Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Footnotes & Further Reading

[1] Reuters,
[5] See Reuters above, under the section titled, "The Rescue"
[7] Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 268
[8] There are different levels of being able to say "I know."  I'm not as bothered by this as I used to be.  I technically can't say that I know perfectly that my father is my actual father.  I wasn't there by my mother's side for 10 months making sure that no other man could have possibly been my father, nor have I genetically tested every other male in the existence of the human race before my conception to verify that my "supposed" father is the most likely candidate.  Despite that, I feel comfortable saying I know he is my father.  Similarly, although I don't like the emphasis put on saying "I know" in testimonies, I am more comfortable with it.
[9] D&C 46:13-14
[11] An interesting comparison is how most LDS biologist can't believe that general members can't see how God used evolution is very similar to how most LDS can't believe that other Christians can't see how the godhead is three distinct beings.
[12] Galatians 5:22
[13] Matthew 22:39
[17] This Is My Doctrine: The Development of Mormon Theology, Charles R. Harrell
[18] See Reuters above, under the section titled, "The Rescue"
[19] Moses 5:6,
[20] Lowell L. Bennion, The Best of Lowell L. Bennion: Selected Writings 1928–1988, Eugene England, ed. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1988), 76.
[21] Hugh Nibley, “Dear Sterling,” in Eloquent Witness, 146–47.
[22] D&C 38:30
[23] D&C 46:14
[24] Ensign, June 2001, Miracles by Elder Dallin H Oaks,
[26] These feelings of peace and purpose are subtle.  If something very exciting is happening I don't notice the lack of peace as much.  Also, if I have some project I am feeling particularly motivated about, I don't notice the lack of purpose.  But, during those moments where there isn't an overriding feeling of fun or drive in my life, the lack of those feelings is noticeable.  What is also noticeable is that I call these feelings peace and purpose, but when I'm feeling them they seem more external than regular peace or purpose.  This gives me more faith that they are actual spiritual sensations rather than chemical emotions.
[27] 2 Nephi 2:25,


debi said...

I want you to know I read it.

One verb in mind afterwords =

endure ~ all of it ~ endure

Robyn said...

Hi Carson! I found your blog through a link on FB. I really enjoyed reading this essay, and I think that these feelings are so much more common that most LDS members realize. Coming to terms with them and realizing that it is okay to question can be a difficult thing to overcome. But in the end, questioning and coming to a personal conclusion of truth, even if takes a lifetime, is worth the struggle. Thanks for the great essay, it gave me a lot to think about and reaffirmed truths that I have come to understand on my own.

Zappe Family said...

I ACTUALLY read it all too. :)

Interesting to read and ponder about what you shared. I am grateful that there is becoming a more open dialogue today with regard to faith challenges. And...with them being real and candid.

Recently, a blog that I've loved reading, posted an article on how & why this woman and her husband and family all resigned from the LDS church. It really ate at me. In fact, her husband has been a CES teacher for 15 years and they just up and resigned, just like that. She blogged about how her husband is now atheist and she's "mormon-plus." Then...they were interviewed on MormonStories podcasts. I had to watch the interviews because I was highly intrigued as to what happened. came down to similar issues like you mentioned. He felt the seminary/institute information was misleading and not sharing all the truth. He didn't know that Joseph was a polygamist. There were a lot of things that I was surprised he didn't know about. It led him away, because he thought he had been lied to all his life.

So...after that long-winded response, I agree with Debi. Endure is the key word here. Nobody is perfect and we all struggle. But...keep the faith and endure.

Carson Calderwood said...

Thanks Jill. I watched those videos of that family. I felt bad for them, that would be terribly painful. My road has been a lot easier because I have an amazing wife that worked through those issues with me instead of pushing me away and I tend not to give in to knee jerk reactions. I think the McKlays reacted too quickly, but I can't imagine how shocking that would be to find all that out when you are so deeply involved and should be the one who knows that information the most as a professional doctrine teacher.

Mike said...

Well written, well thought out, and very close to many of my own thoughts. I have been considering writing some similar essays for about a year but haven't because of a combination of fear and laziness (I call it busy-ness, but it's the same thing).

We live in a very interesting time, with so many scientific advances, and I love science. I'm a bit of an arm-chair physicist so I end up focusing my thoughts on creation, the big-bang, evolution (of both life and on the planetary scale). I find it fascinating and undeniable, so the challenge becomes how to rationalize those facts with our religion (or any religion for that matter). And I've come to many of the same conclusions as you.

1. Some of our scriptural "history" (old testament mostly, but actually in all scripture) cannot always be taken literally.

2. Prophets and revelations have always been delivered in the context of the culture/society of the time. And so, many cultural and societal influences filter in. The same is equally true today as it was in "olden times" (whatever those are). Moses got stone tablets, JS felt comfortable with his "peep stone" (source of much anti-mormon material), and modern prophets use computers and the internet. Why wouldn't the lord use the method that fits in that time?

3. Prophets are given a LOT of leeway. That doesn't mean they are not prophets. I just think that more often than not the Lord will say, "sure, give it a try..". Even to a prophet.

4. If God exisits, CLEARLY he is not in the business of proving it scientifically. He either wants it this way, or he's not there at all. But for me this is a comforting fact. Because now science can't DISprove his existence either. He wants us to rely on other methods: faith, and the very slow method of comparing your life WITH the gospel to your life without. Spiritual fitness is like physical fitness. It's all on a spectrum, and it can be very hard to see objectively the results of your efforts until you really have given it a lot of time (it took me 6 months before I could run 3 miles without stopping). It's not binary (as you said), you prove His existence slowly and mostly unscientifically through realy world living (although, I like your point about spiritual trial and error being a somewhat scientific test).

4. Modern science also doesn't know as much as it thinks it does. For as smart as we are now, humans still are only touching the tip of the iceberg. I don't discredit any of the science we know now, but I think it leaves lots of room for God to exist. We can't even unify the theories and math behind macro physics and micro physics. Quantum mechanics makes the world predictive instead of rule-based (sounds like the whole universe on "free will"). And evolution alone can't explain to me satisfactorily many of the remarkable things we see in nature (eg the migration pattern of the monarch butterfly - it spans 5 generations!). Why do we sleep half of our lives? Why haven't we evolved to the point of not dreaming at night? How does the brain work, and how are memories actually stored in those tiny synapsis? The human body (all living bodies) are so complex and remarkable. I could go on and on. I know science has many theories about these things, but my point is just that we don't know as much as we think we do. And I think/hope that as our scientific understanding of our universe expands we might actually begin to admit there is room in it(a scientific possibility) for Him.

------ continued below -------

Mike said...

5. We overlook many of the simple proofs that there is a god. Emotions, love, human bonds, the beauty of the world, the feeling I get when I hear music... In short, all the things we call spiritual in nature. Body chemistry alone doesn't satisfy my questions about why we have those feelings and experiences.

6. And last - I completely agree with your thoughts about current Mormon culture. Personally, I don't fit "the mold" and I never have, so it's been hard to carve out a place for myself in it. But it's important for me to remember that the "church" is just the vehicle that the gospel rides in, and it is highly susceptiple to societal and human influence. As the church becomes larger, more global, and digital communication speeds up the social cycle I think/hope that our Mormon culture and society will continue to become increasingly tolerant.

Great article, Carson. I really enjoyed it, and writing this response.

- Mike Ward

Brent said...

There is no consonance without dissonance.

David B. said...

Way to put together a worthwhile read Carson. Both dentists and early-morning seminary teachers are wary of hostile audiences, so your reticence is doubly understandable. And, as you mentioned yourself without tooting your horn too much, the "evidence" for God and truth in your life is most tangible when it is being lived, and you have plenty of that to draw on.

I appreciate your emphasis on how we are all given different gifts, and not with the intent that we get sanctimonious or scared because of what our own personal package includes or lacks.

I posted more briefly on Facebook about the Mormon Scientist book that I'm currently reading. It's not a tremendously in-depth biography, but it does have a generous amount of personal quotes from a man who seemed to always be working among paradoxes, and not just in the realm of science and religion. Henry Eyring was raised in the Mormon Colonies in Mexico since his father was polygamous, but studied at U of Arizona, Cal-Berkley, Wisconsin and in Germany before teaching at Princeton for a decade and a half. And his sister was married to SWKimball, so yeah, he didn't just follow the local vibe of his congregation.

One thought from the close of the book from Henry's own words:

"So for me, I've made a picture of the world. It may be right. It may be wrong. But for me it is very real, and I've had experiences for me which are real, and so for me the only thing that I can do is say, "Try what the Savior said: try it and see if it works, and you'll find that it does work and that it's tremendously important."

That seemed like a fitting echo to your final page, while emphasizing the particular gifts that he was given.

Mike said...


Thanks for sharing. Really good stuff and so much that I identify with. The nice part is that once you go through it with an open mind and a desire to find the truth, you come out on the other side so much stronger and "real" than you were before.

Keep it coming. great blog.

Jared Behunin said...

Thanks for sharing. It takes courage and you did it so eloquently.

If I may share a bit... I've been a 46'er my whole life. I've tried to tell all my bishops that through the years. They after all have the ability to "discern" those gifts right?? (v.27). It used to bother me how often my honest inquiries were morphed into an interrogation exercise to detect if I was absconding my sins.

I have tried for 30 years to be a "knower." Then, it was about 6 months ago that I finally accepted that I will always be a 46'er. It was liberating actually.

In the end, for me it boiled down to less of a "scientific approach" and more of a statistical mathematic approach.

Being a member of the church and living the lifestyle brings with it positive net benefits. (socially, emotionally, existentially)... so... If the gospel is true then sweet, I'm in the right place. If it is not, then I live a good life before I fade to black, and it doesn't matter.

Again... thank you for sharing.

Carson Calderwood said...

Jared, we R twins separated at birth

Carson Calderwood said...

Here is the complete version for those that asked