belief and dissonance
(I wrote this post several years ago so the links are a bit dated, but I thought it would be good for discussion anyways.)
Yes, I’m thinking about belief and dissonance again. It really hasn’t been on my mind a whole lot lately (I don’t believe, haven’t been attending, therefore no dissonance. I like it simple that way.) But questioning type stuff is so hardwired into my DNA that I read a few blog posts and it’s all back to the front of my mind again.
That, plus a conversation with a dear friend, in which she admitted she believes, as much as she wishes she didn’t.
It started by following an @Mormonblogs tweet for Jeff Lindsay’s post where he claims to have the answer for Mormon’s who have hit up against cognitive dissonance. His answer; it’s okay to re-evaluate/test religious beliefs just like we re-evaluate/test science. Except, not “the One Being who is the source of all truth.” You must not re-evaluate “Him“. So there you go, don’t leave The Church. Easy. It brings to mind this post, which asks (in a round-a-bout sort of way) why, exactly, the existence of God is Unquestionable?
Richard Bushman did a better job at showing sensitivity to the extreme emotional rupture that is caused when a sincere member is faced with the discrepancies between historical facts and white-washed church manuals. His own answer (speaking to church leaders): work hard to help the struggling soul regain some semblance of trust, if not in the church manuals, at least in the community. Lisa at Feminist Mormon Housewives asked Mormons (in a very cautiously worded post with lots of requests to be respectful and thoughtful) what things about the church they have conflict with. (The post racked up 474 comments.) There is always John Dehlin’s extensive essay “How to Stay in the LDS church after a Major Challenge To Your Faith” (which includes a good break down of many of those Major Challenges).
But my favorite is Madame Curie who gets at the heart of the two main reasons people leave the church (hint; it’s not so they can go get drunk/get high/get laid/rob a bank). I my believing friend is in the first category: the church’s stance on various social issues is at such odds with her own conscience it finally causes the rupture in spite of her belief in core doctrines. I guess I fall more into the second category: a “truth-driven” gal driven nuts (and away) by church doctrine, history and claims of ultimate truth.
So there you go.
Now, how about you? Some of my deepest burning questions about people are how they reconcile or do not reconcile their various beliefs and practices. The believer who doesn’t attend, or the non-believer who attends faithfully. Or what finally broke the camel’s back (so you left), or healed the camel’s back (so you went back) etc etc etc…
Cuz I’m curious that way.