Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I Cannot Account for Our Different Outcomes (Views, Beliefs, Standards, etc.), Only My Own

Learning Our History - Paul (A Latter-day Voice) 

I love this post, but the part of Paul's story that I appreciated most was his description of a friend who went on a mission and left after six months because he couldn't testify that he knew Joseph Smith was a true prophet:

"I am still impressed with his integrity, and I cannot account for our different outcomes, only my own."

Amen. I wish we all could say that - honestly and sincerely. We have this verse about not judging that we not be judged . . . I wish we collectively valued others' commitment to live according to the dictates of their own consciences, however that is manifested, more than we collectively do. 

I know this is a bit of a tangent, but, in the end, when all is said and done, I personally believe that the vast majority of "issues" that drive some people from the Church are manifestations of one very basic thing: unrealistic expectations - of God, of self and of others. That, in my opinion, is why all the law and the prophets hang on the first and great commandments - and why charity (as described in 1 Corinthians 13) is the foundation that supports and maintains faith and testimony.


Paul said...

Wow! Thanks for the nod, Papa D.

I think your observation about unrealistic expectations is spot on. Far better for us to discover God where He is rather than be disappointed that He isn't where we thought He'd be.

ji said...

I believe more and more as time passes that the only things that really matter are FAITH in the Lord Jesus Christ, HOPE in the Lord Jesus Christ, and CHARITY in the Lord Jesus Christ -- with these properly in place, everything else falls into rightful place and perspective.

Sam said...

First off, hello Paul, Ray -- Small bloggernacle. Paul is my fiance's uncle.

Ray, with regard to unrealistic expectations, I think the problem is not so much the specific issue at hand as the self-confirming process that can occur when someone interacts with these issues.

1. Questioning Member mentions some negative information to Other Member
2. Other Member reacts negatively
3. QM looks back at his information source, which warns that "normal members are unaware of this information" or something similarly silly
4. QM finds information source more credible now that this warning seems to be confirmed.

Some economic historians, frequent collaborators of one of my professors, wrote a very interesting paper analyzing the American Revolution through this framework.

In this perspective, the 13 colonies could have happily remained such (eg Canada, NZ, etc); the events leading to the Revolution were a series of mutual escalations that got out of control.

The British saw American unhappiness and civil disobedience as grounds for escalation; these actions this lent more and more credence to cries of "tyranny!", prompting more resistance, further provoking the British, etc.

Paper is called "Rationality, Inaccurate Mental Models, and Self-confirming Equilibrium". Abstract at: http://jtp.sagepub.com/content/18/4/384