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Interesting. The temptation would be to engage in conclusion jumping and over-generalization, though I think that approach also could easily lead to self-deception. Mormon vulnerability is obvious, both at individual and cultural levels, but I think that some of this demonstrates attitudes characteristic of lower positions of the Perry Scheme for Cognitive and Ethical Growth, notably the presumed authority of the orthodoxy of whatever social group one happens to occupy. But I have recently made that case (in Interpreter essays) that Joseph Smith, by precept and example, urged followers to move towards the kind of enlightenment and tolerance that comes through exercising the kinds of inquiry and study that "remove the beams in our own eye" that we might "see clearly", to "seek out of the best books.. wisdom" rather than out of approved books, orthodoxy, to not expect perfection of our group or leaders, but to expect that "inasmuch as they have erred, it shall be made manifest... inasmuch as they have sought wisdom, they might be instructed and receive revelation from time to time" (D&C 1), to not avoid engaging contrary notions but to realize that "By proving contraries, truth (knowledge of things as they are, were and are to come) is made manifest." And that even after we have done some experiments and tasted light, our knowledge is not perfect. (Alma 32)

Kevin, the beam in the eye counsel is just right on point for the whole self-deception discussion. Here's the text of Matt. 7:3-5:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

If one knows the beam is there, maybe that's being a hypocrite. But if one is unaware of the beam in one's own eye, that's self-deception, not hypocrisy.

So, maybe Christ deceived Himself into believing that He was the Son of God and the Holy Ghost has been lying to us all of these centuries.

However, I think that Dave is spot on in that the author himself may be a victim of self deception.

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