Personal Online Journal

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Choose to Believe

Following is a post I wrote in a FB Group for my LDS Mission in Australia.

I have not read everyone's story about their experience with the church. Here is mine.

I have always loved church. I do not remember a time in my youth that I did not know it was true. My biggest difficulty is choosing to believe that I could be true to the church. That I choose to believe that Jesus can do in my life what I believe he can do in the life of everyone else.

There was a period several years ago when I looked more closely at history and doctrine of the church that had become much more readily available because of the Internet. I had a ward member choose to leave the church. I did not understand why. I had several, long phone conversations with him. Here is more from that experience.

After spending some time looking inside and considering what I want I came to this. This life had not given me many concrete, completely proven truths. I believe is it designed to be that way. I think we are given opportunities to believe or not to.

I believe that we get what we truly want. If we want rich, close relationships with family and friends we get that. If we choose fear and anxiety it comes along as well. Now I get that there are exceptions to this. Chemical imbalances in our brains. Struggles that we did not seem to choose to take on.

I choose to believe in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints because I choose to believe. I want the truths that they teach to be true. I choose to live as if they are. I have felt many, many times how my life is blessed by living by the principles taught at church.

I recognize that there are imperfect people at the founding of the church up to the present time. In high and in local callings. I am one of those imperfect ones.

I love the church. I love the family and friend connections I have because of my association in it. I believe that the church is still undergoing a restoration. That the most bitter branches are being cut off to make room for the sweet fruit. I want to be a part of that process.

I loved the talk Elder Ballard gave earlier this year. I hope it will help many young people navigate their own spiritual journeys safely.

I look forward to hearing how y'all are doing.


Richard Alger said...

A comment I made to my FB Post:

Saying what I have said, I think it is important to have compassion for those that choose another way. I had a good friend that I worked with for about 6 years. He served a mission in Brazil, he got married in the temple.

He eventually decided that he was an atheist. I can tell you that he was a good man as far as I could tell. We both worked from home at the time. I saw how he treated his kids and his wife.

I believe that God is compassionate. I don't believe that there is any place that is too dark that His light cannot reach. It is up to our own hearts to let the light in.

We can be kind to our fellows who choose another path, while we strive in ours.

Richard Alger said...

Another comment I made from the FB post:

I love the gospel. I love how its teachings has created the greatest blessings in my life. Up until a few years ago, I had a traditional testimony. I feel like I still do. I had to look inside and ask myself what do I know for sure and how do I know it.

As I dug deep, I found that I know that my parents love and loved me. They cared about me and wanted me to know the truths and the kind of life that God and Jesus want us to have. My parents were and are not perfect. They did try and try again and are still working to be the kind of people God wants them to be.

For me, I realized that it was a choice. God designs life such that there are rational ways to choose believing or not to believe. I think God wants us to choose to believe of our own free will.

That is why I said that I believe because I choose to believe. I choose to nurture the seed of faith looking forward to the promise of more fruit. I have tasted of the fruit. I know of the sweet results of living gospel principles with my family and friends.

Richard Alger said...

Yet another comment I made from the FB post:

In our priesthood leadership meetings for stake conference [in 2016], one of the counselors in our stake Presidency used an excerpt from it and challenged all the YM leaders to be familiar with the Gospel Topic Essays. So we would be ready to answer questions and/or refer young men with questions to them.