I’m indebted to my friends for these thoughts.
Are you familiar with the Turing test? The trouble with the Turing test is that it’s a very unsatisfying test. It doesn’t seem to be able to demonstrate definitively what we would want it demonstrate.
But the other trouble is that it’s the only possible test. To decide against the Turing test as a measure for the reality of Artificial Intelligence is to decide in advance of any test or evidence that Artificial Intelligence is impossible and, thus, can never be demonstrated by way of any test or evidence.
But this is what the new church policy does.
Its obvious to everyone what would happen if we let gay families be part of Mormon congregations: they would look like normal, happy, healthy Mormon families, they would talk like normal, happy, healthy Mormon families, they would serve and love and mourn and give their lives to the church like all the other normal, happy, healthy Mormon families.
In other words, they would be happy, healthy Mormon families and people would stop caring altogether that they were gay. They would pass the Turing test. So we can’t let them take the test.
This policy change stinks to high heaven because the policy transparently acknowledges that this is the case.
We have zero confidence in the capacity of our doctrines to speak for themselves and win the day. We have zero confidence in the ability of the church as a whole to judge for themselves good from evil.
If we’re wrong about gay families, then let’s at least have the guts to trust our doctrines through to the end without signaling up front that we don’t actually trust them by procedurally rigging the test from the start.
The policy looks and feels and smells like cowardice. And though the Turing test is pretty unsatisfying on a lot of levels, I don’t see any other possible test. It must be the case that we’re actually cowards.