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"Epistemology: from Greek ἐπιστήμη, epistēmē, meaning "knowledge, understanding", and λόγος, logos, meaning "study of") is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge and is also referred to as "theory of knowledge". It questions what knowledge is and how it can be acquired, and the extent to which knowledge pertinent to any given subject or entity can be acquired."
I don’t understand the LDS method for determining truth. It is all based on emotions, feelings, and logical fallacies. Yet apostles even admit that feelings are unreliable and can even be deceptive. "You can be given false spiritual messages. . .The spiritual part of us and the emotional part of us are so closely linked that it is possible to mistake an emotional impulse for something spiritual. We occasionally find people who receive what they assume to be spiritual promptings from God, when those promptings are either centered in the emotions or are from the adversary." (Boyd K. Packer, "The Candle of the Lord," Ensign, Jan. 1983 p. 53)
This even happened to Joseph Smith when he sent a group to Canada to sell the copyright to the Book of Mormon
. When they returned unable to sell the copyright he admitted that the revelation must have come from the devil. Perhaps this is the story to which President Packer refers.
The logic seems to be that if we have a good feeling that leads us toward obeying the church, then that is from God. And a good feeling that leads us away from the church is not from God. This answer is a win-win situation for the church but to any critical thinker it is no answer at all. Heads I win, tails you lose.
So do we rely on feelings, or not? A church leader tried to explain to me that the spirit is not a feeling. “It’s a spirit to spirit communication”. I can accept this idea. So I asked for a way of knowing that was happening and all he could give me were some examples of more feelings and emotions. Finally he said, “When you experience it you will understand it.” Well that’s a cute little sound-bite, but it doesn’t answer the question. I wonder how he would feel if he were lost in an unfamiliar land and the only directions a local could give him was, “when you get there you’ll know it.”
To me it seemed obvious that emotions are unreliable and ineffective at determining truth. Something else besides emotion is required. Yet nobody could describe the process to me without using emotions and feelings. “a warm feeling, happiness, a quiet confidence, etc., etc.”. So far nobody has been able to tell me what other tools to use in my quest for truth. The church has far too many unanswered questions once I put the emotions aside.
I have many reasons for leaving the LDS church. I am willing to discuss them all, in public or privately. I believe I am open-minded and willing to be proven wrong. I choose to start the New Year off with this post because I believe that every other doctrinal question will hinge on the answer to this one. We simply have to agree on how truth is determined before any other discussion can proceed. Read More
This isn’t a particularly great picture, the only reason I’m posting is that I managed to capture a partial lunar eclipse as the sun rose over Edisto Island, SC. The little cookie bite in the bottom left of the sun is the setting moon.
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A silhouette of one of the trees on the boneyard beach at Botany Bay, Edisto Island, South Carolina.
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I’d like to share an event from my childhood. In the late 70s my family had just moved into a new house. Mom decided to throw a little house warming party. So she invited several friends. We had only been in Georgia a few years and most of the family friends were from church. Mom set out a few drink options on the table. Basically it was about six 2-liter bottles of Coke, Diet Coke and Sprite. Well the party had been going for about half an hour and the Sprite was completely gone already and none of the caffeinated drinks had even been opened. Mom preceded to publicly pour herself a tall Coke. She took a drink and then looked at the other guests and said, “I’ve seen every one of you drink Coke before, just not in front of each other. Now I expect you to help me finish these.” Coke has never been explicitly forbidden by Mormon teachings but some people interpret it that way. Fine. If you want to stay away from caffeine, you’ll get no objection from me. What mom was calling out was the false piety. Doing one thing in private and putting on a different face in public. In the past year I have gotten several private emails and messages about stuff I have posted on my blog and on Facebook. Emails saying that many of my readers are having quite similar struggles in their lives. I’m glad my rabblings have been able to help you. Now I’d never think of publicly calling anybody out the way my mom did. These are much more important issues than how you interpret Doctrine & Covenants section 89. But I would like you all to know that you are not alone. Although publicly you may not feel able to comment on my blog or Facebook posts, there are quite a few of you who feel the same. So if you wanna sit down and have a Coke sometime feel free to contact me. Don’t let the unopened bottles on the table make you feel like you are the only Coke drinker in the crowd. And your secret is safe with me. Read More