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.)

4 comments:

Margrethe said...

I know what you said is the only true and living truth with every fiber of my being :)

Snowy Mornings said...

ha!

Hsquared2 said...

It is interesting how our use and the evolution of language clouds (or sometimes helps) God's communication with us. I've always understood the connotation of "true" in english to mean "truth."

The word in spanish is "verdadero" which has a different use in the vernacular of chileans at least. Verdadero was much more commonly understood as "real." This is closer to what I think scriptural meaning is.

But of course, the use of "verdadero" in testimonies is often followed by the clarifying phrase "de Jesucristo" which takes some of the guesswork out of it all and implies something different than just "verdadero" standing alone.

BrieAnn said...

The true/real comment made me smile. When I had an especially bitter chip on my shoulder (I'm glad I've moved beyond that stage), and someone would say anything about the church/BOM being true, and maybe more so when "only" preceded true, I couldn't help but think true meant real/tangible (super survival mode). It led to snarky thoughts like, "Well of course it's true/real, otherwise everyone in this room would just be a figment of your imagination" or "I've been in many other churches that are just as true/real as this one."

I like the modifier "of Jesus Christ." I think emotional declarations of "truth" would mean much more to me if that was stated along with them.