Earlier comments made by Mogget that the BoM tends to deal with the “other” in terms of conversion, military conquest, or basically “ignoring” them has got me thinking. How do we as a people deal reconcile difference? I’m less inclined to make a textual observation here (as I believe Mogs was doing); and instead am speaking socio-culturally.
I think there are a variety of (sometimes competing) alternatives we already employ in dealing with difference (both internal and external differences). In some regards this is directly related to recent posts dealing with the problem of history and theology, or scholarship and faith. What I would like to do here is creating a listing of sorts–a taxonomy that identifies the ways in which we reconcile these kind of challenges. Below are four methods that I would suggest we already use. The questions I would like to ask are, what other modes of reconciliation do we or should we employ? What are the strengths and weakness with each of these approaches? Should some of these be “dismissed” as ineffective or non-viable means of dealing with difference?
Eclecticism: The selective adoption or rejection of specific concepts to the de-emphasis and overemphasis of others. E.g., We have become the “Book of Mormon generation” where the BoM is employed much more frequently than the Bible. In the Bible we emphasis certain portions and downplay others. The Gospels compared with the epistles, for instance.
Ecumenicism: An exercise of faith where God’s omniscience is trusted to somehow tie the differences together into “one great whole”. E.g., Different Mormons can have differing opinions as to God’s relationship with the world he has created. How much does he intervene? How do we explain evil? The scripture mastery verse in Isaiah is usually implied with Ecumenicism: “His ways are greater than our ways.” (pardon my paraphrasing)
Compartmentalism: Different circumstances call for different responses. E.g., In Polynesia, many males wear the traditional lavalava to church rather than slacks. Comparmentalism is also used to explain how early members of the church (or even individuals in the scriptures) did things differently because they were of a different time (drinking of wine for instance). We often employ Compartmentalism with the phrase, “It’s the Spirit that matters.”
Inclusivism: The reworking of the concepts of the “other” in a shared terminology (or often purely in our own terminology). E.g., Most people believe in a supreme being, but we call him by different names.