesthood authority when we lack evidence or argument. If (or better yet, when) people do this, they totally betray their lack of faith in priesthood authority, since a pre-modern religion worldview sees such authority as being intrinsically binding. Appeals to authority are only a no-no within a broadly philosophical framework of which science is a part. Thus, it is only by mixing such philosophy with religion that we would ever think that religious claims depended in anyway upon arguments in the way you suggest. Religious appeals to revelation structured by priesthood authority long preceded appeals to reason and evidence, and got along just fine with them. In other words, even if authoritative religious claims are not self-evident, rational or evidence based, that is fine and dandy since the former has just as much need of the latter as the latter does the former. (I would also mention that your description of science as self-evidence, demonstrable, etc. has suffered serious blows over the last century or so.)

    “When we pretend to have rational, self-evident arguments to support our truth claims, we are the ones treading on foreign territory, and it is right of intellectuals to mock our arguments and tear them to shreds.”

    I mostly agree with you here, although I think you give the intellectual a bit too much license. To be sure, the religious should not try to play the intellectual game (as I see too many apologists doing) since this is not the sport that they have been commanded to play. Their game should be faithful obedience to revelation structured by priesthood authority and you are absolutely right that they are essentially asking for the trouncing they get when they go beyond this.

    However, the intellectual simply does not recognize any other game as being beyond the scope of their intellectualism. They think that their is the only “real and true” game in town, when you get down to it. Thus, they interpret any religious claim as if it were a bad move within the intellectual game rather than a good move within the religion game. In this way, the intellectual sees the religious as asking for more trouncings than they actually do.

    “Any discussion on religious truth claims must start on common ground.”

    I’m not sure that this is true at all. To be sure, the intellectual insists that this must be so in order to avoid equivocation and the like, but once we give up on the idea that life is one big intellectual game this claim looks pretty ify.

  25. Nate (again),

    “Science constantly changes with the times as greater knowledge is gained. Truth claims in religion are inflexible and unchanging. It doesn’t matter how much evidence science keeps piling on for evolution, the faithful seem unmoved, doggedly denying evolution and even creating their own pseudoscience to try and make it sound like science, when it is in fact the opposite.”

    I certainly agree with your objection to the Christian psuedo-sciences but I disagree with your implicit claim that this characterizes the Mormon religion. Our truths most certainly do change over time, but we refuse to allow any unauthorized person dictate this change. I think this point clearly sets us apart from other forms of Christianity… at least it ought to.

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