Mormonism’s Truth Claims and The Claims of ‘Truth’ Seekers

Through the wonders of facebook, I was able to read some articles about the anniversary of the Kate Kelly excommunication, and what I assume is a recent disfellowship of a member of the Ordain Women’s board.  The term ‘truth seeker’ was a self description of both of these individuals.  I have also seen this term used by those who claim to be within the church and support this and other causes.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints makes many significant truth claims.  A couple of the most primary claims is that of a restored priesthood, and the calling of prophets and apostles.  Believing that the leadership of the church are authorized representatives of the Lord, and receive revelation from God in fulfilling their responsibilities, seems essential to qualify one as a faithful member of this church.  To think of oneself as a faithful member of the Mormon church, yet to oppose the teachings of the church leaders, is something of a contradiction, and can lead to difficult decisions and soul searching.

It appears that one strategy that is used by people in this situation is to label their side of the disagreement ‘truth’, and their activities as truth seeking.  This is similar to labeling their position as ‘gospel’, while labeling the position of prophets and apostles as ‘church‘.  It is a very easy thing to claim that your opinions, politics, causes, etc. are ‘truth’, and your activities are truth seeking – any terrorist could do the same thing, to give an extreme example..

This type of truth-seeking claim seems very odd to me in a Mormon context.  To claim to be a faithful Mormon, which implies an acceptance of Mormonism’s primary truth claims, yet to oppose it’s teaching or practices in the name of ‘truth’ seeking would include a lot of tension I would think.

The question is whether this seeking is really after truth, or if it is after something much less.

2 Responses to “Mormonism’s Truth Claims and The Claims of ‘Truth’ Seekers”

  1. 1 Troy June 26, 2015 at 10:19 am

    It is not a claim of Mormonism that every word issuing forth from the mouth of a church authority is infallible and not to be questioned. Thus, I don’t see a contradiction in both being Mormon and questioning (even opposing) the teachings of the church leaders on some issues. Do you suggest that the leaders of the church are never wrong? That they are never missing an important element of truth that the Lord might reveal to another individual who is seriously seeking for the Lord’s truth? Even the church has (finally) renounced old theories on why blacks were denied the priesthood and suggested that the ban was never based on revelation. So if I’m alive in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, would you suggest that I just buy into the false doctrine that is being taught by church leaders past and present? Wouldn’t you agree that I would have a God-given mandate to seek out truth concerning the matter? From this example of how church leaders have been oh-so-wrong in the past, maybe you can begin to understand why so many of us question whether a male-only priesthood is really God’s will for us today. Or perhaps this adds some context to why so many of us are disturbed by the church’s crusade against marriage equality. Nowhere in my scriptures does it say that the administrative few have a monopoly on discovering God’s truth.

  2. 2 Eric Nielson June 26, 2015 at 11:32 am

    There are of course two ends of the spectrum here. One end is the extreme of infallibility, the other end is that the prophets and apostles are not lead by revelation at all.

    The irony here, is that those who oppose church leadership from within never seem to question their own fallibility.

    The example that you give comes from the recent church essays, that disavow explanations for the ban, yet also mention how David O. McKay felt a revelation to leave it alone. There was always the belief that blacks would eventually get the priesthood, only a matter of when.

    Individuals can of course seek out truth however they wish. Their behavior in doing so can have consequences. And they should humbly assert their own fallibility at least as much as that of authorized prophets and apostles. My sense is that many of them are not really seeking truth but forwarding their political opinions and self interests.

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