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Buffet Mormonism

November 15, 2008

“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.”

(Judges 17:6 )

In response to the shaken-faith syndrome which is common among LDS due to historical information more widely available in today’s information-age, one active member of the LDS church is recommending that Mormons become “Buffet Mormons” in order to stay within the LDS church after having a major trial to their faith. He points out all the positive, social aspects of Mormonism as reasons to stay and suggests a number of survival tips for remaining in Mormonism including the following:

Toss the bad doctrine

Feel free to reject all LDS “doctrine” that makes you uncomfortable. If you don’t want to believe that God caused a worldwide flood that killed innocent men, women and children, then don’t believe it. If you don’t think proxy work for the dead makes any sense for an all-powerful God, then fuggedaboudit.

Anyone who has studied LDS Church history will confirm that lots of things that were considered hard, unchangeable doctrine have been completely wiped from the books (e.g., polygamy as a requirement for salvation, blacks as less valiant in the pre-mortal existence, dynastic sealings, multiple baptisms, Adam-God theory, Native Americans as descendants of Lamanites, etc.). So if you don’t like a doctrine, just wait a while. Like the weather, it has a good probability of changing anyway (at least over time).

Keep the good. Ignore the bad. You are the captain of your ship.

In summary, embrace what works for you and your family, and reject (or at least put down for now) what doesn’t. Throw away all of the guilt. And most importantly, know that God would really want it this way.

Seriously. You are the captain of your ship. Free agency was given for a reason.

At the judgment day (whatever that is), God won’t accept, “Well, they told me to do all this, and even though I felt bad about it, I did it anyway, and it goofed up my life,” as an acceptable answer.

Instead, He’s likely gonna say, “I gave you a brain. I gave you emotions. I gave you instinct. I gave you experience. I expected you to use them.”

Also if you don’t want to believe in the God of the Bible who is a “vengeful God,” then he recommends you “reject the idea that God was behind all the genocidal killings in the Bible (of men, women, children and animals)….scripture is imperfect, and often mixes up God’s teachings with human interpretations and biases.” (all above quotes taken from the essay, posted 10/21/08, on StayLDS.com)

While I am certainly in agreement that one should reject false doctrine, some of the examples given by this LDS member concern me. Instead of rejecting false doctrines taught by LDS leaders that contradict God’s Word, LDS members are being encouraged to pick and choose what they will accept from God’s Word. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31) and scolded those who failed to believe “ALL that the prophets have spoken” (Luke 24:25). Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said, “ALL scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (II Timothy 3:16). I wonder how God’s righteous anger will be displayed against those who cut out and toss His precious words. Will He respond similarly to how He has in the past with men such as Jehoiakim, that wicked king who cut with a penknife the words of God and burned them in a fire (Jeremiah 36:29-32)?

What do others think?

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2008 7:29 pm

    thanks Jessica

  2. November 17, 2008 6:07 am

    Hmm…I’m not sure what I think of this…

    It seems like the comments of this individual would be considered deviant and destructive by most within the LDS church. It is my understanding that if an individual struggles with a particular doctrine or doctrines, he/she is not at liberty to discard it, but rather the individual is considered spiritually lacking and would be encouraged to read more LDS scripture and pray more, be more active in LDS functions/templework and be more ‘diligent’ if perhaps, they might finally understand the doctrine that so troubles them.
    I assume this is why the essayist wrote in bold “Throw away all the guilt”. Because there are some doctrines that just don’t get better with time or effort or ‘diligence’, and those who still struggle to understand after doing all of the above tend to blame themselves and feel spiritually inferior. For these people, Buffet Mormonism may be the next step…

    …though it seems to me that, at this point, there are more intelligent steps to be taken if one wishes to be set free from the guilt,

    “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed;

    And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

    John 8:31-32

  3. November 18, 2008 12:20 am

    As a person who doesn’t believe in prophetic inerrancy or infallibility, I can see no other way than to be active in the process of discerning truth by relying on God’s revelation regarding what I should do. Additionally, the LDS Church typically focuses more on orthopraxy than orthodoxy. I personally don’t see a cafeteria approach to religion as something unique to Mormons in any sense; it is virtually impossible to be otherwise in the realm of religious understanding. From my little view, any comprehensive dogmatic view of truth which accepts anything willingly shows a misunderstanding about the astounding nature of God.

  4. Susan permalink
    November 18, 2008 5:59 pm

    Is it dogmatic to believe that we can “know the Truth” when Jesus plainly said so in Scripture? Why would God tell us plainly in His Word that we can know the Truth if we can’t…or if what we think we “know” may be fallible? Is God a liar, or just cruel? Truth is not “discerned”…it’s either true or it isn’t. Discerment is a process of receiving the Truth and then asking God to guide us by His Holy Spirit in how to apply it in all areas of our lives (also called wisdom, James 1:5). It’s when we start to queston the validity of God’s Word that we get in trouble…and that problem is as old as Eden (“Did God REALLY say…”)

  5. November 19, 2008 6:10 pm

    I suppose we differ in that I believe the very act of hearing and trying to cognitively understand the Word invariably demands that we “question” it through interpretation. So we are essentially arguing past each other.

  6. Susan permalink
    November 19, 2008 7:52 pm

    I’m sorry that my comment came across as arguing…that wasn’t the tone that I intended.

    I believe that God’s Word (Truth) has been preserved in the Bible, and that God then gives His followers His Spirit to dwell within them to guide in understanding and applying that Truth.

    It’s also obvious throughout the Bible that there have been (and continue to be) people who try to distort or reject His Word and lead others astray. But God always has a remnant who believe Him and follow Him wholeheartedly.

    We obviously have to be careful in the interpretation, and screen everything we hear/read through the Truth found in God’s Word…as the Bereans did with Paul (Acts 17:11). They “questioned” what he was saying by comparing it to God’s previously revealed Word…which they trusted as Truth.

  7. November 24, 2008 12:17 am

    I didn’t intend “arguing” as a pejorative, but simply saying our points were not really addressing each other.

  8. August 22, 2011 3:36 pm

    As an atheist, I respect religious people who are willing to question their leaders and their holy books. There are a lot of silly (or worse) things in the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I don’t understand how anyone can accept that their god inspired the slaughter in 1 Samuel 15, while still claiming that their god is morally good. Are you seriously quoting 2 Timothy 3:16 as proof that the Bible is inspired? That’s a sort of “the Bible is true because the Bible says that the Bible is true” type of circular argument. If you find it convincing, then may I present an equally convincing argument from the Napkin Religion: http://www.irreligion.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/MHWQ2.jpg

  9. Ashlley permalink
    July 14, 2014 5:04 am

    OMG! I have found my true home! I loved the opening pitch immediately and laughed out loud because of its truth! I agree 100%. If I didn’t become a Buffet Mormon, I would have left the Church. So I decided to alter the religion so that it serves me and my situation best, and that’s enabled me to stay sane and present as an active member for 22 years. Reluctant Mormon, Buffet Mormon, Liberal Mormon, Devoted Mormon…I check all the above!

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  1. Jessica has me thinking of Jeremiah « Heart Issues for LDS

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