Spiritually Handicapped

As I write this I am listening to the Conference talk of Elder M. Russel Ballard.  Elder Glenn Pace just finished speaking.  During Elder Pace’s talk I was impressed with an important truth: Things of the heart such as love, faith, courage, happiness, loyalty, honor and reverence cannot be measured and quantified scientifically and therefore embody truth that cannot be understood by the logical, reasoning mind alone.  It can only be known by the heart.  And therefore, the heart can know things that the mind cannot comprehend.  Those who are so intellectual that they are unable to know the truth of the heart and can only trust the truth of the mind are therefore stunted and handicapped in their ability to comprehend all truth.  I feel great sorrow for those poor souls who walk in the darkness caused by understanding the truth only through the filter of logic and reason.  I also feel great sorrow for those who disdain logic and reason as a source of truth.  A complete education demands both. Without both we are spiritually handicapped. 

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15 Responses to Spiritually Handicapped

  1. Dear Ne’erdowell, no wonder you are confused. The Glenn L. Pace I was impressed by in our recent General Conference was a different person from the GEORGE Pace that had the big run in with my hero Bruce R. McConkie. Glenn L. Pace is a Seventy and a General Authority. George Pace was a religion teacher at BYU.

  2. ne'erdowell says:

    John,
    Great post. I am confused that you would find insight from Glen L Pace, as he was excoriated publically for his teaching about faith in Christ as our personal savior. I enjoyed the talk too, It just seems a bit of a departure for the Iron Rod.

  3. Johnna says:

    Things of the heart such as love, faith, courage, happiness, loyalty, honor and reverence cannot be measured and quantified scientifically

    Yet they can be measured in part. I think it’s very protestant of you to think these qualities exist without an action component.

    and therefore embody truth that cannot be understood by the logical, reasoning mind alone. Most people struggling to maintain faith (obviously not Richard Dawkins) aren’t vexed that these truths are not understandable by means of reason. The struggle is when logic and reasoning seem to contravene faith. We don’t expect logic to be sufficient, but we do expect logic to be necessary.

  4. Jeff G says:

    Bookslinger,

    So, am I supposed to regret appealing to logic and reason? Indeed, my whole point is that the “foot-prints” which John criticizes are the best foot-prints which are available to us. The only alternative that I can see is vague and dogmatic appeals to truthiness.

    • I have not suggested that anyone regret appealing to logic and reason. I have suggested that if they appeal ONLY to logic and reason, then they are spiritual retards. These are they who cannot recognize the truth of spiritual things even when it is directly in front of them. They could stumble on the truth while walking down the sidewalk, and they would brush themselves off and keep right on walking, never looking to see what caused them to stumble.

      Logic and reason are essential and good if faith and the things of the heart are included with them. Logic and reason alone give a distorted view of reality.

  5. Guy Murray says:

    John Redlefs:

    Nice to see a new post from you. I hope you will begin posting more often. I agree 100% with this post.

  6. Give me a call, John. I haven’t heard from you in a long time. Maybe we can discuss Lenin and Marx together.

  7. john bocchetti says:

    John Redelfs would have been the best communist EVER! But as he once told me while we stood atop fort point at the entrance to the san francisco bay, that “Brigham Young was the greatest american that ever lived!” Now I am a graduate of BYU and I don’t think that Brigham Young was the greatest american.

    John can be a little like Stalinistas, but for the cause of his religion. go get in john wayne redelfs…

  8. Bookslinger says:

    Amazing. Jeff G stepped right into the foot-prints that John described.

  9. Jim Cobabe says:

    John, I love heart metaphors.

    There are abundant examples throughout the scriptures.

    One of my favorites, from 1 Samuel 16.

    This is the occasion where the prophet Samuel is directed to choose a new king for Israel, after the Lord rejects Saul. He examines the sons of Jesse and makes his choice, but is informed in no uncertain terms that _David_ is the _Lord’s_ choice.

    “But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”

    Looking at the “heart” of a man _is_ judging his spiritual capacity. There is no scientific metric for this quality, because one of the first and primary premises of scientific inquiry is that there is no such thing as a supernatural realm which transcends the physical laws of time and space. Thus the truly faithful secular scientist must labor literally blinded in the aspect of spiritual qualities.

  10. Matt W. says:

    Jeff G. Things of the heart are subjective.

    John is following a fairly typical LDS mold. Elder Faust noted in Conference: “Hatred retards Spiritual Growth.” and Elder Widtsoe, as far back as 1914 was saying “Disobedience retards Progression”.

  11. Jeff G says:

    Yeah, I know my last paragraph was a little harsh, but I still think it was pretty spot on. Speaking to fellow believers about how sorry we feel for those who differ from “us” is no better than saying it to them. It would also be another thing if John was saying that he felt sorry for them since they wouldn’t be saved, or did not get to experience the joy which he personally derives from the gospel. Such statements aren’t at all offensive. What John seems to be saying, however, is that he feels sorry for those who cannot see the full truth like he can. This is something else entirely.

  12. HP says:

    Jeff,
    Lay off. He is speaking in the language of faith, which you no longer subscribe to. While I often disagree with John regarding how he applies this language, I understand his intent, which wasn’t to degrade, but rather to offer a testimony. You are not the audience for this piece.

  13. Jeff G says:

    While its always nice to read one of John’s rare posts, I disagree with this post on so many levels its hard to know where to start.

    “Things of the heart such as love, faith, courage, happiness, loyalty, honor and reverence cannot be measured and quantified scientifically…”

    Why not? While its clear that scientists have not done, and are not doing it, and may never do it, what makes it impossible, even in principle, for such things to be measured? What prevents the naturalist from reasoning as follows: “Whatever exists can be measured. “Things of the heart” cannot be measured and therefore do not exist.” What prevents a more moderate naturalist from reasoning as follows: “We cannot measure “things of the heart” right now because we don’t even know what they are, but once we do (by way of psychology, neurology, etc.) we will be able to measure them.”

    “[Things of the heart] cannot be measured and quantified scientifically and therefore embody truth that cannot be understood by the logical, reasoning mind alone.”

    Why should we ever believe that there is no such thing as logical reasoning outside of science? Indeed, isn’t this exactly what philosophy and math are? Biology and social sciences do not really measure but they are both logical reasoning as well as science.

    “[Things of the heart] can only be known by the heart.”

    Again, says who? Why? What does it mean for the “heart” to know something? I assume you are speaking metaphorically (for the biological heart isn’t the kind of thing which can know anything at all), but you still need to provide some reason this non-mind faculty can understand things which the mind cannot.

    “[Those who] only trust the truth of the mind are therefore stunted and handicapped in their ability to comprehend all truth… I feel great sorrow for those poor souls who walk in the darkness caused by understanding the truth only through the filter of logic and reason.”

    This is simply pure condescension and borderline arrogance which basically amounts to saying “I feel sorry for the poor fools who think and believe differently than I do.” I certainly don’t think or believe as you do, John, but I do not feel sorry or pity you in any way if only out of respect for you. Just because you believe differently than I do does not mean than you are somehow less capable of reasoning than I am.

    • If three people work a math problem and each comes up with a different answer, one of them is right and the other two wrong. The only other possibility is that all three of them are wrong. It is impossible for all answers to be correct.

      Keeping this in mind, is every opinion of equal value? Is a person necessarily off the mark when he says, “I feel sorry for the poor fools who think and believe differently than I do?” If he is thinking correctly, then the opinion of the others who diverge from his point of view are wrong, pure and simple.

      Some have said that the world is flat. Others have said that it is a globe. Still others have said that it is an ovoid. Are they all just expressing a personal opinion that is of equal value with the other two? I don’t think so.

      Just because we do not know what the truth is does not mean that it does not exist.

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