Some people are able to reconcile the difficult issues & still believe the Church is true despite all the historical, anthropological, scientific, linguistic, archaeological & psychological evidence to the contrary.
I think I must think differently now!
I understand the whole concept of milk before meat. I served a full-time mission for the Church, served in Stake Mission & Young Mens Presidencies, Ward Mission Leader, amongst many other callings & finally as a Bishop for nearly seven years. I agree that in order to nurture a fledgling testimony of ‘the Gospel’ one has to gently introduce deeper & deeper doctrine, or it could overwhelm the young Latter-day Saint or new convert. It’s all about reinforcing a mind-set, or thought processes in stages.
The Church General Authorities continually counsel the membership to strengthen their testimonies.
But the same is true of every irrational superstitious belief system. Lots of Church doctrines, beliefs and practices are completely ‘irrational’ compared to other areas of life. We may not like the use of the term ‘irrational’, but it is not rational in the normal every day sense. Another word to describe religious beliefs would be ‘supernatural’, as opposed to what we experience in the ‘natural’ world.
I use the word superstitious because that is what they are. There are religious & secular superstitious beliefs, all of which have no grounding in the natural world environment, but are based on feelings and beliefs without rational scientific basis.
If Church beliefs, doctrines & practices are seen from the context of being irrational & superstitious, and based on the supernatural, then I completely agree that it takes a while to accommodate one’s mind to this, & so agree that milk before meat, with frequent, regular reinforcement is absolutely vital.
Frequent prayer, scripture study, Church attendance, Temple worship etc is to be encouraged to keep the beliefs alive.
The scripture of Paul to the Hebrews is absolutely true when he says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen!”
I too was under the delusion that my faith was stronger because I didn’t ‘see’ the evidence.
But what we’re talking about is believing in something despite all the rational, scientific evidence to the contrary!
Basing our belief in something because it ‘feels right’!
It means taking the principle of ‘conformational bias’ to its extreme & burying our heads in the sand.
If there is a God, then He gave me a brain to use. He gave me a brain to think rationally & look for all the evidence rather than ignoring it when presented to me.
I believe most people, if not everyone, feels ‘inspiration’ from time to time, if not constantly.
I certainly did as a Church member & especially whilst serving as a Bishop.
I interpreted that ‘inspiration’ as revelation from God.
What I have surprisingly discovered since becoming a secular humanist & scientific naturalist (agnostic athiest), is that the ‘inspiration’ I used to receive has continued. In fact increasingly so!
In that sense I feel like the feelings of the ‘Spirit’ have actually continued. But I now realise their source is not God, but me! My wonderful sub-conscious mind which continually inspires & reveals things to my conscious mind on an ever increasing regularity.
But realising the source of these ‘feelings’ I can better interpret their veracity & truth. I realise they are just one fallible means of learning about something, which should be teamed up with rational reason & logic as well as scientific evidence, before coming to decisions.
If you’ve ever discussed your own irrational superstitious beliefs with a believer in another faith system who has their own irrational superstitious beliefs then you’ll realise, like I did that no-one wins.
Reasoning with irrationality is futile!
My current campaign is to encourage rational thought.