In an on-line discussion this evening I stated that I believed the LDS Church was true. A critic of our faith responded that I would quickly tire of him telling me that his sandwich was true. Another said I was arrogant.
I told this first fellow that his sandwich might be good, bad, average, gross, or extraordinary. But we don’t usually characterize things like sandwiches, apples, or bubblegum as true. True relates to something being valid, actual, based in reality, etc. So, sandwiches can’t be true. But churches, certain principles, and other discernible things can be true (or false).
I told the 2nd fellow — who called me an arrogant @%$ — that we don’t have to agree. We don’t have to agree on politics, sports, our interpretation of Science, or religion. But it is possible that my religious views are correct without my being arrogant or a jerk. Just as it’s possible my views on sports may be based in fact, and therefore I might be correct in my views on that topic. It simply isn’t true that to hold beliefs others disagree with makes you a bad or arrogant individual. One simply must look at the merits of the beliefs. Are they true beliefs? Based in fact?
I didn’t say people from the South Pole are always bad. That would make me a jerk and perhaps an @%$. Instead, I made a religious claim. I have many reasons for believing the way I do. He doesn’t. Fine. Our difference of opinion makes neither him nor me a jerk. We simply disagree. You’ll have to trust me that I was trying to be nice, thoughtful, and persuasive — and not arrogant — in a spirited discussion.
So, unlike claiming a sandwich is true, it is completely rational to say that the LDS Church is true. After all, I believe Joseph saw angels, had plates, translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, and restored the Gospel.
I shared w/ these critics a few synonyms for true (see below) that make the expression easier to handle in many cases. I personally don’t prefer the one-sentence answer: “The Church is true,” though the sentence itself is true. We might want to mix in other words such as accurate history, what really happened to Joseph and the witnesses, etc.
A view on authority: