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Being wrong

One mark of humility is to accept that you are wrong.  That is, if a humble person is provided with information sufficient to prove that something ey has said in the past is incorrect, ey will admit it.  In cases where damage has been done because of the previously-held false belief, ey will in addition apologize for the damage.  This is one indication of how the leaders of the LDS church are not humble.    Time and time again, they will say things which contradict what has been said in the past, but will not acknowledge that at any time in the past they were wrong.  They will pretend that the old information, now contradicted, never was declared as truth to begin with.

And such is the case when Pope Francis I was elected.  The LDS Newsroom released a statement congratulating him, calling him "His Holiness", and discussing how they are pleased that the LDS church and the Catholic church have worked together, and will continue to work together.  That's great.  That's awesome.  I'm not criticizing them for doing that at all.  In fact, I wish all churches would work together and try to solve the world's problems together, rather than fighting each other and trying to tell each other how wrong they are and how evil they are for worshipping the wrong god or for worshipping the right god but in the wrong way.

What I am criticizing the LDS church for is its inconsistency in doctrine.  In the LDS canon, there are a few books in addition to the Bible, which is the only canon that nearly every other Christian church uses.  The LDS church added the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price.  In the Pearl of Great Price is a section entitled "Joseph Smith History", which gives an account about how Joseph Smith was called of god to be a prophet, and other related events.  During his quest for truth, Joseph Smith went to pray in the forest near his house.  According to LDS doctrine, as he was praying, two beings appeared to him.  One identified the other as his "beloved son".  These two beings are believed to be god the father and his son, Jesus Christ.

The significant part is what happened when Joseph asked them the question that had been on his mind for years.  "Which church should I join?"  The answer that he was given leaves absolutely no wiggle room at all, it is quite absolute.  It is found in JSH 1:19
I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”
That's very uncertain language.  It doesn't say that these other churches are pretty good or decently true or anything like that.  Is says that they are "all wrong", that "their creeds [are] an abomination in [God's] sight", and that all of the priests and pastors who preached those religions "were all corrupt".

There is a great disparity here in what God allegedly said to Joseph Smith and what the LDS Newsroom is now saying.  They're calling the pontiff "Holy", they're congratulating him.

The way I see it, there can only be a few different ways to interpret this disparity.  The first option is that what is found in Joseph Smith History is not true--that either that wasn't what God said, or it wasn't God who said it to him.  I'm going to take this route because I don't believe there even is a god, so clearly a non-existent being couldn't have said anything to Joseph Smith.

The second option is that the LDS Newsroom is committing blasphemy--that they are calling someone "His Holiness" when the truth is that God thinks of him as "corrupt" and "an abomination in his sight". Thus, to declare him holy when God has declared him corrupt would be to contradict God and therefore commit blasphemy.

A third option is that God has changed his mind.  Perhaps back in 1820 when he said this to Joseph, it was true, but now the Catholic Church is no longer an abomination and God is happy with the Pope.  This explanation actually happens all the time in religion, particularly in the Mormon faith.  For example, in the Old Testament, God commanded that any woman who had premarital sex must be stoned to death, but I know of no Christian church which currently believes that's still what God wants. Another example is the health code known as the Word of Wisdom.  When it was first given as a revelation, it was given "not by way of commandment", but is now interpreted to be a strict commandment and must be followed in order to enter the Mormon temples.  There are myriad things that have changed over time.

But the simple fact remains that the Church has not, and will not ever, address this issue.  They simply won't talk about the fact that at one point in the past (namely, when Joseph Smith wrote the PoGP) they taught that other churches were an abomination in the sight of God but now they teach the opposite--that they must work together with other churches and call the Pope "Holy".  They won't admit that they were wrong about the thing they said in the past.  They won't even acknowledge that they ever said it, even though it's there on their website for anyone to go read.  They simply don't have the humility to admit "Okay, it wasn't God who said that.  It wasn't eternal truth.  In fact, it was wrong, and we're sorry that we used to teach that."

Personally, I think that they were right the first time, that the Catholic Church is an abomination.  I'll go even further and say that every church is an abomination.  It perpetuates misogyny, homophobia, racism, sexism, and all sorts of evils.  The Catholic Church protects child molesters.  The LDS church promotes discrimination toward gay people.  Every major religion teaches intolerance toward people who are different.  To me, they are all equally abominable.  But, I'm okay with allowing people to change.  I'm okay with people becoming better.  I'm okay with the LDS church playing nice with the Catholic Church.  I'm okay with greater peace and symbiosis between different religions.  I think everyone should work together, rather than quarrel over silly things.  I wouldn't mind seeing the Catholic Church cease to be an abomination, cease to protect child molesters and try to regulate women's vaginas.  In fact, it would make me happy to see that happen.  But, as it is, I must admit that I think that the Catholic Church and the Mormon church are both a force for evil in the world.

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