Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Quick, trite phrases the church uses to minimize our doctrinal concerns and how to combat them.

Great topic! The gross/net blessings one is alive and well. We had a high councilman drop that one on us in Sacrament a few months ago. This one you can quote James E Faust saying, "The law of tithing is simple: we pay one-tenth of our individual increase annually. Increase has been interpreted by the First Presidency to mean income. What amounts to 10 percent of our individual income is between each of us and our Maker. There are no legalistic rules." On the other one, bi, I'm assuming you meant "I can't afford not to pay my tithing," right? You can call them on this one by asking how they know. That is, do all the mysterious checks and avoided catastrophes you hear about add up to more than 10% of income for life? Srsly.

Lise, I hate the one about the church being perfect but the members aren't. Doesn't that just eat at you? I say it's just the opposite. In fact, the best response I've seen when people talk about the sacrifices of the early Saints is that the message wasn't worthy of the messenger. Keep 'em coming, these are great!

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Another one I really hate is "If you'll just pray about it and really pay attention to your feelings you'll KNOW that it is true!" I saw a really scary movie a while back and I got all goose bumpy and tingley about it, does that make _________ movie true too?
I don't know if Domo posts over here, but we talked about visions and revelations over at FLAK once and his response was priceless:

-Domokun-: I'd like to bury my testimony that I know snow skiing with gorillas is true. I also have a testimony that showing up at my high school, unprepared for a test, in my underwear, is true. And where would I be without the sure knowledge that even though I pee a gallon, I still have to pee 30 seconds later? Of course, nothing compares to the witness I have of starting my mission again, even though I know I'm married, with kids, and even though I'm a greenie, I know the language fluently? It must mean the church is true!

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Oh, and here's another one they love to use: "They can leave the church but they can't leave it alone."

I'm willing to grant them that one. Why should I leave it alone? I like talking about it, and I think bullies should be stood up to. Besides, the church has hardly left me alone. It has been and always will be the biggest wedge in my family and many of my most important relationships.

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dave (elder_nomo):
When I would ask about some confusing doctrine, or seeming contradiction, someone would invariably say...
"Don't worry about that - it's not vital to your salvation."

ARrrggh.... even as a TBM this made me crazy.

Are we not supposed to know anything that's not vital to salvation? Are we just supposed to pretend questions and issues don't exist? If the church is "true," why would there be any need to hedge? Why distract people from their quest for knowledge?
Ewww, that one tops the list for a whole category of phrases I call "thought killers." You could include here terms like "anti-Mormon literature" (whatever that is) and all the reasons TBMs tell themselves that people like us leave the church. Anything to not have to think about what we're actually saying.

The "not vital to your salvation" thing is a pure distraction of course, since that's not the point of talking about the various First Vision™ accounts or the BoA facsimile translations. Actually I think you could argue that it's vital to your salvation, if those things show how demonstrably untrue Mormonism's claims are. Makes your head hurt, don't it?

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