Tolerance

"We need more anti-Mormon books. They keep us on our toes." Hugh Nibley
I must say, I was due for an anti-Mormon experience. Can't seem to go more than a few weeks without one. I take it in good stride, especially since I'm in the process of sharing the gospel with someone who could really benefit from having faith in his life.

In one of my past posts, someone has recently left his version of the 95 Theses for Mormonism as a comment. With Hugh Nibley's words in mind, I responded in the best way I could. I didn't feel, though, that the matter was completely settled.

I'm not one to function by negatives. I don't want to hear what I'm not supposed to do. Rather, I deal in action. What am I supposed to do? How should I co-exist with members of other faiths, or even the atheists who view faith as a malady? How should I approach such a delicate issue, I asked myself after reading what this person had to say.

I found an interesting essay (yes, Sean, on FAIR) that I think illustrates perfectly what Christ-like tolerance is supposed to look like. The author, Daniel C. Peterson, recalls the story of a Lutheran bishop who suggested how to relate to others of different faiths. To quote Peterson, the Lutheran bishop broke down his perspective into 3 rules:
  1. "When you want to learn about a religion you should ask the adherents to that religion and not its enemies."
  2. "Don't compare your best with their worst."
  3. "Leave room for what he called 'holy envy.' "
Looking at this set of ideals, I'm impressed by the inter-faith relations that could be developed by such paradigms. Instead of entering a situation and thinking, "How can I convert this person to my perspective of my God?" think of what could be achieved if we thought "What can I learn from this person's faith, and what they're trying to accomplish with it?" By looking at faith instead of denomination, a more peaceful co-existence is possible. And I suggest co-existence because I find I get more respect from people when I follow principles of being open-minded as opposed to being judgmental. I've cultivated more credibility as a faithful Church member by following the Savior's example than I ever could be being pedantic and forceful of my own understanding in order to convert others. But of course, that's just me.

I would like to add, however, a rule of my own to the quoted set of three that I believe is also important, albeit subjective:

4. Take into account the spiritual witness that has been given to others.

Heavenly Father loves all of his children. He has blessed us all at one time or another, no matter what our circumstances might be. Just because someone is not a member of my church does not mean that they lack guidance from Our Father in Heaven. For example, my martial arts instructor has received what she and I both believe to be divine guidance from Heavenly Father about how to grow her business (long story for a different post.)

It would be wrong of me to undermine that spiritual witness in any way, because it isn't mine to interpret. I have my own witness that has led me to the path I'm on. She has her path that her witness has created for her. Neither of us are wrong; only obedient to what we have been given. And a lot of the time, personal witness is something that cannot be explained; the full effect is only reached with the person for whom it was intended. Therefore, we have no place to question what has been given to others because there is no way we could ever fully appreciate or understand what was meant for someone else.

Many people don't agree with me, but I believe that we will never live in John Lennon's world from his song "Imagine," nor do I want to envision it. "Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too" is about as scary as even a pretend society gets for me, because my religion is the means by which I've learned to be less violent. Religion is supposed to be a means of peace. But denomination is the real tool of Satan here. The adversary, I think, would have us believe that we MUST be separate to be right, to have us believe that to co-exist is impossible. But by co-existing, imagine the great things we could accomplish. If instead of trying to destroy faith because is doesn't have the right NAME on it, we could instead celebrate the faith we have when there is so little of it left in the world.

Just a suggestion.

Comments

Popular Posts