Saturday, January 10, 2009

Thoughts on God

Twice this week I have commented on other blogs regarding God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In both cases, someone has been struggling with the connection they make between the LDS church and the gospel of Jesus Christ or God.

I think at one point these things were all interconnected for me as well.

But somewhere along the last 6 months, I have gradually come to the conclusion that they are not as connected as we think they are. I have some sort of memory of someone, maybe even Scott, blogging about this before, but I hope it is okay to re-visit it in my own words. My memory of such a blog was that someone referred to the church as merely a vehicle of sorts that gives us a framework in which to worship God and learn about the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

That framework is run by men, I believe they are inspired men, and that sometimes God speaks to them directly, but sometimes He allows them to act on their thoughts and feelings and make their own decisions about how the church is run. Sometimes the leaders change policies to fit what they feel is best for most members of the church at that point in time, even though it may not be right for all members, but things change again when they need to.

But do you really think that God would forsake his children that worship him in other venues? Do we have to have the "Gift of the Holy Ghost" to feel his spirit and know that he lives? Or don't you think that sometimes he whispers words of inspiration to leaders and members of other religions? I believe He does.

However, I still believe that the LDS church is the MOST true church on the Earth. But I also believe that God is okay with us seeking the framework that will help us be closest to Him. And if that is NOT the LDS church, then so be it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that if we get to the point that we have a problem with something the church does, we cannot just assume that the entire framework falls apart. Easier said than done, I know, but I strongly believe that God lives, that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and that God loves all of his children, regardless of what "framework" they choose to worship him from.

Now that makes me wonder if other parts of my testimony have changed. Do I still believe in the covenants (baptism, temple endowment, etc.) that are required for eternal life? After pondering that thought this morning, I believe I do. I have had too many spiritual experiences with such things just to now discount them as bogus. When I was Primary President, every baptism I attended was an incredible spiritual experience. And I will never forget the year that two of Scott's sibblings were married a month apart. The first one was a civil ceremony, the second was in the temple. Many of the people in attendance were the same and both occaisions were happy ones, but words cannot describe how different the overall feeling was from one event to the other. I was particularly touched at the temple sealing as I compared the two, with memories of the other one fresh in my mind.

So how do these things fit together? How can God require these covenants and yet possibly be okay with his children seeking him in other places besides the Mormon church? I don't know, but I know in my heart that it will all work out. He will make it work out. We each need to do the best we can in this life, follow the path that God has for us, and He will judge us according to our hearts and what we have been able to do with the circumstances we have been given.

I realize that this is the Gospel of Sarah, or maybe the teachings of men mingled with scripture, but it brings me peace, and helps me to stay active in the LDS church even though I don't agree with every teeny tiny detail. Isn't that better than discounting everything I have ever known and giving it all up? I believe so, and so this is where I will stay, at least for the time being, until God directs me to follow a different path (if and when that ever happens).


Evan said...

Great entry, Sarah!

I don't know if I have ever posted my views on the Church being a "vessel" to help us come unto Christ. I am sure I may have briefly mentioned it, but I pulled the idea from Ty Mansfield while reading "In Quiet Desperation." That concept stuck out to me and has always been with me when reading it a year ago, and has stuck with me ever since.

Seeing the Church as a vessel helps me get through tougher times when I feel conflicted by what is being said at the pulpit. I still believe, for me, the Church is the best vessel for me to come unto Christ, but I don't necessarily think it is the best vessel for all.

Yudanashi said...

I do not know if you have met Niklaus from Tea with Tumnus but he is a student of theology and a Moho and he has some interesting takes on this. you should check out this post here a it is highly similar to what you say here and we talked about yesterday.