Making decisions

(also see “Believing that a loving God is watching out for you”, “Critical thinking”, “Miracles”, Obedience”, and “Patriarchal blessings”, “Prayers”, and “Testimony and spiritual experiences”)

 

Pros of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
Believers know that God hears and answers prayers. He is there for us and will answer the door if we knock. He has given us his spirit and the iron rod of his word to guide us in this life and make decisions that will bring us temporal happiness and eternal peace in the world to come. When presented with a sea of choices, as all of us are in life, the believer can take comfort that there is ready guidance available via commandments and church standards as to which decisions are appropriate to make. This can greatly simplify life and bring comfort to believers that they are making correct decisions. In addition, there is an argument to be made that people are happier when life is simpler and less complicated. Mormonism does this for some people by eliminating many of the choices in life that one need consider.
Even if you don’t believe in the church, theoretically life could be simpler by living life as the church directs. Some nonbelievers reminisce about the days when they used to believe and they had a roadmap to life to help them make correct decisions. This pro of Mormonism thus might not apply to nonbelievers as much, but they can sometimes certainly understand how powerful it is for believers. When presented with a sea of choices, as all of us are in life, the believer can take comfort that there is ready guidance available via commandments and church standards as to which decisions are appropriate to make. This can greatly simplify life and bring comfort to believers that they are making correct decisions. In addition, there is an argument to be made that people are happier when life is simpler and less complicated. Mormonism does this for some people by eliminating many of the choices in life that one need consider.
 
Cons of Mormonism from the perspective of the
Believer
Nonbeliever
It can be a great challenge learning to distinguish between the spirit and your own emotions when prayerfully making a decision. This can create inner tension and turmoil, potentially leading to not trust your ability to do things on your own. How do we recognize a stupor of thought? Do we just feel that something is outside of our comfort zone or if it is the Holy Ghost telling us not to do something? How do we separate out our own desires and wants from inspiration that comes as an answer to prayer? These kinds of questions can be paralyzing.
Many nonbelievers feel that the insistence of praying and getting guidance from the Lord leads to decisions being made more based on feelings than logic and reason. How many people have married spouses, enrolled in schools, taken jobs, and conceived babies because the emotions they falsely attributed to the Spirit overrode the logic and reason that cautioned against something? How many friends were not made and opportunities were lost because something being out of your comfort zone was falsely attributed to God telling you not to do it? For atheists that believe God does not exist, this is one of the great harms of religion.
 
Religion, Mormonism included, is one of the things that can make good people do bad things. Otherwise good people, because of Mormonism, can participate in the mountain meadows massacre, can decide to believe that homosexuality is evil, and can decide to believe that dark skin is a curse from God. How many suicide bombers were otherwise good people?
 
If you don’t believe in the church, the restrictions of dogma and commandments prevent you from considering fully all avenues when making a decision, and can lead to missing out on what is truly best for you. The nonbeliever might wonder why 15 elderly Caucasian men in Salt Lake City should have the right to influence your decisions?
 
Some people that leave Mormonism find satisfaction in the idea they are living life on their own terms and making their own decisions. In Mormonism it can be hard to decide if you did something because you thought it was the best thing to do or because the church told you it was the best thing to do.

 

Comments relating to your lived experience with Mormonism are welcome. Although it can be difficult to distinguish at times, please focus on how the church helps and harms rather than it being true vs untrue.

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