The Glory of God is Intelligence. Now stop thinking about it!

A friend of mine recently asked me if I’d started going back to church yet. I replied in the negative, indicating I had issues.

He said, “What kind of issues? Are you unwilling to live the church lifestyle? Is it an intellectual thing?”

I said, “No issues with the lifestyle, from your perspective I’d be in that intellectual category.”

He said, “You got to stop being intellectual!”

I looked at him and asked, “Did you just tell me to stop thinking?”

Glory of Intellegence

 

I used to believe that thinking and reasoning was celebrated in the church. I was raised on the concept that the glory of God is intelligence. To be intelligent it is a given that you should use your intellect, here is an example of what I was taught at age 9:

We believe also that “as man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” – Lorenzo Snow 1

Therefore, man should strive all his days to increase his intelligence and learn all the truths he can. He should realize that the gospel of Jesus Christ embraces all truth wherever it may be found, and as he gains knowledge and truth he should teach it to his fellowmen. – N. Eldon Tanner 2

 

You see, it is important to gain knowledge, truth is simply true and there can be nothing bad about learning it. Also notice the admonition to teach truth to your fellow man. The idea of learning is even enshrined in scripture, Alma 37: 35 says “O, remember, my son, and learn wisdom in thy youth…” as shown in this church video.  The prophet of my youth was Spencer W. Kimball. He said this in general conference just a few months after I was baptized.

“If men are really humble, they will realize that they discover, but do not create, truth.”
Personally I one hundred percent believed that the religion I knew was true would be proven out by science as time progressed. I don’t think I was alone in this type of thinking, granted it could be my own asymmetric insight, but it certainly was taught as such.

“Religion and science have sometimes appeared in conflict. Yet, the conflict can only be apparent, not real, for science seeks truth, and true religion is truth. There can never be conflict between revealed religion and true science. Truth is truth, whether labeled science or religion. All truth is consistent. There is no conflict—only in the interpretation of fact.

“It is well to remember that when men make new discoveries in their energetic search for truth, these will always be in harmony with all fundamental and eternal truths. Yes, truth is always consistent, whether it is revealed directly from God to man, through his inspired prophets, or comes from the laboratory through diligent searching of his children and through the influence of the Spirit of the Lord upon them.” – Ezra Taft Benson,3

I had no doubt that the more I learned and the more I used my intelligence and reason, the more this revealed knowledge and assertion of church leaders would be proven out. Little did I know then…

Over the years following, on my mission to Guatemala I thought for sure these were Book of Mormon lands that I served in. Where the hill Cumorah was always bugged me though because that tidbit just didn’t make sense. That was likely the beginning of the construction of my ‘shelf’ to hold the doubts about my belief system. The subject of doubt is a whole other topic, but I would like to point out a simple fact of the scientific method, doubt is a good thing when it comes to science. Why? Because truth can be discovered and proven. That is what makes it absolute truth. Spencer Kimball understood the idea of absolute truth when he said this:
“The earth is spherical. If all the four billion people in the world think it flat, they are in error. That is an absolute truth, and all the arguing in the world will not change it. Weights will not suspend themselves in the air, but when released will fall earthward. The law of gravity is an absolute truth. It never varies. Greater laws can overcome lesser ones, but that does not change their undeniable truth.”
He does however make a huge error when he goes on to say:
“We learn about these absolute truths by being taught by the Spirit.”

Think about it for a minute, did you really need the spirit to tell you the law of gravity was real? Or have you dropped things hundreds of times in informal experimentation and gotten the same exact result every time? Even historically speaking it has been religions impeding the progress of scientific assertions such as these, the catholic church believed the earth to be flat and the center of the universe so much so that those who opposed were considered heretics.What President Kimball is doing is called a logical fallacy. He does so with these statements by tying a known validated truth that is universally accepted to his later assertions that in the big picture are really only believed by a few.  It is a fallacy to tie one to the other as there is no provable connection, and his isn’t the first religion to use this method to argue their point. Even so I give him kudos for at least attempting to come up with a rational basis for the faith. That is because these days it seems like the council of the leaders is opposite of using your brain. Instead of thinking and investigating your doubts for yourself, you are told to put them aside, not think about them, and just believe in spite of the evidence.  As pointed out by First Popsicle, B Very Chill in the most popular note on the door of the Fridge ever, “The church is an ultimatum“. Either it’s true or it’s not, and by the way if you think it’s not you are wrong.

The essence of the message today is exactly what my friend said: When thinking doesn’t support the faith, stop thinking. My friend also happens to currently be a bishop, I kind of wonder if he is seeing more and more of people like me coming into his office and telling him it doesn’t make sense anymore. I wonder if this ‘stop thinking’ counsel is being pushed by leadership above him.  It wouldn’t be the first time that leader ship told teachers and leaders to not talk about true things that might make you doubt, Ken Clark as an institute director found out the hard way that the church isn’t really interested in all truth, only the truth that supports its position as pointed out here in this video.

The deeper you dig for truth, the more you discover there are legitimate facts for the conclusions reached by the so called anti-mormons. The more difficult facts you uncover, the more you realize that the idea that the church cares more about truth than anything else is really just lip service. Sure D&C 93:43 declares; “The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” But if your intelligence and reason indicates that the church might be founded by a con man who was convicted of fraud for saying he could find buried treasure with a peep stone 18 months before he claimed to find a gold book and translate it with a peep stone. Well that intelligence should just be shut off in lieu of having more faith. Don’t believe me? Try bringing up this topic to your leadership and tell me how it goes.

I often wish I could point out to my friends and family how this type of thinking (or not thinking I suppose) can assert anything to be true. If anything can be proven true by your logic, that means your logic is useless for asserting truth. Once you have broken the bonds of the circular reasoning I am talking about, trying to have a discussion we a person that still uses it can be extremely frustrating. At times you can feel like you are talking to a brick. Here’s my counsel, remember you used to be that brick, too. When your friend tells you, like mine did, to just stop thinking about it, remember how you used to set things on your shelf and not think about them. They aren’t really being illogical from their perspective, they are just being human. Not thinking about it is the only way to keep a hold of their faith.

This is why Boyd K Packer called out intellectuals as an ever present danger to the church:

“The dangers I speak of come from the gay-lesbian movement, the feminist movement (both of which are relatively new), and the ever-present challenge from the so-called scholars or intellectuals.”
When you start studying the church history you find out that from Elder Packers perspective what makes a scholar ‘so called’ is anyone that adheres to truth more than their loyalty to the church.So next time you read stuff that prophets have said like this bit from Brigham Young:
“Our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression—it embraces all truth, wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible or invisible to mortal eye” 4
Make sure you realize that it all comes with a monstrous caveat, what they really mean is if using your intellect gives you any reason not to believe, then you better just shut it off and follow the brethren, even if they are known to be wrong about doctrine at times. The one thing that is more important that intelligence is obedience. Perhaps that is why we see this trend in talks these days.
The old leaders said things like this:
“If we have the truth, it cannot be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed.”
– J. Reuben Clark
The new leaders say things like this:
“Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”
– Dieter Uchtdorf

They teach that we should just obey and the only reason to do so is by being afraid of not obeying as shown in this video. The idea of obedience trumping your own intelligence isn’t new in the church, it has been around for a while. It’s just getting more press time these days. This is because the current leaders are right that the best way to believe the church is true, with all this ready access to difficult facts, is to just ‘not think about it’. And that is exactly what they want you to do, stop thinking and just believe. The only way to keep the shelf up is to pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.

I suppose it is possible the glory of God really is obedience. The leaders have been wrong before as it being proven by the 13 essays that are in the process of being released by the church. Maybe I just feel this need to teach knowledge and truth to my fellow man as Elder Tanner suggested we do way up at the beginning of this article. Whatever drives me, I am certain I agree with President Kimball when he said what I think is worth reiterating:

“If men are really humble, they will realize that they discover, but do not create, truth.”
A key point in that sentence to me is the humble part, if you are 100% sure you know something, are you humble enough to accept the fact you might be wrong and learn something new? Whatever the glory of God really is we may never know given all the conflicting messages from mainstream religions.  The glory of the Fridge on the other hand is most definitely intelligence; of this I am 99% certain 🙂
  1. 11 January 1892, reprinted in Latter-day Prophets Speak, ed. Daniel H. Ludlow, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1951, p. 72.
  2. “Ye Shall Know the Truth,” General Conference, April 1978
  3.  “Your Charge: To Increase In Wisdom and Favor with God and Man,” New Era, September 1979
  4. DBY, 2. JD 10:251

8 Replies to “The Glory of God is Intelligence. Now stop thinking about it!”

  1. there has always been a dichotomy between faith and science. recent dna evidence is proving the book of mormon story. in the cas of mormonism, my belief is twofold.
    1. the book of mormon is here to testify of Christ and develop faith.
    2. in due time, science will reveal evidence to support the book of mormon.

    that time is now.

    1. What happens if the evidence science produces dismantles the Book of Mormon? Are you prepared to go where that leads? In short is truth more important than what you want to believe?

      1. BTW are there any non mormon scientists telling you that DNA supports the BOM? Something to think about, if you step outside of the bubble you will too discover that even the stuff you think is evidence doesn’t match up, the timelines are all wrong.

        I mean this in the nicest way, you are falling into a trap called confirmation bias. It’s common to us humans to only see the evidence that supports our beliefs while not even noticing the stuff that doesn’t. This is why it is so important to look at the results of tests by those that do not have something at stake in terms of belief. There were plenty of scientists that didn’t believe Einstein his proposed the theory of relativity that looked at the evidence and begrudgingly admitted he was right.

        TL;DR
        you can’t get to the truth without honestly asking the question, what if I’m wrong? What would the evidence look like then?

        In the case of the BoM, if it were just a 19th work of fiction here are some things you would expect:
        – 19th century anachronisms, lots of those, look up what an anachronism is if you don’t understand the word, it’s very important to do so.
        – No steel or swords would be found (steel making leaves a huge impact on a culture)
        – No wheels would be found on chariots, heck no chariots would be found.
        – These two inventions when it came to war in ancient cultures were as pivotal as gunpowder. The cultures that had them didn’t ‘disappear’ without a trace, they dominated their part of the world due to the effectiveness of this technology in war time. Just those two items alone are reason to doubt this is a legit history.
        – We’d have proof that JS couldn’t translate ancient documents… We do, look at the Book of Abraham
        – We might find evidence of plagiarism, which we do, google ‘the late war’ and the BoM
        – plagiarized parts might show more anachronisms, they do. There are parts copied from the bible in the BoM that show this to be the case.

        I could continue as this list of evidence it is fiction is very, very long. But I realize to you it doesn’t matter how long it is. You want it to be true, you have faith it is true. I get that. That’s why I know just giving a you a list of things isn’t gonna change your mind. It can’t.

        For you didn’t arrive at this conclusion via logic. You got there by praying and hoping it is real. Unless you are willing to consider that you might have misunderstood or been mistaken about your answer to your payers there is NOTHING that will make a difference to you on this topic. Literally you are willing to go to your grave believing you will be vindicated in your faith one day. Not unlike the Muslim so convinced that Allah is there he will strap on a bomb and do what his leader asks.

        The odd thing is if it isn’t your own belief on the line you can totally see how a muslim could be mistaken about the Quran… or the Jew about the Torah… You can see how they could be mistaken…. It just couldn’t happen to you right?

  2. Great article. So many times articles like this feel compelled to rehash the reasons WHY the church isn’t true. You simply asserted your position based on what you’d discovered. Hopefully that will intrigue people (especially your bishop friend) to do some of their own research and check your conclusion for themselves.
    I remember avoiding research as a mormon. In and of itself, that should have been a huge red flag for me.

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