“So much of our emphasis has shifted from LIVING the gospel to BELIEVING the gospel…Beliefs can go through challenge and reformation and evolution without calling into question your commitment as a disciple.”
― Terryl Givens
Some of you may have listened to a recent BYU weekly devotional talk by Elder Hamilton that set you on edge. If you are like me, you are already on the inside edge of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. And like me, you continually see people you adore and respect move outside of that edge due to such talks—among other legitimate reasons. You too may be one of those now on the outside. I respect your decision and understand. Or, if you are like me, you’ve remained an active member but moved your soul to a place beyond proscribed beliefs into a personal but still communal faith that feels more true to the God you worship. I talk about that journey a little here.
While I appreciate that Elder Hamilton’s talk is rooted in our scripture and tradition, his interpretations of what appropriate belief and questioning consist of seem to me to be counter to the mission of the church. More crucially, it seems counter to what Jesus Christ and our unique theology is calling us to individually and collectively. Like Brother Brad Wilcox’s tri-stake fireside talk last year in February, it is an uncomfortable but valuable reminder that some of our general authorities teach and encourage beliefs and behaviors that many of us find antithetical to our discipleship and the teachings of Jesus.
Interestingly, Tim and Aubrey of Faith Matters address Elder Hamilton’s talk unintentionally and indirectly via a recent podcast with Terryl Givens. They discuss Nathan and Terryl Given’s book, Into the Headwinds: Why Belief Has Always Been Hard — And Still Is. I highly recommend the podcast and am eager to read the book.
Serendipitously, another balm of belief popped up on my radar after listening to a recent podcast with Richard Ostler and Christian Kimball talking about Christian’s new book, Living on the Inside of the Edge: A Survival Guide. It also sounds like it will be a valuable resource for many.