honorentheos wrote:I appreciate that you have a soft place in your heart for the Church, and an intolerance for John Dehlin. Knowing your dislike of Fox News, it was a bit of a cheap shot. But illustrative, too.
Wow, honorentheos. Today I am intolerant of John Dehlin. On other days, people accuse me of being his apologist. I guess I am whatever others imagine me to be based on what they imagine my motives are. Some days I am ribbed for being soft on the church, but to others I am one of the vilest anti-Mormons to ever have darkened the earth. This is all so fascinating.
Cable, brother. Cable.
D'OH! I guess that is where I should have lamented the loss of the Fairness Doctrine. Oh well.
Yeah. Churches are tax exempt charities in the United States. Fox News is a for-profit cable news organization. Both "ideally" would operate in the interest of the public good. But of the two, one of them is using taxpayer dollars to fund their activities and therefore should be more beholden to "ideals" than the other. IMO. Both should do significantly better than they do. So, whether or not you want to accept that Church is doing the membership wrong by playing gatekeeper with information, they are. They're wrong. It's not morally good or neutral when they do so.
The leadership of the Church is immoral when they hide facts from the membership. Do they do other things that are good? Sure. We're all a mixed bag like that. But the instance in question doesn't fall on the neutral or moral side of the line.
So, first of all, I am not sure I agree with the tax exempt status of churches. My thinking on the topic under discussion has little to do with that factor, since I believe that there are much better reasons for changing the law in that regard, one of them being their appalling record of hoarding money. Now, when you get into trying to enforce standards of factual truth, well, that is where we start mucking about with freedom of speech. Unfortunately, all of these issues are intertwined, so there is unlikely to be anything done that would redress the injustices of the current system.
The problem here is that religion as we generally think of it, for better or worse, is about faith. Faith regarding what is true about things and what is of transcendent worth, etc., etc. The church's standards of what is true and worthwhile are mediated by the beliefs and practices of the organization itself. Just because you or I believe that something is factual and of utmost importance does not mean that the leaders of the Church have to agree, and their failure to agree with us is not really, I think, a moral failing.
Now I don't think an absurd difference from worldly opinion on these matters is a sustainable course for the Church, so they are doing their best to find the right position between respectable non-LDS opinion and faith. In the meantime, as they look to see how they will handle these problems, I don't account them to be immoral because they do not immediately adopt our views. I just don't think it is realistic that leaders of a giant organization who have so much impact on the lives of others will precipitously act to satisfy the views of a small group of people, even if those views have real merit.
Furthermore, I think people have to accept that a religion's story will change over time. What people of one generation find faith in is not ever going to be the last word. Emphases have shifted over time in Mormonism in response to changing needs. It is kind of an artificial thing to say that what a researcher may discover today is what the LDS Church must adopt as truth when it teaches its story of faith to its members. The failure to change the story of faith to reflect to views of historians is not necessarily a burying of the truth.
So, even though I personally do not put much stock in the story the LDS Church tells--i.e., it really does not matter to me one way or the other--I am also not sure that the Church is morally obliged to tell my version, Sandra Tanner's version, Don Bradley's version, or Richard Bushman's version. Their hesitance to do so may not simply be about "hiding the truth."
“God came to me in a dream last night and showed me the future. He took me to heaven and I saw Donald Trump seated at the right hand of our Lord.” ~ Pat Robertson
“He says he has eyes to see things that are not . . . and that the angel of the Lord . . . has put him in possession of great wealth, gold, silver, precious stones.” ~ Jesse Smith