Believers and Knowers

I had several opportunities this past week to share my beliefs with others, not that they were interested in conversion (in fact, they were blatantly opposed to it), they were simply curious and interested.
Doing so reminded me of how much I believe in the basic tenets of Mormonism, even when my perception of some of them may differ from the majority of members. I also am convinced of the power for good that Mormonism has been in my life. As I thought about this, I realized that what binds us together is greater than what tears us apart.
Of course, this thought was put to the test at Church, when the high councilman taught in Elder’s Quorum from a fundamentally different perspective than I have, leading to some challenging phrases and ideas. As I was sitting there thinking that my ideas are better/more accurate/deeper/etc. I realized that I was unfairly judging his spirituality and that of countless other Mormons in exactly the same way that I have been unfairly judged by some who think differently than me (read: almost everyone).
So I decided that I should develop a Pros and Cons list for these two generalized groups of thinking, for a two fold purpose: first, to humble me and allow me to see the dangers and problems within my own framework and second, to build respect for the opposite view, so that I can better interact and relate to those that don’t question everything like I do.
Those that Believe (The Skeptics)
Able to respond to questions and doubts of others
Relate more easily to LAs, PostMos and ProgMos
Aloof and disengaged
Nuanced faith
Loner mentality- outside the community
Able to blend historical facts with their faith
Easily disaffected
Always thirsting for more knowledge
Difficult to be Orthodox/Orthoprax
Think critically to help push the Church to better places
Tendency to tear down and not build up
Like to point out the flaws in others arguments
Those that Know (The TBMs)
Tendency to compartmentalize
Frustrated by/with those that doubt
Satisfied with the basics, standard narratives
Blame doubting on sin or a desire to sin
Not worried about past or future cultural/historical changes- if it happens, it happens
Can be destroyed by newfound knowledge that shatters their worldview
Steady and unwavering
Contempt for learning from uncorrelated sources
Commit immediately to new assignments/responsibilities
May inadvertently offend those of other faith traditions
Want everyone to feel their uncomplicated joy
Difficult to relate to “Those that Believe”
We need both sides to work together to create the Zion, Christ-like Community that is necessary for salvation. It can be hard to understand and relate to those that don’t share the same basic framework for viewing the world, but hopefully this gives a bit of insight.
I still struggle tempering my critical nature and holding myself back from showing off my “shiny pin of skepticism” (to borrow a phrase from Bruce C. Hafen), as well as recognizing that it’s ok to not ask the questions that I ask.

There are many ways to grow faith and increase spirituality, just like people feel the spirit in different ways, they are challenged and learn in different ways. For me that involves hours of pondering and thinking, asking questions and searching for answers, usually only to find more questions. Others may not learn or grow this way and I need to accept that, as hard as it can be to wrap my mind around someone simply not caring one way or the other about women’s ordination, claiming the end result makes no difference to them.
Ultimately, both sides are grounded in spiritual gifts- one, the gift to know and the other, the gift to believe on the words of those that know. If God sees both as a gift, why can’t we?

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