If I Meet God

One question that every atheist has gotten when an a-athiest (think about the double negative!) discovers their disbelief goes something like this.

What if you’re wrong? What will you say to God when you die and are judged?

It’s almost as if the theist thinks the person that renounced his faith never thought about this question. But nothing could be further from the truth. I know I spent a ton of time thinking about this ramification. It is comfortable after all to just keep on towing the line and acting like you believe, just in case there really is a God ready to judge you when you die. It is a supposition essentially born out of fear. It is the last bastion you hit when you are desperate to cling to your belief. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to what is in essence Pascal’s wager on the afterlife.


As Homer astutely points out, Pascal’s wager is actually pretty absurd if you step back for a moment and consider all the possible deities that might be judging you in the after life. Allah after all isn’t all that pleased with Christians. Jesus is gonna cast any that don’t believe in him into a fiery pit to eternally burn. Even Mormons in their effort to let everyone win besides the outer darkness folks still end up banning you from having an eternal family unless you are totally Mormon.

And that is just two religions that account for 75% of the planet and a relative small 0.2% that I mention only because I was personally in that category. There are literally hundreds of religions and God’s actively worshiped on earth today. and thousands that have come and gone in the past. (Anyone worship Zeus anymore?)


The person asserting pascals wager as a defense is making an assumption. They are assuming they picked the right religion. Which most of the time just happens to be the one they were raised in. This is pretty normal because religions lay claim to knowing the absolute truth. Sometimes they call other faiths abominations and sometimes more moderately they just say those other guys didn’t get it quite right. But the end result is belief that their particular faith has some secret sauce that others don’t. 1

This gives the believer a sense of purpose, which is a very attractive proposition. Who doesn’t want feel important after all? Of course you are required to practice humility even though you are one of the special elect. So that keeps you from realizing your own haughtiness most times. In that sense religion feeds a very human imperative. The desire to be needed.


So there is reason to realize the ‘what if your wrong’ question is pretty silly at the outset. But when you are questioning your own beliefs it is far more personal. I did put myself in the shoes of being wrong, not about any other religion that I had no faith in, but being wrong about the one I personally was losing faith in.

What if I left the only true faith when it was already in my grasp? Scriptures condemn the person in my situation. In the best case you don’t have freedom to be with your family at your will and worst case you get stuck in outer darkness for the rest of eternity. 2 Either way if I was wrong and the Mormons were right. I’d be facing judgement one day and I wondered what I would say if I met God. (The Mormon one, not Zeus or Allah. I wasn’t ever scared of those guys condemning me before so I honestly didn’t think much about them.)

If I’m wrong and I end up before the judgment bar pleading my case, my question for God will be simply why? Why did he make things like eye worms that burrow into kids eyes blinding them as they eat their way out? Why did he allow little girls to be raped and murdered ignoring their prayers while helping some other person find their car keys? Why did he give me this ability to think and to reason and to question and then tell me to shut off my brain and just believe?3 Because for the life of me. (pun intended) I can’t think of a remotely reasonable answer to those questions. Sure the default position is protecting peoples free agency and all that jazz. But that excuse falls really flat if you actually think much about it. I mean should this doctor not infringe on an eyeworms free agency?

It really is that obviously dumb to consider when you think about it. There is so much needless pain and suffering in the world that God must have created for the religion I believed in to be true. Why let tsunamis wipe out tens of thousands of people in painful drownings? Does a wave need free agency? Why did he make a world that is so full of pain and remorse when it was totally in his power to minimize it? That is what I’d ask him sitting there on this throne on judgment day. Because when I am honest and when I face down my fear of condemnation there just isn’t a good answer to this question. Sure it can be sort of treated like a test of a father where sometimes he lets a kid fall on his bike and skin his knee to learn a bit about life. But, skinned knee = a painful childhood cancer death? Really? Is there any decent parent you know that would not try to save their child from a painful terminal illness so they could have that experience? I don’t know any.

So what does it mean when your earthly father has more compassion than the one in heaven? I discovered that if God didn’t want me there because I wasn’t willing to bow and tell him how awesome he was, it didn’t bother me. Because I realized ultimately he was the one responsible for all the pain and suffering in the world and that is not a reason to love someone. It is human nature to do so though. Battered women often profess love for their abusers. I realized the only reason I had honestly felt a need to worship this guy was actually fear, sure I called it love but that was a cop out. Like a battered woman in a failed marriage I was very afraid to go it alone so I talked myself into it being ok. It was after this honest assessment that I decided to not be afraid.

It is amazing what happens when you decide you are not afraid. I am honestly not afraid of meeting my maker anymore. If he exists, I have some tough questions before he banishes me to whatever hell the theist imagines for a person that mocks God like I do. Because it is patently obvious he could have done a lot better job if he wanted to.4

And who knows. Maybe this life really is a test. Maybe the Fridge is God and when we are all up there he will congratulate all the Atheists for seeing through the bullshit and having the courage to face their fears and examine their own evidence for flaws. He might commend us for seeking truth at the expense of eternal reward and the courage it took to do so. If that turns out to be real instead of the afterlife you are thinking about. I promise you this. I won’t laugh at you for being fooled by all those other non-Fridge faiths and I’ll do my damnedest to get you into heaven too!5

athiest

  1. Random thought, religions are like burgers. Everyone wants it their way, but they don’t all like the same secret sauce. 🙂 Food analogies prove the Fridge is true yet again!
  2. After all, my experience with belief went all the way to hearing audible voices which I later decided was my own brain doing its damnedest to keep me believing in spite of a shelf full of contradictions. So if that was really the Holy Ghost, I definitely denied that fact. Before I considered that possibility I would and did testify knowing the church was true as sure as I knew the sun shined. Denying that experience comes with heavy consequences. Look up the scriptures, it’s a sin worse than murder.
  3. You are even expected to shelve your own moral imperatives and feelings when it comes to things like murder and child sacrifice just because God says to. Is that really reasonable?
  4. If my tiny human brain can see all the ways he could have done it, imagine what his infinite brain could have come up with! Just a thought for any believers reading this and thinking they are just too dumb to understand God’s ways.
  5. OK, I might giggle a little bit like when you see your best friend turf it, but you give him a hand up and you both laugh about it later over a cold one from the Fridge. 🙂

Paradigm Shifts Post Faith

Post Mormonism I have thought a ton about the story of Nephi and Laban: 1

He gets all pissy at his bothers for being scared.


He kills a defenseless drunk guy because he heard a voice in his head.

He puts on the bloody clothes and impersonates said drunk guy to steal stuff.

He deceives a servant to help carry out the loot.

Then he blackmails the servant to stay with him rather than tell anyone.


I seriously thought he was the good guy… What was wrong with me?

I’ve come to the conclusion that religion screws with your inner sense of morality. In any other setting I would have had real doubts about the morality of this whole story, but religion not only got me to swallow it whole. I actually thought this was a person to emulate.

Now I think the guy willing to stand up to the despotic all powerful leader that can have anything he wants for himself is the one with real courage. What do you think?

Morality

  1. My religion was founded on murder and theft… SMH

More Problems with Polygamy and Children of Homosexuals

Joseph Smith once said:

“Our Heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive…”1

Of course these days gay peoples kids don’t seem to get the same liberal considerations that the prophet Joe was talking about when he penned the above words in a letter to Nancy Rigdon in his effort to convince her to be his plural wife after she refused. I have seen a part of this same letter quoted by believers in the wake of this policy to restrict children from joining the church.

“That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.”

Continuing to Nancy in an effort to explain why polygamy is a good thing and not at all as bad as she thinks it is. Joseph wrote:

“…even things which might be considered abominable to all who understand the order of heaven only in part, but which in reality were right because God gave and sanctioned by special revelation.”

This to me is where it gets interesting in regards to the latest policy this church Joseph founded has taken towards gay marriage.2   The main theme in the wake of this exposure of internal bigotry towards people that are attracted the same sex is that the limits placed on children are for the good of the kids. To protect them and all. Even in the latest clarification they have doubled down on this excuse. The reason I call it an excuse is because the only other children that are treated that way are the kids of polygamists. Specifically those apostate polygamists that are awful because they are following the teachings of the original prophet of the church.3 It’s like they are saying:

‘We need to protect those kids from conflicts about religious beliefs, not from atheists or Jehovah’s witnesses, or ever even scientologists. That isn’t enough of a conflict, but polygamy and gay marriage that is pretty bad and requires kids to condemn the lifestyles of their own parents before they are good enough for the LDS faith.’

Don’t take my word for it, look at the policy yourself. 
To me that screams excuse. Especially when the kids are required to disavow their parents gay lifestyle to even be considered for admission into God’s only church. Maybe they really believe in this idea that is it for the kids. Who knows, maybe God did come talk to these guys about the gays just like he told Joe to marry Nancy even though she didn’t want it. I’m sure that kids in general don’t want to disavow their parents love and happiness right? I guess in a way it is like the problem with polygamy that to this day plagues the LDS faith.

You see the fact that no leader ever, ever mentions is they never really stopped believing in polygamy. Not from an eternal perspective anyway. Listen to Elder Oaks describe the relationship he has with his second wife. (And yes, he did get sealed to his first wife in the temple as well.)

Two wives? Eternally? Yep polygamy even if it is not ok while you are alive in the LDS faith is totally ok after you die. Hopefully this brings some perspective to the excuse about protecting the children from gay parents being a parallel to protecting them from polygamous parents. It never was about the polygamy. It is only about the apostate religion that still practices it… um when all the wives are alive as the same time that is. Does this make any sense at all? Is this a big crisis for the current leadership? Yeah it is. Fortunately Dallin has advice for them too.

Does all this dancing around making excuses make sense to you? Is this really how illogical and confusing God’s one true church is? Personally I don’t think so.
And if you are one of the believers that had your shelf seriously rocked by this whole situation. Maybe, just maybe you are beginning to suspect that too.

The real question if you believe that children should not be held accountable for their own choices by a just and loving father in heaven is this. What are you going to do about it? Quietly submit and let the bigotry fester? Or are you going to speak up and take action?

It was interesting for me listing to this talk from Elder Oaks from a totally different perspective than I used to have. He proclaims it is all about timing. I kept thinking about the timing of blacks getting the priesthood and how the entire equal rights moment happened in the LDS faith some twenty years after the fact. Twenty years after rest of the world realized discriminating against people based on the color of their skin was NOT a good thing the leaders of the LDS faith had a revelation to end this demeaning practice. 4 Timing in hindsight it is obvious isn’t it? Too bad there aren’t people that can tell us the future in situations like this right?

Either way I did find a part of the talk in which I agreed 100% with Elder Oaks.

The most important thing in our lives is to do the right thing. Personally I think the golden rule is a good way to figure out what the right thing is. Don’t you?

 

  1.  Official History of the Church, Vol. 5, p.134-136, See also “The Letter of the Prophet, Joseph Smith to Miss Nancy Rigdon,” Joseph Smith Collection, LDS archives
  2. What do you think Joseph would have done about the whole gay thing? My bet is he would have rolled with it and brought it into the faith were he the one at the helm today. It is his nature to absorb the common themes of the day and make them part of the faith.
  3. Yeah I know its confusing, but what are ya gonna do right? Just believe and don’t ask any questions, do as you are told and all will be fine!
  4. Technically the church took till 2013 to actually say that the racist teachings of past church leaders was nothing more than their own bigotry shining through.

Loud Laughter

In the LDS temple a person takes on covenants. These are promises between you and God, things you promise and presumably will be rewarded for if you hold to that promise. The main ceremony in the temple is called the endowment. It comes after what are known as initiatories.

In the intiatories you receive blessings and anointings to become Gods and Goddesses, if you are super awesome you later on get a second anointing (also known as having your calling and election made sure) where you are made Gods and Goddesses. It is a ceremony that that involves females in priesthood ordinances. (making it even more unique) but this post isn’t about that.

This one is about the endowment, the ceremony that all temple going LDS members are familiar with. To many the first time through the temple is a bit unnerving, you don’t expect anything that goes on there because it is all kept secret from you before going in. You are even given a chance to bailout before they tell you what is going on. But seriously who is gonna walk out in front of all your relatives and people you look up to in there watching you go through this?

I personally went pre 1990, before they removed the penalties of death from the oaths. I still remember how freaky those were and how surprised I was that these ordinances decreed by God himself to his prophets had changed when I got back from my mission. But even more than that there was this one covenant that always worried me. A promise to avoid loud laughter. Seriously you promise to do that. Right between the promise to not say anything bad about church leaders and the promise to avoid light mindedness.

This one really worried me. Because I am a natural goof I suppose, I love to laugh loud and enjoy my life. My whole family does. Poking fun, having a great sense of humor. It was a major survival skill for me. Sometimes I’d be full on belly laughing and just cut it off to avoid it. After a while I decided God must have meant only laughing about church stuff or making fun of that. So I figured normal laughing as ok, even if it was ‘loud’. I like most believers rationalized my own behavior by liberally applying my own interpretation to the cognitive dissonance created by these conflicting beliefs.

These days I am pretty light minded all the time. Don’t worry about much about all this speaking evil of the church and its leaders either. I figure if I am wrong about this religion and it really is the one-‘n-only-right-one, then I am pretty well screwed in the next life. And you know what? To me that is ok. Because of one reason. I am not afraid. I am not going to go quietly into the night pretending to be someone I am not because of a threat of eternal damnation. This being that I was taught loved me as a father seems to think that love requires me to kneel in front of him and not think for myself. As a father who deeply loves my own children, the very last thing I would have them do is kneel and worship me. I would never tell my kids to stop thinking and reasoning for themselves. Because that is not love. Demanding obedience and threatening punishment is not love. It is oppression. It is not kindness, it is fear mongering.

A leader that uses threats to control is not a person worth following. And that is ultimately what most religions teach, do or be damned. A father that beats his children when he screw’s up is not a perfect being and not worthy of unquestioning obedience. So if I’m wrong and the Mormon God whom I covenanted with in the temple is real. And because of my apostasy I am prevented  from living with my family in the next life or condemned to outer darkness on judgement day. So be it. I will gladly face him and laugh out loud. Because fear no longer controls me.

fall or fly

 

Word Twisting and Wet Paint

I remember general conference the first year after realizing my religion wasn’t true. It was the birth of the famous doubt your doubts meme by Elder Ucthdorf. You remember it right?


In fact it was a blog post inspired by this meme that was the first Fridge article to go viral. These days I don’t listen or watch conference anymore. Admittedly I get the highlight reel from the online community that is more interested in it. I think it is part of the healing process though to watch those first few times after you leave to make sure you haven’t missed anything in your reasoning. Recently a friend that just left in the last few months commented on how much watching conference triggered a meltdown for her. It’s true, once you have left and you watch the way members are manipulated with new eyes, it is really hard to deal with. You feel the emotional appeal at the same time you see the manipulating words and ideas being fed via hypnotic cadence right into the minds of people you love and care about.

If you are a TBM reading this, to get the idea of what I am talking about google recovery videos from other high pressure religions, like Scientology and Jehovah witnesses. Look at the people that escape places like the FLDS and listen to how they feel about the people they love that are still trapped and unwilling to question their leadership. It is heart breaking and super hard to process for them. General conference for the Mormon church triggers much the same feelings in those that have left it. It is no doubt (pun intended) an emotional time for all. Parents of kids like myself who have fallen away are reminded how their hearts are broken by the child that no longer believes. Fear of losing them for eternity is rekindled to stem the tide of further lost tithe payers. So why people like my mother are saddened, people like myself are angered because to us it was a false premise to believe in in the first place, so all that fear they put into the ones you love is just pointless abuse from the non believer perspective.

But it’s not that simple. I think that most church leaders really do believe apostates are lost souls and the LDS church is the one-true-church-on-the-face-of-the-whole-earth. I get the argument that these guys must wonder what is up when they become an apostle and the don’t see Jesus face to face. But we humans are amazing in our ability to create a foundation for what we believe in. Even up to the point of hearing voices and seeing things. Things like cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias will make it seem to them that they are SURE, even 100% positive they are right, no matter what. Case in point. Take a look at the doubt your doubt meme. It’s actually not that original. Max Lucado said it almost the same way first in your average christian sense.

And that is the rub isn’t it? If the typical Christian followed Max’s identical advice, they would have no reason to doubt their Christianity and convert to Mormonism… This is the problem with thought stopping quotes like these they make anything true. Even the Fridge. But I have a bigger question on mind. Why the word twisting and assimilating of things other people say? Is it intentional? I kind of think so. Here’s why. It happened again this conference.

I saw this and thought, man that is familiar… Where have I seen it before? I searched my image history for the blog and it turned right up…. last post! (Yeah my memory isn’t what it used to be, please forgive)


Now I honestly doubt LDS leaders are watching my little blog. It is simply not that significant by any reasonable comparison. This meme celebrating the skepticism of George Carlin toward religion has been floating around for a long time. No, this twisting of words done by leaders (that as an apostate I have been repeatedly accused of) is a natural human reaction to cognitive dissonance. By reframing the problem the believer is able to shelve it just a little longer.


The funny thing about this particular meme twist, is that it is not even remotely similar from a evidentiary standpoint. Carlin is pointing out that we have ZERO proof of the invisible man we call God. The kind of evidence that is repeatable and testable. You know, that sciency stuff. The good Elder trades the idea of God out for trillions of stars in this meme twist. Seriously? You know we have telescopes and can count them right? Heck via the naked eye at night you realize there are so many they are almost uncountable don’t you? BTW you are way, way off. Latest estimates as mentioned here are closer to a septillion. To put that in perspective this is a trillion in comparsion:

1,000,000,000,000 = trillion
1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 = septillion

That is more that a trillion TIMES a trillion. It’s a big and yes virtually an un-comprehensible number. I think that is what the good Elder latched onto actually. There are more stars out there than he can comprehend, That makes the meme feel similar to him and that confirms his bias that it is a good analogy. I dare bet he felt really good coming up with it.

The idea of all those stars being incomprehensible though is the point of doubt. He should doubt that number! He should look up the studies and the evidence from astronomers that have corroborated independently on how many stars there are and how every time we build a better telescope we see even more of them. This is not a premise you are expected to take on faith. Heck, lay on your back one night and start counting and estimating. Do a little fact checking for heavens sake!! (again pun intended :))


You see no astronomer expects you to take their word for it, they aren’t telling you to trust your feelings and shelve your doubts when it comes to the number of stars out there. They WELCOME test and validation of their work!! They do not warn people away from doing their own research from un-authorized sources!!

This analogy falls flat as a pancake when it comes to evidence and proof. I know given your own bias it felt good to say. just like for many members it will feel good to hear. I know because as a local leader I often said similar feel good things to those in my Sunday school class when they had doubts. They were usually happy to hear them and they praised me for my instruction. But as a student of science I knew this was not a fair comparison. I needed to learn to be honest with me, no matter how much I had to lose or how much it would hurt to see my faith fail and my mom’s heart broken.

Because when it comes to the number of stars claimed to be out there? Yeah, you can and should touch the paint. 

honest man

Written In Stone, Why Many Will Still Believe

So the chocolate rock that started the faith I once believed in wholeheartedly finally made the news. Most post-Mormons already knew about it, and even a few devout members do too.

The LDS church, in this Google-enforced wave of openness to get ahead of the average member learning this information for the first time, has released actual pictures of the stone that was used to ‘translate’ most of their founding tome of scripture.

Here is a nice meme’d up picture in case you haven’t seen it yet.

To most of the world the Mormon faith now looks even more silly. They believe in magic rocks after all. But I expect you will also see reactions from your friends and relatives that might just flabbergast you. They will say things like, “This only increases my faith!” Or they might try to compare the stone to an iPad. (For the record, my iPhone has been named ‘Profet’s seer stone‘ since iOS 3.) When critics point out how ridiculous this belief is, the believer will simply declare that their criticism only proves Joe’s prophetic abilities. After all, he said we’d all get a white stone on which any piece of information could be seen. It’s right there in D&C 130:

10 Then the white stone mentioned in Revelation 2:17, will become a Urim and Thummim to each individual who receives one, whereby things pertaining to a higher order of kingdoms will be made known;

11 And a white stone is given to each of those who come into the celestial kingdom, whereon is a new name written, which no man knoweth save he that receiveth it. The new name is the key word.

Hmmmm… now I wonder if I should have changed my password to Ether….. I never did like the new name I got assigned at the temple. If I’d known it was assigned from a simple rotating list based on the day of the month when I went through, I’d surely have picked a day when something more manly from the Book of Mormon was assigned, like Jared or Mahonri. Yeah I know he is only mentioned in the BOM as Jared’s brother, but I did think it was a cool name! Heck, If the temple really is a place of prophecy you’d think I’d gotten the name Korihor instead, that would have been far more prescient. Knowing how the new-name-magic is done totally steals Oz’s thunder. Can’t have anyone peaking behind the curtain!


Just for fun, a seer stone on a seer stone laying on… you guessed it! Marble stone! All truth will surely be revealed in each our our personal urim and thummims! You can even look up what a urim and thummim is so long as you ask Google with a pure heart and contrite spirit.

Personally I think all this hogwash about earth getting all bright and seerstone-like and the celestial beings living on them is what sent Brigham Young down the path of people living on the sun.

“If [the sun] was made to give light to those who dwell upon it, and to other planets; and so will this earth when it is celestialized. Every planet in the first rude, organic state receives not the glory of God upon it, but is opaque; but when celstialized, every planet that God brings into existence is a body of light, but not till then.”

“Who can tell us of the inhabitants of this little planet that shines of an evening, called the moon?… When you inquire about the inhabitants of that sphere you find that the most learned are as ignorant in regard to them as the ignorant of their fellows. So it is in regard to the inhabitants of the sun. Do you think it is inhabited? I rather think it is. Do you think there is any life there? No question of it; it was not made in vain.” 1

Man I used to love this stuff, seriously, reading these quotes again in a whole new light is a mind-boggling experience because in my former years the idea of people being so advanced that they lived on the sun was pretty cool to me. I was definitely a sci-fi religious nerd.

I still love sci-fi, but I have gotten a lot more science than fiction in my diet these days because this sun-people concept now looks… well kinda silly to me today.

Which brings me to my point. There will be a few people that will leave the church over this latest release of information, but the majority will simply still believe. The reason for this is called cognitive dissonance. For a lesson on this I am going to refer you to FAIR. Here is what I pulled from their site on the topic:

FAIR says:
A Case Study

Consider the payment of tithing to the Church as a case study. If a Church member doesn’t pay tithing but believes he should be paying it, he’s in a state of cognitive dissonance. His beliefs are in conflict with his actions. It’s painful to him. In order to restore inner equilibrium, he can reduce the dissonance, acquire new information, or minimize the importance of the dissonance to a point where it doesn’t bother him anymore. The conflicted non-tithe payer can choose from four different strategies:

  1. Acquiring New Information—He might try to restore his inner harmony by gathering more information. Maybe he’ll comb news items to see how the Church spends money. He might demand an accounting from Church leaders detailing how all his individual donations are spent. He could continue to do this until he either a) decided tithing is well-spent and he should begin paying it or b) decided the Church is wasteful and/or misguided and doesn’t deserve his money until it undergoes a reformation. He might tell himself that he’d like to pay tithing but he can’t do it in good conscience when the Church is undeserving of the money.
  2. Minimizing the Importance of the Inconsistency—He might convince himself that it doesn’t matter that he doesn’t pay tithing because his tithing really isn’t important to the Church. After accepting this minimization, he can feel better about not paying it. After all, the Church appears prosperous. Its programs seem well-funded. It can afford to donate to humanitarian efforts. He could even promise himself if it ever looked like the Church was suffering and needed his personal funds, he’d start paying it. 
  3. Reducing the Dissonance by Accepting the Attitude and Changing the Behavior—He might look for and emphasize the benefits of the behavior (paying tithing) and ignore the negative effects of giving up ten percent of one’s income. He pays tithing. He changes his behavior and eliminates the dissonance between his attitudes and actions. This is the process critics point to as acting as a counterfeit for conversion through a spiritual witness.
  4. Reducing the Dissonance by Accepting the Behavior and Changing the Attitude—In this case, the conflicted tithe payer accepts his non-payment of tithing. He brings his attitudes about tithing into harmony with his practice of not paying it. In order to do this, he now claims his former belief about the Church being “true” was wrong. His attitude has changed and he is justified in abandoning tithing and keeping his money.   

Fair does a pretty good job of explaining the effects of cognitive dissonance and exactly how it would apply in a case where a person’s actions belay their beliefs. Cog Dis, is a theory in psychology first postulated by a guy name Flessinger. He basically discovered the fact that we are rationalization machines. We do something, then we justify why we do it. Very much along the lines of what FAIR described in there example. This from a believers point of view is often why they say the apostate stopped believing in the church because it was ‘too hard’ for them to commit to the church they justified their disbelief in hind sight when the liked boating on Sundays too much. FAIR describes it like this in their criticism of the critics bringing up cognitive dissonance.

FAIR says:
The Irony

This is where the irony of cognitive dissonance as a complaint against believers emerges. Of the four possibilities listed above, only one applies to people who persist in their belief in the Church. The other three can lead to a full or partial departure from Church life. Most of the strategies for managing cognitive dissonance don’t lead people to stay in the Church. On the contrary, they lead people out of it. The same kind of analysis could be made with other challenging aspects of Church life such as home teaching, sexual behavior, honesty, Sabbath observance, etc.

 

They point out that only one of the options are productive, while the other three options pretty much just keep you stuck in the mode of thinking where you endeavor to rationalize the behavior rather than deal with the dissonance outright. Guess what. I agree with FAIR: only one course is going to get you out of the circular logic. Let’s look at this from another perspective:

Fridge says:
Cognitive dissonance case study.

A person finds out that the Church has been hiding information and not telling the full truth about the seer stones in its past. This person, who believes in honesty, integrity and full disclosure, on discovering the Church hasn’t been forthright, and that their actions of believing and going to church supporting that institution, are no longer in agreement with their own morals and beliefs. They could deal with that in one of 4 ways

  1. Acquiring New Information—He might try to restore his inner harmony by gathering more information. He might investigate and discover that even in full disclosure the Church still hasn’t revealed all the information for an informed decision, such as the timeline of when the most-used seer stone was found, or that it was part of a fraud case in which the guy that claimed to be a prophet was convicted of conning people out of money. He might then dig deeper into other historical claims and issues that have been on his ‘shelf’ for years, eventually coming to the conclusion that he was defrauded by the institution. When he then leaves a church that repeatedly misleads its members about its history, and how it uses the money given to it, his internal integrity is restored. But it comes at great cost: Loss of social status, friends and even eternal hope that was all part of the belief system he was part of. 
  2. Minimizing the Importance of the Inconsistency—He might convince himself that it doesn’t matter that the leader of the Church used a seer stone and never looked at the plates at all. He will tell himself it’s no big deal that a young man killed a drunk in cold blood just to make sure these plates made it to the future where they weren’t ever really used for translating and never got left for believers to examine bringing billions of people to gods one true church. No, he will tell himself that would be too easy, you must have faith and besides he would say, “I am humble and that means I am too stupid to understand why God did it this way.” 
  3. Reducing the Dissonance by Accepting the Attitude and Changing the Behavior—He might look for and emphasize the benefits of the behavior: Going to church is a good thing, it makes him remember to be a good person. So even if the beginning was fraudulent and nothing more than a con by a man to get money and power and women, hey, it still made a pretty good church that teaches other good stuff. “It’s a good way to live even if the Church isn’t true,” he will tell himself. 
  4. Reducing the Dissonance by Accepting the Behavior and Changing the Attitude—In this case, the conflicted believer accepts the fact that the Church hid information. It’s ok, he tells himself, because the ends justify the means. After all, people have different levels of testimony and only the strongest can handle the deep doctrine of seer stones and divining rods, so God has disseminated information carefully and slowly to not upset those that need to believe. After all Boyd K Paker said: “There is a temptation for the writer or the teacher of Church history to want to tell everything, whether it is worthy or faith promoting or not. Some things that are true are not very useful.”

Fridge says:
And now the irony of the irony:

FAIR leads you to believe that Cognitive Dissonance is a real thing (which it is). But then for some reason says this:

“Critics can dismiss any attitude or conviction using the concept of cognitive dissonance. Conversely, believers can dismiss any argument made by critics using the same concept. The arguments cancel each other, resulting in a nil score.”

Wait a minute. Is it real and relevant or is it totally irrelevant… Because I think we are seeing some standard apologetic bullshit here. You know where the stage is set so that there is no way to negate the outcome. Come on FAIR, the nil score argument means nothing to you! Let’s start with the idea that a spiritual witness is real and repeatable. So why do only Mormon ones count? There are Muslims who have felt the power of Allah tell them their church is true. Same with Born Again Christians and Jehovah’s Witnesses and Scientologists. The spiritual witness argument can be used to prove any religion true! This is even in the Book Of Freon so you know this is a strong truthiness!

The Beginning 1:7 
“Remember this, if your proof can be used to prove anything to be true, it is useless as a proof of anything.”

The irony is I agree with FAIR on this point. It is literally Fridge scripture as you can see. Maybe they might one day catch the single biggest misstep in their discussing of cognitive dissonance as a criticism though. It is simply this: The only real way out of the trap of dissonance is number 1 on their list.

Acquire new information...  Do your own research, Do your Fridge damnedest to follow the evidence where it leads and fight the desire to simply justify your position. Don’t automatically believe everything you have been told or taught. That stupor of thought when you try to understand things like:
Why God made Nephi kill a drunk guy for brass plates they didn’t need anyway because the verses in the Book of Mormon came right from the king James Bible with italics included!?
Why commit bloody murder to assure we would get these plates when a rock in a hat was used to read the words line by line (to assure perfect translation) when the plates weren’t even in the room?
Why were there thousands of errors in the Book when this specific process was used to eliminate errors?
Why can’t we find millions of missing artifacts?
Why can’t we find the stone box the book was buried in?
Why isn’t there a single non-Mormon archeologist who thinks this book is anything but 19th century fiction?
Why is the same exact burning-in-the-bosom feeling you use to prove your church true used by Muslims to prove theirs is too?

That stupor of thought you get when trying to make sense of all this stuff that doesn’t make sense, it isn’t of the devil, it isn’t God warning you from asking questions that would upset your testimony. That feeling is cognitive dissonance. You want to know how I know that? Because I put my iPhone in a hat and Googled it 🙂 You can too.

May you one day feel the light spill over you as you open the Fridge door and partake of the knowledge therein. May you combat the evils of cog dis and seek out new information. May you one day get your own Cubem Fridgem2 as you too prove your worth to the Tall Cool One humming in the corner. That is my hope, forever in cool, may you always be chill my brothers and sisters.

May we all remember the Frozen Ice, Amen.

  1.  – Prophet Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 13, p. 271
  2. These are cubes of ice, know as peep cubes or seer cubes on which really cool stuff appears when you want it to.