July 8, 2010

Pleading Ignorance

A common response to my position on the Church from believers is essentially that God approves of erring on the side of ignorance as long as one believes it is in His service. That is, believers sometimes admit that there are no explanations for many of my concerns, and that my concerns certainly appear valid, but that even if we critics are right about these things, they will somehow gain a greater reward if they follow the Church anyway. I've been told by several members that they just don't worry about these things right now. They wonder about them, but put them on the cognitive back-burners to be addressed at some undetermined point in the future: probably death. Believers seem to insist that even if these disturbing criticisms are true, as long as they are doing what they are told to in the present, that will be enough. It is as if they say, "Although there is no reasonable answer for this, I believe God wants me to follow it anyway. He rewards faith, not investigation."

I often wonder what God might say to them upon their deaths if my criticisms are correct. I wonder if he would meet them at the pearly gates and say,

"You did pretty well down there, but you died a member of the LDS church?"

The believer would defend his or her actions, "Well, yeah! That's what I was taught you wanted!"

God might say, "No, that's what they told you I want. I tried to send you the real message."

The believer wonders, "What message?"

God responds, "I directed you to discover Joseph Smith's dozens of wives, on your mission I led you to speak to that Jehovah's Witness who mentioned Brigham Young's racism, and when you were researching for that talk I kept trying to get you to read all that evidence that Joseph Smith's translations were a bunch of nonsense! You kept ignoring all of my attempts to lead you to the truth!"

Believer: "Well, yeah, but all that contradicted what you have revealed."

God: "You mean what the LDS church says I revealed. Did it ever occur to you that all those things weren't a trial of faith for you, but a message from me?"

Believer: "No. But even so, I figured if I remained obedient, that was the most important thing."

God: "But you were obedient to a church. That is not the same as being obedient to me. I gave you conscience, intelligence, and curiosity. I never wanted you to drown those things out for the sake of obedience to a false message."

Believer: "But I ignored those things out of love for you!"

God: "I know that. But you also loved your church. If you really loved me more than your church, you would have done everything in your power to find out the truth, even if it meant that your church was wrong. Instead, you showed me that you loved your church more than the truth. You loved comfort more than honesty."

Believer: "Well, why didn't you give me something more obvious?"

God: "What more did you want? I gave you every opportunity to learn for yourself, and when that didn't work I sent people who had learned to tell you face to face. You called them 'deceived sinners'. You even knew about Joseph Smith's polygamy and you did nothing!"

Believer: "That's not true. I talked to my bishop about it."

God: "...And he gave you some vague answer that helped to quiet your conscience about it long enough for you to ignore it again. The fact remains that Smith had more than 30 wives with no justification, and you still thought he might be my prophet?!?"

Believer: "The bishop told me I would learn the reasons for it later."

God: "And instead, you're learning that you were wrong - misled by the cunning and craftiness of men for your whole life. Going so far as to ignore what I placed right in front of you. You spent all that time waiting to learn what I was trying to tell you right then."

Of course, I don't know what that conversation may look like, if it ever happens. But I feel that, if nothing else, I can honestly say that I have done all I can to know whether or not the LDS church is His church. In closing, I will end this post with a quote from the LDS god:

"It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance." D&C 131:6

1 comment:

The Girl With... said...

Awesome post! I have imagined that conversation too and it went something like that. However, if you present that to a TMB they will just say you are trying to justify your actions to make yourself feel better or that you are being swayed by Satan. They just won’t see it the same way we do. I guess we’ll just have to be content knowing that we are doing what we think is right, even if others don’t understand it.