Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The Light That Has Been Given

I have been doing a great deal more reading than writing in the sphere of LDS blogs, lately. Primarily, I have not had time to write, or even to post as much as I would like. Also, however, I have lost the desire to contribute comments to posts. I don't feel that my comments really matter. People seem to be pretty cemented in their views, and quite hostile if you disagree with them.

One such view that has recently struck me is an overall tenet or argument against belief. Those using this argument have repeatedly suggested that no one can claim a knowledge of the truth because someone else could claim knowledge of a truth that is different or opposite to the original claim. Not only is this argument disingenuous, it is a religious belief disguised as reason used by many agnostics and atheists.

First, to examine a claim to knowledge of the truth. From a secular standpoint, knowledge is the act of knowing something. Know, by the word's very nature, indicates an understanding of something through reason or experience. If one is to claim that it is impossible to know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for example, is true, one would have to claim that it is impossible to know anything. Though true in its most basic sense, that conclusion is useless, leaving one in a state where learning is meaningless, since one can never know if they are learning absolute Truth. Since we are imperfect beings in an imperfect world (something even atheists can probably agree with) we are bound by that imperfection, and must learn to function within its bounds. If we are to reject all learning and knowledge on the basis that it may not be true, we stagnate in a state of self-satisfaction and voluntary ignorance. Therefore, the claim that someone cannot know the truth of anything is a useless statement. I find it interesting that those who summon this relativistic reasoning are almost always blind to the correlation that they cannot know that the other person doesn't know!

Secondly, let us look at the faults in the supposition that a seeker of truth must take others' answers into account. Let's say, for example, that I have sought for truth by seeking out a true religion. I have found a church, studied its tenets, earnestly prayed for confirmation from God and have received my answer that it is true. With some variation, this is the method religious texts have submitted to find truth over thousands of years. Many have claimed to find truth through this method.

Now, let's suppose another person does the same thing and receives an answer that the same church is not true. The argument would claim that the first person's confirmation of truth is invalid because the second person had the opposite experience. I would first ask myself why the first person should be expected to doubt his experiences based on the experiences of a second? The first person can't judge the sincerity of the second truth-seeker. The first person can't know God's motives in giving the second person their negative answer, assuming that the second person really did receive that answer from God. Most importantly, the second person's answer is not the answer the first person received. That may seem obvious, but think about the implications. Those claiming that truth cannot be known would seem to be telling the first person that they should believe another's answer over their own. When examined this way, it seems obvious that this is nothing but a ploy to cast doubt on an individual's own ability to seek and understand truth.

We are all human, with the same ability and responsibility to seek light, knowledge and truth. We have the same potential to receive spiritual confirmation. We have the same "chances" of finding the truth. In the end, we will be judged on the answers we have sought and received from the Lord, not on another's. In other words, If it seems stupid to you to claim a knowledge of a truth, if it seems necessary to believe that you can never know what is true and what is not, do what you will, but as for me, I choose to seek the light by the methods I know to be right.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Why is the Church Behind the Times?

I've heard this question nearly incessantly in the LDS sphere, particularly by those who perceive themselves as progressive. Usually it refers to the patriarchy and perceived female inequality. The answer that continually comes to mind when I read such opinions is this: Perhaps because the Lord is trying to teach us that life is not about equality?

I personally believe that the Lord is trying to teach us humility. He is not particularly concerned with making everyone feel worthwhile. To him, that is a given. He has presented a way for us to feel valued that is much more important and much more real than allowing women to pass the sacrament or lead the Church. In general for men, the challenge is to lead righteously. For women, the challenge is to righteously follow. It becomes quickly apparent that the point is not who leads and who follows, but to be righteous.

At the risk of sounding rude, I wish that more time was spent on becoming more righteous and less time on becoming more equal.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Difficult Confession

As a warning to those who may not want to know about my personal life, this is going to be very personal. I have been reading The Divine Center by Stephen Covey and have come to a realization. You see, I am depressive. That is the first time I have typed that out. I've never even said it before. Always before, it has been "I have depression" or "I am depressed," if that. In reading this book, I have come to see that I am depressive because my focus is in the wrong place. As much as I've tried to center myself on God, and though I believe that once I did, I have lost that center. Now, I have realized that I center myself on others' opinions of me.

My usual pattern of depression begins with a confrontation of one kind or another. It can be a fight with my husband, or it can be as impersonal as making someone on the road angry, but it usually starts with conflict. Though I can hold my own when actually in the conflict, immediately afterwards I begin to deride myself. I begin to obsess over what I should have done to avoid the conflict. I denigrate my personal righteousness in not backing out of the conflict as soon as it presented itself (turn the other cheek). I obsess over what the other person thinks of me. I convince myself that they despise me, and that they are justified in doing so. I believe that. In my deepest self, I believe that I am a horrible person with no redeeming qualities, a failure in my eyes and the eyes of my God. I believe that more than anything anyone could tell me otherwise, even myself. Even God. I want to believe I have some worth, but I don't know how.

Realizing this, however, has left me without the knowledge of how to change it. As I type, I realize how stiff and formal I sound, but I'm crying hard enough to worry my one-year-old daughter. I am not good at these things. This only makes me think I'm a worse person, harming her by my tears.

I don't know why I'm writing this, because it isn't really fair. There is nothing anyone can do about this but me. I ask forgiveness for the writing; I believe writing is a sort of catharsis for me. Before anyone asks, no, I am not receiving any help for how I am. I have tried to get help in the past, but I can't afford it either monetarily or time-wise. Besides, I don't trust going to someone else for help for my feelings. It is my obsession with someone else's opinions that is the problem.

Popular Posts