39: Self-Deception is Not Necessarily Sin

Should Be Known
Should Be Known
39: Self-Deception is Not Necessarily Sin
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SBK039 Self-Deception is Not Necessarily Sin

Transcript by Microsoft Office 365 dictate/transcribe – not super great, had to do tons of editing just to turn many many separated fragments on separate lines into sentences and paragraphs, not to mention the wrong words and everything, but here you go!

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All right, good enough. Welcome to the Should Be Known Podcast, I am Clayton Pixton.

If you’re new and episode 39 is your very first episode, we talk about principles of psychology on this podcast, but not the ones that I guess you may be used to if you were used to talking about psychological principles from a psychology book or any of the kind of established sources of psychological knowledge or whatever, not to diss them, necessarily, at this moment, but we are taking it kind of afresh from the perspective of, what, just common sense and deriving principles from what I see and from, I guess revealed truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 

We draw upon the scriptures and inspired words that are consistent with the truth as taught by the Holy Ghost. And common sense, and then just ideas that we have that we don’t know are true, which is called theories…yeah, theories are part of science, but you have to understand them right.  Theories are theories.  Science kind of makes up theories to explain what it sees and then…And goes yeah, yeah, that must be what’s going on, and then it finds out, oh wait a minute, these things are inconsistent and then everybody says no, no, this is the theory, this is what we’ve accepted, it’s right.  And then some smart person is able to break through some ground and say no ’cause look – there are all these inconsistencies, and tell you what – I have a better explanation, a better theory and then …Finally, after decades or generations maybe, hopefully though, not that long, people start to accept it, and then science actually moves forward. 

So I’ve got a little chip on my shoulder, maybe, with some of these things because I come from outside of the establishment and I’m used to being kind of, I don’t know, rejected a little bit maybe, and I’m not…I’m not part of the establishment.  I have a minor in psychology, ok, I have a major in philosophy. That’s all I have. And I think about things, but I enjoy it and I actually think there’s a lot of truth there to be had.

I think that a lot of people are barking up the wrong tree, and what do we say I…I don’t want to get too Far on a maybe negative path.  I want to do some constructive stuff here, but yeah, that is not the introduction I was necessarily planning on, but there it is.

It’s been a little while since I’ve recorded a show, and the podcast is meant to be investigative.  We’re on a journey. I don’t come to you with all the things I’ve already figured out, just with thoughts. But moving in a positive direction I hope.

Yeah, so let’s do some more music and then we’ll go from there. 

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All right? Well, lots to talk about. Last episode we talked about the lectures on faith. OK, do you remember those, they were from Joseph Smith’s time? It was a series of lectures or lessons kind of thing. Seven of them. They were actually canonized of a sort together with actual revelations from the Lord. But they are of a different nature really, so I don’t know if you’d say canonized, but they were published as part of the doctrine and covenants first. It was called the Book of Commandments and Doctrine and Covenants. And I talked about that, and one of the first statements that came out of there. They’re about faith, and how faith is like the main principle of action in all intelligent beings, actual statement goes like this – they quote the scripture:

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

From this we learn that faith is the assurance which men have of the existence of things which they have not seen; and the principle of action in all intelligent beings.

And I paused there, and I was like, Oh well, I actually don’t know how it says that last part. Doesn’t actually say in the scripture that I could see that it’s the principle of action in all intelligent beings and I said, but I’m going to go with that because I wanted to go with that and talk about it.

But yeah, the more I think about it, the harder it is for me to see how that derives from that. It kind of doesn’t to me.

And I also listened to a thing by a scholar that I know well [Noel Reynolds]. He was my stake President at BYU, which is my ecclesiastical leader, and he’s a great scholar actually, and he kind of did a lot of research and figured out that the lectures on faith, the authorship points very strongly to not Joseph Smith, but to Sidney Rigdon, who was also an elder in the church, he was like in the first presidency, you might say, with Joseph Smith. He didn’t continue, however, in that calling and in his in all his convictions. I guess you’d say he parted ways with Joseph Smith later, but anyway, so it it makes me, you know.

Question a little more what is being said. However, I don’t want to take away from whatever may be true there. But just just a little, you know, heads up there that faith very well may be the what is it called the principle of action and all intelligent beings but now I feel like I’m going to have to rethink that and be like, OK, is that really the case? I can’t just plain old trust it like I maybe thought I could before but you know it’s like most things.

I’m pretty trusting of the scriptures. But you have you have to read everything.

But you have to read everything with, well, with the spirit of the Lord, or else you’re not going to know one thing from the other. You’re not going to be able to discern truth from error. So whether you’re reading in scripture or prophets’ words or some guys book or speech, or lecture or something you’re not going to have any guide to know what of that is true or not unless you yourself have the Holy Ghost with you. The spirit of the Lord with you.  So, doesn’t make it easy, doesn’t make it easy, but that’s the way life is. It’s kind of your/my responsibility, to have that as a way to discern truth from error.

OK, so I said what I need to say about the lectures on faith.

I had a thought last night which will be my next thought here. We Are not morally accountable for all of our self deception. OK, we talk a lot about self deception here. You should know what it is by now, but I’ll be nice and kind of say it again. Self deception is whenever you go against the truth that you know, the truth being the kind of right and wrong that we all have access to. We kind of call it our conscience, but it’s more than that. But in this I guess in this case, at least, that’s all it needs to be. If we ever go against that, then we kind of automatically deceive ourselves. We kind of have to tell ourselves a lie in order to do that to justify ourselves. That’s kind of an oversimplification, but you can think of it that way.

So yeah, self deception but…

We’re not morally accountable for all our self deception. Really, that’s that easy. We are not consciously aware of our sense of right and wrong all the time. That sense of right and wrong is with us at all times. We’ve talked about this in episode 3 and others, but it is called the light of Christ in Scripture or the spirit of Christ. And it permeates all things. It’s through all things. I don’t want to pretend like I understand it completely.  I think I know enough to say we cannot escape from it, so if we can’t escape from our knowledge of right and wrong on a certain level, then whatever we do, that’s wrong, whether we’re taught that or not, we have to engage in self deception to do that.

Let’s see, we’re not morally accountable for all our self deception. So I would submit that a child can very easily engage in self deception. Very easily.  As you know, young child who I would also say is not morally accountable for their actions. Yet they don’t, they’re not held accountable before God. Do they maybe kind of know? Right from wrong, I mean kind of. Yeah, they’re learning it. They still got the light of Christ. They don’t have a lot of knowledge or experience and stuff, but they’re able to get in patterns of self deception.

Who’s more responsible – them or their parents? Or other people? Well, I don’t want to get in a blame game yet about parents and children but…

Let’s see how do I explain this?

I feel like I had it clear in my mind, when I came up with it.

Basically some people conceive of self-deception – and understand me right – Most people have no clue what self-deception is. Don’t necessarily believe in it. Or if they do, they think it’s something different than what I’m saying. But among the very few who ever think about self-deception in the way that I’m thinking about it, there are some who would call it a moral thing.  All the time. Like if we self deceive we’re going against our knowledge and we’re sinning. So that’s what they say, and that’s what I’m saying is not correct necessarily. We can do that because we do sin – we do act against our better knowledge many times and we self deceive that way as well.

It’s all self deception, but it also includes self deception by people who are not held morally accountable before God, such as small children or people who don’t have the mental capacity to know right from wrong and be accountable before God.

OK, moving on.

My house is empty. Everybody is at celebration at the station. I live in Kansas City area and I may join them after this, but I was really hot and not feeling the greatest and I really wanted to do this podcast frankly and some other stuff so I’m not with the rest of my family. But I have been, last whole weekend my my daughters were in Wichita in a state track meet where they did well really well. Proud of them and they’re seniors. They’re graduating from high school. The girls are two of the triplets. They have a brother. They’re all amazing kids.

And Speaking of that makes me think of something that I was thinking today. And I’m going to throw this in the podcast.

Does it seem to you like or have you ever noticed how you read the scriptures and you hear the word of the Lord and you, you definitely get the impression that from the Lord’s perspective this world is filled with wickedness. The children of men do not choose to let the Lord be their God. Meaning that of course he is no matter what, but they don’t, they don’t give sway to him. They don’t allow God to take the prominent place in their life. They don’t keep all his commandments, they don’t…what’s the word I’m looking for…they don’t let God prevail in their lives. They may do many good things…in the scriptures people are wicked and, kind of dumb really, and mostly bad and sometimes good, but when you get to know people in the world around us and you get you know face to face, people generally treat you decently when you know them or when you talk to them face to face, or interact with them.

So there’s this weird dichotomy, right? You get up close and personal with people. It’s like they seem nice on the outside and you know a lot of Virtue 2 and then you back up more towards God’s perspective and you see that, well, actually there’s a lot of wickedness, and it’s not possible that all these people are really that good. If they were, the world would be a different place, right?

So do you see the principle I’m trying to explain?  What it makes me think is people…maybe they’re nicer to your face than, you know, if they weren’t interacting with you and you were some random stranger who they didn’t know, they’d be rude to you. Maybe on the road they can’t see you or they, you know, vote for legislation that benefits them and not you, or maybe they’d, you know, do business dealings that would would be bad for the rest of humanity, but…

Making any sense here?

You think of Germany and the time of, you know Nazi Germany and this is just one small small example of world history, right? But when so many allowed the Jews to be taken from their homes and others, you know the other groups. Who were they – the mentally ill, homosexuals, like the gypsies, I can’t remember the name of the people besides the term gypsies – them…but all these different people were taken to concentration camps and regular German citizens just kind of let it happen and I don’t want to single out Germany because lots of places would do the same thing, I’m afraid to say.

People turned the other way.

People have done that in America and surely every nation under heaven. But it’s just amazing what people…what’s in their hearts when they’re not actually talking to you. Now take any one of those Germans and if they were to have an everyday exchange with one of their Jewish neighbors, or whatever it might be civil and they might act nice and stuff like that.

It’s just…you see what I’m saying, it’s just a kind of a wake up for the world and you look around and you see people…like I was at a gathering and this huge stadium and all these people…And I don’t have anything against these people, but just I guess knowing what I know…I feel it would be naive to believe that all these people are just nice to everybody and really acting in everybody else’s best interest.

And like I said I don’t have anything against them. Personally, it’s not my job to judge anybody, thankfully.

You know the Lord has said I will forgive whom I will forgive but unto you it is required to forgive all men. So it’s our commandment to love each other and forgive each other, and kind of not withhold our love from anybody. Or our forgiveness. That’s God’s job.

And some people will say oh, that’s a double standard. Yes, it is a double standard. It is a double standard. God gets to forgive who he will forgive. But we have to forgive all men. That’s how it goes and he says vengeance is mine and I will repay. That’s not up to us – vengeance is not up to us.

OK, anyway, just an observation about this principle of the closer you are to people the harder it is to see them as wicked. But the more you back up, the easier it is to see how, well, the world is wicked, and I mean it seems like everybody is wicked. Especially the people we don’t know, right? The foreign people and maybe other domestic people that we don’t know but the unknown people have to be the wicked ones and the ones we know, I mean, they’re so nice that how could they hurt a fly?

But I think we have to be not naive and realize that lots of people can have…oh, what shall I say…murders in their hearts?

And not everybody has murders in their hearts, but lots of people have a lack of love in their hearts for their neighbor and even we have that at times do we not? I mean, I do – I judge people all the time and it’s just, it’s a fight to not do that. We can do it, though.  We are enabled to do it because of Jesus Christ But it’s not a natural thing – you have to actually kind of choose to be good.

OK, enough on that thought.  Tell me what you think of that, if you don’t agree or if you do agree.

Alright, where are we here?

David Burns thought from April 8th

David Burns.  Ok, know who David Burns is? I guess he was a professor at Stanford and he’s a social psychologist or something like that. But he wrote a book, a couple books, and let me give all this intro. He said there are reasons – he calls them beautiful reasons – we don’t want to give up our anxiety or depression etc. Because we don’t want to be a bad person, we don’t want to not care.

What do you think about that? I guess my first question is, are they really beautiful or are they just, I mean, I’ll tell you right now, I’m among the people who don’t want to give up my misery because, you know, I don’t want to treat myself too good because I want to perceive myself as a good unselfish person.

I guess I question how virtuous that is, really, and how beautiful that is. But yeah, I definitely think that’s a thing.

OK, well I don’t have any more to  go on that thought so we’ll leave it there. Would be good to pick up on it sometime. He had a book called Feeling Good. It had some, I think of some good thoughts and I didn’t read the book…Actually I read parts of stuff or parts of the handbook that I guess went with it or something, years ago.  But the title seemed a little popular for a scientific guy, but I don’t want that to detract from the actual good insights that are in there or the good points that are in there.

Yeah, the book Feeling Good and then another book called Feeling Great, that, I believe, contained basically that thought about getting rid of the reasons you don’t want to give up your anxiety or depression or whatever. Which I think is a good point. I just don’t know that I’d call it Feeling Great, unless I really wanted to sell a lot of books, which probably worked really well.

OK.

You know what the really cool…I was listening to this other little podcast theme that was good.

*music*

OK guys, that is it for episode 39 of this Should Be Known podcast. I am Clayton, your friendly host, have a great one, bye.

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