Thursday, January 9, 2014

Index Librorum Prohibitorum

Mormons leaders love to sing the praises of good literature and encourage members to read quality books. The admonition is even scriptural!

"And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith." (D&C 88:118, D&C 109:7)

Isn't that wonderful? A religion whose revealed scripture admonishes literacy and book learning! How truly inspired! There are so many awesome books out there! Maybe I'll catch up on some philosophy, I've heard a lot about some fellow named Nietzsche... Or maybe some poetry, I've heard wonderful things about Sylvia Plath... Or some quality fiction, maybe American Psycho, a lot of people say it's a great read... Or I wouldn't mind some non-fiction, like that Holocaust trilogy by Elie Wiesel... Or maybe I should read some science-oriented stuff, like Richard Dawkin's The Selfish Gene... Or perhaps something biographical, maybe something about Joseph Smith like No Man Knows My History, I hear that's an amazing read! I could revisit that really long reading list I got way back in high school or that even longer list I got in that one Literature class I took in college. I could even check out what's on the New York Times Best Seller list or the top selling books on Amazon. Maybe I should join a book club. This is going to be so fun!

Hang on a second. Maybe we should see if the Church has any recommendations...

"What kind of wisdom could best strengthen faith? If we are specifically talking about faith in Jesus Christ, the wisdom we must seek is the word of the prophets. The best books containing the words of the prophets are the standard works and the conference addresses."

The scriptures and conference addresses. I guess the scriptures really are the "best books." I guess I'll just keep reading the Book of Mormon on repeat then and play some old Conference talks while I'm going about the house or driving in the car. That should really make me a well-rounded person...

But what if I get tired of reading about sin and Jesus and testimony? Can I read anything that's not coming directly from the Church or Deseret Book?

Sure! Books written by Christians that eventually point you to Christ as the Savior of the world.

Is there anything I need to particularly look out for?

Absolutely! Anything that makes you question the Church. Make up excuses not to look at it! It's all dangerous lies! There's absolutely nothing wrong with the Church or its leaders. Never trust anything that makes you think or question. Avoid such literature at all costs!

Last question. Why would I want to trust an organization that doesn't trust me? Does the Church even trust in God to protect me and help me discern the lies and evil in the world? How is censorship contribute to my agency? How does it aid my learning and education? Putting limits on what I can and cannot read reminds me of...

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