I hear people criticizing apostates for having “rationalized” their way out of the LDS church. The theory goes that, because we wanted out for some reason, we picked some alleged problem, blew it out of proportion, and then used that as an excuse to leave. Of course, I don’t know anyone who has left the church who has done that, but I’m sure someone has done that.

But it occurs to me that the people who are doing the rationalizing and the excuse-making are the ones who are defending the church, not the apostates. My wife once asked me how I could be so sure the church wasn’t true. I told her it was simple. When I was a believer, I had a big “shelf” of issues that I knew didn’t add up or needed some extreme rationalizing to work out. When I finally acknowledged that the answer that made most sense was that the church wasn’t true, the shelf disappeared, and I no longer had to make any excuses for the church.

I didn’t have to insist that the Book of Mormon is a history of ancient Americans, when I know very well it didn’t fit in any location at any time in the Americas.

No more trying to explain how God commanded Joseph Smith to sleep with single and married women behind Emma’s back.

No insisting that Adam was the first human at the same time humans had existed for millions of years.

No pretending the Book of Abraham has anything to do with either the papyri or the actual history of Abraham.

No insisting that God cares about skin color or race or that the priesthood ban was somehow not racist, just as the prophets’ and apostles’ racist statements were not racist.

No rationalizing seer stones, rods, Masonic rituals, blood atonement, Adam-God, Zelph, “More Good,” Kolob, plates (golden, Kinderhook, and otherwise), talking deer, and on and on into absurdity.

Truth doesn’t need rationalizing, and it doesn’t require excuses. I prayed a few years back to know if the Book of Mormon really was true, and I received a clear answer: I do not have to believe in that which isn’t true.

And I don’t have to make excuses for it, either.


6 Responses to Rationalizing

  1. GBSmith says:

    I guess that about sums it up.

  2. jeanikins says:

    And when you get to that point of no longer feeling rationalization is necessary it would be so freeing, if only…
    If only others wouldn’t ask you why you don’t believe.
    If only others would not keep reminding you that you used to believe
    If only they would love you regardless of your beliefs
    If only they would stop defending and start accepting.
    If only….

  3. Diane Sower says:


  4. Great post!

    I love “more good” on your list. A curious thing about JS explaining the meaning of Mormon as Mor-good is Mosiah 18:4. That verse claims the land of Mormon was named that by the king because it had been infested by wild beasts. How does being infested with wild beasts make a place more good?

    But tell me about the talking deer. I’ve definitely skimmed over that one.

  5. GBSmith says:

    The thing I’ve never been able to reconcile is how people that I have respect for like Arrington, Bushman, Poll, Elder Jensen, Dan Petersen, etc. know about all these things and believe and I don’t any more.

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