Seeing Denier

I just came across this picture this morning.  It really stung, because for many years I was a "seeing denier".  In high school, I knew that I had feelings for other guys, but I refused to accept that that meant I was gay.  When I was an LDS missionary, I even admitted to being gay but prided myself on never having "acted on those feelings".  And I concluded that as long as I didn't ever do anything with a guy, I wasn't really gay.

But, that's not the only area in which I was a seeing denier.  I knew many things about the LDS church which should have tipped me off that it's not true, but they didn't.  I refused to accept the consequences of that knowledge.  I knew that Joseph Smith gave different accounts of the First Vision. I also willfully chose not to ever look them up because I wanted to continue to believe.  I knew that Joseph Smith had multiple wives, but I denied that they were kept secret from his first (and only publicly known) wife.  I naturally assumed that she knew about all of his other wives.

I believed that the first man and woman on this Earth lived 6,000 years ago.  I denied all of the geological, archaeological, linguistic, and paleontological evidence that clearly proves this couldn't possibly be true.  I denied all of the evidence of evolution.  I believed that there literally was a flood at the time of Noah that covered the whole Earth in water, despite the fact that 1. the logistics of such an event are incomprehensibly implausible and 2. if such a thing did happen, there should be all kinds of geological evidence to support it and yet there is none.

I am actually shamed to admit that I did believe in all of this.  That I denied and deflected the truth for so long because I wanted so bad to believe in what I was taught as a child.  With all of the glaring evidence proving me wrong, I still pressed on and believed all of the nonsense.  It is embarrassing to have to admit that.  And the only reason I do admit it is because I am an honest man.  In all things, I like to be honest--to tell the truth as accurately and openly as possible.  Also, I want to emphasize that it's not just stupid people that do this.  You aren't necessarily an idiot simply because you are a "seeing denier".  It might sound like bragging, but I'm really not a dumb person.  I'm intelligent.  And I was fooled.  I believed in false things, despite seeing so much evidence to refute it.  So, it's okay if you do too.

The only consolation that I have is that eventually I stopped denying.  When the evidence became too great for me to push it out of my mind, I finally admitted that I was wrong.  I finally accepted the fact that the church is in fact not true.  It's very good at answering the kinds of doubts that I mentioned above, and many others that I've mentioned here and in other places.

If you are a seeing denier, you probably won't be able to admit it--even to yourself.  (Hence the "denier" part.)  That's why I think it's of the utmost importance that you critically analyze everything that you believe in.  Especially if it's something that you think has eternal consequences.  Study your beliefs.  Study history.  Study science.  Education can never hurt.  If you come across something that is false, you should be able to justify why it is false.  It should not simply be dismissed because it disagrees with your church or with your preconceived notions.  And if you come across something that is true, you should be able to justify why it is true.  I urge all of my readers to carefully scrutinize what they believe.  Study it out.  Learn all there is to know about the matter.  And, the more important the question--the higher the stakes are--the more important it is for you to know for sure whether it's true or false.  If it truly is something that could bring you everlasting happiness, it's everlastingly important for you to know for sure.  And if you have any doubts, it's of the utmost importance that you seek answers to those doubts.  Find out if they are justified or not.

Don't be a blind follower or a seeing denier.  Seek light and knowledge.  Seek truth.  Verify your beliefs.  Verify your claims.  Question your beliefs and see if they hold up under scrutiny and critical analysis.