On Friday I had an awesome talk with my mechanic. I asked him if he was religious. He said that he believed in God but that his family does not regularly go to church. He told a story of a customer that he had that said that he seemed like a good person that he must go to church. They "agreed" that you do not have to go to church to be a good person. The conversation always ended up in a "but". The customer really thought that a person should go to church. My mechanic does not believe you need to go to church.
This post is my way of saying why I go to church. Why I believe in organized religion in general and in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in particular.
People generally want to do good, to be good. Sometimes the worse part of our selves get in the way. Most people relate to making some kind of resolution only to have it fall to the way side sooner or later. Being a part of the Mormon church is my way of making an open commitment to do Good and to be Good. Others I join with help me along that path. Help me keep my commitments.
There is power in making and keeping sacred covenants. I believe that God can bless me more when I make promises to Him in front of my community. It is a way of saying "Here is where I will stand". This is the program of goodness I vow to bring to the world. It is not my goodness I bring. I only reflect the goodness of Christ.
I believe that God has authorized servants on earth to make promises in His behalf. That is the priesthood. So when I am baptized, I am making a promise to God and He is able to bless me with the Holy Ghost in ways he cannot otherwise. The second half of the baptism of water is the baptism by fire, or by the Holy Ghost. In the Mormon church, that mean that I have men lay their hands on me. I am asked to "receive the Holy Ghost". That means that I must offer up to God my broken heart. My willing heart to do what I feel He is prompting me to do. I must seek His Spirit. To be guided by what the Lord prompts me to do. This is the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost. It the most sacred gift given to men. We can increase in the light of God. We can be guided more and more by Him. To do the good Jesus would do if He lived our life.
Each week, I take the sacrament. That is the bread and water that represent the body and blood of Christ. I remember the sacrifice Jesus made to overcome death and sin. Each week I get to review my week to pause and remember and recommit to the vows I made at baptism. If I do, then I get to always have the Spirit of God with me. I can remove from my heart any darker design. And replace it with a desire to do and be good always.
The gospel of Jesus Christ frees me. It frees me from the consequences of my sin. It frees me to live a life pleasing to Him. I get to add the thread of my life to the tapestry of God. The gift of my life is given back to God and it returns to me a hundred time more.
I went to the baptism of my nephew today. I felt the power that there is in the ordinances, or the covenants that are made in my church. I felt the purifying influence of the Holy Ghost today. I want to feel it always.
That is why I believe in organized religion. That is why I am a Mormon.