Mormon Stories 1840: Brittney Hartley on Nihilism

This is for encouragement, ideas, and support for people going through a faith transition no matter where you hope to end up. This is also the place to laugh, cry, and love together.
Post Reply
User avatar
Ghost
Posts: 425
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:40 pm

Mormon Stories 1840: Brittney Hartley on Nihilism

Post by Ghost » Fri May 10, 2024 9:53 am

https://www.mormonstories.org/portfolio ... mormonism/

I've been listening to Mormon Stories since it started (though not quite as much in recent years). As relatable as many of the episodes have been, I think this one comes closest to matching my thought processes as I've gone through a faith transition.

It's always been interesting to me to see that most people seem to stop questioning at a certain point. I've even heard people explicitly say that they had to stop, to continue functioning. This is understandable, but it didn't work for me.

There are many points you can stop at, of course. After deconstructing Mormonism, you can move on to Christianity, theism, objective meaning and morality, the concept of self, and so on. Or you can stop at any of those points and live your life, maybe holding on to an illusion that's more palatable than traditional Mormonism but is still very much an illusion.

In saying the above, I don't mean to make a statement about what's true and what's not. For all I know, traditional Mormonism is everything it claims to be (though I'd bet against that, and I guess I already have in practice). But the very concepts of knowledge and truth are on shaky ground along with everything else in my mind.

I've never considered myself "a nihilist," in part because that sounds kind of silly and in part because I don't reject the idea of meaning in the universe. I've just concluded that all meaning is made up and arbitrary and it's probably a random fluke that beings even exist that can invent meaning. But that doesn't mean the type of meaning we have is somehow invalid, because what would you even compare it to, to determine its validity? If it's what we have then it's what we have.

Like the interviewee, I found myself embracing absurdism when I encountered the concept because I don't know what else there is to do. I've generally seen these things as more of an interesting puzzle than debilitating and depressing realizations, though it's sure been disappointing to see some of the layers fall away and conclude that there's likely nothing at the center. For me, this hits hardest whenever someone I know dies (and I guess I've reached the age where this happens with some regularity and will only accelerate).

Also like the interviewee, I mostly avoid talking about such things with anyone. I don't particularly want to "infect" anyone with similar thoughts who might not arrive there on their own. Especially since it can lead to a very bad place for some, as it seemed to at some points for Hartley. Let others be content with pointing out flaws in Mormonism and move on without looking deeper, for example, if that's what works for them.

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 7156
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Mormon Stories 1840: Brittney Hartley on Nihilism

Post by Hagoth » Sun May 12, 2024 9:45 am

Ghost wrote:
Fri May 10, 2024 9:53 am
... though it's sure been disappointing to see some of the layers fall away and conclude that there's likely nothing at the center. .
What's at the center is the outside!

Thanks for directing us to this episode, Ghost. I will check it out.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 4161
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Mormon Stories 1840: Brittney Hartley on Nihilism

Post by Red Ryder » Mon May 13, 2024 10:39 am

This was a great episode.

Thanks for the recommendation.
“It always devolves to Pantaloons. Always.” ~ Fluffy

“I switched baristas” ~ Lady Gaga

“Those who do not move do not notice their chains.” ~Rosa Luxemburg

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 76 guests