Can I ask you all something honestly? Why does the actual truth not matter one little bit to so many people? Let me give you one example that has troubled me for decades.
I live in Utah. I was raised as a Mormon, as was every kid in my neighborhood, which was the same as just about every other neighborhood in this entire religiously run state of ours. If ever there was a place where modern high-pressure dogma could be studied, and fascinating extreme subcultures could be scrutinized, this is the place (you’ll only get the humor of that last line if you, yourself, were ever a Mormon). At least it was up until the internet came around.
Growing up, we were taught that there was one, and exactly one truth that existed, and that the Mormons had the only God-granted grip on that truth. Yes, somehow in the world of six billion people at that time, the ten million or so Mormons were the only ones who had a real chance in the next life. Why? Because they had “the truth.”
I remember once a month, members of the congregation would stand up in front of everyone at church, on a volunteer basis, and declare (quite whole-heartedly) that they KNEW the church was the only true church, and that they KNEW a lot of other things about God and his plan for them, as well. It was a bit of a free-for-all for anyone and everyone to stand-up and make everyone else who had even the tiniest of doubts feel worthless and unworthy.
Doubting anything we were taught was a big no-no. Leaders of the church would tell us it was okay to ask questions, but it wasn’t okay to question anything we were taught from birth. We were told to blindly accept everything for what it was, pray to God for some unshakeable answer to know “beyond a shadow of a doubt” that it was all indeed true, and then encouraged to loudly share our newfound God-whispered truth to the entire world, whether they wanted to hear it or not.
We didn’t have the internet growing up. The real truth of the church’s history was actually pretty hard to come by. The world was so much smaller before the internet came along. Mormonism was, more or less, our entire world, and there wasn’t much truth available to us outside of what we were taught, which our parents were taught by their parents, and so on.
The internet came along and more or less fucked everything up for not just the Mormons, but for all dogmatic organizations. History began not only being scrutinized, but the results began being published and became increasingly more accessible to everyone on the planet. Almost overnight, the entire world got so much bigger for anyone who desired to learn.
As was true for most Mormons, we were taught a very simple story about the founding of the Mormon church. There was a 14-year-old kid named Joseph Smith who prayed to God one day out in the woods. God and Jesus appeared and told him all other churches were of the devil. God restored the true church and the actual priesthood to Joseph Smith. The devil wanted the church gone, so he sent mobs after Joseph Smith and the Mormons for no good reason. Joseph Smith died a truly holy martyr, who did more for the salvation of mankind than anyone in history, save Jesus alone. Mormons, please correct me if I got any of that wrong.
It was a beautiful story. We sang songs about it. We watched movies made by the church depicting it. We were taught church lesson after church lesson about it. There was a “truth” that the church wanted us to hear, and that was the only truth we ever received. Until, like I said, the internet went and fucked everything up.
Suddenly, very well documented actual truths about the founding of the church came to light and were made accessible to anyone curious enough to seek those truths out. Truths about the actual corruption and scandal surrounding the founder Joseph Smith were very solidly documented and made accessible to the public. Even truths about murderous massacres carried out by Mormons, the actual reasons for the constant mobs coming after Joseph Smith and his church leaders, accounts of rape, wife collecting, extremely conflicting published accounts from the founders themselves, and so much more… It all bubbled up to the surface.
I don’t really want to get into all that. That’s not what this blog post is about. I honestly could care less if you want to believe in a modern day prophet, or in nothing but a Big Bang. It’s your fucking life. Your life is your own. My life is my own. We all get to believe whatever the fuck we want. It’s one of the best parts of being human.
I have no interest in trying to convince any Mormon that their church is bullshit. I just want to know why to so many people, the truth (and I mean the actual truth) doesn’t seem to matter at all. Why does it not factor into what they believe? Why, in this day and age, when indisputable evidence of a very corrupt and controlling history of the church is so easily researched and proved, do so many people still refuse to even acknowledge that the actual truth even exists?
I don’t actually talk about the church with Mormons, but I do live in Utah. There are a lot of hurt ex-Mormons here, many of whom feel lied and betrayed to by those who were supposed to teach them what was right and true growing up. I constantly hear ex-Mormons get into it with believing Mormons, and I don’t know why they do it because those who still believe in the truthfulness of the church always seem to reply the exact same way…
“This is why the truth doesn’t matter.”
They don’t say those words, but they definitely say it. Over, and over, and over. It’s like a skipping record.
For some reason the truth… Actual documented history… Terrible events that transpired… Character witnesses… Legal documents and records… None of that shit matters. It’s as if a filter exists and anything that doesn’t agree with “the truth” that God was kind enough to plant in their hearts once upon a time just bounces right back out. They don’t absorb it at all. They don’t give even one spare corner of their minds to question anything.
They have a divine reason and an excuse for all of it. And I mean, all of it. There’s nothing you can throw in front of them that makes them even pause. They have canned answers no matter what information is presented to them… “God works in mysterious ways. God wants us to just have faith. These prophets who founded the church were fallible men and we should cut them some slack. Satan worked then and still works now to plant false seeds of doubt.” Or my favorite… The blank stare. Some people just tune completely out and refuse to acknowledge any discussion is going on at all.
Listen. I know it may feel that way, but this isn’t actually an anti-Mormon blog post. To all my close friends and family members who are still active Mormons, though I doubt you’ll ever read this because you all probably learned not to read my blogs long ago, I love you. Obviously. I think you’re some of the best people on Earth. Sincerely. I just want to know why the actual truth doesn’t matter to you? I do not give a shit if you like being Mormon and want to stay Mormon. It doesn’t affect my life. I honestly just want to know why you don’t want to know the actual truth about how it all started.
Mormons aren’t alone in this strange avoid-the-actual-truth phenomenon. It’s how humans are. Humans so often just fight to believe whatever fucking thing they were born into and taught was the truth their entire lives. I only use the Mormons as one example because (on a personal level) learning the truth I was taught and then accepting the actual and real truth once it was presented to me was such a profound part of my life.
Hey, I get it. To truly question what you’ve been taught is truth, and what you have believed for decades is truth… Well, it fucking sucks. It’s a bit of a disconcerting and dirty process. Who wants to believe that they’ve pissed away half of their life or more blindly believing in the wrong truths? Who wants to believe that their parents got such important things wrong? Who wants to stir the pot with their family and friends and social circles? Who wants to leave what’s comfortable for a world where they don’t know how to navigate their new truths at all?
But, come on. It’s truth we’re talking about. If you’re going to believe in something to be truth, no matter what that something is, don’t you want to know what the actual truth is that surrounds whatever it is you’re banking your entire life on?
I believe it is a true tragedy for any person to never fully question the life they were born into.
It’s not like you chose your life to begin with. Through absolutely no actions or decisions of your own, you were born into the family you were born into, and in the place your mother gave birth, and at the time in history you were born, and with whatever genetics you inherited, and into the beliefs of your parents and community. What the fuck did any of that have to do with you?
If billions of people were all born into something different… Isn’t that all the reason each person should need to say (at some point in their lives), “wow, this was the life I was handed. Now I want to see if it’s something I actually believe in and want for myself.”
If a person spends his entire life trying to prove to himself that he was serendipitously born into the only truth, and into the most honest life possible, and into something that should never be questioned, does that person have any actual right to claim that truth as their own? If they have never dissected it, and learned about it, and acknowledged the harder truths surrounding the life they inherited, can they ever truly take ownership of whatever truth they believe in for themselves? Until any person truly questions everything, their personal truth is always going to remain fraudulent.
Questioning the truths you have fought to believe your entire life is scary as hell, but fucking do it. For your own integrity, do it. Whether you continue to believe the same things after your questions have been honestly answered, or you change your beliefs entirely, you will never regret inserting integrity into what you believe. That was the truth for me, at least.
Dan Pearce | Dan Pearce Was Here