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Religion

Found 62 results

  1. I am writing from my daughter's graveside. Today is her 5th birthday. I wish she could be raised in her eternal family after the resurrection but her family doesn't qualify for that. I have a strong testimony of the gospel but my faith has completely died. I go through the motions to set an example for my children, but I have no hope or energy left. My oldest son just went back to BYU this week so that means I'll have to bless the sacrament on Sunday and I don't know how I can do it. I can't think of a single good thing that has come to my life by trying to live the gospel, and that includes my children who will no longer be mine after this life is over. I was born in the church but wasn't really raised in it. It wasn't until I graduated high school that I really became converted and served a mission. I'm the only one from my family that's even active, but for what? My "eternal" marriage is completely busted and after years of putting all my heart and soul into trying to fix it, I have accepted that my "eternal companion" just doesn't care. There has been absolutely zero physical contact of any kind between us in over four years. She gets her need for physical affection filled by cuddling and holding hands with a friend of hers and everyone including our marriage counselor and priesthood leaders are perfectly fine with that, so who am I to argue? I have detached from her completely to protect my own emotional state and because I don't have the emotional energy left to try and bring her back into this marriage when she already considers herself "married" to someone else. So I am completely alone. I don't have a single friend in the world or in Heaven. During the entire pandemic I have heard from my fellow ward members exactly twice, but never to ask how I was doing or to check on my well being with my father (who lives with me) spending a month on what we expected to be his death bed. No, my EQ Pres, only cared enough about my family and me to see if I would help someone move. No one talks to me unless they want something from me. I don't blame God and I don't blame them. I have come to accept that I am just not good enough for Him or anyone else around me. If only I was a better human. I gave up praying a while back because I can no longer muster the hope to convince myself that God has any concern for anything I have to say, He's going to do whatever He wants to do regardless of my will or desires. My entire life I have always tried my hardest to do the best I could (which is why I'm the only one of my siblings still active) and it just hasn't been enough for Him. Three and a half years ago I got the distinct impression that the joy at the end of the road would be worth the pain, but I am burned out, broken and beaten and my road has ended as far as I am concerned. My faith has completely died and I have no hope left. What is the point to this life when there is no expectation left of being able to achieve exaltation because your partner has moved on completely? Everything else is meaningless. Why bother with any of the commandments when the best they will get me is second place? I'm not looking for marriage advice because no one who reads this knows enough about my situation to say anything meaningful and I am fully aware it took both of us to get this marriage to where it is today. I'm looking for answers on how to rebuild my faith from complete hopelessness. I don't want to be where I am spiritually, but I don't see any way to move forward. I don't need any meaningless platitudes or Sunday School answers. I need some nuts and bolts things to move forward in a hopeless situation because right now the only positive thing I can come up with each day is that it's one less day I have to live going forward. I will not divorce because it is more important for me to be present for my children still in the home, at least while they are still mine in this life. Plus my wife has already turned one of my children against me and I am trying to do everything I can to sustain the relationships I have with the others. And even if I did divorce that wouldn't solve anything for me because I no longer believe I am capable of creating a happy marriage (if such a thing even exists) so why put another woman through that heartache and misery? So there it is, how do I regrow a faith that is completely dead?
  2. Hi, I'm reading the Book of Mormon right now. I've never been religious at all, my family was not religious and the idea of reading or studying religion seemed, until very recently, extremely dull and boring. Although a friend of mine became a Christian a few years ago and tried to get me to go to church with him ( a pentecostal church) I found it as dull and boring as I expected. So, I KNEW religion was not for me. And that was fine with me. Then, about three years ago I moved house and whilst unpacking I found a copy of the Book of Mormon in an drawer in the kitchen, obviously left by the former residents. I paid it little attention BUT... I didn't get rid of it. Not sure why but I simply kept it in that drawer. Anyway, about 6 months ago I was approached by two missionaries while I was in town. They were very polite and friendly but I explained that I wasn't religious and wasn't interested. I wasn't rude but I didn't want to listen. I saw them again in town about a fortnight later and suddenly had the urge to go over and chat to them. But I've no idea why. Its strange. What would I talk about? AND WHY? I'm NOT religious. Well, I kept on thinking about it and then about 6 weeks ago I took out the Book of Mormon and started to read. And so for the past six weeks I've been reading it. No idea why. And I mean, I'm reading it every day. And I'm loving reading it. I've just finished the second book of Nephi. I can't believe I've actually stuck at it. So I, who isn't religious am feeling all sorts of emotions. It even feels strange telling this story. Slightly confused but also excited. This is all so new to me, religion in general. I haven't spoken to anyone about this, its been a very private experience but I've been reading about peoples experiences in the church and would like to know has anyone else been in this situation. Bearing in mind, this really has come out of nowhere for me. All I did was come across the book and talk to two missionaries for about 5 minutes. Sound crazy? I know very little as yet about the church but I'm still going to read the Book of Mormon.
  3. Just re-listened to Elder Renlund's talk "Abound With Blessings." I still don't get it. If all of these things are necessary before a blessing can be received, why didn't Jesus say this? Matthew 21:22 and multiple other scriptures seem to make is seem much more simple. Ask and you will receive! Have mustard-seed faith and move a mountain!
  4. Tegan K

    Can you help me?

    I'm Tegan; I'm a member of the Church of England but have grown up around LDS members; I've always been interested in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and their beliefs which is why I'm doing my dissertation on Christians and marketing with a focus on Latter Day Saints. I've grown up not feeling represented for my beliefs in society as a whole and in marketing which is why I wanted to do this for my research. After doing some interviews with LDS members, I felt like getting more of an insight into Latter Day Saints' beliefs is insanely important for the future of marketing. I would be beyond grateful for anyone to do my survey (I've posted it below) or just to reply to this post with what is the most important aspect of their faith and why. Christians and MarketingThank you in advance to anyone that does my survey or replies to this post and I can't wait to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on Third Hour
  5. brightaware7

    Faith

    "Many believer's feed themselves on what God hasn't done. When I dwell on what hasn't happened, I create the atmosphere for the spirit of offense to arise and to thrive. When I dwell on what hasn't happened, I legitimize unbelief. I live with a sense of justification, for not believing God. Faith in the purest sense is the ceasing of resistance. even when there's no physical evidence, when the other evidence is present. Not feeding ourselves on what God hasn't done Faith in it's purest form is the absence of resistance. Heaven is a place where everyone is celebrated, some are more honored but everyone is celebrated. All men and all women shall be judged on the light which they have received. Heaven is a permissible culture. God's nature is eternally permissible. These statements protect us from credit. Faith in the purest sense is the ceasing of resistance, even when there's no physical evidence, when the other evidence is present. Not feeding ourselves on what God hasn't done. Faith in it's purest form is the absence of resistance. Faith doesn't deny a problems existence, it denies it's influence. He or she was someone whom aridity and desolation never disturbed for he or she had a deeply rooted, and a vigorous faith. Now we can act as we have always dreamed. Now we can act as we have always been. Now we can step into the light and gather the sunlight instead of blocking out our possibilities. Instead of blocking out our joy. Variety will bloom in/under the sun. We can show off our best, we can enjoy other people's gifts. We can blossom where we stand upon the joy that faith provides us. Upon the joy that faith inherently has, which blossoms the entire field of flowers." This meaning of faith has impacted my life and really strengthened my Testimony. What do you think about faith and what is your beliefs about faith?
  6. brightaware7

    The definition of faith

    Faith gives happiness and joy to loved ones, family and friends. It graces us with the eternal joy we have always dreamed of. With a clear meaning of faith we can finally share our joy the way we always wanted to. The_Definition_of_Faith.mp4
  7. I'm looking for guidance or help or general support. My husband went through a life crisis about 4 years ago. A few really hard things happened on his life and he didn't handle it well. as a reaction, he claims he doesn't believe in God and has no faith. I married him in the temple. We both were strong, active returned missionaries. We both married agreeing on living a life in the Church. We have 3 kids, and my husband doesn't do anything with regards to church. He refuses to use his priesthood. He hasn't been to the temple in a few years. What do I do with this??? He is anti-God and claims he doesn't believe in Christ, the Atonement or anything to do with God.
  8. Emmanuel Goldstein

    High Priests and Elders

    Last Sunday I taught the lesson in my Elder's Quorum meeting. We watched a video clip of Mary in the tomb and Jesus telling her to "touch me not." I asked the question, how do you think Mary felt in seeing the ressuredted Lord? Immediate a High Priest hand shot into the air and he said, "Who is the first person you want to see after you go on a long trip?" I get it, you think Mary was Jesus' wife. I responded, "There is no scriptural support that Jesus was married to Mary." His response was typical of him, "I was once sitting with Marion D. Hanks in his office in Salt Lake and we were talking about this. He said, 'We know Jesus was married, and we are pretty certain that we know who she was." This was followed by an Elder that said "In the Greek it does not mean 'touch me not.' It means 'embrace me not." Can I just say I am so sick of my 15 minute lesson being high-jacked by quorum members that have inside information on the "deep mysteries" of God. Please, just keep it to yourself. My calling is already stressful enough with my time always getting cut in half because of the leadership taking 15 minutes to discuss Ministering, Ministering and how we can Minister better. I don't care how fast Kolob spins on it's axis, who the angel was that showed Abraham his vision or how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. I just want to teach my abridged lesson and go home to eat lunch with my family before I have to prepare for the next day of underpaid work. Now I know why the High Priest instructor always just gave a lecture and did not ask questions.
  9. Faith gives happiness and joy to loved ones, family and friends. It graces us with the eternal joy we have always dreamed of. With a clear meaning of faith we can finally share our joy the way we always wanted to. The_Definition_of_Faith.mp4
  10. brightaware7

    The Definition of Faith

    This is the truest Definition of Faith I know of and it has changed my life and anchored me in the Definition of Faith. It has given me joy and it has expanded my spirit. The_Definition_of_Faith.mp4
  11. brightaware7

    The Definition of Faith

    This is the truest Definition of Faith I know of and it has changed my life and anchored me in the Definition of Faith. It has given me joy and it has expanded my spirit. The_Definition_of_Faith.mp4
  12. First posting ever. I shared this email with my sister. Also a university professor. Thank you for the warm welcome. Hey sis, Here are my deductions and boiled down notes from the last few days - a bit of a crisis of religious identity. I thought I would share with you my notes from the last couple of days. In going through this I realized that maybe this is something you can relate to. Honestly even more than that I feel like for whatever reason I understand something about you specifically that I hadn’t before. Like I’m realizing something you have realized and figured out way before I did. Love you! -jay You can righteously teach your children this principle. Church: It is a construct to share true principles. The failures are because of this- human beings act human when dealing with something as profound as a true principle There are examples of reformed Egyptian everywhere. Because there are examples of the attempted forgery everywhere. There IS truth that the attempted characters are found other places. Of course they are because they were copied in the first place. The church is the product of a sustained cultural phenomenon that could have gone in favor of any number of successors. Variations that contain true principles. Be a truth seeker of principles, service, and good. My search is just to find my faith and I think Mormonism can be a good vehicle for people to live faith. To live principles. I don’t know about the doctrine or absolute truths. Safe guards of absolute truth and authority and current conclusions: -can’t have faith and fear -Have to pay for privileges -Prophets can’t tell lies or they will be taken away. -Grace is sufficient. It is necessary. It is not after all I can do. It is already given if Christ is to be believed in context -Time does exist. Even with layered existence and multiple realities there is a before god as god and an after. As described to me in the church. -Praying for the described feeling over and over will eventually yield that result. That is learned behavior? This is not a negative tool if practiced responsibly. -Don’t monetize these teachings because we have.
  13. Our local teacher’s union is selling members shirts that explicitly reject “thoughts and prayers”—actually drawing a line through them—and demanding policy change. How sad that those I hand my children over to would consider one of my most primary acts of spiritual devotion to somehow stand in hostile opposition to their favored government action. #Muslims, #Jews, #Christians —all people of earnest #faith —really all of #goodwill, let’s stop for a moment and say, “No!” When government and #secularfundamentalists get together to weaponize acts of religious devotion, history tells us the end is always bad. Have your political debates about guns, taxes, the environment—just do not try to label and demonize your neighbors, who happen to believe #Godstillloves and #Godintervenes.
  14. This Sunday School the lesson was on Noah’s ark. Lesson we’ve literally had a million times. But, the teacher did ask a slightly different question: “What times has a the Lord asked you do something odd that you didn’t find out why until later?” For me, I thought of my last trip to San Francisco. It was business trip wherein I arrive much earlier than my colleagues and the hotel wouldn’t be ready for hours yet. I had nothing to do but wander around town. So I plotted myself a tentative route, and wandered around town for miles. Visited a bunch of churches, stores, ate lunch on the patio, etc. Finally it was super dark, and time to head back to the hotel. I was already to start walking, when I felt the Spirit say “you should take the bus”. I shook it off at first—no no, that’s just my inner natural man wanting to be lazy and not walk up all those awful hills-- I should toughen up and actually get some exercise. “No, you should take the bus”, the voice came again. “Fine!” I finally concluded after some more inner arguing, “I’ll be lazy and take the bus”. Well, in a city where there’s a bus stop every block, it took me 5 blocks to find the bus stop (cause I’m just that talented). And then the bus doesn’t accept cash so I physically can’t ride the bus! What the!?! Spirit tells me to take the bus, and then I can’t. Ok, that’s really weird, whatever. So I got back on the sidewalk and walked the 5 miles back, up and down those ridiculous hills. Got back to the hotel, finally was able to check in, and nothing particularly happened. It was completely uneventful besides some sore muscles. Several days later, while studying the history of San Francisco (and not paying attention to my work meeting), I realized why the Spirit told me what it did: because in looking for the bus stop, I took a different way back to the hotel than what I originally planned. I hadn’t wandered through that area of town you should NEVER go through a single lady after dark. I didn’t go there- I was safe, and nothing happened. The Lord works in mysterious ways J Some times we are indeed asked to do things which seem strange to us, but He is in charge. How about you? Have you ever had the Lord tell you to do something strange?
  15. 2 Corinthians 6:14 reads: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? In a different string @Carborendum asked me directly if I considered Mormons to be Christians. My answer was something of a non-answer. I said that we don't agree on any doctrines completely, but that God decides the fate of souls. My conclusion is that we are all God-seekers, for sure. I did not expect a lot of smiley faces. There are certainly ways of defining "Christian" that would allow us to call each other such (literally, it means 'like Christ," for example). I took the question to mean do I expect to see active Mormons in heaven. Perhaps a different question would get us closer to understanding why we may have deep regard/respect for our fellow religionists, of different churches, and yet, when the beliefs are far apart, what shall we do? That question is: WOULD YOU LET YOUR SON/DAUGHTER MARRY ONE? WOULD YOU APPROVE? Some on this site are in such marriages, and they have worked out. I get that. Even so, would you want the same for your children? Just today I spoke with someone who expressed the difficulty of interfaith marriage. She was raised Catholic and her husband Buddhist (they are Vietnamese). So, when I told her we were looking at Christian colleges her first response is how good that was because they would likely find boyfriends who were also Christians. It might be helpful to realize that many devoted Catholics and Protestants would struggle to let their children marry across the lines too. Perhaps not so much Catholic and Lutheran, but crossing over into Evangelical, Baptist, or other more conservative communities would be tough. I even know a psychologist--quite liberal--who told her Evangelical boyfriend that she would always remain Catholic and he would have to agree that the children would be raised the same. BTW, I realize many parents today will say they will go with whatever their children decide. After all, they are adults, and who needs family drama. If you had your way, though, would you want your daughter to never be able to marry in the temple? Would you want your grandchildren raised to believe that your church was fringe at best? Perhaps the point of this post is to say that having interfaith discussions, friendly debates, and otherwise engaging with heart on forums like this require a certain level of mutual respect and trust. My experience is that seeing the imagio Deo in each other engenders all that. Still not sure about the marriage thing though.
  16. Tune in for the latest and greatest. IM WANTING SOME ADVICE. I find myself everyday wanting to rely more on Jesus Christ in all my doings. I really want to take my testimony of Him to the next "LEVEL" so to speak... yet wondering if I could find more ideas. Or maybe I'm looking beyond the mark? I feel like I have the basis of a strong testimony of Him and I ask you all, "HOW DO YOU strengthen your testimony of Him? What do you do that takes your relationship with him and deepens it?" Please share your feelings.
  17. robrog8999

    Help Getting Closer To Jesus

    Ok, so the title says it all. I am working on getting closer to Jesus Christ and feeling His presence through the Holy Ghost. I do have faith, I am a believer and I read and study the scriptures daily, sometimes multiple times a day. Where I am lacking, is with prayer. I do pray, but not as often as I should. I do have short conversations with God sometimes throughout the day, but not too often meaningful or deep. I know for sure I need to work on praying more often and with deeper, more meaningful discussions. So, I am working on that. However, how do you guy's work on your relationship with Jesus and feeling the Spirit? It is a daily thing we must work at or we begin to feel some separation. I know it's a lot of effort on our part and its something very important we must do. And as I read the Scriptures and other church related books, I dont feel the Spirit like I wish. I will feel the presence of God and some scriptures begin to ignite my love and feelings toward Jesus, however, they seem to die quickly and I am back feeling like I am working to hard at this. Basically, most of all, I just want to feel the love of Jesus Christ and feel how important the Atonement was and understand how much He love's me. I want to feel that relationship grow and not die down. I want to feel this love. I want a strong relationship with Jesus Christ and learn to be more appreative of His Sacrifices for me. Does anyone have any advice on how I can work on this? Are there any special tools or ways you use to develop and keep this relationship/love? What is it you do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!
  18. askandanswer

    Ether 12:11

    (Book of Mormon | Ether 12:11) 1 Wherefore, by faith was the law of Moses given. My understanding is that the law of Moses, in its current form, was given as a direct result of the people’s lack of faith. God had a higher law prepared for them, and gave it to Moses, but when Moses saw the people’s lack of faith, as evidenced by their creation and worship of a golden calf, the new higher law was set aside, and because of their lack of faith, it was replaced with the law of Moses. Is this a correct understanding, and if it is correct, is it also correct to say that "by faith was the law of Moses given"?
  19. I'm losing faith in the most painful way. I don't even think I am worth it anymore. I don't think I'm worth anything to Heavenly Father anymore. I've lost so much of my innocence. I've been stuck in the world's influences. I can't feel what I felt a long time ago when I was young...when I still had a good character. I've sinned so much and I just think I am to the point that I am also evil. I have a history of abuse in the family (when I was young), that's what probably triggered my rebellion and depression. After the abuse, I felt like my world fell apart. I didn't belong or fit in, in any of the kids in high school. I should've listened to the church...but I gave in to the peer pressure. I have tried many "substances" before, to take away the pain from the abuse..I got addicted to drugs in high school, but I got help from that. I know this is really personal to me but I am writing this as my last resort because I'm trying to find hope in these dark waters...I also got addicted to pornography, ever since me and my ex gf got together in high school...I was introduced to this stuff...and it could ruin my life. I want to stop it. When I got bullied in school, I think I completely changed my personality, I became an anxious person and very moody, violent and very angry. It kind of drove me away from my family. Now, I'm sitting here, now 24 yrs. old, still addicted to pornography and wanting to stop it..I'm just lucky enough that I still have family support.I am trying to find help, it can be really hard to find help sometimes...it's hard not to get judged by other church members...it's hard to find reliable friends these days. Times are hard when you're an adult. and I don't really feel like I belong to the church community. Regarding that I get social anxiety and am afraid of being judged because I might say something weird or bad or out of the ordinary...I really want my spirit to be in line with God again. I feel empty and depressed. It feels like my spiritual side is gone. It feels like I've been numbed down.
  20. So we all know about the Sword of Laban and the Stones of the Jaredites. But... After thinking about these things, a very cool question came into my mind. Is it at all possible for a normal but fully worthy priesthood holder to bless objects in the holy name of Christ to fill them with spiritual power of some sort? Maybe of course not nearly to the same extent as the Stones of the Jaredites. But I've never heard a passage of scripture saying we can't or even that it's not recommended! In fact, the scriptures seem to encourage it with such passages telling us that with great faith in Christ and Heavenly Father, good and incredible things may be brought to pass under the perfect guidance of the Holy Ghost as long as they are for the benefit of man as a whole and to help bring them back to the Father. Can it be done then? And if not, why not?
  21. I often hear "the Lord will provide" whenever people talk about starting a family when finances are tough. I've seen families struggling to support themselves which can be quite scary but I would like to hear specific stories of how you've seen the Lord's hand when you decided to welcome children into this world but weren't in a favorable financial situation. My old neighbor was able to find not only a better paying job but something that he actually would rather be doing around the same time his wife gave birth. I also know some people that found better employement and also started a business around the same time they had children. These people had already good careers and weren't struggling by any means but it was interesting to see that they were able to move forward even more once they had children.
  22. Death is something we talk about at funerals. However, should not those of us who belivee in an afterlife be the ultimate preppers? After all, we are getting ready for eternity! A 21 year old white male recently shot nine people in a predominantly black church, in South Carolina. He wanted to start a race war. Where was God? Of course, He is everywhere—especially with those who are grieving. In Matthew’s gospel Jesus said: God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. If so, how could this young man target a church, attend a prayer meeting for over an hour, and then start shooting? Should not such evil melt in the presence of God? In reality the Devil loves bringing his misery before God’s people. What does it all mean? Faith can deliver us from death. The appearance of death often masks imminent victory. The Old Testament story of Elisha and his servant are a prime example. The king of Aram is at war with the king of Israel. Elisha repeatedly warns the king of Israel about Aram’s plans, because God tells him what will happen The king of Aram decides to capture Elisha. He sends his troops to surround the city where Elisha is staying. When Elisha’s servant wakes up, he sees that they are surrounded by dangerous enemies. The prophet Elisha prays that his servant’s eyes will see as he does. Sure enough, the servant realizes that they are surrounded by fire and angels. How often have we been at the brink of spiritual victory, only to cry like Elisha’s servant, that all is lost? Years ago I was teaching elementary school in Korea. During my second year came to realize I enjoyed teaching college students and adults more. I went to the immigration office, and asked how I should go about applying to teach English at a university. The government official said that no, I would not be teaching at a Korean university. At that moment I felt like Elisha’s servant. Lord, you helped me realize I should transition to teaching adults. Why is this happening? Of course, before the immigration officer I was just silent. He paused, smiled, and said: You need to go to Pohang. My brother works at POSCO--the large steel factory there, in the learning center. He is looking for an English instructor! The LORD paved the way for me to take that position. God, open our eyes to see that we are surrounded by your banner of spiritual protection! Help us to see that the death we seem to face is likely our deliverance. Originally posted at linkedin:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/death-deliverance-tommy-ellis?trk=mp-author-card To hear the audio version of the entire series on death: http://www.anglelake.org/resources/online-sermons/?sermon_id=350
  23. Hello! Sorry this is a little long, but this seemed like a good place to ask for advice. Born and raised LDS, both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, I found security in the church growing up and was pretty happy. But when I started to question the church, this also pulverized everything I thought I knew and made me feel broken. Until that point, the LDS church felt much simpler to accept. Now I'm more aware that the LDS church is a complicated thing to accept and that no religion can be guaranteed true, which leaves me with conflicted feelings. For whatever reason, I still feel the spirit and feel that it's true, despite everything that points to the opposite conclusion. Without it, life seems really dark and meaningless--the promises of being with your family forever just hit too hard home and I don't want to lose that. At the same time, though, I have read too much anti-mormon stuff and been disillusioned with too many of the church's current standpoints (ie: that women can't have the priesthood when many Christian churches ordain women, the exclusion policy affecting LGBT families) to connect it with the church I trusted when I was younger. How can I reconcile all of the conflicting feelings? I want to stay in the church and on a spiritual level I feel like it is the right thing to do, but I just can't trust it and don't know how to anymore. Have any of you felt that way? How do you hold on?
  24. I’m new to these forums so I’m not sure if this topic has been covered before. Let me just start by saying that I was happy to find a venue where faithful LDS can ask sincere questions regarding our faith. In my search for answers I have come across other sites and it soon became clear that I was reading anti-Mormon material. I could feel the spirit leave me, and that’s how you know. I’m a life-long member who had a faith crisis when I was a teenager that carried over into my mid-twenties. At 15 years old, I became obsessed with “disproving” events in the scriptures based on my own limited knowledge and understanding of how the world works. I began to challenge some of the more significant events in the old testament. I was convinced there was no way that we all were descendents of two people (because gross, incest). I was convinced there was no way that Moses literally split the Red Sea and marched across it because after 5 minutes of research, I saw there was a land bridge connecting Egypt with the middle east during that time. I was convinced there was no way to fill a ship with 1 pair of every animal, bird, insect, reptile etc and that became the basis for all life as we know it. I figured if these events were made up, or embellished, that it stood to reason other things in the Bible could be made up also. Why, even God could be made up. I continued down this path of destroying what little faith I had and then I set my sights on the Book of Mormon. What’s the easiest way to disprove the Book of Mormon? Attack the “source”, Joseph Smith. However, I had read enough of the Book of Mormon that I could not deny the spirit that I felt when I read it. I had visited the sacred grove, knelt in prayer, and received a witness that Joseph Smith was a Prophet of God. How could a young man with hardly any education, completely fabricate such a Book? I was stumped. As Jeffrey R Holland recently put it, (I’m paraphrasing b/c I can’t find the quote) “The Book of Mormon will stand as a roadblock for those who try to disprove the church”. And in my case, that was true. I could “disprove” everything except The Book of Mormon. I chalked it up to Joseph Smith being “divinely inspired” and told myself that IF there was a God, that the Church was true. I held on to that little seed of a testimony as I continued to make poor decisions. After 8 years, I was the prodigal son who returned to the church after wasting my blessings on riotous living. I saw what the world had to offer and I found it to be lacking of any real substance. I had been sufficiently humbled to the point of repentance. That was when this stiff-necked person turned to Christ and His church in a very real way. Soon after I returned, I met my future wife who is more amazing and beautiful than any of your wives (sorry fellas, I got the best one). As I was preparing to enter the temple to become sealed and receive my endowments, my wife and I attended a temple prep class. This class was preparing us for the covenants we were about to receive and the teacher told us that we would learn more about Adam and Eve. I confessed that I had always kind of viewed them symbolically to which he corrected me and said that they are literal, and that I’ll know that for myself after receiving my endowments. Well… I received my endowments, and I’ve probably done endowments for 25+ people at this point, and I still think that Adam & Eve are mostly symbolic and I’m ok with that. It really doesn’t bother me if they are just symbolic. When I die, and I find out that they were literally the mother and father of all living who instantly sprouted out of the ground, I’ll say “okay, cool”. When I die, and I find out they were symbolic of the first two spirits to enter the physical bodies that were formed over millions of years of evolution, and that the Old Testament might have gotten a few dates wrong because of ya know, no written history and what not I’ll say “Okay, cool”. How does one account for Science while also having faith in Heavenly Father and Christ? I draw great comfort from this quote by Joseph Smith “The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it” I’m okay with viewing some things symbolically (especially in the Old Testament). Just look at how Christ and his Prophets & Apostles taught, through symbolism and parables. Look at how our Prophets and Apostles teach today, through symbolism and parables. When Dieter F. Uchtdorf talks about flying, he’s teaching using parables! Some might criticize my views, and tell me that I am wandering from the straight and narrow. That may be true. However, I believe viewing some of the appendages of the Gospel symbolically actually strengthens my Faith in the Savior. I love that Heavenly Father knows us so well, that he has provided us ways to understand difficult concepts in a simple way. After all, we are but bumbling toddlers compared to Him. Symbolism also helps me because I do not have to hold the appendages of our Religion to the scrutinizing flame of science. Q: Did Noah really build an Ark? A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important. Q: Why are there structures built by humans 5,000 years before Adam and Eve? A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important. Q: Was the Earth literally created in 7 days, or even 7,000 years? A: Who cares, let’s focus on what is important. I can see how viewing things symbolically can be dangerous, but I believe It can be more dangerous to have a very literal and dogmatic view of the Gospel. I was listening to a podcast recently (don’t worry, I stopped listening once I realized what it was) when a young man said one of the reasons he left the Church was because the Book of Mormon mentions horses and there is no current archeological evidence that supports horses in the Americas at that time. Really? Seriously? You’re going to bank your entire Testimony of the Savior and Heavenly Father’s plan on... _horses_? That sounds like a young man I once knew (me). What about the recent supposed discovery of Bountiful? What if you get so wrapped up in that, and it turns out it wasn’t the place, so you leave the church because “if it didn’t happen exactly like it states in the Book of Mormon, then I’m done!” I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. I also believe that Thomas S Monson is a Prophet of God. I have felt the redemptive power of Christ’s atoning grace in a very real and literal sense. I know we have a Heavenly Father and Mother who love us dearly. I believe that our church is lead by Christ and I know that The Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and that it was not fabricated by Joseph Smith. I leave this Testimony as a witness, in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen. So, how do you account for Science and Faith? Do you ignore Science whole-cloth whenever it contradicts the Gospel? Or do you find a compromise that let’s you go on, moving forward in faith? Also, am I going to the Telestial Kingdom because I think Heavenly Father and Christ probably have some pretty stellar spaceships? (that’s another post for another day)
  25. Guest

    How Am I Different?

    I was left really off-balance when a relative left the church some time ago. The reason why this one made such a big impact on me is that in many ways I was just like her. There were some questions about the faith. There were questions about what the Spirit felt like. We had many of the same weaknesses. There were aspects, traits, and histories that were similar in both our backgrounds. And our personalities were very similar. She spent the last six months of "enduring" going to the temple almost every day it was open. Praying. Sometimes she'd do multiple sessions in a day. She said she had gained a testimony long ago. But then she had lost it in recent years. Maybe she found it was too hard. Maybe she lost sight. I don't know. But she's pretty much gone. I've spent the last few months now wondering what changed. I wondered why it didn't happen to me. I wondered why I'm still strong and she went off the deep end. (I really mean she purposefully took a flying leap off the deep end.) We were so similar in many ways. Why did I not make the same leap? Some differences that give me hope are: #1: I love my wife with a tenderness and a depth that I can never express to her in words. She (the relative) didn't ever feel that passion for her husband. My love for my wife has kept me from doing many things that would take me down the wrong path. But the interesting thing was that she said she decided to marry him because she was sure he could take her to the Celestial Kingdom. And on his side, she was right. He's about -- actually strike that. He IS the most stalwart man I've ever met. And this recent trial almost broke him. They are now divorced. #2: I generally went to the right people for advice and counsel and a shoulder to cry on. She went to the wrong kind of people. #3: I have learned an awful lot more in doctrine, reasoning, and understanding of the Lord and His ways. She was pretty much a newbie. I wonder if this is enough. In a sense it is good for me to ponder this. It makes me more vigilant. But it is disconcerting at the same time.