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Do you have true faith?

January 28, 2009

For me, I have a title that is utterly, utterly easy for me to answer. I can say, “No, and I’m not interested in the wares you’re peddling.”

Some people peddled me a wares of some bible study group (I wondered what it would be like if I brought up Mormonism to them…would their excessive and salesmanlike friendliness alter? [I saw the missionaries later the day, but they were too busy peddling to others), but that’s neither here nor there.

I guess the question is…what is true faith? Everyone has different ideas about it (here’s another good idea that The Faithful Dissident was playing around with — remind me to make a post addressing it further, so I’m not going to say who’s right or who’s wrong, because then I wouldn’t get the opportunity to quote someone and put my spin on this. So, here we have a post by Silver Rain about this tendency to expect and want the church to change.

Do I want the church to change..? I would be lying if I said I didn’t. There are many things I’d put my hands on if I had those keys. But while I think the goals of groups to change church policy are admirable, I don’t think the point is to have a church that changes to your whim.  Really, when you join the church, I think you do take part and parcel in the church’s policies and hope in their direction. If you disagree, you probably should scale back your commitment or leave and find a new one (oh snaps; my blog has just lost its 10% readership that are true, believing Mormons and the 20% that are liberal Mormons are on the ropes because now I’m on the dangerous descent to anti-Mormondom!)

No, really.

So, SilverRain starts out (well, not “start”, but go with me) with a slippery slope situation of extreme gravity:

…Even were the prophet to snap his fingers and change everything tomorrow, there would still be something for such people to complain about. If homosexuality was accepted, it would be transgender. If women were given the priesthood, it would be that they don’t have enough roles in it. A solution cannot be found by the Brethren conforming to popular opinion.

Those transgender! Those women wanting equal rights! Just terrible!

Even though I poke some fun, SilverRain has some legitimate concern…at least for someone who (probably) values the traditional ways of things to some extent. The equality and interchangeability of the sexes (one size fits all) could certainly be disastrous to a church that has for so long focused on the complementarity of those sexes (hah, if you thought I was going to say inequality, then shame on you! [although, I think sometimes, I think the “complementary” roles of women in the church seem a bit …butthurt. Would you rather have 1) magic powers or 2) birth pain? {Motherhood is no joke; I know I can’t handle even ear ache, but somehow I think motherhood is magnitudes different than earache.}]). So, there are, at least looking from that vantage point, reasons to maintain a status quo.

SilverRain continues:

I have learned a lot about faith lately. It isn’t about believing, it is about trusting. It is about taking that step into the chasm, even though you can’t see the bridge under your feet. It is about falling into the chasm and being okay with that, because you know who you are and who God is. It’s about standing in front of a furnace hot enough to boil bone and saying, “I know that God can save me, but if He does not, still I will follow Him.” It is about saying “I am hurt that women don’t have the priesthood. I hope that some day they will have the chance to lead in the Church the way men do, but even if they are eternally less than men in this way, still I will follow God. Still will I submit to His will as now understood through His prophets. Still will I obey.” It is about saying “I think the Church was wrong to withhold the priesthood from blacks in the past. But I may be wrong. Either way, my opinion is not important, and my needs are in the hands of my Redeemer to do with as He will.”

I don’t think this is a bad deal at all. It’s just…would you follow it? Can you stomach this? For me, I have this problem with this trust hypothesis (in before: “you’re immature and prideful!”). If we start to take away our ability to discern what is good from what is bad (never minding where, if anywhere, we get those moral foundations), then we actually forego our ability to discern at all (zomg exaggeration). Or, we become inconsistent in where we will discern. For example, this kind of faith could just as well justify a group of any religious group to stay in their religious group, no matter how wrong or actually bad, saying “I know that (insert name of deity) can save me, but if he does not, I’ll still follow him.” To be certain, the LDS heaven allows for a lot more leeway in this, but traditionally, the stakes for getting things wrong can be drastic. Just imagine, if you can’t imagine that anything of the church could ever be “vitally” wrong, that some people believe in some other religion with things that are vitally wrong. A “trust” would allow people to ignore that.

Personally, I don’t think women, or gays, or whoever, should give up the fight for equality even if it turns out this equality isn’t so.

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