Apparently, some people think I’m sending mixed messages about Mormonism and how “reasonable” it is. Let me take this opportunity to clarify my position.
For a very long time, Mormonism was eminently reasonable to me. It made sense, and the things I had placed on my “shelf” weren’t serious deal-breakers to me. Book of Mormon anachronisms? Well, it’s the message of Christ that matters, not the historicity. Joseph Smith slept around with teenagers and married women? Well, we shouldn’t expect perfection from fallible humans. The Book of Abraham facsimile translations are gibberish? Joseph Smith was operating on an entirely different plane of consciousness. And so on. I really did convince myself of these things.
As I’ve mentioned before, it was a call from a distraught friend who practically pleaded with me to tell him that the stories of Joseph Smith’s trading teenage girls for exaltation and sleeping with his friends’ wives weren’t true. In that instant, I knew I had been rationalizing some horrible, awful stuff. So, if my conscience didn’t let me rationalize that, why would I rationalize the other issues? Everything unraveled in an instant, and when I went home that day, I told my wife I no longer believed in Mormonism.
But how obvious is it? Can a rational, intelligent person actually believe in the rather remarkable claims of Mormonism? It goes without saying that I think the problems of Mormonism are glaring and clear markers of fraud. But does that mean I think those who disagree with me are morons? Nope.
People arrive at belief in any number of ways, and what works for some people does not work for others. And what troubles me deeply about Mormonism doesn’t affect others in the least bit. And that’s OK. I have a lot of friends and family members who have considered the same issues I have and have chosen to maintain belief in Mormonism. I used to wonder why it was that some people can’t see what to me is so plain and clear. But then they tell me the same thing. Why, they ask, can’t I wrap my brain around certain issues that fall off them like water off a duck.
In the end, belief is subjective, and no one makes a purely rational and logical decision in matters of faith. I’m content to let others believe what they will, but I reserve the right to express what I think and what I believe. I’m convinced that the truth is on my side. Your mileage may vary.