Elder: Faithful Need Intellect and Spiritual Insight
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ If Mormon doctrines and behavior are measured only by the intellect, without spiritual insight, church members will be misled, one of the faith’s leaders warned Saturday.
″Unless you have experienced it, it is very difficult to describe this delicate process,″ Elder Boyd K. Packer said at the denomination’s Semiannual General Conference.
″The (spiritual) witness is not communicated through the intellect alone, however bright the intellect may be,″ he said.
Packer referred to an Aug. 23 statement by the church’s hierarchy alerting members to ″the dangers of participating in symposia″ devoted to the study of Mormon history, doctrine and culture.
″If doctrines and behavior are measured by the intellect alone, the essential spiritual ingredient is missing and we will be misled,″ said Packer, a senior member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, which is a council of advisers to the faith’s governing First Presidency.
Leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, considered prophets by the faith’s 7.8 million members, long have warned Mormon scholars against critical examinations of origins and beliefs, saying they erode faith.
Neither the August statement nor Packer, addressing the 161st conference, referred specifically to Sunstone Symposium. The symposium is a series of annual and regional gatherings sponsored by the independent Sunstone, a scholarly magazine devoted to Mormon arts and studies.
″There is safety in learning doctrine in gatherings which are sponsored by proper authority,″ Packer said.
Sunstone editor Elbert Peck said Thursday that most symposium participants are faithful Mormons who believe free inquiry is healthy.
″If Sunstone was proselyting, I think we would be wrong,″ Peck said.
He said there are many church members who find the symposia spiritually uplifting as well as intellectually stimulating.