In a recent post on blessings, Heather notes that sometimes blessings promised don’t happen and that there can be several reasons why this doesn’t occur. I’d like to extend off that idea to note that, if we are to work by faith and not knowledge, things have to not work right sometimes.
Thus I am highly skeptical of any evidence that shows too incontrovertibly the Book of Mormon is a historical record. I assume that someone will raise plausible objections to any such evidence given a little time. This is because I don’t believe that most of us now on the earth are ready or best-served by factual certainty of many elements of the Gospel. If that were the case, then God would have left the plates here or sent them back to show around. If paying tithing always made you rich; if blessings that promised complete recovery always worked; if everyone who obeyed the Word of Wisdom was healthy until their death at age 120; if gender confusion never happened; if life just plain couldn’t have evolved without a sentient being organizing it; if bishops always got the right answer; if Brigham Young never said wacky things, then the space for faith would be diminished by the presence of certainty. Certainty is a great thing when we are ready for it. But I don’t think we are. Thus we have a religion that accommodates our mortal needs by not being too reliable or too perfect.
Obviously, by demanding that religion have things that don’t always work as the manual says or don’t work out perfectly every time, we are saying that the religion is not falsifiable. If healing works, it’s a miracle. If not, it’s God’s will or our lack of faith. But using signs to test the validity of the Gospel is not a fruitful strategy for spiritual development anyway.
So I’m arguing that anomalies in the gospel and our Church history don’t just happen; they are, in this day and age anyway, essential.