It’s book club time! How I have been looking forward to this.
On Fridays for the next month, we’ll be discussing The Crucible of Doubt by Terryl and Fiona Givens. Up today: the introduction, chapter 1, and chapter 2.*
A reminder: the main event here in this book club is not my posts about the book, but your thoughts, and especially the contributions of our featured commenters Sam Brown, Robert Couch, Kristine Haglund, Heather Hardy, Emily Jensen, Brandt Malone, Mitch Mayne, Rosalynde Welch, and Dan Wotherspoon.
Since the conversation is most the important thing here, I’ll be editing or deleting comments that are insulting or just wildly off-topic.
This is going to be a safe place to talk about doubt. No accusations or counter-accusations. It’s fine to discuss uncomfortable or difficult questions you have about the Church, but please use “I statements” and remember we’re all in this journey together.
To get our conversation started, I wanted to post a short, rather amazing quote from the book and then some discussion questions.
. . . . true religion is inseparable from suffering. It tells us the truth about the human condition without flinching, offers no cheap solutions, and conceals none of the costly price . . . . We feel unmoored if our religion fails to answer all our questions, if it does not resolve our anxious fears, if it does not tie up all loose ends. We want a script, and we find we stand before a blank canvas . . . Perhaps we would do better if we came to understand the fundamental incompleteness of the blueprint as something other than a defect, a failure. It is the way it must be, and the way it should be. (pp. 31-32)
So, with that in mind:
- Does the LDS Church encourage us to be comfortable with loose ends, or does it perhaps overemphasize the idea that “real” faith will eventually culminate in perfect knowledge?
- What are the questions or doubts you still have about Mormonism, and how comfortable are you with the possibility that you may never get an answer?
- How far can logic take us in evaluating the truth claims of the Church?
- How much inaccuracy can you personally accept in LDS history, theology, or scripture, believing that “different ways of knowing” point overall to the LDS message being beautiful or inspiring?
- What do you think of the assertion that “true religion is inseparable from suffering”? (p. 31)
P.S. For next Friday, we’ll read chapter 3 on the role & function of the Church and chapter 4 on the use and abuse of Scripture. That’s about 20 pages, all together.
* My apologies to all the eNerds out there who are reading this on the Kindle or another device — I used the print page numbers last week when I gave out the reading assignment. From now on I’ll just use the chapter numbers and titles, which are universal.
All the posts in this series on doubt:
- Kickoff here: Mormon doubts? Let’s talk about them
- Chapters 1 & 2 discussion here: How do Mormons deal with doubt?
- Chapters 2 & 4 here: “I know the Church is true” and other Mormon muddles
- Chapters 5 & 6 here: The dangers of idolizing Mormon prophets
- Chapters 7 & 8 here: Mormonism as “the only true and living church”
- Chapters 9 to 11 here: Staying Mormon when God is silent