I hate those words.
When I hear an LDS person respond to a question of doctrine with the words, “I think…,” I want to scream out, “Who cares what you think. What does the Lord think?”
Does this seem unkind, uncharitable, and/or unloving? Let’s back up.
For 40-some years I competed for air time to offer up my opinions about the gospel. Isn’t that what the LDS church encouraged? It has several benefits:
- Feeling included in the fellowship (feeling loved, appreciated, belonging, etc).
- A barrier free chance to participate
- Gospel knowledge
- Educational attainment
- Language fluency
- Avoids thorny doctrinal questions/discussions/diversions.
- Allows the 15 million member herd to move at the pace of the slowest animal.
- Confirms and strengthens personal and group biases.
- This post is not about confirmation bias / group bias or the like, but it is certainly of value to understand some of the latest research on human group interaction and how it influences our biases.
What it doesn’t do is encourage or develop a mastery of scripture. It is inherently superficial. It is like surfing across the top of deep doctrine while pretending to have explored its depths. Said differently, it inspires laziness. As long as you can tell a good story, you have arrived; you are in. Additionally, it incidentally inspires unbeliefs and the doctrines of men (e.g., embellishments, false doctrines, substitutions, faith promoting fantasies, religious urban legends), a general apathy towards understanding the things of God, and related avoidance to seeking after the mysteries of God. Instead, it inspires a reliance on others to provide interpretation and direction (generally whipped into gospel froth).
In short, it makes us feel good, but it is evil. We spend so much time and effort getting to know and love each other that we forget that we are supposed to be getting to know and love God. Shouldn’t we do both simultaneously (see Matthew 23:23)?
So, next time you are in my presence, instead of saying, “Well, I think…,” say instead, “This scripture seems to apply….” You can be one of those people that I hold in the highest esteem. You can thus encourage me to do better, to be better. We can build together “an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22)