Moral relativism

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
User avatar
Emower
Posts: 1017
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 10:35 pm
Location: Carson City

Moral relativism

Post by Emower » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:23 am

I know this is a topic that gets beat like a dead horse around here, but I am disgusted this morning by the complete inability of the church leaders to have a spine and stand for truth. Moral relativism is something that is righteously denounced in the church's public speeches and attitudes. Behind closed doors however it is rampant and encouraged. I just listened to consiglieri's latest podcast and I was struck by the following quote from Oaks that I had never heard before:
"Some things that are true are not edifying or appropriate to communicate. Readers of history and biography should ponder that moral reality as part of their effort to understand the significance of what they read.”
Oaks, “Reading Church History,” Ninth Annual Church Educational System Religious Educators’ Symposium, August 16, 1985, Brigham Young University, I placed the underlining.

Wow, this coming from our resident state supreme court justice who champions truth in all other facets. Here is another quote:
"This philosophy of moral relativism denies what millions of believing Christians, Jews, and Muslims consider fundamental, and this denial creates serious problems for all of us"

---Oaks, Balancing Truth and Tolerance. lds.org

True that Dallin, true that and you are now dealing with your serious problems in the form of me leaving the church and thinking that you are an utter douchebag.

The other funny thing is that the latter quote is easily found, the former is one you have to really dig for and is found on a non-lds website.
http://www.scottwoodward.org/Talks/html ... story.html

We are all familiar with quotes from different authorities that dont match up with what they teach publicly (I'm looking at you Boyd), what is your favorite one? This one from Oaks might be my favorite.

User avatar
moksha
Posts: 2781
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:22 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by moksha » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:05 am

This advice could be summarized into a shortened synopsis.
Stand by what we say, even though you know it to be false until we tell you otherwise. Put your evaluative skills on hold while discussing Church matters.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Palerider » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:49 am

Emower wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:23 am

"Some things that are true are not edifying or appropriate to communicate. Readers of history and biography should ponder that moral reality as part of their effort to understand the significance of what they read.”
I can only say to Mr. Oaks, that truth brings light no matter how painful it is to face. The more light the better will be our decision making process. And if those truths lead us to disavow the Restoration story, aren't we better off knowing rather than living in a fantasy?

No one has to discard the good things in Mormonism......and the bad things ought to be.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 3641
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Hagoth » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:12 pm

The only definition of moral relativism I know would have to take into account things like:

-Sometimes polygamy is essential to your salvation, but sometimes it is cause for excommunication.

-Sometimes black people are barred from blessings because of premortal sin, bit sometimes we are all equally deserving.

-Sometimes God wants all children to share in his gospel, but sometimes we can't admit them because of their parents' choice of spouse..

-Sometimes prophets will never lead us astray, but sometimes they do.

-Sometimes we seek after the truth, but sometimes the truth isn't useful.

Or am I missing the entire concept?
“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
FiveFingerMnemonic
Posts: 1325
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:50 pm
Contact:

Re: Moral relativism

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:36 pm

I laugh at this because Nephi cutting off Laban's head is the most blatant and obvious example of moral relativism ever.

User avatar
Ghost
Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Oct 25, 2016 11:40 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Ghost » Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:28 pm

Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 255-256 wrote: Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. But we cannot keep all the commandments without first knowing them, and we cannot expect to know all, or more than we now know unless we comply with or keep those we have already received. That which is wrong under one circumstance, may be, and often is, right under another.

God said, "Thou shalt not kill;" at another time He said, "Thou shalt utterly destroy." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted—by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God requires is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.
This is often quoted in LDS talks and writings (the first part, at least), but for some reason no one ever mentions that it's apparently from Joseph's letter to Nancy Rigdon. It makes a pretty strong case for moral relativism being a part of LDS theology. At least from human perspective.

As attractive as an objective morality is, I think it's difficult to maintain within Mormonism (or at all, for that matter). But, of course, if you want to argue for it you can always find things such as "God would cease to be God." in Alma 42.

User avatar
LSOF
Posts: 216
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 2:16 pm
Location: Mare Tranquilitatis
Contact:

Re: Moral relativism

Post by LSOF » Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:00 pm

"What is wrong under one circumstance, can be, and often is, right under another."
--- Joseph Smith, Junior

EDIT: Ghost got to it first.
"I appreciate your flesh needs to martyr me." Parture

"There is no contradiction between faith and science --- true science." Dr Zaius

Pastor, Lunar Society of Friends; CEO, Faithful Origins and Ontology League

User avatar
Corsair
Posts: 2740
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 9:58 am
Location: Phoenix

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Corsair » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:03 pm

FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:36 pm
I laugh at this because Nephi cutting off Laban's head is the most blatant and obvious example of moral relativism ever.
One of the excuses that I have heard about this incident is that the killing of Laban worked within the framework of Middle Eastern culture, even up to today. This has several glaring problems. First, this excuse definitely makes it moral relativism. Second, this explains far too much about the conflict in the Middle East that extends back thousands of years. Third, it simply does not teach the New Testament style message of Jesus. It's ironic considering the Christology that is evident in the rest of the book.

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Palerider » Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:50 pm

Corsair wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:03 pm
FiveFingerMnemonic wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:36 pm
I laugh at this because Nephi cutting off Laban's head is the most blatant and obvious example of moral relativism ever.
One of the excuses that I have heard about this incident is that the killing of Laban worked within the framework of Middle Eastern culture, even up to today. This has several glaring problems. First, this excuse definitely makes it moral relativism. Second, this explains far too much about the conflict in the Middle East that extends back thousands of years. Third, it simply does not teach the New Testament style message of Jesus. It's ironic considering the Christology that is evident in the rest of the book.

But it does add an important element of sensationalism. Something that every good novel needs to keep things interesting. You know, like having one's head cut of and then crawling around headless, gurgling for a few minutes before expiring, which we all know is impossible but makes for an imaginative mental picture....... :roll:

Just when was the Legend of Sleepy Hollow written anyway???

ETA: Sleepy Hollow was first published in 1820...how convenient... ;)
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by deacon blues » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:45 am

Joseph Smith's relativism: "Whatever I tell you is God's will." This sums up the cultic origin of the church that everyone in our culture still has to figure out how to deal with.
God is Love. God is Truth

User avatar
deacon blues
Posts: 1191
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:37 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by deacon blues » Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:07 pm

I want to resurrect this thread because I've been listening to "Nancy Rigdon and the Happiness Letter" by Bill Reel, Jonathan Streeter, and Chris Smith, on "Mormon discussions. It's a long podcast, but it really get to the point at about 77:00 minutes in. These guys expose Joseph Smith's (and the Church's) moral relativism for what it really is. When I think of the justification for the murder of Laban in the BOM, I'm reminded of just how central this doctrine is, and when I listen to the "Happiness Letter" podcast I realize how insidiously Joseph used this doctrine to justify anything and everything he did.
Pres. Nelson and Oaks uses this same doctrine- "We speak for God" - just as perfidiously.
God is Love. God is Truth

Keewon
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:01 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Keewon » Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:31 pm

One big step forward in my transformation from believer to non-believer was the realization that morality is just as real, just as empirically true and valid, without religion as with it. In fact, any attempt to describe just why God is good without acknowledging that he is good (if he exists at all) because he does certain things and does not do others, just as we are good if we do certain things and refrain from others, falls apart logically.

There is a standard, and that standard derives from the fact that we know happiness and sorrow, joy and pain. Others value their lives just as we value our lives. Treating others as we wish them to treat us is the basis of morality, with or without religion. It doesn't take the idea of eternity or an absolute Judge over all for this all to make sense.

In fact, sometimes religion gets in the way. As Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg said, "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion."

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Palerider » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:04 pm

Accidental post. :roll:
Last edited by Palerider on Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Apologeticsislying
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Apologeticsislying » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:05 pm

Keewon wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 8:31 pm
One big step forward in my transformation from believer to non-believer was the realization that morality is just as real, just as empirically true and valid, without religion as with it. In fact, any attempt to describe just why God is good without acknowledging that he is good (if he exists at all) because he does certain things and does not do others, just as we are good if we do certain things and refrain from others, falls apart logically.

There is a standard, and that standard derives from the fact that we know happiness and sorrow, joy and pain. Others value their lives just as we value our lives. Treating others as we wish them to treat us is the basis of morality, with or without religion. It doesn't take the idea of eternity or an absolute Judge over all for this all to make sense.

In fact, sometimes religion gets in the way. As Nobel laureate physicist Steven Weinberg said, "With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil - that takes religion."
Richard Carrier's book "Why I Am Not a Christian" is extremely powerful on the idea of God and how a loving God would be, if there were such a creature. It is the basic lack of love in the universe that demonstrates God, as proposed, does not exist. It is a stunning argument, and very simply put in just a dozen pages, with several really down to earth excellent examples! You will like it.
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Palerider » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:07 pm

"Some things that are true are not edifying or appropriate to communicate.
Oaks is trying to equate serious flaws, even deceptions in the historical narrative to insignificant character idiosyncrasies that church leadership may have had.

He is right in the sense that I shouldn't care whether Joseph Smith passed gas in public. It isn't critical to the historical record of his presumed accomplishments. It only tells us that he was "human" which we already know and accept.

But as an example, the evolving, changing and numerous accounts of the first vision indicate something much more serious has been withheld from those seeking the truth about Joseph's claims. That issue raises numerous questions regarding Joseph's integrity and church leadership's honesty. The differing accounts have direct bearing on our understanding of who Joseph really was compared to the leadership-built legend of who they want you to believe him to be.

Oaks is using the false "moral reality" of there being a greater good to which some insignificant truths should be sacrificed. But that "greater good" is exactly what is in question here. Is it truly a greater good that was accomplished by Joseph or is it a facade which he created for his own benefit?

We must know the pertinent truth to make an accurate evaluation. And we must not be shamed into not seeking the truth by those who would prefer it stayed covered.

Things that are swept under the rug do eventually stink.
Last edited by Palerider on Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Apologeticsislying
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Apologeticsislying » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:10 pm

Hagoth wrote:
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:12 pm
The only definition of moral relativism I know would have to take into account things like:

-Sometimes polygamy is essential to your salvation, but sometimes it is cause for excommunication.

-Sometimes black people are barred from blessings because of premortal sin, bit sometimes we are all equally deserving.

-Sometimes God wants all children to share in his gospel, but sometimes we can't admit them because of their parents' choice of spouse..

-Sometimes prophets will never lead us astray, but sometimes they do.

-Sometimes we seek after the truth, but sometimes the truth isn't useful.

Or am I missing the entire concept?
In Mormonism, absolutely pure truth can be changed and downgraded to a man's mere opinion. Truth is never final. Revelation never gives objective actuality, but only relative truth, and only for a time, larger or smaller, and then it can be discarded. Absolute truth in Mormonism can be warped through the human receiving it, so that it is not given to the rest of the world as God intended it, but God never tries again to get it right, but allows the taint of human fallibility to warp the original important truth for exaltation. In Mormonism, God the all powerful who created the entire universe, cannot help fallen man enough to grasp and be able to communicate his truth without distorting it. God is *unable* or else *unwilling* to improve his own pinnacle of creation in order to get truth to the world. ***Let that sink in.***
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 1637
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Palerider » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:13 pm

Accidental post...I'm too tired to be doing this right now. :|
Last edited by Palerider on Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

Apologeticsislying
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Apologeticsislying » Wed Oct 16, 2019 9:20 pm

deacon blues wrote:
Wed Oct 16, 2019 12:07 pm
I want to resurrect this thread because I've been listening to "Nancy Rigdon and the Happiness Letter" by Bill Reel, Jonathan Streeter, and Chris Smith, on "Mormon discussions. It's a long podcast, but it really get to the point at about 77:00 minutes in. These guys expose Joseph Smith's (and the Church's) moral relativism for what it really is. When I think of the justification for the murder of Laban in the BOM, I'm reminded of just how central this doctrine is, and when I listen to the "Happiness Letter" podcast I realize how insidiously Joseph used this doctrine to justify anything and everything he did.
Pres. Nelson and Oaks uses this same doctrine- "We speak for God" - just as perfidiously.
Link? I really want to listen to it too!
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

Keewon
Posts: 78
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:01 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Keewon » Wed Oct 16, 2019 11:02 pm

Palerider wrote:Accidental post...I'm too tired to be doing this right now. :|
'Sokay, Pale. Get a good night's rest and try again in the morning. :)

Apologeticsislying
Posts: 164
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 8:18 pm

Re: Moral relativism

Post by Apologeticsislying » Thu Oct 17, 2019 12:17 am

I just listened to this entire podcast tonight.....I am stunned. This is the shelf breaker. This is the most intense, honest analysis of historical detective work I have ever experienced in early Mormon history. It is all a travesty and manipulation. Good Lord, we have been duped ladies and gents. The game is over. It's fake. It is genuinely, all.........f.a.k.e.
The same energy that emerges from the fountain of eternity into time, is the Holy Grail at the center of the universe of the inexhaustible vitality in each of our hearts. The Holy Grail, like the Kingdom of God, is within. -Joseph Campbell-

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests