Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I'm Glad the Book of Mormon Contradicts the Bible and the Modern LDS Church in Some Ways

I have a friend who left the LDS Church a few years ago, and we were talking about his reason for doing so.  Frankly, the conversation was a bit frustrating, since I thought (and still think) the reason he gave me was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of history and the role of scripture.  He said, in essence, that if the LDS Church now is different than the society described in the Book of Mormon, and if the Book of Mormon doesn't agree precisely in every detail with the Bible, it all is "a bunch of crap" (his exact wording).

The following was my response to him:
Yes, the Book of Mormon presents some things differently than the modern LDS Church practices and the Bible teaches.  

So what?

I don't mean that flippantly - and I don't mean to make light of what you've said to me. It's just that nothing about our theology and ideology even comes close to implying that nothing should have changed from then to now (either from 600BC-400AD to now, if someone accepts the literal timing claims of the Book of Mormon, or from 1829-2011, if someone doesn't). Sure, there's a "same organization" mentality - but even that can't be totally accurate when we look at an evolving organization.

If you look at what was taught in the Old Testament and how it is different than what is taught in the New Testament, for example, you can reach either of the following extreme conclusions quite easily:

1) The New Testament is crap! It contradicts the Old Testament.

2) The Old Testament is crap! It is contradicted by the New Testament.

I prefer the following conclusion, personally:

It's neat to see how different people viewed God differently - and how those differences influenced their teachings and organizations. It gives me more options and possibilities as I try to figure out what makes the most sense to me, personally. I'm glad I have such competing, sometimes conflicting accounts and perspectives - since, if we accept all of them as "scripture", it allows me to find my own way and not think it has to be exactly like someone else's.

For me, that beats, "It's crap!" every time.


Grant said...

I'm really glad you don't believe in "crap," Papa D. Me either.

Anonymous said...

I find it thrilling that scripture allows us to see that God deals with His children in a way that is appropriate to their development. It challenges me to do likewise, and understand that God works with me perhaps differently at different stages of my own development.
How exciting it is to be in relationship to a God that I am not able to define.