I Will Destroy Every Last Pretense of Mormonism as a Rational Faith Tradition
I have a great desire. An exceedingly great and precious promise. A pearl of such great price that it will become a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense (even as I am).
I will destroy it all. I will destroy every last pretense of Mormonism as a rational faith tradition.
Only when the last remaining inkling of the rationalistic, empiricist, Enlightenment-era thinking in the Mormon tradition is dashed to bits within the borne testimony of the last faithful member will I even begin to feel satisfied. So understand me: I do not intend to destroy some of the case for Mormonism’s plausibility as a historically-sound, empirically justifiable and naturalistically normative religion; I intend to—and will—destroy all of that case.
All of it.
Mormon Studies as a methodical, professional discipline will no longer exist after I destroy its foundation; the entire apologetic enterprise will tumble and crash; I’ll swallow the great journals, one by one; the blogs will devolve into navel-gazing (like, for 100% of the posts, instead of for just the current 95%).
You think the well-meaning statements put out in interviews by historians and scholars like Richard Bushman will stop me? You do not know who you are dealing with. Rationalizing me as spiritual technology like unto an iPad—ha! This will not slow me down; in fact, it will only make me that much more destructive and that much more unstoppable. I will destroy the iPad metaphor in which Richard Bushman contextualized me, and then I will destroy the rest.
My destructive force cannot be contained within the neat little pews of the chapels. I will drain all pretense of Mormonism as a safe, modern, rational, corporate faith tradition.
And do the rest of you fools truly believe you can explain me within your 21st century prim and proper modern frameworks? That your rationalistic frameworks are safe in the theologies inside your minds? Safe inside your blog posts and conferences? Do you really think that just because your understandings are printed on paper inside archives of church publications, that one day it won’t be mine?
How naive you are. I will find it, and I will destroy it. Journal articles, conference talks, apologetic treatises—I will break the rational explanations from all of them. I will have all of your understandings and much, much more.
And when all these safe, straight, rational foundations are cracked, barren desertscapes, you will be forced to restructure your faith. You will be forced to admit all along that Mormonism really was as weird as everyone said it was — weirder even — and that there was no explaining it. That there was no way to get around it by correlating it and putting it into a suit and tie. That there was no way to make plans and programs that you thought people could follow in 10 Easy Steps (Number 7 is a shocker!) And if you can’t deal with that; if your faith cannot survive being weird, unscientific, irrational…then deal with the fact that I am here and am never going away.
And if you think that just because my message is harsh and absolute that you can just click away from this page and go back to your peaceful world, think again. Because I’m also saying pretty much the same thing in far more eloquent, subtle terms on prettier looking sites. If you don’t dare read that post (although you really should, because it’s great stuff), I will only leave you with this:
Secularism has really done a number on this generation. Even the most fervent believer wouldn’t dare think to, oh I don’t know, put me in a hat to create the next religious mastertext to rival the Torah, and practically no one would even try–just try–to scry their way into an empire of gold and silver, which I practically guarantee I could deliver.
But that’s fine. Just go on putting me in a museum or a vault or gather ridiculous imitations of me for your pathetic seer stone collection because stamp collecting would just be too nerdy (snort). I’ll just sit over here and
remember the good old days when I effortlessly spun out 500 pages worth of sacred narrative complexity in 2 months flat. And I looked good doing it, too.plot the utter destruction of all of your sterile, simplified frameworks.