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Questions and Truth

Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf (source):

“What about doubts and questions? How do you find out that the gospel is true? Is it all right to have questions about the Church or its doctrine? My dear young friends, we are a question-asking people because we know that inquiry leads to truth. That is the way the Church got its start—from a young man who had questions. In fact, I’m not sure how one can discover truth without asking questions…. Inquiry is the birthplace of testimony. Some might feel embarrassed or unworthy because they have searching questions regarding the gospel, but they needn’t feel that way. Asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a precursor of growth”

Elder Hugh B. Brown (source):

“Be unafraid of new ideas for they are the stepping stones to progress. But you will respect, of course, the opinions of others [but be unafraid to dissent if you are informed.]… Now I mention the freedom to express your thoughts, but I caution you that your thoughts and expressions must meet competition in the marketplace of thought, and in that competition truth must emerge triumphant. Only error needs to fear freedom of expression. Seek truth in all fields, and in that searching you’re going to need at least three virtues: courage, zest, and modesty. The ancients put that thought in [the] form of [a] prayer. They said, “From the cowardice that shrinks from new truth, from the laziness that is content with half truth, from the arrogance that thinks it has all the truth—O God of truth, deliver us.”

Charles Larson:

“While spiritual insight or faith is one valid measure in spiritual matters, true spiritual insight never directly contradicts valid intellectual insight or facts in the physical world. Faith may go beyond reason, but does not go against it. It never blatantly contradicts the facts which we perceive with our God-given common sense. Faith and fact point in a single direction. When they do not, something is seriously wrong…A willingness to accept facts as they exist, and to learn to use them to test the views one holds rather than falling back on subjective experience or rationalizations, is the first step towards discovering genuine truth.”

Joseph Smith:

“I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.”

Anonymous former Bishop:

“…Traditionally, faith is an instrument to bridge that gap between where science, history and logic end, and what you hope to be true. Mormonism re-defines faith as embracing what you hope to be true in spite of science, fact and history.”

Thomas Jefferson:

“Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without a rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm of reason, and the mind becomes a wreck.”

T. H. Huxley:

“Sit down before fact like a little child, and be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss Nature leads, or you shall learn nothing.”

William Gardiner:

“Mormons get very good at compartmentalizing reality. Something that doesn’t fit is carefully swept aside, out of consciousness with the vague idea that somehow there must be an explanation for that. ‘We just don’t know it now.’ For the typical Mormon, as he or she grows up in the church many experiences, thoughts and beliefs are swept underneath this carpet somewhere in their minds.”

Galileo Galilei:

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”

The way I view it, an organization claiming what the Mormon church claims should not lie. It should not cover up its own history. It should not fear discovery.

Truth isn’t discovered only by subjective emotional experiences. It’s not built up by ignoring evidence to the contrary. Truth encompasses all evidence, not just the supportive kind.

Truth is bulletproof: it is not harmed by falsehoods.  Our understanding of a particular truth may suffer if we don’t look objectively at the important evidence, but the truth itself is not affected.

Truth does not contradict itself.

As more evidence is collected and more knowledge learned, truth becomes more evident and easier to identify.  Choosing to look only at one segment of evidence is like driving with your eyes closed.  Sure someone might guide you with their words and you might even arrive at your destination safely, but why risk it?

Open your eyes and look at where you’re going!  We may arrive at different destinations, but at least I’ll feel better knowing that you did so with a full knowledge of your route.

Next Step: Sources

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