Disclaimer: This is a religious piece. I'm writing it in response to many comments in my public interactions as many individuals have stated that organized religion is not for them. Well- it is for me and this is why:
It's not rocket science, it is a science of humility.
It's the science of I am willing to kneel before God and say- "Do more with my life than I can. You know best, You are My God and I am your servant and your handmaid." It is a science of being patient with my leaders and when I am called to do anything in this organized religion I try to do with an eye single to the glory of My Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It's not about me, it's not about my wants, my desires or my will. It's about the Will of God. Just as the Savior came to earth to do the Will of the Father, I came to earth to LEARN- to desire and do the will of the Father.
I struggle on a moment by moment basis to put away my selfish habits, desires, considerations and put my sins, my dreams and my life upon the alter and offer my best to God. Unreasonable is one of the words I've heard it called.
It takes a lot to believe that Joseph Smith was visited by God the Father and The Son Jesus Christ. But- you know what, to a doubter of God's omniscience or his ability to organize a church upon the earth, what would it take to believe in something more than yourself?
There is only one way to be convinced of the truth of anything. Its through what we call the Holy Ghost, the Holy Spirit, or , The Holy Spirit of Promise, or the The Spirit of the Lord. Just as I am known by several names that represent my roles: Mom, grandma, wife, etc: The Holy Ghost is also known by several names.
There are three members of the Godhead. Our Father In Heaven. His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ, and the third member of the godhead called the "The Holy Ghost."
The Holy Ghost's duty is to testify of the truth of all things and of the Father and the Son. I know there is such a thing as truth. Absolute and Solid Truth. When truth gets complicated, its usually because the truth is complicated by the machinations of men. God's Truth is simple, so simple a little child can understand.
When Jesus Christ was baptized in the River Jordan, All three members of the God head were present. As Jesus Christ came out of the water, The Father's voice was heard, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." And the Holy Ghost descended in the form of a dove.
Joseph Smith's first vision was of the Father and The Son. He learned they were two distinct personages. Again, the Father introduced the son to Joseph-, "This is my Beloved son, hear him."
Joseph just wanted to know which church to join. There were four churches on respective corners.
He was 14 years old. He merely wanted to do what was right. He went to a grove of trees and prayed. I don't think anyone was more shocked than he was to be told by Jesus Christ himself, "Don't join any church."
He saw God the Father and the Son. He told people about it. He was mocked for it. He was hated at fourteen years old for saying such a thing had happened. But , that was only the beginning. What fourteen year old do you know- would stand by anything that would get him publicly mocked? Joseph stood by his experience, how ever unreasonable it seemed and in 1830, when he was now 25 years old, he organized "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints." not of his own volition but of the unreasonable belief that God directed him to do so. It wasn't church of Joseph Smith. It wasn't the church of living prophets, It was the Church of Jesus Christ, of Latter Day Saints.
So, when it came to being visited by an angel named Moroni, not once- but several times and told about a book that was to come forth and that it would be his duty to bring forth this record. He was not very different from Moses who was given Tablets, or Ezekial who was given a roll of books, or John the Revelator, who was given a book with seven seals. Bible Prophets weren't always well regarded or popular in the public eye either. Jesus Christ was mocked for his unreasonable truths.
That's where my Faith in organized religion begins. I don't expect anyone to believe me or care if they believe I'm misguided. I would never tell another they are wrong because of differing faiths. God the Father is Father to ALL of his children. His Beloved Son, died that all might be saved.
GK Chesteron explained it this way:
"The real difference between Paganism and Christianity is perfectly summed up in the difference between the pagan, or natural, virtues, and those three virtues of Christianity which the Church of Rome calls virtues of grace. The pagan, or rational, virtues are such things as justice and temperance, and Christianity has adopted them. The three mystical virtues which Christianity has not adopted, but invented, are faith, hope, and charity. Now much easy and foolish Christian rhetoric could easily be poured out upon those three words, but I desire to confine myself to the two facts which are evident about them. The first evident fact (in marked contrast to the delusion of the dancing pagan)–the first evident fact, I say, is that the pagan virtues, such as justice and temperance, are the sad virtues, and that the mystical virtues of faith, hope, and charity are the gay and exuberant virtues. And the second evident fact, which is even more evident, is the fact that the pagan virtues are the reasonable virtues, and that the Christian virtues of faith, hope, and charity are in their essence as unreasonable as they can be.
As the word “unreasonable” is open to misunderstanding, the matter may be more accurately put by saying that each one of these Christian or mystical virtues involves a paradox in its own nature, and that this is not true of any of the typically pagan or rationalist virtues. Justice consists in finding out a certain thing due to a certain man and giving it to him. Temperance consists in finding out the proper limit of a particular indulgence and adhering to that. But charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is no virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all. And faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all." (http://www.chesterton.org/2012/02/the-unreasonable-virtues/)
What started out with a 14 year old boy, praying to know which church to join and is now a church of over
14 million members, (http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/facts-and-stats) seems most unreasonable, especially when you have to know that to be baptized and a member of the LDS Church, you believe in living apostles and prophets, current revelation, and that Joseph Smith had a vision at 14 years old and brought forth a Book, a second witness of Christ, called the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon bears witness of the Truthfulness of the Bible, and that God the Father, his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are all three working in conjunction to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of each and every human being. That's pretty unreasonable, but it doesn't change my beliefs. I know what I know.
To get where I need to be, I need to be part of an organized religion. It gives me opportunities to worship with more humility, to serve with more grace, to practice what I preach in forgiveness, tolerance and love. It may seem unreasonable, or unneccesary, but it is true. And I know it.
If you have read this all the way thru, thank you for your patience, and for allowing me to share a more personal side of my beliefs.
© 2013 Miss K - 1/24/13