In a sense, contention is inevitable and unavoidable because every individual is unique, and no two people agree on everything.
Ideally, we work out differences cooperatively, through compromise, negotiation, etc., all in pursuit of a positive, productive objective.
People don't even agree with themselves, thanks to our dual brains competing for attention, our changing moods, new knowledge and insights we gain, different circumstances, etc.
The key element that shifts cooperation toward contention is anger.
In this blog we'll discuss ways to avoid contention in favor of mutual understanding, respect, and united progress and improvement.
Because we start with a focus on issues involving the Restoration, particularly those related to the keystone of our religion (the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon), we've identified three broad categories of people who have engaged with these issues.
In doing so, we recognize everyone is different. These categories serve as analytical tools only. Any individual may find affinity with any group on a given specific topic.
The objective is to seek greater understanding, but also greater clarity and charity.
Clarity requires isolation of facts, assumptions, inferences, theories, and hypotheses (the FAITH model). The understanding process is nonjudgmental. If anyone brings errors to our attention, they will be promptly noted and appropriate corrections made.
These are the three broad categories, using terminology familiar to those involved with these discussions. The groups are organized as a continuum, but there is no implied preference for A just because it is the first letter in the alphabet. The order could be reversed just as easily.
Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed
Believe what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon
Believe some, but not all, of what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon
Disbelieve what Joseph and Oliver claimed about the origin and setting of the Book of Mormon
Each of these groups is admittedly overbroad. For example, people who agree with the description in box A may have a variety of views about how to interpret the teachings of Joseph and Oliver. But for analytical and clarity purposes, there is no alternative to such groupings (which are as broad as possible).