Just skimmed through Paul Toscano’s latest book, Sacrament of Doubt. This book might appeal to some of my readers with LDS background. It’s a collection of Paul’s recent talks, including a rather scathing critique of Mormon apostle Boyd K. Packer. But what caught my eye was this passage:
Perhaps faith is to give God the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps doubt is to restrain the narcissism of certainty. For me, the bread of doubt is as sacred as the water of faith. Together they form a eucharist of hope, a wellspring of charity–a love that is neither partial nor sentimental but simply the heart’s desire that God’s love fall like rain in equal measure upon the just and the unjust, that no one claim a blessing one would withhold from another or impose a burden one would not bear oneself.
Such charity is what, in the end, may be the best remedy for the privations of poverty, the pretensions of priesthood, and the privileging of patriarchs because it does not arise upon the authority of certainty but is a grace flowing freely from the ordinance of faith and the sacrament of doubt.
I haven’t read Toscano’s book, but I really like that quote. It’s so interesting that as LDS we are warned of pride by our leaders, yet from the time we are little we are taught to say the “I know” statements: “I know the church is true,” “I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet,” etc. Those statements set up an “I’m right, everyone else is wrong” paradigm that filters dangerously into one’s life and creates division instead of oneness. I’m to the point now where I can acknowledge that different people have different experiences that lead them to believe and trust in different things. But I can see the universal truths, such as the power of mercy, revealed in anyone’s life.
Toscano has always been a highly stylized wordsmith. (He loves alliteration!) His writing is always dense with quotable passages that succinctly and poetically sum up so many ideas many of us have, but cannot articulate. Nobody, in my opinion, from the Mormon tradition has so eloquently stated the case (and spiritual need!) for doubt and dissent as Paul Toscano.
Matt: Doesn’t his prose almost remind you of Neal A Maxwell’s?
To be honest, I’m not familiar with Neal Maxwell’s style, but I’ve heard others say he is somewhat unique or different in comparison to other GA’s.