At What Point The Step Out

From an article by Jan Cienski concerning Mormon anthropologist Thomas Murphy, “A Mormon confronts his myths”, National Post, December 3, 2002, A16:

A Mormon anthropologist is facing excommunication after finding no genetic link between American Indians and the ancient Hebrews of Israel, questioning one of the central tenets of his church.

Thomas Murphy conducted a review of the existing scientific literature and concluded that the evidence points to the Asian origins of Indians, who scientists say migrated across the Bering Strait millennia ago. “There is no evidence an ancient group of Israelites made it to the Americas, as it says in the Book of Mormon,” he said…

…the Mormon scholars have…(concluded that) the Book of Mormon is likely a literary construct of Joseph Smith, but one with spiritual weight.

“To acknowledge the obvious fictional quality of the Book of Mormon is not to detract from the beauty and brilliance of the sermons, visions and other imagery,” reads the introduction to American Apocrypha.

For Mormons such a Mr. Murphy, denying the literal truth of the Book of Mormon while treating it as useful mythology in much the same way most Christians treat the creation story in Genesis is the only way to hand on to their faith.

“My aspiration is to create a space within Mormonism for a discussion of the Book of Mormon as fiction, but still as scripture,” he said…

“I’m a Mormon culturally, whether they like it or not,” he said…

The meeting to consider disfellowship or excommunication of Dr. Murphy was put on permanent hold in 2003.

At what point can someone say he or she has stepped outside of a particular religion completely? Would this be something particularly desired? But when the silent questions become formally and publicly expressed…

Is it possible to be a part of a Christian religion and not believe in the divinity of Christ?

Or the literalist destructors having irrevocably stepped out?


About brucelarochelle
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