Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm shutting down the March and Suffer blog.

To all of you who follow the March and Suffer blog, I will be shutting it down effective February 1st. While I do believe that a healthy discussion of topics inappropriate for most Sunday quorums and classes can and should have a forum for lively thoughts and opinions, sadly this blog site is not achieving the goals I had hoped for it.

I researched and prepared a catalogue of topics for discussion that were cause for doubt and uncertainty in my faith. In the process of doing this I came to a few realizations.

1. No discussion was occurring. It was probably because many of my posts were not conversation-inducing. I accept the blame.

2. My list of things that I don't have answers to, the things that don't have answers, the things that don't make sense...that list was a lot longer than I realized. If I had died unexpectedly, someone may think I had been preparing a book about "Why You Should Doubt The Mormon Church."

3. The Matrix does exist.

My goal in starting the blog was to address issues that could not be discussed during the Sunday block. In doing so I hoped that the exchange of ideas and information would connect the missing link between faith and reason, if one even exists. We are commanded to "seek learning, even by study and faith" (DyC 88:118). To me, the Lord distinguishes two methodologies by which we learn. Physical and spiritual evidences.

All to often in the church, when physical and spiritual evidences seem to be in opposition, the unfortunate tendency is to simply shrug off the physical evidences in favor of the spiritual evidences. The argument always tends to say that the truths of science are limited by the technology of the time to reveal them. The fallacy is that those who make such comments fail to see that their arguments are also valid against them as well.

Or you can follow President Monson's advice and just accept the spiritual truths by ignoring physical truths and to quit trying to explain or prove them: “I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people. I know that happiness and contentment are there, and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith. I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it. I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it.”

Current spiritual evidences are limited by the societies that they live in. If current societal values allow for slavery, then it is allowable for us to discriminate against certain races of humanity even within our own church. We can stand up for traditional marriage while less than two centuries ago, our Prophets, Seers, and Revelators were labeling monogamy as "the foundation for prostitution and the evils and diseases of the most revolting nature and character under which modern Christendom groans…” (Apostle Orson Pratt, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 13, page 195).

As humanity progresses, so does the gospel. Does that cause conflict? It does to me. Hence, the blog.

This is not my resignation from the faith nor does it signify my attempt to re-enter the Matrix. My faith has a solid foundation in Jesus Christ. I have had experiences that I cannot deny away but I also see physical evidences plain as day that do not, as yet, have answers.

I will continue to hope that the spiritual foundation I have will one day coincide with the physical evidences available to humanity. My current answer to those whose struggles with this have caused them to turn and walk away is honest and all I can offer:

I have hope in Christ that one day things will be made clear and my faith will be rewarded with knowledge.

But in the meantime, that does not alleviate me of my responsibility to seek learning...


Christopher Maloy said...

There was a March and Suffer blog?

Nicole Shelby said...

I am sad that you are choosing to shut down March and Suffer. I found it interesting and thought-provoking. And yes, I rarely had anything of my own to add - I found it worthwhile to read and think about.

Now, I know that just because you are shutting it down...that doesn't mean that you are ceasing to think. My concern won't share all of your questions and thoughts with others.

I say have patience. March and Suffer a little longer. Share what's klunking around in that brain of yours. Your brain spends so much time working, exploring all the avenues, assimilating data and making conjectures - or forming new questions - it would be a travesty to let it spin without giving the rest of us a little peek.

And if you still decide to shut it down...bring some of those topics to this blog.

T.J. Shelby said...

Chris, I hate you...

Scott H. said...

I too enjoyed March and Suffer, though I never "made it manifest." You know I enjoy The debates/discussions that Chris and you have and enjoyed participating when I can. The only complaint I have is this: I know you have a lot of great positive thoughts, comments, etc. on the positive aspects of the Church but I see less of those in our discussions. Balance the unanswered questions and physical knowledge questions with positive reinforcement on spiritual knowledge that you have experienced (obviously limiting personal spiritual experiences as those are for you). Anywho, hope my words made sense as I rambled on too long...but I agree with Nicole in that I hope to see continued sharing of questions and thoughts.

T.J. Shelby said...

Scott, I see your point and Chris and I have discussed the need to talk more about positive spiritual experiences as well.

However, the specific point of the March and Suffer blog is to debate/discuss the issues that the Church claims spiritual evidence on things that the World shows counter physical evidence of...or just the many times we've directly contradicted ourselves.

In other words, in a discussion about physical evidences, I shouldn't have to bear testimony to reinforce my doubts (or anyone else's doubts) or just to make everything seem hunky-doory.

One of my pet peeves is that when people cannot explain or logically debate, they revert to bearing testimony. In a debate of physical evidences, personal spiritual evidence has no place.

Heidi Maloy said...

And I just became a follower yesterday... you all know I just stay out of these discussions (ask Chris, I smile and nod)... but that doesn't mean there isn't a need for a place to share and discuss... but I will back up Scott in that there should be a place not to shut down debates with testimony, but to share that rare middle area, those uplifting debates that are also not seen in sunday school but also don't make us cringe at our own confusion- balance in all things! Just don't neglect those positive, uplifting thoughts and experiences or discount them simply because we can't all experience their physical evidence... just a thought.

Jared said...

I'm afraid I have to echo Chris' sentiments. I wasn't aware of it. Also being non-LDS I don't know I would have had much to add, but I would have tried. I have always followed your writings through myspace, I only recently started following here. My bad.

T.J. Shelby said...

Heidi and Scott, I guess I just have no idea what you're both referring to.

What I think you are asking for is that I blog about things we can NOT debate in Sunday School but are worthy of discussion AND gives everyone warm fuzzies?

Yeah...I'm going to need a few examples...

T.J. Shelby said...

Jared, you're welcome comment anytime on anything. When I read your posts and comments I can always rely on a solid foundation of common sense and reason.