Sunday, July 12, 2009

A response to Bishop Kelly...

Dear Bishop Kelly, 

I apologize for not being able to answer your response sooner.  I have been on vacation for the last few weeks but am back now and see that you posted a response to my query about "How to deal with doubt."  (For other readers, HERE is my original post).  

Here was your reply to my posting:

"When it comes down to it, we sustain ALL the words of the prophet:  D&C 21:4-5
4 Wherefore, meaning the church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me;
5 For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith.

It comes down to exercising faith in the prophet (as it says "in all patience and faith").

It really seems sad that you're willing to let apostasy grow in your heart just because you lack faith. Be careful! You're basing your decisions on some assumptions that are incorrect and thus your logic is flawed. But faith isn't about logic, is it?

Related reading that I recommend you read: New Era » 1971 » November
"An Open Letter to Students: On Having Faith and Thinking for Yourself, by C. Terry Warner

Bishop Kelly

I contemplated just emailing one of your kids on Facebook and sending my response to you via email but I figured since you chose to publicly post a comment by signing it with your ecclesiastical position of power, as if giving you an authoritative right or responsibility to chastise my lack of faith and present apostasy, while yet failing to realize that my entire post exposed my doubt and distrust of the Prophetic mantle, much less, the revelatory powers found in the calling of a local Bishop and...You were never my bishop.

Maybe in all of my apostasy I missed the revelation organizing the formation of wards in the blogosphere requiring online Bishops and hence, giving you a stewardship to reply as "Bishop."  I'm sure that if you were replying as a friend or brother in the gospel, you simply would have signed as "Brother" or "Dave."  

Setting aside that for a moment.  I do thank you for the time you took to investigate and send me an article to read.  I read it and it was interesting.  While I thought it was predictable to be personally accused of using incorrect assumptions and flawed logic, I found it most humorous to then read an article by a former BYU philosophy professor richly laden with numerous incorrect assumptions and pathetically flawed logic.  Imagine the irony...

And FYI, you know what his answer was after all his little clever and witty analogies that worked about as well as a Creationist teaching evolution?  Repent and read the scriptures. That is the key to overcoming intellectual doubt and lack of spiritual faith?  REALLY?  Because, of course, anyone who is having any type of doubt MUST be sinning...that's the only logical reason for a person to have doubt in this perfect organization we belong to.

Newsflash.  Here's a gospel truth:  We're ALL sinners.  

Many, like yourself I assume, apparently see no inconsistencies, errors, mistakes, or lies in any part of Mormon history or present.  I applaud you for your dedication.  Some (like myself for many years) choose to ignore the many and varied inconsistencies found all throughout our history and doctrine.  I just figured that I had prayed, had the warm-fuzzies, and that all of my questions would be answered eventually.  Eventually never came and it wasn't for a lack of inquiry.  Is a decade not long enough to wait?  Lord, forgive my impatience...

You and I will never reach a conclusion on this.  I could give you quote after quote from Prophets who made ludicrous, racist, sexist, and preposterous statements.  You'd bat them away like a mosquito. You already have the conclusion so you make the history fit to get you there.  You refuse to admit that any Prophet has ever been wrong.  They are as infallible as the Pope.  We must obediently follow and sustain every word.  

I'll even put words in your mouth here, only because your rebuttal is horribly predictable..."Even if they are wrong, it is our responsibility to follow them and the consequences will be upon the shoulders of our leaders if they have led us astray."  And though you sarcastically mocked my opinion of faith and logic in your response, it is this very mentality that makes faith illogical.  It is why Holy Crusades brought death or conversion and why religious zealots fly planes into buildings...

Let me ask you this.  

If Gordon B. Hinckley had come to you, when your daughters were 14-16 years of age and explained that 'Celestial Marriage' was to be re-instituted and told your daughter that if she would marry him that "If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that of your father’s household & all of your kindred." 

Are you okay with that?  Are you thinking about faith or logic at this point?

Or what if Thomas S. Monson called you to leave your family and go serve a mission and while you were gone, he came to your home, taught the doctrine of plural marriage and told your wife that "the Lord had made it known to him she was to be his celestial wife."  You would have returned home from faithfully serving the Lord to realize you had been blessed by having the Prophet marry your wife while you were gone.

Would that build your faith?  Or would you "let apostasy grow in your heart just because you lacked faith"?

I only include these two items of history because they are tend to spark emotion.  I believe faith is more closely tied with emotion than logic.  Logic can remove emotion and still function.  Faith cannot remove emotion and function efficiently.  

With regards to my doubts, we could talk about everything from blacks and the Priesthood to DNA evidences of the Book of Mormon (or the lack thereof) to LDS positions on evolution and the list goes on and on.  The point is this:  I do not believe I will ever resolve ALL of my doubts regarding the inconsistencies found within the religion.  

How then do I retain my membership and testimony if my religion cannot expand on fundamental matters of our faith, like, how the creation occurred but it then presumes to tell me how God wants me to vote in matters of local civil legislation?

I believe in God.  I have faith in Jesus Christ.  My greatest hope is that there actually is bridge to connect the islands of faith and reason.  While the two appear as incompatible forces, seemingly working in opposition, I remain eagerly waiting how I can reconcile.

I reiterate my initial query (that was only answered by calls to repentance & scripture reading) - Is there a value in having a "current LIVING PROPHET & MOUTH PIECE OF GOD" if I:
A)  Cannot trust what they are saying, or
B)  Cannot determine when they speak in official capacity?

Yet here we come to our vicious circle again because you believe everything that comes out of his mouth is the mind and will of the Lord...and I don't.  Of course, I have logic and evidence on my side.  You have faith.

We stand at an impasse...but not really.


Christopher Maloy said...

First of all I admire the tenacity and words you have written T. It is always hard to stand up to those around you (especially when you feel you have no answers and people like "Bishop" Kelly testify as if they do). I take great offense in the arrogance of those that believe they have absolute truth that can not be founded in reality. I am not calling Kelly out (as you have already done in this blog). Like many others he is a product of his culture and religion. As the old cliche goes, "Trust those that seek the truth; doubt those that find it."

To answer your question ... I do not believe there is value as we have talked many times. In fact I feel that it is a very dangerous way of thinking, to allow your own reason and mind to be put off so another can decided what is best for you. If your god really wants sheeple then I think that god is evil. That concept goes against the very core of what I believe. It wouldn't make sense he would create a mind to reason and then forgo their usage.

I say these things not because the wicked take the truth hard. To the contrary I quote Thomas Jefferson in agreeing that, "I have sworn upon the altar of god, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."

In case I have not made myself known to all of those against reason ... I AM your enemy.

Personally I have walked the lonely road of being different in a culture that I once admired. For me religion is no longer a mystery, but just a machine. It functions perfectly as a corporate bank.

Skepticism and doubt have never been the easy path. Most of us have a hard time from going mad, but nevertheless it seems to be the path you are walking down. It is the path less traveled. It is so much nicer to have it all figured out (without a shadow of a doubt), but then again that is not reality.

I disagree with your idea of faith, but I respect it nevertheless. Faith is not a virtue to me (in the religious faith sense) and those that try to use the faith argument are pretty much telling you that there is no good reason to believe something, but you should anyway. In all other fields of study we do not tolerate that kind of logic, except in the realm of religion.

I have said enough already. I tend to be much more private concerning my thoughts, beliefs, and search for truth than you do, but here I am announcing them to the world. Perhaps your boldness is contagious and I thank you for I am not ashamed, nor do I fear.

Since everyone is so good at giving you advice I would like to do so as well. After you go through this healing process and loss of faith I would hope that you will find joy. Live your life by sucking the marrow out of every moment you get to breath. Educate yourself whenever you can. Trust in your own ability to think. Use your time and money wisely. Most importantly reach out and connect with your loved ones around you (as well as strangers). Wonder about it all. Despite the lonesomeness there are such fantastic moments as a freethinker. I love you bro. You are definitely not alone on this path.

Christopher Maloy said...

You can slap me down now for getting so preachy.

Jared said...

Get some Son!

While I am out of my watery depths regarding this debate from a faith standpoint. Your vigor and unwaivering commitment to better understanding you relationship with God is quite inspiring. Don't let them beat you down with ignorance.