I’ve come to realize over the years that well meaning LDS leaders have led many members to base their faith and worldviews on false dichotomies and binary thinking which can be tragically deadly to faith in religion, revealed scripture and God.
It’s something I believe we need to change. Allow me to explain what I mean by this.
In the Book of Mormon, LDS people are given an insightful metaphor on how to build our testimonies and worldviews concerning matters of faith. In the Book of Helaman, the ancient spiritual leader Nephi gives his sons the following advice,
12 And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall. (Hel 5:12)
Here we have a spiritual leader comparing a worldview or faith system to a building, and saying that it should be founded on ‘The Son of God’, who is Christ. He suggests that if his sons build their faith system on some other foundational ideal, they run the risk of it toppling just like a building built on a poor foundation.
History shows this may be very good advice. Since something about the Christian religion has allowed it to quickly eclipse many competing religions of its time to become arguably the largest and most influential religion in the world. And what is it about Christianity that has made it so powerful? Many people have offered opinions on this, (see these great essays for instance), but I propose that it has much to do with the way Christianity has built its spiritual faith structure. Just as good music and literature tends to be purposefully ambiguous and full of metaphor which allows different people to get different meaning out of it depending on where they are in their progression, I believe a large part of the success of Christianity has to do with the brilliant ambiguity and metaphor in its own revelation.
Their multidimensional application to people from all levels of intelligence and walks of life are utterly divine. It is centered around an individual who is both man and god. Completely mortal and utterly divine. His lowly upbringing makes him relatable to the peasant, but his divine kingship makes him admirable to the nobleman. Everything about his life and those of his apostles is shrouded in mystery and unprovable supernatural feat. All we must prove to have faith in him is that 1: he was a mortal man who historically lived among the jews (a fact that has been historically proven over and over). And 2: he rose from the dead to sit on the right hand of God. (which not only is completely unprovable and yet impossible to disprove–it stands as a brilliant metaphor for what the religion teaches is the divine destiny of all individuals who worthily follow it).
-the temple of christian tradition goes from bottom up, christ, apostles (dead), prophets (dead), scripture, counsels, you
you could still be theistic and christian if you rejected the rest of the building….
Now let’s compare that to the mormon tradition. I don’t think its clearly defined but it tends to go -joseph smith, current apostles
-I see too many people who leave become atheist and loose faith in chrsit….