Monday, August 11, 2014

Need to Reads

I was in the middle of composing an email to my extended family members, when all of a sudden, I felt inspired to transfer my email into a blog post, so I did. :)
Hi My Family! 
Recently, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has published essays/articles on controversial topics/issues (some more controversial than others) that many ex-Mormons and critics of The Church have talked about for years. 
I'm impressed The Church is willing to face these criticisms head-on. Thus, I've linked some of The Church's essays/articles—and a few others that were published previously—that I classify as Need to Reads. Even if you don't agree with The Church or its teachings, I hope you'll take time to read them, as they are filled with fascinating information. Have a wonderful day! 
Side note: In regard to The Church and its request for tithing and fast offering contributions, please let me say that I've always loved contributing financially to my church. I love knowing that my contributions are helping many people and programs! The benefits of The Church's welfare program and humanitarian aid/service is unmatched! In fact, check out The Church's Bishops' Central Storehouse, for it is a sight to behold. Its goods and services positively affect thousands, if not millions, of lives for the better!

Thus, I was pretty excited the other day when I came across this TED talk, How to Buy Happiness, by Michael Norton. His research proves that people are happier when they are monetarily charitable!! Therefore, people who pay tithing and fast offerings are happier...I know I am!

In case anyone is wondering, I have heard/read of the many and varied criticisms of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I don't live under a protective rock, or with my head in insulating sand. That said, I'm a deeply spiritual person.

I pray to our Heavenly Father. Oh, how I pray! I study and think deeply about the scriptures and other Church publications. I exercise faith. I read or listen to others' spiritual accounts. I attend and serve in The Church and its temples. I've had multiple amazing spiritual experiences that no one could ever take from me! My spiritual experiences have no earthly explanation, but I know I've been, and continue to be, inspired by the Holy Ghost and angels—who speak by the power of the Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 32:3). I honestly believe my spiritual experiences have been given to me by our loving Heavenly Father, and made possible through our Savior, Jesus Christ. My spirituality surpasses the criticisms of The Church.

Because of my faith and spiritual experiences, I absolutely believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true and correct church on the earth, and that it operates through divine inspiration and revelation. (I hesitate to write I know because I've seen how it turns-off some people.) 

So, here's what I say to those whose testimonies (of the truthfulness of what The Church is and teaches) are faltering:
  • Pray.
  • Read the scriptures and other Church publications.
  • Fast.
  • Watch or listen to General Conference.
  • Attend the temple, if possible.
  • Exercise hope and faith!
  • Faithfully follow what The Church teaches and see what blessings and miracles occur in your lives!
Until you are able to stand firmly in your own testimony, lean on those around you. Slowly, but surely, you'll have the strength you were seeking. To help you in your journey, may I suggest checking out these two wonderful General Conference talks? They are worth everyone's time! :)
To go along with President Uchtdorf's talk, I just read a lovely blog post You Can't Sit By Us, by Meg Johnson. She makes such a great point that we all need to have an inviting countenance (face/eyes/spirit), so others will feel welcome to join us! *That said, I understand how sometimes shyness or a lack of confidence can appear to others as snootiness or snobbery, for I have been accused of this in my life. Let's just do the best we can at making others feel welcome! :)

Lastly, please remember that people are so not perfect, including church leaders that many people highly respect and love. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, was literally the only perfect person who ever lived on Earth. Remembering everyone's tendencies toward imperfection has helped me remain faithful to The Gospel of Jesus Christ, and continue my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. For it is only through the atonement of our Savior that we can eventually be perfected.

Moroni 10:32 says we should "come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny [our]selves of all ungodliness; and if [we] shall deny [our]selves of all ungodliness, and love God with all [our] might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for [us], that by his grace [we] may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God [we] are perfect in Christ, [we] can in nowise deny the power of God." Yes, we imperfect people can make better choices, and possibly impact others' lives for the better!

I look at it like this: If I can be imperfect (I'm so imperfect!) and still have amazing spiritual/inspiring/revelatory experiences, so can The Church's leaders! I strongly believe they are spiritually connected to the Lord because I have experienced those wonderful spiritual connections myself. The Church's leaders truly have the members' best and eternal interests at heart.

Every single one of us has been born with the Light of Christ in our souls. We all have the potential for spiritual greatness if we're simply willing to humble ourselves and make the necessary sacrifices!

P.S. I'm so pleased with how my typographic design turned out! It feels super yummy to me, which is exactly how I feel about my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and all of the benefits that come with it! Yes, readers, membership definitely has its privileges! ;)

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