If you’ll take a minute to look around my blog, you’ll quickly find that it’s a little different from most book blogs. The difference? Well, the scripture-based tagline, the “Faith” page, and the reviews of religious books may give you a pretty good hint.
If you haven’t gathered yet, my faith is very important to me. It’s one of the few things I would say shapes who I am even more than the books I read do.
Now, as I’ve grown up I’ve watched a lot of friends, classmates, and other acquaintances distance themselves from the Church in the name of open-mindedness or as a statement against some of the doctrines the Church teaches. Although this saddens me, I can usually see some of the reasoning behind their choices. Friends, if you’re reading this, it is not an attack to you, but rather an explanation of why I’ve decided to remain amidst growing controversy and cultural problems.
Please also understand that I do not speak for the Church as a whole, but that this is my faith and my beliefs about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Christ Teaches Unconditional Love
This is probably my favorite teaching of the good news of Jesus Christ. Unconditional love. For your friends, your enemies, your neighbors. Love one another. Love your enemies. Just love!
Part of Jesus Christ’s mission included Him suffering for each of us. Our afflictions and infirmities. Our trials, pains and sins. He understands us perfectly. And since He does, He knows how best to love us. He knows that each of us is worth being loved.
I cannot pretend to comprehend all the reasons we are commanded to love one another. But I do know that when we do it blesses us as well as those we love. It encourages open discourse and higher understanding. It increases our desire to serve and give and be the best that we can be so that we can help others.
When you give yourself to love, serve, and understand others, you’ll find you’re happier than you ever when you allowed yourself to hate or even dislike them.
Love this topic as much as I do? Want to know how to better love and understand others? I highly recommend reading the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapters 5-7 or 3 Nephi chapters 12-14.
Forgiveness is Possible
Another of my favorite doctrines is that of grace. This is a topic that has been heatedly debated between different sects and denominations of Christianity. Probably because it’s so hard to grasp! I mean, I’m still trying to figure it out too, but I’ll tell you what I do understand, because it’s really quite beautiful.
It’s so obvious that nobody is perfect that the very phrase has become a cliche. We all mess up. We all fall short. But why would a benevolent God send us here when He knew we would just fail? Of course he had to provide a way for us to come back.
So he sent a Savior. A Savior who suffered for ALL of our sins so that he could help us repent PERFECTLY. Not so that He could save us in our sins, but so He could save us from them. So that when we try the hardest we can He is able to make up the difference. And He does. Any weakness you have, any sin or failure, we have a Savior that is perfectly equipped to help you overcome it. Even if it takes all of eternity, as long as you’re trying and relying on Him, He will be there to help you.
Friends, that is what I call good news.
God Loves Us Perfectly
Most of the world sees God very differently than I do. Some will see Him portrayed as destructive and fearsome, or as selective and overbearing. Some may even see Him as distant and uncaring toward his creations.
Me? I see Him as my Father. He knows me perfectly, more intimately than even my earthly father. And He loves me. He wants the very best for me in every way possible. And He wants the best for you too.
There are countless stories I could use to fill this space, giving evidence of God’s love for His children. I could interpret scripture all day. I could find examples from General Conference and from my own life. But here’s what always gets me the most: you will end up where you will be the happiest.
A study of the plan of salvation as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will show you that in the end, we each end up in one of the three degrees of glory. The goal is to achieve the highest degree, where we can become like God and live with Him. That’s pretty common knowledge to anyone who has studied the Church at all.
Here’s what we don’t teach as much: they are each degrees of GLORY. Even the lowest one. Don’t believe me? Check out Doctrine and Covenants, especially chapters 76 and 88. There we see phrases like these:
- Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power (88: 47)
- And thus we saw, in heavenly vision, the glory of the telesital, which surpasses all understanding (76:89)
- And also the telestial receive it of the ministering of angels who are appointed to minister unto them (76:88)
I don’t know about you, but I think that sounds like a pretty great place to be. And I’m sure for those who fought against the Church in mortality, it’ll be more comfortable that hanging out with those people they fought against who reside in the Celestial Kingdom.
God will place us in the happiest state He can based on our decisions. Because He just loves us that much.
Burning in the Bosom
I could keep going with many more reasons I love this gospel, but I’m already going pretty long for a blog post, so I’ll wrap it up with this, the main reason I believe in the gospel. It’s not because of the cool ideas or the awesome God. It’s because I’ve felt it. That’s why I chose to be baptized when I was eight, and that’s why I’ve remained a member since. Because I’ve felt something divine and sacred enter into my heart to tell me it’s true. And if it’s true, then what else matters?
What do you love most about what you believe? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!