Thursday, August 15, 2013

The _____________ is true.

I think that if you asked people who use the phrase, “the church is true” what that means, you’d get a wide range of answers, as they tried to put into words what they meant when they said it. It’s a phrase that is used for a variety of meanings (as well as when one is standing at the podium and simply feels a need to close his remarks and is looking for a familiar ending). And this causes problems.

So it’s interesting to look at “true” in LDS scriptural parlance:

Ether:4:11, You can know that a thing is “true” if it persuades men to do good.
Moroni 4:1, if a thing is being done according to the commandments of Christ then we can know that the way it is being done is “true”.
Moroni 10:6, if a thing is good and does not deny Christ, it is “true”
3 Nephi 8:1, if a thing is carefully done by a just, good and repentant man of faith, it is “true”.

So, by this Book of Mormon definition, everything about the church (or for that matter, any other organization) that persuades men to do good, that is done according to the commandments of Jesus, that is done with integrity by people who, though imperfect, are just, good, full of faith and repentant, and that is simply good and acknowledges Christ, is “true”. And there is a lot of that both in the church and in the rest of the world.

All of those things about the church would also fall into the category of “good”. “True”, by this definition, is not distinct from good. It is a subset of good.

Conversely, everything about the church (or any other entity) that doesn’t fit the above description, whether it is good or bad or inbetween, does not fit this Book of Mormon definition of “true”. (And there’s a fair amount of that both in the church and in the rest of the world as well.)