A New Take on Fundamentalism, Faith and Curiosity — Or….Does Mormonism Inspire Curiosity?

February 8, 2008
By

How does this apply to Mormonism?

  • Does Mormon culture encourage, or discourage curiosity?
  • Does the LDS church leadership encourage, or discourage curiosity?
  • Is the average Mormon curious?
  • Is the average Bloggernacler curious?

Tags:

  • David

    Does Mormon culture encourage, or discourage curiosity?

    It absolutely discourages it. Mormon culture values above all things stability, conservatism, and obedience. These are anathema to curiosity.

    Does the LDS church leadership encourage, or discourage curiosity?

    When it comes to curiosity about LDS culture and history they discourage it strongly. When it comes to curiosity in general I think you have to evaluate it on a case by case basis. However, since church leadership is embedded in its own culture, the vast majority will end up simply going along with the culture.

    Is the average Mormon curious? No, but neither is the average non-Mormon.

    Is the average Bloggernacler curious? More than Mormon culture but still I would venture that the majority is not curious. I think the average bloggernaccler sometimes curious but eventually most get snapped back into Mormon culture. It takes a lot of personal strength to continually swim against the current. Most I think just give up on trying to do so after their strength is spent. A very small minority give up and look for other currents to swim in.

    I know someone is going to say this, but high Mormon education rates and high rates of post bachelor level studies do not contradict what I am saying. Education does not mean curious.

  • Carlos

    Cool clip. These clips are the best thing about mormonmatters, in my humble opinion.

    Made me re-think. I’ve always considered myself as a ‘mormon fundamentalist’ in the doctrinal sense but this clip made think again. Because I don’t look at a fact and ask first ‘does it match my church’ before exploring it. I’m more curious about the fact and then decide if I accept it, as in the gay question.

    But I see over and over that if I say that gayness is a sin, after considering what it’s about, the liberals in the church ,and especially outside, will call me ‘fundamentalist’ & ‘brainwashed’ anyway. It’s a kind of reversed discrimination going on with this issue especially.

    ………………………………

    About those questions: Mormon culture and its leaders definitely encourage curiosity because it all starts with the ‘if ye lack understand ask of God’ and continues in every class and personal study time. But then they draw a line by teaching about ‘light and truth’. What it discourages, and leaders do especially, is in the member telling everyone else what their beliefs are when those beliefs are contrary to what old Joseph and now new Monson believes. It discourages ‘public dissent’ through this exploring an of issue and then reaching a decision which is then set in stone -until the apostles change the stone off course.

    The average Mormon is curious but they have found most of the ‘religion’ answers.

    The bloggernacler? they claim to be curious but also have some censorship up and running. I ran into these elsewhere were if one doesn’t agree with them on 90% of the issues then your comments are deleted. In that environment it is only a select few who are allowed to be curious.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    The more outspoken church leadership discourages curiosity. The culture is not one of self-exploration, but rather that curiosity is manifest by leaders inquiring of the Lord for their stewardship and then giving the answer to the people. We could debate about whether this a cultural thing, or a shifting of early philosophy by modern leaders, or if it is the way it truly should be according to Mormon doctrine. I’m just saying that seems to be the way average LDS folks treat it.

    I think a lot of bloggernacle types who think they are curious (in Seth Godin’s definition) but are probably not as curious as they believe. Perhaps all of us would like to believe we are more curious than we really are. But we do that with every attribute we see as positive.

  • John Nilsson

    Mormonism began with a question. That question probably already had an answer in Joseph’s mind, but he wanted to seek confirmation of it.

    Thus, the ideal Mormon is curious, but accepts Joseph’s answer as a starting point. I think Church leaders are fine with incuriosity on this basic level of taking Joseph’s word on faith without being curious, but the official rhetoric encourages us to be curious and to “find out”. Mormon culture accepts and encourages curiosity as long as it doesn’t impact the religious belief system. Curiosity is seen as a means to an end in business, science, literature, etc.

    The average Mormon doesn’t go to church regularly, so I have no way of systematically knowing how they feel, but my gut says Mormons are no different in this than others.

    The average Bloggernacler, about whom it is difficult to generalize, is probably more curious than the average Mormon, by the simple fact of them willingly exposing themselves to uncorrelated LDS info, but again, I don’t think the average Nacler sees curiosity as a value in itself. It’s good as long as it builds the kingdom.

  • David

    Mormon culture accepts and encourages curiosity as long as it doesn’t impact the religious belief system. You do realize that is what Godin defined as fundamentalism?

  • John Nilsson

    Yep.

  • http://www.thediaryofananarchist.com/ Stephen Wellington

    I loved this clip John!! Thank you so much. It wasnt until I “questioned” WHY we went into the Iraq War that my mind and intellect lit up and then I realized the same things the chap in the clip was saying.

    I hate TV and establishment propaganda…it is so false and calculated into making people be incurious about other ways of living and societal structure.

    The Mormon Church is moving towards a true position of faith and agnosticism whereby we are not so sure of our dogma…and thus not so arrogant anymore, more tolerable, and this will refine the character of our members to be humble!

    Let’s celebrate the future of a more open Mormonism and thank GBH for his vision as a leader…to let us be curious!

    Fantastic…thanks John.

  • NM Tony

    I think that church curiousity is extremely limited. It emcompasses geneology, scripture study, some church history, exploring educational options, and any safe route of curiosity. I think for many leaders the adage “curiosity killed the cat” can be revised to state: “curiosity killed the testimony.” In essence, curiosity really isn’t stressed let alone encouraged.

    As far as if Mormons are more or less curious, I have to concur with David in that the majority of people have a restrained sense of curiosity. We’re too busy with the everyday mundane things and when it’s time to relax, that’s what we do. We have a deeper need to be entertained than to be inquisitive. We have a tendency to be intellectually lazy, which is why people buy the stories on televised media, retell urban legends as truth, pass around email hoaxes, trust in infomercials, participate in marketing scams, consider government conspiracies, and a host of other frauds, half-truths, and pseudoscience. Curiosity and skepticism are just too intellectually demanding when a person feels complacent in their worldview.

  • Don Yorgason

    In my experience Mormonism is less about having questions and more about having answers.

    I think curiosity is encouraged only within the framework of what are seen to be safe areas doctrinally or historically. I also think that the church has a position that might seem open to curiosity on the part of investigators of the church, we directly encourage people to read our literature, but that stance changes dramatically when that same investigator becomes curious regarding anti-mormon literature. I guess I would summarize my view by saying that the church, and most of its leaders, are supportive of curiosity until that curiosity leads someone away from the acceptable answer.

  • http://www.mormonmatters.org Clay Whipkey

    Don (#9), well articulated.

  • http://mormonmatters.org Nick Literski

    The Mormon Church is moving towards a true position of faith and agnosticism whereby we are not so sure of our dogma…and thus not so arrogant anymore, more tolerable, and this will refine the character of our members to be humble!

    I think this just reflects the growing LDS emphasis on praxis over doctrine, rather than any kind of humility. Doctrine is becoming more and more questionable, but behavior is actually becoming even more strict than before. I mean, I’ve sat in stake presidency meetings, where the presidency literally fretted over the spiritual deficiency they saw in the local priesthood—as “proven” by the fact that several non-white shirts were showing up in meetings (I kid you not). In LDS-ism, you can essentially believe whatever you like, so long as you don’t do anything about it, such as teach it to others.

    It goes back to the story of Kimball changing the lyrics of “I Am a Child of God.” The composer wrote “Teach me all that I must know, to live with him some day.” Kimball directed that she change it to “Teach me all that I must do…”

  • The Green Man

    In my line of work ‘facts’ are wishy washy things and usually in the eye of the beholder. I think that everyone, to some extent, is not entirely curious about certain ideas that will make life unsettled or uncomfortable. Kuhn’s overused cliche could be raised here: we all stick to ‘common sense’ ideas until some drastic ‘paradigm shift’ occurs.

    Mormonism is no different. The ‘facts’ can be ignored, interpreted or construed by the believer in a number of ways. A person can be as curious as they want, they only need to arrive at the ‘right’ answer. That is the reason that Boyd K. Packer, Hugh B. Brown, Clark Gobel and Blake Ostler can exist within the church – it is the conclusion that they all share, not the process.

    Perhaps this is too nuanced, but Mormonism doesn’t usually fall into the ‘fundamentalist’ camp. Institutions like FARMS (or whatever they are called now) will confront and rationalize ‘facts’, not dismiss them. The logic is certainly ‘a priori’ because the conclusion is never in doubt, but it is certainly distinct from fundamentalism.

    I would suggest that the question of curiosity is tough to define. People are curious of the ways and means to use ‘facts’ and ‘evidence’ to justify their faith to each other and the objective observer, but they are certainly not curious (as few of us are) to know that they may be wrong.

  • David

    Green Man,

    A person can be as curious as they want, they only need to arrive at the ‘right’ answer. According to the definition we are working with, that is fundamentalism, which completely contradicts your next paragraph. Contradiction does not equal nuance.

  • John Nilsson

    A problem here is that Mormonism values ACTIVITY, doing things. Many have construed curiosity as an active pursuit. Insofar as it is seen as such, Mormon culture forwards it and applauds it.

    Godin’s explanation of fundamentalism relies on checking facts against a belief system for compatibility. While that occasionally happens, Mormon culture as a whole tends to value compartmentalization (I think here of many BYU professors and grad students I knew) where one has a Sunday School brain and a weekday brain. In Mormon culture, one doesn’t check the facts against the belief system and reject the fact, as Godin describes it. One prevents the two from ever getting introduced to each other and holds them both simultaneously. This is the marvelous and maddening tension which exists in many Mormons I know.

  • JH

    #9 Don,

    I think you were on the right track. I think we need to distinguish between curiosity (taking an idea and exploring it, asking real questions about it, checking it’s implications, etc) and asking if it is true. Praying to see if the Book of Mormon is true isn’t curiosity. Reading it, exploring where it came from, the possibilities that it didn’t come exactly as Joseph claimed, other possible influences, the history of the book itself, the stories told within the book itself, those characters, the doctrines of it, the implications of believing its fantastical story or not could be considered curiosity.

    In my opinion the church culture doesn’t foster curiosity, in fact our emphasis on “finding answers” is similar to curiosity in idea, but still falls back into the safe category that the speaker so eloquently spoke about. But the other problem is that as he said, nearly all facets of any culture want you to behave in a codified manner. Whether it’s school, church, family (in many instances), government, work, etc. most places discourage curiosity. I think he stated it perfectly when he talked about the thing that feels the most risky is actually the safest, and the thing that feels the safest, is actually the most risky.

    For me, I’d like to think that I’m becoming curious, and that it’s a long process that began before and hopefully will never end. And I think that’s a beautiful thing, becoming curious.

  • The Green Man

    David,

    I don’t know all of Mr. Godin’s concepts; however, from the clip he defines fundamentalism as determining a whether a fact is acceptable before they explore it. He defines a fundamentalist as a person who is fearful or stuck – a person who assumes it is safe to do nothing. Sometimes these descriptors apply to Mormonism and Mormons, but not always.

    There are members of the church that take great risks to their faith to confront facts. The region of their answer is generally defined. D. Michael Quinn arrives at the same answer as Richard Bushman and both parties have taken the same risks and dealt with the same facts. One is ostracized, while the other is praised, but there is no guaranteed safety in their efforts. Likewise, the multitudes that lose their belief in the church by exploring history, science and scripture demonstrate that it is not a safe journey with a ready destination. Much of this study presumes the church to be true, but it remains for many a potentially rebuttable presumption.

    I left the church awhile ago, and I certainly witnessed the encouragement of leadership on a branch, ward, mission and area level to ‘leave the mysteries alone’. I agree that is fundamentalism, when sections of the intellectual map are left vacant. That is not the church writ large, and there is a strong tradition of active engagement with troubling facts. In the end I don’t buy the answers found, but I can’t discount the risks and efforts taken by people who will take ‘difficult truths’ and ‘dangerous books’ by the horns. That is a risk, a challenge and gamble that fundamentalists do not make.

    No one would label St. Thomas Aquinas or More a fundamentalist simply because they held certain beliefs before engaging a subject and were loath to give up these beliefs without challenging their ideas with the facts before them.

  • http://www.burningbosom.com Andrew Ainsworth

    Great post, John. Where do you find video gems like these?

    I make a distinction between the GOSPEL and the CULTURE of the church. I believe the gospel encourages us to be curious within certain bounds (e.g., probably not to be curious about what goes down in Hugh Heffner’s Playboy mansion). Mormon culture allows a more restrictive level of curiosity: you are allowed to ask “safe” questions, meaning questions for which we believe we already know the answers.

    I have found statements from Church leaders both for and against curiosity, so I think it depends on the leader who is speaking.

    I believe the average Mormon is probably just as curious as the average non-Mormon, but focuses more on action, behavior, and practice than on theology, doctrine, or history. I think Mormons, like most people, are probably more pragmatic than idealistic, and “the curious” typically fall into the latter camp.

    I think the average Bloggernacler is probably more curious than the average Church member. I know when I tell people I enjoy LDS blogs, I get responses that typically boil down to “why would you waste your time discussing issues and questions instead of watching the football game?”

  • http://weightermatters.blogspot.com AHLDuke

    I think the answer to your first question depends on what you mean by Mormon culture. If you mean contemporary Utah Mormon culture, the answer is clearly no. I am in agreement with David (#1) about the desire for education not equating with curiosity. My sense is that most LDS approach education from a highly instrumentalist point of view- getting the education to get the job that will help me pay for all the kids I want. Too few Mormons going into the humanities or science and too many into the professions (business, law) which are not about intellectual curiosity and exploration (I say this as a law student myself). If you mean classical Mormon culture, a culture that arises out of the doctrinal insights of Joseph Smith, and is carried on into the 20th century by the thought of Hugh B. Brown and David O. McKay, I think the answer is that Mormonism is a very curious religion.

    The leadership of the Church not only discourages curiosity by the members, but I think they are a little afraid of it as well. There is a lack of confidence that curiosity will lead one to truth, or a sense that curiosity is somehow antithetical to humility and following the living prophets. Because the average Mormon takes what the Church leadership says seriously, they are not curious and are equally fearful of those around them who are. On the other hand, your average Mormon blogger is quite curious, which is probably why they found this place(?) and decided to stick around from the beginning.

  • TJM

    John D., you always have the best material!

    I too cherish the curious, for without them there could be no progression beyond the current limits of today.

  • Bruce Nielson

    Can human beings really be split up into such a simple dichotomy: curious vs. fundamentalist? Could the world ever be that simple? Could such obviously self-aggrandizing labels ever fit so neatly or even be close to reality? Can people even be put on a spectrum between curious and fundamentalist?

    Isn’t it far more likely that we are all both? Aren’t we all both curious and fundamentalist simultaneously? (Perhaps depending on the topic or perhaps other factors as well. Studies currently show that this is the case for all human beings.)

    And I have to wonder: could a person that makes a video like this, creating such a false dichotomy, ever really be that curious himself? Could he possibly have seriously studied this subject? How long would one have to know him before finding his own fundamental beliefs that he fails to challenge and utilitzes confirmation bias on? Would it take hours? minutes? seconds?

  • TJM

    The curious fundamentalist’s curiosity is limited to his fundamental beliefs. Fundamentalists will not relinquish their fundamentalism. Therefore their curiosity is limited to these boundaries. (the man in the box)

    Pure curiosity can not exist in a fundamentalist.

    It’s like saying “I’m curious about the universe, but my beliefs only allow me to use a 10x telescope”.

    The truly curious would not let preconceptions prevent them from searching with any means available.

    (Some of you long winded bloggers are starting to rub off, I’m actually starting to ramble.) :)

  • Bruce Nielson

    One more thought: Find me someone that claims to not be curious and claims to be a “funadmentalist” in the sense that he uses the term here.

    Is there anyone who claims to not be curious? Is there anyone that claims to filter the facts by their belief system and ignore the facts when not convenient? Even Christian fundamentalists would not claim the label “fundamentalists” as it’s used here.

    If a label has no purpose except to be a pejorative that none will accept about themselves, then what uses was it? Even the fact that he intentionally used “fundamentalist” as being the opposite of curious leaves little room for doubt that he was without critical thought (and apparently uncuriously) attacking a certain group of people called “Christian Fundamentalists” or “Islamic Fundamentalists” (And let me assure you I have little desire to defend these groups other than truth demands that I do in this case.)

    And if everyone believes they are curious… how do you know if you really are curious at all? Maybe you are just in denial just like those you feel are fundamentalists are in denial.

    And while I’m on the subject: how many of you claiming to be curious were curious enough to ask the above questions prior to this point? In other words, are any of you curious enough to ask the hard questions about your own fundamentalism/curiousity?

  • Margy

    We carried Quotables cards (quotablecards.com) at our bookstore for many years in Utah County and one of the cards we stocked said “Question Everything.” We turned over all of the other card designs very quickly, but never sold a single “Question Everything” card.

    Seeing our mostly LDS community through the eyes of a general bookstore (not an LDS bookstore) was really interesting. We helped many book clubs make selections (and part of that always included questions about whether books would alienate members of the group), we helped many parents find books for their kids, sold books on high school reading lists, etc. Our view of the community was probably skewed by the fact that we drew in the most curious people–I think I can safely say there’s a high correlation between people who are curious and people who like to read. But we also had many discussions with people who seemed disconcerted by ideas contained in some of the books we sold, especially if their kids were going to be reading them, or who didn’t want to spend any of there reading time reading anything that wasn’t LDS, or who just wanted to stick with the kinds of books that they knew and loved.

    I always laughed to myself at the question, “Is there anything in this book that will offend me?” I know customers were mostly concerned about language and lewdness (which I respected, by the way) and their question wasn’t related to the kind of curiosity/lack of curiosity we’re talking about here. I laughed because I would think about that question from the point of view of people I know who would be offended by 95% of the books sold in an LDS bookstore.

    Overall, I’d say more (most) of our customers were interested in reading books that supported rather than challenged their world view.

  • JH

    Bruce,

    Way to come hard on this one. I think you’re right in part, he is setting it up as a very clear cut dichotomy, but on the other hand, I think it is fair to say that we can look at ourselves on a sliding scale between these two points. I think we need more information on what he defines as curious and what he defines as fundamentalist. And, in my opinion, if he made a list of all the fundamentalist things (he mentioned watching TV, for one), that many of us would find ourselves doing those activities that he’s talking about.

    Another interesting note is that I went to his website and all his books are on marketing. The video seems to make it a point that consuming mass media is part of this fundamentalist attitude, but marketing/advertising is generally all about supporting and encouraging the non-thinking, non-curious consumer attitude. I don’t feel like I have enough details to see exactly if his point holds up or not.

    On the other hand, when I saw that clip, I was inspired by it. In general, I feel like I have a tendency to not be curious, and that I spend a lot of my time doing things that have the opposite effect of curiosity in my life. I want to be more curious, as he defines it, and I think it is helpful to see in myself the existence of both sides and hopefully motivate myself to stop doing things that encourage fundamentalism, and focus on those things that encourage my curiosity. Is that a fair assessment of what the video is getting at?

  • http://www.TempleStudy.com Bryce Haymond

    “Ask, and it shall be given unto you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (3 Nephi 14:7).

    I believe that curiosity is at the core of the restored gospel. It is curiosity, as some others have mentioned, that enabled Joseph Smith to have the First Vision. It is by curiosity that we come to have a testimony of the truth (Moroni 10:3-5). It is by curiosity we seek out more truth. Curiosity encourages us to learn more, so we don’t get stuck in a rut, and that we don’t become arrogant in our understanding of the world and the plan of salvation.

    We don’t know everything. We don’t have all truth revealed at the present (AoF 9). There is still mountains of truth out there to be gained. Curiosity pushes us to go get it! Joseph Smith once said, “O, I beseech you, go forward and search deeper and deeper into the mysteries of godliness.” That is gospel curiosity.

    I think Hugh Nibley is a great example of someone who was tirelessly curious. He was curious until the day he died, endlessly reading and producing, writing, editing, and reading more. He thirsted for knowledge and truth and understanding. That is the kind of curiosity that God wants us to have.

  • TJM

    It’s ok to be more fundamental than curious, more pragmatic than idealogic. The world needs both types.

    The idealist and pragmatist are of equal necessity in their natural proportions. For without the pragmatist, ideals may go un-realized, and without the idealist the pragmatic wouldn’t know what to do.

  • JH

    Bryce,

    You’ve illustrated a good example of a curious person within the church, and the emphasis on asking questions that our church professes. But the problem is that those examples you’ve illustrated are few and far between, they demonstrate the exception rather than the rule now days.

    I was just preparing my lesson to teach in the deacons quorum concerning temples tomorrow. Here is a quote from that lesson:

    “The temple is a place where ceremonies pertaining to Godliness are presented. The great mysteries of life, with man’s unanswered questions, are here made clear: (1) Where did I come from? (2) Why am I here? (3) Where do I go when life is over?”

    Granted, I have taken a small portion of a lesson to illustrate a point, the point I mentioned earlier. The church encourages questions, as long as they are the right questions, and as long as they lead to the right answers. This is different from encouraging curiosity, because curiosity, at least from what I gathered from his explanation, is about going beyond the basics. So instead of assuming that the three questions mentioned above are the only ones a searching human would ever ask (or that our answers are enough to satisfy someone’s real curiosity on the subject), we might look at the search in a more diverse way.

    In my experience I feel that I am naturally (or conditioned) to be satisfied with answers given, as opposed to being generally curious about everything. Part of that might be genetics, part might be the way too much tv I’ve watched in my life, but I also know part of that is the “here’s the answer to your question” mentality that the church has. I feel more fulfilled the more curious I am. I feel more fulfilled the more I align my life with the process of living, and seeking, than when I lean on the answers given to me, that come from the questions that are given to me.

    On the other hand, I think it is also a positive thing to have a lens through which to view the world, and the church and gospel give me that lens, providing an anchor that I wouldn’t otherwise have. Allowing that curiosity (that I seek to develop) to be progressive and useful, as opposed to being blown about by winds of doctrine so to speak.

    I’m not saying that having some fundamentalism in us is bad, but I think saying that the church (especially culturally, but also through the way the gospel is taught) encourages curiosity is not accurate, and that if we try to believe that, we shut out the possibility of allowing real curiosity take root in our lives.

  • Birdman

    I’m curious as to why no one questions Seth Godin’s definition of fundamentalism. I find it rather simplistic. I’m curious as to why someone who appears to be thoughtful settles for such a simplistic definition.

    I’m curious as to how Seth Godin defines curiosity. Maybe I missed it, but I don’t recall hearing him define it.

    I’m curious as to why no one has questioned the downside of curiosity, other than in terms that make it clear that curiosity is always a good thing. Is it always a good thing? Are there situations where it is not? What do those situations look like? Are there limits to curiosity which, when exceeded, generate significant individual and societal problems?

    I’m curious as to the difference between mindfulness and curiosity. Is there a difference? What is it?

    Are Mormons curious? Some are, some aren’t.

    Do Mormon leaders encourage curiosity? Some do, some don’t.

    I’m inclined to think that curiosity has limits. I’m inclined to think that curiosity is not always good. My experience in the Church has been that many leaders and elders (as in those older than me) have encouraged me to be curious. But I have also been counseled that curiosity ought to be directed toward a celestial end. Consequently, I weigh the exercise of my curiosity against that end. It shapes what and how I’ll be curious. This may border on fundamentalism as Godin defines it, but since I don’t accept his definition I’m not concerned. In the mean time, I know that my life is richer for having been curious about some things and not others; having been curious in some ways and not others. For that I have the Gospel and gospel leaders (among others) to thank.

  • working mother

    “Ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth” – “but to be learned is good IF” – to me seem to be diametrically opposed to the type of “curiosity” the video is talking about. So I would have to say that I think modern Mormonism (at least) suppresses curiosity in favor of conformity. It may have been different when BY was speculating about men in the moon and the Adam-God theory – imagine a GA nowadays speculating on ANYTHING – all their talks get analyzed both before and after under a micoscope – I think it ain’t much fun being a GA anymore. More like being a corporate spokesman than anything else.

    In my own world I find it takes intense effort and pain to be curious and to break out of preconceptions. This is probably one of the main reasons none of my children are active – they feel it is just too hard to reconcile their curiosity with what church culture requires. I still go, but have a little voice commenting in my head all the time.

    The average Bloggernaclist probably is a little more curious than the average sister in RS.

  • http://blog.spaldam.com Spaldam

    The term “Mormonism” is an extremely broad and misleading term as it is claimed by a dozen or so different churches that all teach very different things. Some are very reclusive and discouraging of curiosity, but the largest most main-stream is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (lds.org) which puts a lot of effort into education, most notably it’s ownership of the Brigham Young University were students learn about all the main stream scientific theories, mathematics, and many other disciplines.

    More generally, one need look no further then some basic tenants written by the claimed founder of “Mormonism” himself, Joseph Smith.

    “… If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” – 13th Artical of Faith (http://scriptures.lds.org/en/a_of_f/1/13#13)

    For more information on some of the basic differences between the two largest churches claiming the “Mormon” nick-name see my blog at:

    http://blog.spaldam.com/2008/06/lds-vs-flds.html

  • Mike S

    I think the Church ENCOURAGES curiosity when it can potentially lead TOWARDS the institution. Example – having an investigator pray about the BofM and potentially alienate their family if they join the Church.

    I think the Church DISCOURAGES curiosity when it can lead AWAY from the correlated institution. Example – we shouldn’t talk about things just because they are true if they’re not faith promoting.