Park Romney Research

Requested Resource: Mormonism and LDS issues - Park Romney Research

Saturday, December 16, 2017

What's not to like about Mormonism?

Nina Rehfeld: I was given the impression at BYU and at the Church headquarters in Salt Lake City that Mormonism is a relgion that gives people meaning and purpose in their lives, that it is much about individual choice, that it fosters a strong sense of community, and emphasis on education and positive thinking. To play the devilīs advocate: Whatīs not to like about mormonism?

Park Romney: Ultimately the strength of any life philosophy rests on its foundational roots and core principles. The most fundamental principle of Mormonism, as is also the case with any philosophy, is its epistemology. Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of truth itself. It deals with the fundamental life question of what we adopt as a truth to live by and by what process we come to the conclusion that something is, in fact a truth deserving of life sacrifices as opposed to a passing theory, idea, or suggestion to be viewed with skepticism.

Clearly individual choice, a strong sense of community, and emphasis on education and positive thinking are worthy values in a rhetorical sense and good values in many practical ways. Closer scrutiny, however, takes the thoughtful individual beyond the superficiality of rhetoric and into the profoundly relevant questions of balance, harmony, and integrity. How do we balance the value of individual choice with the value of a strong sense of community? How do we balance a quest for education with a dogmatic aversion to a healthy level of scrutiny and objectivity and an understanding of the profound significance of the appearance of meaningful contradictions. How do we balance a desire to be positive and avoid discord, with the moral obligation and duty to call out injustice for what it is, even when offending people who seem good and sincere and kind, can’t be avoided?

The Mormon epistemology as presented in the Mormon scriptures is fundamentally flawed and circular and feeds into a grotesque abdication of the most thoughtful processes of human inquiry that support accountability and social justice, in deference to an unhealthy level of obedience to the demands of an arbitrary priesthood and social conformity at the expense of personal integrity at the most profound and core levels.

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