The Concordance

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I believe in an eternal concordance between truth, love, and beauty.

I can rank all the things I believe in, from superficial to foundational. At the very base of the spiritual edifice is my belief that we can communicate with God. Truth and love and beauty exist in the Universe, and we can get help from God to find them.

The next level up is still a foundational belief. I believe that there is a concordance between truth, love, and beauty. That means that wherever you find truth and love, it will be beautiful. Likewise, wherever you find truth and beauty, it will inspire love. And finally, wherever you find love and beauty, you have found truth. The last one is the most important, since humans are obsessed with seeking truth and second-guessing truth. I believe that love and beauty are reliable markers for truth. There are different kinds and levels of truth, and this applies to truth that really matters.

I can judge doctrines using the concordance. The doctrine of eternal life is an example. It is a beautiful story, and it inspires us to love each other more. Because of the concordance, it must be true. It’s possible that we only recognize the love and beauty within the idea of eternal life because we have an innate knowledge that it is true, and it would not appear beautiful if it were not true. Or intriguingly, it is possible that the love and beauty make it true. The power of love and beauty together make it so that souls continue eternally. How and where our souls live on is more mysterious, but it is true on the level that really matters.

Lonely Discipleship

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A progressive Mormon sometimes has to suffer sitting through a Church meeting where they don’t feel like they belong. These members are the ones who reluctantly stand out because they ask uncomfortable questions about Church teachings. Some of them are more brazen activists who have felt a personal calling to defend an important cause. These members love their wards but their choices can put them at odds with the traditional Church orthodoxy. This creates a natural tension, where it feels wrong to abandon their controversial ideas and also wrong to challenge the beliefs of the general body of the Church. Members who struggle to be true to both start to feel the anxiety of living under the weight of a contradiction. The story of their Church membership becomes colored by feelings of estrangement. Continue reading

The Knowledge of God Is Expanding

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In 1969, the First Presidency released a statement on “the position of the Church with regard to the Negro”:

Our living prophet, President David O. McKay, has said, “The seeming discrimination by the Church toward the Negro is not something which originated with man; but goes back into the beginning with God.”

With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the Church was hurtling toward a sea change. After a few years, the Church would give the priesthood to blacks and then would disavow its racist doctrines. Knowing that, what would you do if you were transported back in time to 1969? Would you sustain the First Presidency? Imagine the dilemma for an activist at the time who couldn’t know the future, but could feel the surety of personal inspiration that racism was wrong. Was this First Presidency statement a revelation from God or a mistake from men? Continue reading