My favorite topic of discussion, however, is the gospel. I believe that the gospel encompasses everything about our world, in particular, I believe that all truth comes from God, and I also believe that we will not be taught every true thing from the pulpit at Church. At Church we are taught the most important thing - we are taught about Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, and we are taught about the gift of the Holy Ghost and how to use it. Everything else, to me, is second in importance. If you do not understand the significance of the plan of salvation and the atonement of Jesus Christ, then it doesn't matter how smart you are, I don't care how many PhD's you have or what your IQ is - to me, you are missing the most fundamental knowledge there is.
However, I believe that the Holy Ghost will manifest the truth of all things unto us (see Moroni 10:5). And that means that we can use the Holy Ghost to discern what is true and what is simply one person's interpretation or experience or inspiration. I am grateful for personal revelation because I believe that Heavenly Father uses revelation to touch us on an individual level.
Lately I have noticed that it is hard to have a real gospel conversation with people. I hope that I do not offend any of my readers when I describe my problem, but this is just the way I see it.
There is a a place I would call "safe gospel inquiry". This is a place where faithful members of the Church (and earnest seekers of truth) can ask hard questions in faith, and fully expect and then act upon an answer. This is the place I like to be when I discuss the Church, the gospel, and really any principle at all.
To the "left" of the "safe gospel inquiry" zone is the "doubting dissenters" zone. This is where people go to ask the "hard questions" about the gospel, but they are not really seeking light and truth, but are rather trying to change the truth, or simply trying to cause a ruckus. This is a lot of what I find going on in the online world - doubting dissenters.
To the right of the "safe gospel inquiry" zone we get the "ignorant dogmatist". This is where you get people who won't even talk about something like evolution because that is obviously anti-religious. I would also lump people who give erroneous or speculative assertions about doctrine AS actual doctrine. This is a lot of what I see mostly in older members of the Church.
Now, I don't like labels, so wouldn't actually use these terms as such, but I think they do a good job of describing why I feel out of place as an intellectual who isn't hung up on all the things that intellectuals seem to be hung up on these days, and why I also feel a little out of place as a believer who likes to ask (and find answers to) hard questions.
So I try to find the conversations that fit in the grounds of "safe gospel inquiry" and sometimes it is harder than others. I recently found a community of women who seem a lot like me, and I am very grateful for their friendship and the ability I have to associate with them and have those good gospel conversations that end up being very enlightening and really help me gain more light and knowledge.
Do you feel like you are a misunderstood intellectual believer?
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