This was written in response to a man who was upset that I claimed that PR and truth are in conflict, and that our constitution was based on a search for truth, and could only be sustained by the same spirit. I think it does a good job of illuminated how very different facts and truth are.
There is a difference between truth, and fact. Our society is not particularly sensitive to this as we have long since abandoned that decency which the light of Christ dictates. Having blinded ourselves to such light, we have a difficulty with its other teachings. The light of Christ will testify of truth. It does not particularly testify of facts, like statistical claims of the sort you cited. A statement of truth actually carries evidence of its own truth with it. A statement of fact does not. Joseph Smith taught members truth and expected them to believe it simply because they were sensitive to truth. He said
“This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. They are given to my by the revelations of Jesus Christ; and I know that when I tell you these words of eternal life as they are given to me, you taste them, and I know that you believe them. You say honey is sweet, and so do I. I can also taste the spirit of eternal life. I know it is good; and when I tell you of these things which were given my by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you are bound to receive them as sweet, and rejoice more and more.”
When I say PR is not about truth, you actually backed me up. You make it about facts and statistics and things that are, well, technically true. But that isn’t what I, or the scriptures, or the founders, are talking about when they discuss truth. They mean that which one knows is true by the light of Christ — that which the light of Christ will actually testify of. Elder McConkie taught that each statement of truth carries its own evidence of its truthfulness. In fact, that is why the founders wrote “we hold these truths to be self-evident”. They didn’t know WHY they were self evident, but they were sensitive to the fact that they WERE.
Truth, in the sense I was speaking of, is the topic of the first section of Moroni 7. It is the good fountain and good things have to be built on it to grow.
PR is not about truth. It is focused on appealing to people. It will use facts, and often, lies. But even using only facts is not what I was talking about when I spoke of “truth”.
The constitution had to be built on truth to be something God could call his own. Had it been build on facts and correct statistics, it would have crumbled to nothing long ago. Building on truth is actually building on what the light of Christ will testify of, and which can grow into something greater just as a seed can.
And just so, anything built on truth can only blossom by truth, even if the smooth sophisticated reasoning of our day feels that facts are all that are necessary to make the world go round.