Monday, November 15, 2010

Truth or Paradox

The other day I read something from the Tao de Ching that startled me. It said, “The words of truth are always paradoxical.” Before we analyze that lets look at the definition of paradox: “A statement that is seemingly contradictory or opposed to common sense and yet is true.”

Truth is what is (D&C 93:23) not what should be. So paradox enters the picture when we think the truth shouldn’t be. The truth is (the fact, the verity, the reality) what happens, but very often we think (or are taught or believe) that is should be different. So when something happens instead of accepting it as truth, we make it into a paradox. The event is contradictory or opposed to what we think should be truth.

An example will work better here. Let’s say your child’s teacher calls up and tells you he was caught stealing candy from another child’s desk. Immediately you start thinking things like, “He shouldn’t have done that. He should not steal. I’ve taught him to be honest. He should listen to me,”etc. Those statements are all truth in the gospel sense and will be truth in a celestial world, but we are in a telestial world and the truth is that in a telestial world people make wrong choices and do things that go contrary to the laws of God. 

Even worse is thinking thoughts such as; “I’m such a terrible mother. Where did I go wrong? I am worthless!” That is a paradox. The adversary may be trying to make you believe it is true, but it is contradictory or opposed to common sense. Unless you never taught him to be honest or you taught him to steal, it isn’t true. HE took the candy—not you. 

So when Living in Truth, instead of creating a paradox, we simply accept the truth, “My son took candy that did not belong to him,” and either fix it or live with it. There is no need to create a paradox that is filled with unnecessary pain!

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