Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Document or Die!

Well, I don't really feel that strongly about this issue, but close. It bothers me when people relate a story that is obviously "out there" and they have no credible evidence for it or don't follow through to, as Paul Harvey would say... "The rest of the story."

This pet peeve of mine started when I was probably 14 years old. There was a rumor going around my school with lots of talk that the Salt Lake temple was going to be closed for 5 years to prepare it for the second coming. I was slightly incredulous, but fairly gullible. My Grandma Dansie worked in the temple so I called her to ask her about it. I wasn't thinking that I had three years to "eat, drink and be merry" and two years to repent. It was more along the lines of..."five years until the second coming!" When I told her she chuckled a little and said that there were no plans to close the temple, and as far as she knew the church would never make such an announcement.

I felt pretty stupid for not disregarding it outright. Not that I felt I should disbelieve everything, but that I should take the bizarre with a grain of salt and wait for more evidence before adhering too strongly. My father told me some sage advice that he received from his father, "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see." He obviously didn't mean that literally, but as a reminder to be on your guard.

So, I learned my lesson and vowed to always find a documented source for anything out of the ordinary, especially when related to the church (since it is all to easy to say x and reference it with, "I heard a GA say it in some general conference." Marisa came to the same resolution through different experiences.

I remembered this the other day when PBS did their documentary, The Mormons. As Marisa and I talked to some outgoing, educated and faithful members some were surprised that a few of the stories they heard (ie-Mountain Meadow Massacre, etc.) were new to them and a difficult pill for them to swallow. We were surprised that these issues were not alrady common knowledge. We talked about that and remembered that we became aware of these subjects and had come to a resolution on them because of our personal documentation we had done earlier. As we researched one issue, others surfaced. It didn't take too long to come across the major church history awkward issues. With more research, prayer and thought we felt informed and comfortable with the facts.

One that really got Marisa fired up is when the documentary was discussing women's place in the church and said something about Utah being one of the last states to allow women the right to vote. The truth is that Utah gave women the right to vote as a territory when it was not allowed by the country and had to remove that right by order of congress. Regardless of when the right was given the second time, without the "rest of the story" the fragment is incomplete.

So, when around me please explain your reasoning when you share a bizarre piece of information. If not, either be prepared to back it up or don't wonder what I'm thinking when I smile and say, "Wow, that's amazing..."


emily said...

Why did Joseph Smith run for president or want to? Just a question that I have been thinking about, and I thought you may have some information. I will pick your brain for information now that you have started this blog. I agree with the need to document and verify, it is important to inform oneself as well. I will admit at times in my life I have not pursued church history with a great desire and accepted what others told me. However I do have questions and i dont have all the answers, nor do i need them all, but sometimes just a good discussion on a topic is needed. thanks and have a good day. brandon

Carson Calderwood said...

I would love to have the "token Mormon Democrat" post his thoughts and comments ;)

I'll post more in a bit about Josephs run for presidency.

Carson Calderwood said...

I gleaned from here - http://byustudies.byu.edu/Shop/PDFSRC/39.3Robertson.pdf

the following:

"Much has been written concerning Joseph Smith's candidacy, his intentions and his expectations of winning. Several different schools of thought have emerged."

In other words, there is no definitive explanation. It seems like there is a general consensus that one main motivation was to give the church (ie - missionary program) wider notoriety. Other opinions seem to vary all the way to trying to rule the world.

Carson Calderwood said...

Sorry, the link got cut off on the end.


Carson Calderwood said...

Dang...it guess I didn't cut and paste incorrectly because it got cut off again. Add .pdf to the end and it will work. I don't know why it gets cut off when I paste it.

Also, future posts will be more positive than this one. I don't intend for this to be a negative blog, but did want to start w/ the disclaimer that positions need to be backed up.

Seattle Jon said...

Hey Carson. Just discovered your opinion blog. Will be checking it for updates.

I have lots of facts about how Brandon Rehrer is such a hot head if you want to discuss that in a future post. Maybe we could collaborate.

Carson - you ever downtown during the day/workweek? Lunch on me?

Jon Anderton