Lessons from my parents

I'd like to share some of the things my parents have taught me and how I've used them in my life this year.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I am truly grateful for my parents and the way they have raised me.  I wouldn't be who I am without them.  The words of wisdom are from my parents, but their applications mentioned herein are my own.  So, if you don't like them, blame me not my parents.

One thing I can remember my mother telling me several times is the importance of corroborant sources.  She'd always say that if you can find something from only one source, it's less likely to be true, but if you can find other sources which agree with it, then the chances are much more likely that it is true.  I used this advice first in deciding that being gay is not a choice.  I was always at odds with LDS doctrine because it taught that being gay is a choice and my own personal feelings said otherwise.  Of course, if it's a question of me or the church, I'd stick with the church.  Until I realized that no other sources agreed with the church.  Science has found several biological and chemical explanations for homosexuality which make it quite obviously not a choice.  Having seen countless sources all agreeing on the fact that a biological explanation is more probable than the church's explanation, and since that explanation agrees with my own personal experience, I concluded that the church must be wrong about this matter.  (And, actually, the church no longer claims that homosexuality is a choice, but it has in the past and up until a little over a year ago I didn't know the doctrine had changed.)

The next way I used this bit of advice from my mother was to conclude that the church itself cannot possibly be true.  The LDS church itself is not the only organization to claim that the Book of Mormon is true, but the Mormon movement is.  The only people who claim that the book is true are churches that belong to the Mormon movement--churches that claim to be founded by Joseph Smith Jr.  However, outside of the Latter Day Saint Movement, there are no corroborating sources.  Archaeology, linguistics, history, and other branches of science all conclude that the Book of Mormon has a very small likelihood of being a true historical work.  Having only one source that claims one thing and multiple sources that claim the opposite, I have decided that it is more logical to side with the corroborant sources all pointing to the conclusion that the book is fiction.

One of my father's favorite sayings is "If it walks like a duck and squawks like a duck, it's a duck."  I suppose another rendition of a similar sentiment is "Call a spade a spade."  My father would most commonly use this phrase when discussing politics--in particular, when calling out democrats for the antics they would play.  It is this sort of critical thinking (of not just accepting that someone or something is what they claim to be, but in actually determining by their words and actions what they really are) that has helped me so much during this year.  Just as my dad taught me to expose politicians for what they really are, I have exposed the church for what it really is.  The church professes to speak for God, to have His standard and morals as their own.  And yet, it has so often changed its standard and its morals as to make that claim utterly ridiculous.  At one point in time, it preached anti-abolitionism, and also racism.  Now, it teaches that all races are equal.  My question is that, if all races are equal, why were they ever taught to be unequal?  Also, the president of the church claims to be a prophet, and yet so many of the prophecies of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and many others have failed.  Joseph Smith claimed that there were men who lived on the moon, Brigham Young claimed that there were people who lived on the sun.  If someone claims to be a prophet of God and to speak for Him and then, in His name,  says something so ridiculously false, can I really believe them to a be a prophet?

One more thing that indicates to me that the church is a fraud is that it never apologizes for past behavior that is unacceptable.  The church used to be racist.  In 1978 it finally accepted black people, granting them equal status with white people.  However, at the time of the change, it merely presented the change as if it was a revelation from God and that they had been following His will all along--even when they were oppressing black people.  Someone who is honest will admit when they make a mistake.  A fraud, however, will do what he can to cover the mistake up, brush it under the rug, and pretend that it never happened.  Indeed, the church does claim that it was never racist, and most members of the church believe that, even though there is hard evidence to support the fact that the church was indeed racist and taught racism as doctrine. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.

Another way to apply this maxim to the church is in regards to its teachings concerning homosexuality.  The church professes to reach out in love toward its homosexual members, and it even claims to teach that principle to its members as well.  And yet, it doesn't.  The church teaches that homosexual members must either overcome their homosexuality and marry heterosexually or they must simply remain celibate their entire lives.  Neither of these is a loving thing to say to a homosexual.  In the past, many gays were taught to marry heterosexually in order to cure their homosexuality.  Fortunately, this is no longer official church policy (although, it is still practiced at the local level in some places).  But, telling someone that they must never marry the person they love--that they must never even be in a relationship--is not a loving thing to say to someone.  We are emotional creatures.  We long for companionship.  We need someone to love, someone to cherish.  Telling someone that they must remain celibate their whole life is not a loving thing. It is not compassionate.  It is oppressive.  The church has the right to set its own doctrine.  I don't mean to dictate what church doctrine is.  I just mean to call out the lie spread by the church.  It is not reaching out to its gay members in love.  It is oppressing them and making them feel like they need to be something they are not.  This is not love, it is cruel and it is evil.  You have freedom of religion, so preach whatever you like.  But, be honest about it.  If you're teaching things that are oppressive to homosexual people, admit it.  Don't try to claim that you're being loving.

I am grateful for my parents for teaching me good ways to use my intellect, proper ways to apply logic, and how to discover truth.  They are wonderful people and I love them both very much.  These conclusions that I have reached that I mentioned here and in many previous posts are not the same conclusions that my parents have drawn.  They would disagree with me on nearly every point I made.  My goal is not to disappoint them or distress them, nor to distress anyone who chooses to believe in the church.  My goal is only to apply the knowledge and wisdom I have accumulated in the best way I know how.  Mankind's search for truth will continue through the ages, and I mean to contribute to it as much as I can while I am here.