In Acts 4:12, Peter says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." I believe this. Jesus Christ is my Savior and because of his Atonement, because of his sacrifice, I am saved by grace, just like you are. I rely on that Atonement, I look to his example of how I should act and how I should treat others.
I prefer to think of God as a loving Father. He is God, all knowing, all powerful. He is happy being how he is, and as a father, he wants all of his children to be happy just like he is. As my father, he loves me, he knows me, he wants me to be happy. He sent me to this earth so that I could have a body, so that I could have experiences and learn. Just like I want my own children to be happy and to grow up and have good lives, so does he. And then, he wants me to come home to be with him again.
I love that my church values family. I think the family is the most important unit of society. I think that if the world focused more on creating and nurturing healthy families, this would be a better place. And, logically, to me anyway, it makes sense that if we marry and have families here on earth, why wouldn't those families continue after death? If the God who created our world, the God who created us really is our Father, why would he want us to go through this life, only to have it all end?
I love that I stand next to my husband. I do not walk behind him. I do not walk in front of him. We stand together, equal. I am not a second-class citizen. I am valued and important. God loves his daughters. He cherishes us. He blessed us with the ability and responsibility to bear children and to raise them up to him. I am not forced to do anything I don't want to do. Women, in the early days of the LDS church were not forced into marriage or forced into polygamy. Certainly not by good, righteous men. Women were, and still are, encouraged to make their own decisions. Many of the early Mormon women became educated. Many became doctors. Utah gave women the right to vote long before the rest of the country did.
I believe in the Bible. It is God's word. God has always spoken to his children through prophets. Moses, Abraham, Isaiah, Noah, Malachi, John, Peter. Their words are written in the Bible. I also believe in the Book of Mormon. As I have read it, I have seen that it simply reinforces, as a companion book, the Bible. I think that if more people actually read it, they would see the same thing. Reading it is not going to convert someone to the LDS church, but it might help them understand it a little better. I'd rather that people read it themselves instead of listening to non-Mormons tell them what's in it or what it is about.
I know that there are many misconceptions about the LDS church. There are theological differences that many people can't get past. I understand that. But, I find the obsession that some have with the LDS church fascinating. I also find it interesting that theological differences are so criticized in general. There are so many labels inside Christianity: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Mormon, Lutheran, Protestant, Evangelical, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-Day Adventist and the list goes on.
I wonder why we even have these labels and so much self-righteous judgment towards the different Christian denominations. The thing I find the most fascinating is the level of judgment that is shown to each other. Because of theological differences, Mormons are criticized and judged and told that we're not Christian. But, as Christians, aren't we all supposed to love as Jesus loved? Why is it so hard for us to accept that people are different and love them anyway and move on? Some will think I'm misguided and brainwashed. I hope that regular readers of this blog would know by my reviews and thoughts that I am a Christian and not doubt it, and know that I will never criticize and judge another faith. I may state that I don't understand a particular faith, but you will never hear me say or write something that is critical of it.
People join churches and people leave churches, whether they're excommunicated or disillusioned or just tired. Many (insert label here) Christians will try out different churches until they find one where they're comfortable or one that has the dress code or pastor they prefer. That some become disillusioned with the Mormon faith is to be expected, just as in any faith. Jews convert to Christianity, Christians convert to Judaism and many people join the Jehovah's Witnesses or the new church that has started meeting in the school down the street. I have a cousin who was raised LDS as a child and is now a member of the Baha'i faith.
Yes, there are theological differences between the LDS church and other Christian denominations. If that bothers you, please let it go. We value the same things you do: faith, family, marriage. We are probably your neighbors and if you think about it, we're probably not all that bad.
I am a Christian who happens to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jesus Christ is my Savior and because of his Atonement, because of his sacrifice, I am saved by grace, just like you are. I rely on that Atonement, I look to his example of how I should act and how I should treat others. I study my Bible (my boys' favorite scripture accounts are David & Goliath and Daniel in the lion's den) as well as my Book of Mormon. I strive to be a good person.
I have felt the comfort of the Holy Ghost in my life. I know how my Heavenly Father speaks to me. I have a testimony of him. I have a testimony of Jesus Christ. He is my Savior. He died for me, that I might have eternal life.