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I’m Tired

by Sophia L. Stone

Yes, it’s true. I’m just plain tired of talking about Mormonism and reacting to what Mormon leaders say about those of us who no longer believe. 

I had planned to satire the conference talks of Elder Cook, Elder Holland, and Elder Oaks in the coming weeks. But today, I find that I just don’t have the energy. Why try so hard to point out what is obvious to pretty much everyone that isn’t Mormon? Why spend so much time on a sophisticated rebuttal to a few speeches that lack basic logic and common sense? Is it just because these men don’t see it? Or does it have to do with power?

Would I really care about rebutting them if they had no power over my believing family?

Probably not.

So I’ve come up with a compromise. Instead of using satire to point out what is blatantly obvious to me, I’m going to show that Mormonism’s critics aren’t the only ones who take quotes out of context. I mean, listening to these words by Elder Cook, you’d think it’s a phenomenon limited to the church’s evil detractors:

Many who are in a spiritual drought and lack commitment have not necessarily been involved in major sins or transgressions, but they have made unwise choices. Some are casual in their observance of sacred covenants. Others spend most of their time giving first-class devotion to lesser causes. Some allow intense cultural or political views to weaken their allegiance to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some have immersed themselves in Internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and, in some cases, invent shortcomings of early Church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed.

This is the part where I’m aching to point out that drawing conclusions before you’ve looked at the evidence is circular logic. And that labeling people immoral who think differently than you is reminiscent of George Orwell’s 1984. But since I’m trying to be nice today, I’ll cut to the chase and quote the part of Elder Cook’s talk that is a misrepresentation of a respected historical figure. 

C. S. Lewis, the striving, pragmatic Christian writer, poignantly framed the issue. He asserted that Christianity tells people to repent and promises them forgiveness; but until people know and feel they need forgiveness, Christianity does not speak to them. He stated, “When you know you are sick, you will listen to the doctor.”

This quote is located almost directly after Elder Cook makes it clear that if we read church history and come to different conclusions than he does, we need to “repent and be spiritually renewed.” I guess that means C.S. Lewis agrees that it’s a sin to stray from the restored gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in its fullness through the prophet Joseph Smith.

What. Wait? You mean C.S. Lewis wasn’t Mormon?

Nope. He was Anglican when he wrote The Tales of Narnia and The Screw Tape Letters. And this is what he wrote to a lady in Salt Lake City while he was alive: 

"I am afraid I am not going to be much help about all the religious bodies mentioned in your letter of March 2nd. I have always in my books been concerned simply to put forward "mere" Christianity, and am no guide on these (most regrettable) "interdenominational" questions. I do however strongly object to the tyrannic and unscriptural insolence of anything that calls itself a Church and makes teetotalism a condition of membership."

It is believed that Lewis is referring to the "Word of Wisdom" with the word “teetotalism.” And while I wouldn’t call that irrefutable proof that Lewis wouldn’t have joined the church if missionaries had knocked on his door, there is plenty of evidence that the Christianity C.S. Lewis believed in and the Christianity Mormons adhere to are incongruent. 

For a detailed analysis, click here.

Sophia L. Stone is the author of Mormon Diaries. She's a seeker, learner, reader, and nature Lover. If you're on twitter, you can ask her any question about Mormonism @ask_a_mormon


lifelongguy said...

Cross posting. Good stuff!

Anonymous said...

Cool, I just saw that this got posted. Thanks, Steph. :-)

Martin Jacobs said...

"... the Christianity C.S. Lewis believed in and the Christianity Mormons adhere to are incongruent."

Thank you for the honest analysis.

I am an (English) Anglican, and if I understand C S Lewis and Mormonism correctly, the word I would use would be much more forceful than "incongruent".

You could start with our insistence of worshipping Jesus Christ as fully and wholly God, and fully and wholly man, per the opening chapter of John's Gospel. Or, you could contrast Lewis' deliberate avoidance of "interdenominational" questions with the LDS movement's claim to be the One True Church.

In any case, I like your point; why would Elder Cook quote an opponent to support his own position?

The first answer that comes to my mind is that Cook is leveraging Lewis' popularity to further his own agenda. However, I think he has chosen a poor running-mate for this particular campaign.

Angela Felsted said...

Martin Jacobs: I agree with you.

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