My Mormon Studies So Far [May 2006]

I noticed today that I have listened to approximately 75 hours of Podcasts talking on Mormon Studies. The most interesting one I am listening to is called Mormon Stories. John Dehlin interviews Mormons of ALL types and backgrounds including ex-Mormons and anti-Mormons. The reason he does the Podcast is because he ran into a lot of Church History problems and things about the church that were difficult to accept as he prepared to be a Seminary teacher for the Church. The things he found shattered his faith. He wanted to leave the Church until he found support in communities of open-minded members of the church. He found people could know about these issues and deal with them without having to leave the church behind. He then wanted to interview people and get their stories for us all to empathize with and get a better understanding of our church and its members.

I have listened to thirty of his one-hour programs so far and I can tell that he has been on quite a journey as have I in my own Mormon studies. It has been good to have some sort of a support group through all of this. I call it a journey or even a never-ending journey because I dont really see a final conclusion anywhere near. For anyone that has left the church I see it like this: if they think they know all the answers about Joseph Smith or some other topic of Mormonism that is difficult to accept, they simply have not looked at other sources for information. That’s it in a nutshell. If you ever come to a conclusion about something, all you have done is stopped looking for other views on the issue.That last bit of information, or that last source that won you over can either leave you TBM (true believing Mormon) or Anti-Mormon. In the end, I dont think anyone ever really knows anything. We are all made up of what’s been presented to us in our lives and we usually end up accepting whatever argument made sense or was presented to us by our culture or family. The Spirit can confirm to us that some things are good for us like reading the Book of Mormon or talking about doing good to others. The Spirit doesnt seem to enlighten on broader topics, however, such as determining if a doctrine is sound or not. There are too many contradictions and mistakes on the Brethrens behalf to say that the Spirit will effectively enlighten the darkness in man’s mind. Take the racism in the Church’s past, for example. Other churches who didnt have the gift of the Holy Ghost elevated their black members from second-class status 15-20 years earlier than the churchs revelation said to do likewise in 1978. To me that was something that easily could have been rectified through a revelation that would have allowed so many black brothers and sisters receive blessings that were denied of them.

Once again, though, I have hardly come to any conclusions. My feelings and beliefs could change tomorrow or in ten years according to my personal prayers, experiences, studies and meditations. Its when you back out at one point of this journey that you sell yourself short. Im sure that my search for truth will continue throughout my lifetime. In the meantime, though, by having an open mind I am now able to find light in the darkest caves and truth in foreign places. The world can become really exciting once you open your eyes. Where I used to see black and white, I now see color. And where I would see strangers, I can now see my brothers.

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~ by bonoboi on May 10, 2006.

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