March 20, 2009

Peace and Truth

I've been given a lot of advice lately as to what I can do to go about feeling better about what Joseph Smith did (see my outline). People usually offer me some steps they took after learning of polygamy, etc. which helped to ease their minds. Usually the end result is that they decided they were incapable of understanding the principle and so would just stop thinking about it.

There is another key issue here I feel I must address: the difference between peace and the truth. If I were seeking peace about the purpose of my existence here on Earth, I could find dozens of answers that would provide it. Certainly, a Buddhist feels peace about his existence and the purpose of life. Certainly so does one who believes in reincarnation, nirvana, who worships Vishnu, or who practices paganism. Peace is one of the main things people seek in life: peace about their existence.

However, while there are several paths to and forms of peace, there can be only one truth in the end. And while that one truth will hopefully provide peace, simply feeling peace does not mean one has obtained the truth. Very often, the truth shakes up the entire world. Very often, the truth hurts a lot. And very often, the truth is very hard to swallow.

Peace without truth is artificial, and while it may make the journey through life easier at times, it is still not necessarily the truth. Thus, if one is a seeker of truth in all honesty and desires above all to obtain truth, he must be prepared to abandon his comfort.

My experience has been that some people desire peace, assuming that it is the truth, and others desire truth, no matter what the consequences. Socrates and Galileo, for example; had they sought peace and comfort for themselves, they would never have come any closer to the truth. Yet they had the courage to stand against all opposition for the sake of truth.

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Or another way of looking at it, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" This is neither healthy to our development or to rational thinking. One of the church's leaders (I can't recall which one right now, I think it was Packer) said that sometimes the truth is not useful. Perhaps not in the context of proving the goodness of Joseph Smith or other doctrinal problems frequently encountered in the church. Search for the truth, and know that the answers are necessary and RELEVANT, always.