Lately, my siblings and I have been discussing the things we question about the Church and even religion in general. There are many things that I mentioned that confuse and/or upset me, and as it turns out, we all feel relatively the same about those topics.
Just a couple days ago, however, my older sister told me of a book she saw entitled, “Why I Stay,” and it got me thinking… Why do I stay in the Church? Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
No matter what, I’m covered
This was an argument I gave against Atheism on my mission. Whether it’s true or not, by living the gospel you are covered! If it’s true, great. You’ve done what you were supposed to. But if it’s not, at least you’ve spent your whole life striving to become a better and kinder person.
No harm can come from believing in a righteous God who doesn’t exist. But if you don’t believe and you really do find yourself at His judgment seat in the end, well… That really sucks. While living the gospel as Jesus Christ taught, you can’t lose. There is only winning here.
Okay, so there are many things I absolutely despise about “Mormon” culture. BUT there are also many things that keep me in it. For one, I love the sense of community. There have been countless times when I or my family was in need, and members of the Church were right there to help. This is not an “every man for himself” kind of church. It is a community of giving and receiving.
Along with the culture, there are many teachings I believe in and want for my future family (assuming I’ll have one). These include the teachings of Jesus Christ and how to be more like Him, the idea that we have heavenly PARENTS, the Plan of Salvation, and so much more.
I am a little hesitant to put this one down because what if my readers haven’t had past spiritual experiences like I have? I don’t want to make them feel isolated because I, too, know what it’s like to feel that I’m not “spiritual enough.” But how could I NOT mention these moments?
There are too many undeniable spiritual experiences in my past that I would be flat-out lying to myself if I made up excuses to leave the Church. Though not many baptisms on my mission resulted in faithful active members, there were countless times in which my own conversion was solidified.
Even if my testimony is shaken right now, I can hold on to those past moments that meant so much. Elder Jeffery R. Holland gave a devotional address on this very subject. He stated,
“If it was right when you prayed about it and trusted in it, it is right now.”
Since my mission, I have still been lead by God to things, people, and places that I know were meant for me. I have found so much truth in the Church, it would be stupid to give up based on the few confusions I have now. I knew it before, and truth doesn’t change.
Where to next?
A friend brought up a scripture to me based on this very point. When the Apostles of Jesus Christ were confused—maybe even horrified—at one of His teachings, He asked them if they were going to leave Him as many of His listeners did. Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”
There is nowhere else. For me, at least, this is it. I have heard the words of eternal life, and there is no going back, whether I agree with it all or not.
One of my brothers-in-law always says,
“The good news is, the Church is true. The bad news is, the Church is true; so now you have to actually do something about it.”
And sometimes, “doing something” might just mean sticking it out for a while until you gain more understanding and/or faith.
If you’re hanging by a thread, please take the time to make your own list. Why do you remain in the Church?