Last week I wrote an article about my faith. I wrote about why it’s so important to me, and why I believe what I believe. Now you may be wondering, what does that have to do with books? Why blog about books and faith on the same blog?
Well, friends, although the two topics may seem completely different, they actually go hand in hand. In fact, I don’t think it’s weird at all to write about both.
What Faith Has to Do with Books
You see, yet another thing I love about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the way the gospel encourages education. The scripture I used for my tagline is only the beginning. It doesn’t take much searching to figure out just how dedicated The Church is to education. I mean, they run and sponsor several universities, take donations on an ongoing basis for an education fund, promote books and reading through Deseret Book, and teach that one of the best ways to learn about the gospel is through studying the scriptures.
Beyond even that, just take a look at the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve to see how highly they value education. Just look at those impressive degrees from impressive schools!
My belief is that it stems from the doctrine that we can become like God. Of course this isn’t possible in this life, but shouldn’t it be our goal to get as close as possible? And that means learning as much as possible. That means constantly making an effort to study and learn and become self-reliant and knowledgeable.
What Books Have to Do with Faith
Although this isn’t a post about how reading can build your ability to feel empathy for others, that understanding is central to understanding why books can help build your faith. I firmly believe that although The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only church with the full restored gospel, most, if not all, religions have some degree of truth to them. There’s something we can learn from everyone, every faith, and every culture.
Reading can help immensely with this. Whether you’re reading fiction from someone of another faith or culture, or even reading their sacred texts (I love the Bhagavad Gita), being willing to learn more about other faiths can absolutely teach you more about your own. And even if it doesn’t, understanding where other people are coming from can help you increase in love toward them, and isn’t that what the core of most religions is really about?
What Happens When Books and Faith Are Priorities
The last thing these two topics have in common is the fact that they are both central to who I am and who I am becoming. I’m definitely far from perfect in both my faith and my studies, but making an effort to improve in both makes me beyond happy. These two pursuits are two of the best ways to understand the world around you. As we increase in love and understanding toward others, we can open up all sorts of opportunities for improvement and sharing. We can learn about the best parts of those around us and incorporate the best truths to make everything about our world better.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? Being so understanding and empathetic toward one another that we can work together with the best parts of ourselves? So let’s do it! Let’s study and believe and listen. Let’s work together instead of fighting and tearing each other apart. Are you ready to make that effort?