I realize that over the past year or so, I haven't perhaps been the biggest advocate of the LDS Church, and yesterday I was reminded of everything I have come to despise about this particular religion. The arrogance, the pride, the self-righteousness, the hypocrisy and the intolerance for ones fellow man.
But the thing is, that isn't what the religion is about, nor what it was ever intended to be about. If it was, I would have left a long time ago. Perhaps if I may share a few of the wonderful principles taught by the LDS Church.
The Church preaches the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel of Christ is about love, pure and simple. And not just any love, the pure love of Christ, an unconditional love for ones self and ones fellow men. The story of Christ is of a man who when confronted by a situation where a woman was caught in adultery, prevented her accusers from stoning her and encouraged her to continue on her way, leaving her mistakes behind her. It's about the love to allow people to make mistakes, but leave them behind them. It's that love that means even if we don't agree, it doesn't make a difference to how we feel about them. It is a love without condition. A perfect love.
My dear in-laws have such love. Their son-in-law (and that would be me), may not be the perfect Mormon boy that they may have wished to marry their daughter, but they recognize that I try really hard, and while they may not always agree, they still offer unconditional love for me.
The Church preaches the consideration of the poor and afflicted. The welfare services for the Church are often among the first to respond, and members of the Church are encouraged to help out in their communities. Some view this only as a step to convince other to join the Church, but I suspect they may be a rather small minority who have merely missed the point.
The Church teaches of the divine nature of the soul and the quest for truth. I can think of no greater knowledge than the fact that I have an eternal nature, that this earth is merely a step in my existence, and that I have the freedom and opportunity to seek for truth. I am eternally indebted to many who read this blog, and other who have questioned my reasoning and offered opposing view points. It is never an easy thing to accept that I may be wrong, but your non-judgmental spirits encourage me to explore places where I may be. Specifically D. Sirmize, Frank Stahelli and the very respectful Protestant Minister I met while a missionary. There are many others as well, some LDS, some not, but all good and respectful people.
The Church teaches that we are all brothers and sisters. A huge family with the responsibility to care for each other, regardless of race, creed, nationality or sex. I am privileged to be related to so many wonderful and incredible people.
I recognize too that these wonderful principles and ideals are not limited to the LDS Church, but they exist in many religions and in many who do not believe in a religion, but still recognize that there is good in mankind.
The LDS Church is a wonderful institution, its just a pity that some view that wonderfulness as an opportunity to manipulate and control others.