False Dichotomies: The worst our church has to offer?

John Dehlin Mormon, Mormon Stories

My sister just pointed me to this article by Joseph Fielding McConkie entitled: “Two Churches Only”.

While I can’t argue technically or doctrinally with anything Bro. McConkie writes, I have always felt that this type of “false dichotomy” represents the worst thinking and teaching our church has to offer.

For some reason it reminds me of the immature college football player who runs up to the camera on New Year’s Day after scoring a touchdown and shouts “We’re number 1” with his index finger thrust forward….or the rabid fan that shouts “You all suck” to the opponents as they run onto the playing field at the beginning of the game.

I know this is strong language for me to use….but I belive that Brother McConkie’s article represents the worst writing and thinking our church has to offer the world today. What does it say about God that He would create “one true church”, and then only allow 1/2 of 1% of His children to have access to it within their lifetimes? There must be more to the eternal plan than this, or frankly, God isn’t the type of god I’m interested in worshipping. It MUST be that God has incorporated other faiths into His overall plan in some meaningful, important way–that makes calling them all an “abomination” or “of the devil” not quite accurate…and even sickeningly wrong and disrespectful.

I know the scriptures easily support Brother McConkie’s interpretation…but the scriptures leave open LOTS of room for intepretations that may not necessarily be righteous (killing is ok at times, wine is ok, multiple wives is both good and bad, women should keep silent in the church, etc.). (On the video clip, fast forward to time code 9:00 for the fast version)

To me, the plan is much broader, and much nobler than what Brother McConkie outlines in this article. To me, this type of writing only engenders pride, and complacency, and arrogance on the part of members….and does NOTHING to help bring people closer to our church.

A wise man once said that “Not all things that are true are useful”. While I’m not sure I’d apply this to the way we teach church history, I’d certainly apply it to this notion of “Two churches–the one and only true franchise vs. the Church of Satan”–and I guess I’d even question whether it’s really true. God is smarter, and more loving than this oversimplified dichotomy.

Just my opinion.

John Dehlin