Oh Say, What is Truth?

Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Jason Harris

Sun breaking through clouds. Labeled for reuse.

It can be useful to think of truth as inhabiting portions of the following 4×4 grid.

Where Mormonism Resides

In Mormonism, the literal “truth” of the Church is usually dogmatically taught as inhabiting the top left grid box. Where truth and facts are the same. Similar to how the hard sciences work. In reality, I believe the literalism of Mormonism mostly inhabits the lower right grid box, where falsehoods are created when fiction is embraced as literal truth.

Dogmatically clinging to the stories that reside in the lower right box CAN lead to life-enhancing truths for sure, such as the truth that happiness can be found in one’s own life by serving others. But dogmatically insisting fiction is facts can and does lead to harm as well. Very real harm.

For example in the case of the Mormon religion: Blacks, Native Americans, Women, Children, Single Adults, Many Suffering from Mental Illnesses, Scholars, Honest Truth Seekers, Members of the LGBTQ Population, etc.


Some of you reading this likely vehemently disagree. I understand. I’ve been there. Having a re-birth of my world views was emotionally traumatic and something I resisted for years. Rebirth is always painful. But I’m glad I experienced it.

It is my hope the Mormon Church will eventually make a permanent move predominantly into the lower left box. Where truth is revealed when fiction is embraced as fiction and the deeper meanings of stories are grasped. I believe this will ultimately be far healthier for the members and the institution. Especially those members who reside at “the fringes.”

Where the Greatest Truths Reside

I personally believe the greatest truths in life are usually found in this lower left grid box anyway. In fact, I believe this is the essence of much of what it means to be human. Metaphors, symbols, figures of speech, humor, social constructs. fiction. Great truths live in this lower left box. The sentence I just said lives in this lower left box, and so does this one.

Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.

Jessamyn West

Jason Harris lived as an orthodox Mormon for forty years. He writes about his experiences leaving the Mormon Church and reconstructing a new World-View. He believes all religions and scripture are man-made, potentially helpful and harmful. He believes there is Divinity in all of them and everywhere.