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It’s not that mormons are suffering from a faith crises, but rather, it’s the church that is suffering from a truth crisis. As members are learning actual truth rather than the faith promoting narrative taught by the church their faith ends up being dismantled and/or deconstructed. The truth, as it were, is found to destroy a testimony. While this is a painful process at the time, usually retrospectively individuals will be happy for the deconstruction in the end. If it can be destroyed by the truth, should the truth be shared, is the destruction inevitable? If it can be destroyed by the truth, does it deserve to be destroyed by the truth? Can an honest individual continue feigning belief once their faith is deconstructed?
The quote is attributed to Carl Sagan in many places, and this attribution fits, as he was outspoken about his doubts in the existence of God. He speaks of God in that some see him sitting on a throne in the heavens, but “others, for example Baruch Spinoza and Albert Einstein, considered God to be essentially the sum total of the physical laws which describe the universe.” This is a similar sentiment that is shared elsewhere, as Trevor Treharne explains well here:
The idea that God is an oversized white male with a flowing beard who sits in the sky and tallies the fall of every sparrow is ludicrous. But if by God one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God. This God is emotionally unsatisfying … it does not make much sense to pray to the law of gravity.Trevor Treharne
How to Prove God Does Not Exist: The Complete Guide to Validating Atheism
“If it can be destroyed by the truth, it deserves to be destroyed by the truth.” This quote is more likely attributed to author Patricia Hodgell rather than Carl Sagan. The correct quote is “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be,” It comes from Section VIII, Part 1 of the fantasy novel Seeker’s Mask and is spoken by a scholar in the grip of the academic version of a berserker fit.
The second virtue is relinquishment. P. C. Hodgell said: “That which can be destroyed by the truth should be.” Do not flinch from experiences that might destroy your beliefs. The thought you cannot think controls you more than thoughts you speak aloud. Submit yourself to ordeals and test yourself in fire. Relinquish the emotion which rests upon a mistaken belief, and seek to feel fully that emotion which fits the facts. If the iron approaches your face, and you believe it is hot, and it is cool, the Way opposes your fear. If the iron approaches your face, and you believe it is cool, and it is hot, the Way opposes your calm. Evaluate your beliefs first and then arrive at your emotions. Let yourself say: “If the iron is hot, I desire to believe it is hot, and if it is cool, I desire to believe it is cool.” Beware lest you become attached to beliefs you may not want.Twelve Virtues of Rationality, Eliezer S. Yudkowsky
So the question sparks an interesting debate. What do you think? Should truth overcome false claims? Are the claims false? At least agree that we should not be afraid to analyze the claims with an open mind as a truth seeker rather than with a pre-determined conclusion already in mind. Does investigating the truth make us a lazy learner?
This sentiment rings similar to an earlier idea from church leaders. Reuben Clark one shared “If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.” Sadly, current church leaders are not as confident. They teach us that research is not the answer, to give Brother Joseph a break or straight up ridicule those who have deconstructed the truth claims and left the boat.
If we have truth, [it] cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not truth, it ought to be harmed.J Reuben Clark
J. Reuben Clark: The Church Years. Provo, Utah: Brigham Young University Press, 1983, p. 24
Truth and sunshine in this case seems to be the best disinfectant. As we let the light and the truth in, we shouldn’t be afraid, we should hope that it will cleanse anything that is not clean or true. What has your experience been to research and letting the light of truth in?