Thursday, July 25, 2013

The History is not perfect, the Gospel Is.

Sunday night I came across a New York Times piece about an LDS couple who expressed doubt (P.S. this blog post is a much better response to the article than my post, but feel free to read on anyway). I felt the article was tastefully done and I appreciated the level of respect both the featured couple and the writer brought to the piece.

Immediately after reading the feature I had a flurry of thoughts. The foremost in my mind was that I am grateful my parents never beat around the bush when awkward parts of mormon history (ie polygamy, priesthood, mountain meadow) were brought up. They never tried to justify mistakes members of my faith have made. I was never taught that leaders of the LDS Church are perfect. I was simply taught that the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is perfect.

I've always understood that "the Church" and "The Gospel" are two separate bodies (notice, on my blog tags I have "Church" and "The Gospel of Jesus Christ" as two separate tags -- the two, though closely related, have never been one in the same in my mind).  Obviously the two should weave together. The Church exists as a place to learn of the Gospel and to put into practice the principles of the Gospel. But, as I've heard Elder Hallstrom speak of on two different occasions (once as missionary in Singapore and then again at a Stake Conference in Wisconsin), some members are active in the Church but not active in the Gospel. It is crucial for us to figure out where our faith lies, and to make sure it lies in the Gospel, not just the Church.

Some of our Church history is a perfect reflection of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of it is not. And that has always been okay with me. I have planted my faith firmly in The Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Every person who lives to the age of accountability (age 8) needs to be redeemed through the death, suffering, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There is no scripture that states the Prophets and Apostles are exempt from this need. Quite contrary, the scriptures are filled with examples of even the greatest believers making mistakes and needing to repent.

Other people's repentance process is none of my business. Joseph Smith is accountable to God. The couple in the article is accountable to God. I am accountable to God. When it comes to my relations with others, I've tried to remember that mercy always wins. It is best to be forgiving. I like to believe this same motto is applied in the Heavens. The need for mercy is the very reason Christ suffered. And God would never let that suffering go to waste.

On this blessed day* that marks 166 years since the Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley I am humbly grateful for all the perfect sacrifices my ancestors and many others made for the early LDS Church. I am grateful for the organizations and schoolings that existed during my formative years, to give me the instruction and the spiritual teaching I needed in order to gain my testimony. I'm grateful for my childhood home, where mistakes were made and learning was a process, but ultimately it was a place where I learned that God's Plan of Salvation is real. Without a doubt. That plan is real.

And in the end, that is what matters most to me. I pray that my kids will never expect their home, or their experiences in the Church, to be perfect; but that they will recognize the teachings of Christ's Gospel are.

*I did construct the main body of this post on July 24th, but those darn kids woke up earlier than expected from their naps and I wasn't able to finish it and proof it until today


Anonymous said...

Very well said, my dear!

Scott and Claudia said...

Great post sweetie pie!!! You definitely did not have perfect parents, they did not have perfect children, and it is not a perfect world we live in. Love what you said and feel. Agree with it 100%. I have learned once one begins to find fault with the leaders know they are on the road to apostasy.

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