Tuesday, July 1, 2014

My Faith is Not Blind.

Image Source: Jesus healing a blind man.
How great it feels to make that declaration! It's one that has been on my mind for quite a while now and it's time I let this out for the world (and my children should they ever read these blog posts!) to hear.

My faith is not blind.

I hear so often from non-believers, sometimes well-meaning or curious, sometimes exasperated, but more often hostile - how I as an adherent to my religion - could be so blind. Such a blind follower. Why on Earth would I believe in things I cannot see and cannot prove and have no evidence for? Just because it is more convenient to not have to think? Am I lazy or intellectually incapable? Am I just gullible - a product of some highly effective parental brainwashing? Afraid of death without the comforting idea of a God? What? What is the deal?  

My answer is this: No. I'm none of those things. I'm not lazy, intellectually incapable, or particularly gullible - though it took me a few years to figure out my husband's humor - it's dry and he has a rather monotone voice. ;) I'm not afraid of death, nor will I have regretted any of my choices should I to my complete and 100% total shock and surprise find something else than what I know to be True on the other side of living. While my parents have greatly influenced me on my journey - there are points where we differ in opinion, and that's ok - evidence that I have a brain and use it, and my parents use theirs, too. But, I repeat:

My faith is not blind.

While I don't have the answers for every difficult question (turns out that's a long process) ;), and I don't know every detail of the future God has planned for me - I can say definitively, that my beliefs and knowledge of God (and what I believe to be His True church upon the face of this Earth) - are not just based on some sort of fuzzy feeling and a wish. Though there are tender inner feelings and a true desire on my part to believe what I believe, too. What I have gained in my understanding of God and His ways is as real and tangible as the keyboard I am typing this blog post on this very moment. It is as ever-present as my baby's movement in my womb. It is as warm, consistent, dependable and all-consuming as the sun as it peaks up over the horizon each day. 

My faith is not blind.

I have compiled over two decades of real evidence, a sweet harvest of fruit, of what working toward an intimate relationship with my Creator means. In no sense of the word has that process involved any laziness, intellectual slack, or fear/lack of asking hard questions. Quite the opposite in fact. Neither have my deepest most precious convictions come from any instruction from anyone else but what God inspired to spoken, written (by others) and/or graciously perceived (by myself) through His Holy Spirit.

I love this speech by Spencer W. Kimball - one of the previous Presidents of my church on "Absolute Truth." He makes a point that is especially salient to those who  contend that there is a lack of intellect involved with those claiming to hold spiritual truths:

"If I can only make clear this one thing, it will give us a basis on which to build. Man cannot discover God or his ways by mere mental processes. One must be governed by the laws which control the realm into which he is delving. . . Any intelligent man may learn what he wants to learn. He may acquire knowledge in any field, though it requires much thought and effort. It takes more than a decade to get a high school diploma; it takes an additional four years for most people to get a college degree; it takes nearly a quarter-century to become a great physician. Why, oh, why do people think they can fathom the most complex spiritual depths without the necessary experimental and laboratory work accompanied by compliance with the laws that govern it? Absurd it is, but you will frequently find popular personalities, who seem never to have lived a single law of God, discoursing in interviews on religion. How ridiculous for such persons to attempt to outline for the world a way of life! . . . We learn about these absolute truths by being taught by the Spirit. These truths are “independent” in their spiritual sphere and are to be discovered spiritually, though they may be confirmed by experience and intellect (see D&C 93:30). The great prophet Jacob said that “the Spirit speaketh the truth. . . . Wherefore, it speaketh of things as they really are, and of things as they really will be.” (Jacob 4:13). We needed to be taught in order to understand life and who we really are." 

Just as more temporal knowledge requires diligence and specific study to acquire it, complex spiritual depths of knowledge, require the appropriate spiritual laboratory work to match the task of acquiring them.

My faith is not blind.

I have done my best to comply my every whim with the laws of God's spiritual laboratory my entire life through. As a result? The blessings I have reaped have been too numerous to count, too powerful, and too evident in the lives of others who have followed the same or a similar path to be a coincidence. The pattern of deliberate, consistent, willing obedience to God's spiritual laws brings the same result to everyone who tries them: joy, purpose, connection with the very best parts of themselves, a light which bursts forth most clearly in their countenance, a clear conscience and confidence in God's presence. 

My faith is not blind.

Some of the blessings I've received have been temporal, but more than that, spiritual blessings have been poured out in my life because of my diligent research in God's spiritual laboratory. I often discern things about others, that no one else can see. I find the ability to speak messages of truth to others that I did not construct or even fully understand myself before they providently flowed to my mouth in just the right moment. Through carefully following Spiritual promptings, I have had opportunities to be a part of miracles that ultimately took several years to construct - the outcome of which, I could have never had imagined until all the pieces lined up before my eyes as a completed portion of a puzzle. I have found that by following Spiritual promptings, I have had opportunities to be blessed and to learn from people who have come into my life whom I would never have known otherwise. My character has grown in miraculous ways and continues to do so. On literally hundreds of occasions (in moments of despair, or questioning, or faithful desire to know/understand more), I have opened my scriptures to read a message just for me. I have found in both specific instances and daily living, other-worldly peace, which I - with my over-active, ever-worried mind, could never have created on my own. That last one is profoundly true - even coming from a Hypnobabies instructor, mind you! ;)

My faith is not blind.

I study my scriptures, and then I study the events of the news today and I can see that they are the same thing. I hear others speak - often in defense of horrific moral wrongs, or other things I know to be untrue - and I wish there was some way I could lovingly show them that in their words and their acts, they are literally fulfilling the prophecies which they denounce! The prophecies found in scripture and proclaimed by modern prophets, being fulfilled all around us, remind me now every. single. day:

My faith is not blind. 

I know that God is real, and that He loves me. I am his spirit daughter - and you are His spirit child. He loves you, too. He has a plan for you and for me. He sent His Son to teach us how to live, and to provide a way back to live with Him. He loves us so much in fact, that He won't choose our own path for us - He's letting us choose whether we want to follow Him or go some other way. Other ways may range from dangerous, to compelling, or even somewhat noble, but if we don't choose God's way, we will not find life with our Father in Heaven possible. We have to choose His Son.  We have to choose His church.

Just as it is completely intellectually/spiritually inconsistent to say that Jesus was just a great moral teacher because of the radical claims He made about Himself; He was either a crazy blasphemer or He was actually the Son of God - He could not rationally qualify to be something in between. The same is true of His church: He only has One true church upon the face of the Earth, today. While some other church's may have some of His truth, there is only one church to which He has given His Priesthood authority to act in His name under His direction and which has all the necessary saving truths. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is either it, or else it is blasphemy. It cannot be just a nice social program, there is no in-between. I know of no other church that meets all the requirements of being Christ's church than this one. I know that this church, is God's. But, these things, like all other spiritual knowledge, are the questions we must bring to God to be able to find the answers - they can't be found or understood just by reading one blog post.

Mercifully, through His inspired plan and His providing temples - everyone, even those who never heard Jesus' name in this life, or had access to His Priesthood power to receive the ordinances (such as baptism) which Christ explained were necessary to be able to live with God again - will have a chance to learn of Him and follow Him in death.

If Eternal joy, development, and progression with God and our families is what we most desire, there is only one path that will lead us there. But we have to want it enough to seek for it, to study and apply the ways of God's spiritual laboratory - to ask God for the direction we seek. I know that if we really want to know, God will make good on His word - He always has, still does, and forever will:

"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." - James 1:5

My faith, is not blind - and neither need yours be!

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