Notes for my writing

This blog is made up of notes on the gospel as found in the only true and living church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This includes notes that are either excerpts from or ideas for books I either have in draft or may yet write.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Relativism and apostacy

Way back when the Ordain Women movement did their "march on the temple", I chanced upon this statement, which I noted down carefully, made by someone who really should have known better: "In terms of the protest, I felt very strongly this was inappropriate. I read an article by a protester, though, who wrote a very Christ-like explanation of why she felt it was appropriate based on the story of Hannah at the temple. I didn't agree with her, but now I understand how it looks to her and that helps. That story could very well be read that way, even though I don't read it that way."

Yes, we should warn apostates to repent, warn them of the consequences if they don't. That is all true. But that is very different than saying "well, it wasn't REALLY apostate". We do not compromise on principles. Being willing to forgive freely is radically different than pretending sin never occurred. Honestly, it denies the mercy of God when we think we have to pretend no sin took place, no offense was committed, even when it plainly was. The message should simply be the truth: "Yes, that was very wrong, but God offers his mercy to you on conditions of repentance." Only when we admit we did wrong can we understand God's mercy. There is no mercy if there was no offense. Our message should be true: "That was sin, but mercy is still held out to you if you will recognize, recompense and return in repentance."

Saying the pro-marcher article was written in a Christ-like way is a dangerous misapplication of the phrase. It is the same as saying Sherem approached Jacob in a Christ-like way. The manner was kind, but the intent was to endorse evil. It is not Christ-like, because there is no example where Christ acted with the intent of endorsing evil.

God expects us to value and cling to truth. In Lehi's dream he presents holding to the iron rod as being crucial to salvation - those who cling stay on the path, no others stayed the course. When we are presented with the truth and a "different point of view" he expects us to value and prize truth above error. He expects us not to simply give a point of view value for its own sake of equal or even close value to eternal truth. If we know truth, we must prize truth, or it will be taken from us as the world constantly floods us with competing ideas.

I think God wants us to prize truth. Relativism says we should try to understand the other person's point of view and give it the same weight as what we believe. But when we are holding the iron rod, our free hand doesn't need to be flailing around for alternatives.

The image in Lehi's dream is not of holding to the word of God with one hand, and holding just as firmly with anything else our free hand can snag a hold onto.

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