Episode 234: Epistemology

7 comments on “Episode 234: Epistemology”

  1. JT Reply

    Excellent discussion. Stirred up a lot.

    Mormonism is Holy Ghostology. Scientologists “go clear” – Mormons “go true”

    With regard to “I know” – speak. Seems to me that’s inside speak. When Mormons talk to outsiders they say “we believe.” What does that point to?

    Trust figures into all this is a deep way.

    Most people’s implicit epistemology is to simply accept as true whatever propositions are delivered from trusted authorities. We have to do it as children, and growing out of the habit is hard work that many aren’t disposed to do.

    And trust remains a powerful and positive emotion – even a deep and genuine need. The Mormon Church feeds itself by engendering trust in its members – not the least by treating members like children so they depend and signing so many celestial checks they don’t have to cash. Everything they do – and how they do it – is guided by this.

    And then the counterfeit currency they used to buy trust gets exposed. I wonder if lost trust is more central to people losing faith that just discovering the truth.

    John pointed out the intrinsic problems with saying “I know the church is true.”
    Perhaps what is going on is the conflation of knowledge with trust, since in their minds the two amount to the same thing. What they are saying “I trust that this Church will take care of me.”

    I look forward to listening to this again, I just add this to some really good thoughts. Wish I could visit the velvet lounge.

    • Jacob Brown Reply

      Yes. Mormons use “I know” internally, and they use “I believe” externally. See the Articles of Faith. Now, when they really want to bring their A-game to a conversion scenario, the will definitely take the “I know” phrase off the bench.

  2. Jacob Brown Reply

    The statement that “the Church is true” is not difficult to understand or define from the Mormon perspective of history and theology. The LDS tradition is about restoration. From that perspective there are many churches out there started and run by the devil and by men. However, there is “one true church”, meaning there is one institution established by God and run by his men. This is his church because it has his authority, his priesthood, and his guidance.

    It’s not hard to find this thread of thinking in Joseph Smith–History, D&C 1:30, the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 14), books like “The Great Apostasy”, and many conference talks. I think when we start to break down the phrase from “true church” to asking what is a “true” church, we are missing the point completely.

    The “true church” doctrine is very similar to the “chosen people” doctrine. We don’t sit around asking *why* a particular people (the Jews) were chosen. And we don’t even care what it means to be “chosen”. That’s obvious and that’s not the point. The point is that the Jews are *the* “chosen people” and Mormons belong to *the* “true church”. It is simply and exclusivist/elitist (anti-ecumenical?) claim being made in a day and age when pluralism is becoming more main stream.

  3. broofturker Reply

    IDK. Elder Holland just gave a talk recently about a kid that said he only believed. Holland said something like: “You blessed boy” belief is wonderful and powerful, but it can grow to knowledge and I give my special witness that I KNOW. But I think the fact that he had to say it, and that it was a big talk- cited by many-shows its a problem, but you can’t say the leadership isn’t addressing it.

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