Thursday, November 17, 2011

Gospel Study

There are issues some Saints believe are fully resolved which, upon closer study, turn out to be much less clear. I'm quite comfortable with investigating claims, history and doctrine even when it creates long periods of uncertainty while I research the topic. I've spent years following the trail on some issues before reaching a conclusion.

I'm converted to the restored Gospel. I have absolute confidence in Joseph Smith's calling as a latter-day Prophet. His life is worth careful study. Even minute details are sometimes quite important. The available material for studying his life has greatly expanded in recent years, and is in the process of expanding further as The Joseph Smith Papers project continues.

Some Saints are anxiety ridden when something new is raised about the Prophet, the church's history or doctrine which they thought was "settled." But that is largely because they are insecure about the search into truth. I understand that and even sympathize with it. But I came into the faith as a convert, and therefore it required a search by me in the first place.

When I write about the conclusions I have reached the "audience" is not necessarily intended to include life-long members of the church who have a sedentary approach to their religion and who hope the church's formal programs represent everything God wants them to know. I am pleased to leave them alone. They aren't interested in the search, don't care to learn anything new, and have little in common with the religion I believe. I do not write for them. To the extent my writing causes alarm for them, I understand. But I'm really not trying to tell them anything.

Those who believe the faith, want to explore its depths, and enjoy reading the thoughts of similarly motivated Saints are the only people who should have any interest in what I write.

Mormonism was (originally) intended to include "all truth." But the available information in 1844 has now transformed. It is transforming now almost daily. But not by sampling opinions-- that is completely worthless to the search for truth. It is instead through uncovering history, studying the past and opening the heavens.

The church was intended to be a repository of truth. That does not require wealth, political influence, property or numbers. Truth is alien here and will not be rewarded in this world. When the world welcomes "Mormonism" then you can know compromises have been made to enable it to become popular. The Book of Mormon sounds an alarm on that topic. It is one of the great sources of truth. And it exposes the modern world, and ourselves, to relentless criticism and warning. However comfortable others may become with their faith, I find it serves best as an alarm, warning me of the perils of life in this fallen sphere.