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Posted by: srichardbellrock ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 02:36PM

“The Church is true” is a statement I learned to make as a child; I learned to repeat the phrase mechanically before I had the cognitive wherewithal to evaluate the meaning of it. It is not a sentence about which I can say I honestly know what it means; it seems to me now to be essentially meaningless because it is, I think, a categorical error.

If I say “my daughter came home in a flood of tears” and you respond “really? I thought she came home on a train…” you have somehow missed the point of what I was trying to convey. Your error ought to be obvious. You treated the flood of tears and the train as though they are both the same sorts of things—as if they belong in the same category. Even though the train and the flood of tears might structurally fit into a sentence in exactly the same place, they change the meaning of the sentence by virtue of the fact that the flood of tears belongs to the category of emotional states, whereas the train belongs to the category of means of transportation.

A categorical error occurs when we conflate things that belong in one category with things that belong in another category. It was introduced by Gilbert Ryle (1949, The Concept of Mind. University of Chicago Press) as a way of resolving the issue of the relationship between mind and body. He suggested, contra Descartes, that mind and body belong to different categories.
There is a category of things that can potentially be true or false.

Ask yourself: What sorts of things can be true and false? Is a question true/false? Or a rock? Can a rock be true or false?
That category can be described as things that are representations of other things. Representations are things that are about something (usually something other than itself). Photographs, for example, are representations, because they are about something (a family, a party, a UFO…), books or films are about something. A memory, a belief or a proposition are all about something.

Forgive the impreciseness of my language here, but here is a working definition of a representation: A representation is something that is about something.

Things in this category (things that are about something) might be accurate representations or they might not be. A book about WWII might contain errors. It is still a representation, just not an accurate one. A memory or belief may or may not accurately coincide with the way things actually were or are.

So this category of things can be true or they can be false, or can be a mix. Your memory of your 10th birthday party probably contains parts that are true and some that are not. For the purposes of this post we will hold that a representation is true to the extent that it accurately corresponds to the facts—the way things are (or were, or will be).

So, quite simply, if I believe that Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in the world, is my belief true? It (my belief) is true if and only if, in reality Mt. Kilimanjaro is the tallest mountain in the world. If a sentence states the proposition “God exists,” then that sentence is true if and only if there is a fact that corresponds with that proposition. Conversely, if a photograph, memory, dream, etc. represents something in a way that does not correspond with the way things really are, then we can say that that photograph, memory, dream, etc is not true. It is not a true representation of the facts.

With that definition of the category of things that can be true in hand, it is now easier to see why “The Church is true” is a problematic statement.

There are clearly things that don’t fall into the category of things that can be true. Unlike propositions, some statements are not representations—questions, or performative utterances (“I do,” “I promise.”) do not represent the way things are. People are not representations (…well, maybe actors…), and so are not true in the sense that representations can be true.
Institutions are not representations. Would it make sense to say “your family is true” or that “the Provincial Government of Sakatchewan is true” or that “the Prime Minister of Great Britain is true?” Not in the same sense that a history book or a theory could be described as true.

Would it make sense to say “my family is false? No? Why not? Because families are not representations, and do not fall under the category of things that are about something, so cannot be true or false. Similarly, the LDS church, being an institution, is not about something else. It does not purport to represent, in the same way that a picture, memory, painting, sentence, or belief does, something else. It lacks aboutness. So the LDS church, like any other church, or any other institution, does not fall into the same category as those things that we might describe as being true or false.

Yet we still hear the phrase (“the Church is true”). And frequently. So what do we mean when we utter such a phrase. I suspect that in each speakers mind the sentence might mean something slightly different, but I can think of a few plausible interpretations of what it might mean to an individual.

“The LDS church is the only one with the real Priesthood, or with legitimate God given authority.”
“The LDS church is the only one led by a divinely inspired prophet, the only one with God at the helm.”
“The sum total of the teachings of the LDS church are true.”
“The core doctrines of the LDS church are true.”
“The LDS church is necessary for salvation; the LDS church is the only one that can offer salvation.”

I suppose we could extend this list further, but the list is meant to be representative, not exhaustive. In each case, it is not the institution itself that is true or false, but some statement or belief about the Church that can be described as being true or false. And each sentiment is the sort of thing that could plausibly be in the mind of the speaker who states “The Church is true.”

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Posted by: elderolddog ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 02:57PM

I think that many people utter "The church is true" in that hope that it really is, because then the fact that they are members gives them hope that there is a better chance that the lies they are living will be forgiven them sooner.

It's a claim to fame and a hope for survival for those who don't really have an interest in finding out who they really are, or who are hiding who they really are, neither of which is ultimately healthy.

It tends to devolve to the same state of being that "The Cougars are Number One!!" achieves towards the end of another joyless season where they wind up playing in the Hertz-rent-a-car Bowl, in Wabash, Tennessee, and losing. But they're still #1, to the faithful.

"America is number one" and "the church is true" are statements that are in the same reflexive emotional category.

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Posted by: yeppers ( )
Date: September 11, 2017 03:55PM

I think you are over analyzing it.

Joseph Smith wasn't that smart.

"The church is true" simply states that the LDS church is the only authorized christian church on the planet that has the authority to let you enter heaven.

All other christian churches are "false", and therefore if you follow their teachings, you cannot enter heaven.

Simple as that.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints = The only true, authorized church with proper authority to allow people to enter into heaven.

All other churches (Catholic, Protestant, Baptist, etc) = false doctrine, and EVERY SINGLE person that follows those churches are doomed to hell.

This was Joseph Smith's original meaning of the one "true" church.

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Posted by: Honest TBM ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 04:00PM

The claim of our beloved being Church "true" is based on establishing and maintaining a solid reputation and history of honesty, transparency, and open-minded truth seeking. If the members, institution, and leadership of all ranks weren't so strongly focused on these goals then nobody would be able to call it the "true" Church. It would have to be called a fraud or something else instead. Oh how grateful we should be to understand this very fundamental foundation so that our lives can be filled with real joy and free of any manipulation from bad people, such as that father of lies called Lucifer :)

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 04:24PM

Very simple. It means that you absolutely will not get your own planet if you don't give LDS, Inc. 10%+ of your moola. That will do.

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Posted by: badassadam ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 04:52PM

I have always wondered this as well, like which part is true it is so diverse, from weird temple stuff to talking about kolob, from polygomy to no polygomy, to killing people because of death oaths and on and on. None of it matches and makes any sense. I think they just want that celestial kingdom to be true which none of them have been to or even know if it even exists.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 06:50PM

It's about the buildings. The buildings are true. They are the only thing that is on the level. A carpenter's level.

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Posted by: badassadam ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 06:54PM

I have always wondered if they were talking about the buildings as well.

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Posted by: Amyjo ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 08:28PM

What other church do people even get up once a month to recite one after another for an hour and a half, of "I know this church is true. Joseph Smith is a true prophet of God, etc?"

It's just part of the brainwashing that takes place to train people up in a cult.

No one can challenge that in a F&T meeting. You don't hear someone get up to say it's all a crock. There's no support for dissent, discussion, or to challenge the indoctrination that supports the church mantras.

Once a person realizes the church is a farce, at least for me, is when the F&T meetings became a lesson in how people become morgbots. From the youngest children to the lifers, they all say pretty much the same thing over and over again, ad nauseum. It's recitation that reinforces the deception.

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Posted by: paintinginthewinnotlogged ( )
Date: September 12, 2017 09:24PM

maybe it means you are the perfect projection point person object or mirror for them, when you say the church is true or you agree the church is true

as they can be to you see they say the church is true!

its like two people dressed like identical dolls looking into a stack of dolls wearing the same clothes - when a person tesitifies the church is true in fast and tesimoney meeting.

maybe it pushes the painted structure of seamless mormony stamp on your self like playdough under a cookie cutter when you listen to another testimony or maybe you get rolled through the playdough press ready to imprint when you stand in line to testify then get pressed and reshaped aroudn your messy edges when you yestify testify that the church is true groomed shaped cookie cutter pressed playdough all in place

perhaps object projection is a bit like this? two human meet pieces of playdough stand greet face each other and the ritual greeting Message i know the church is true stamps the shape of self and other? or possibly the playdough press worked its magic long ago in a place far away in Primary? and actually you are scrawling paint onto an etched in place mask onto your own imagined mormon y ness self when you hear another persons tesimony and when you give your testimony you paint them too on their etched long ago somewhat fading away and throughly scared mormon y ness mask which they carry and hold up when talking to you.

testimony may be a pose in an object projection moment
I dont know the professional or genre vocabulary, I dont even know what to use as a verb.

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Posted by: Dave the Atheist ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 10:31AM

When someone tells me that TSCC is true I ask them what is true about it. That usually shuts them up.

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Posted by: NormaRae ( )
Date: September 13, 2017 11:13AM

It means that JS really did see God and Jesus, even though it took him 18 years to remember that they both appeared to him.

It means that the Book of Mormon is a real history of real people who existed in a vacuum where they wrote in a language that didn't exist anywhere else or leave any traces; and that they left no footprint, they made tools and weapons and wheels, etc. that no one else in the Americas knew about. They had domesticated animals that no one else had brought to the continent and that had bones that magically evaporated and left no trace and they grew crops that left no seed. They battled to the death and left exactly zero evidence, although the Mayans, Aztecs and other peoples of the same period left plenty.

It means JS was really torn up about having to fuck other women because he would never do that to his beloved wife Emma, so God had to send an angel with some kind of magical physical flaming sword to force him to do it.

It means that Abraham, who probably took lessons in the pre-existence from Mark Hoffman, was smart enough to write on a scroll, in Egyptian, and disguise it to look newer than it actually was and to have embedded secret code that could be mistaken for a typical Egyptian Book of the Dead.

It means that God gave the endowment to 15th century masons so they could use the sacred but not secret passwords and handshakes to identify other masons/craftsmen and their levels of skill. He also thought it would be a good test of people's faith when they found out that after He revealed the same to Joseph Smith, only the very most faithful would believe the real reason why it resembled the ceremonies they participated in weekly at the Nauvoo Lodge.

It means that eleven of JS' closest friends and relatives, who also had a financial stake in the book, really saw an angel who came down to let them look at the super secret golden plates. And even though there are no personal accounts, outside the dictated intro that bears their names, of them seeing it with anything other than their "spiritual" eyes (i.e., their minds), it really meant they saw it in a spiritual state with their own eyes. (God thought it would be funny to do that little play on words).

Oh, forget it. I'm only in the first couple of decades. I could do this all day, but must get about the business of earning a paycheck. You get my drift. I'll simplify it: When people say "I know the church is true," they mean "I'm super special and so much better than you because I can believe bullshit and nonsense just because it gives me goosbumps. And you, sorry sucker, think it has to make a sliver of sense and not sound like it's obviously a made up hoax by a nineteenth century charlatan who was actually convicted of glass looking and being a con artist. Have fun in Hell while I'm having eternal sex. Haha, the joke's on you. YOU may have money in your retirement to pay for nursing care, but MY penniless self will laugh at you through all generations of time and throughout all eternity!"

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