“We believe the bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly.” Article of Faith 8
“If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report, or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.” Article of Faith 13
As members of the church, I think we sometimes believe this in theory, but, at least when it comes to religion, we avoid the seeking part, unless it’s through “official” LDS channels.
Which is unfortunate. Because the fact is, we do not have the market cornered on truth. Nor is our culture a perfect fit for everyone. Sometimes you can hear the same message from two different people, and one of them will really reach you, while the other barely catches your notice.
It’s also unfortunate because as members, in conjunction with our traditional study methods, we have the Holy Ghost available to help guide us. He will let us know the truth of all things, so we don’t actually need to worry about being led astray if we seek with our hearts attuned to the spirit. When ideas don’t resonate; if they have a hollow sound and do not ring true, we will know they are of little value, and ultimately our learning will be directed toward truth, as described in D&C 93.
It’s with this in mind that I share thoughts about one area today.
A few weeks ago I was in Georgia visiting friends. They are Christians, and I had the opportunity to attend their church services while there.
It was my first time ever going to a “mega church”. And by mega, I mean many thousands of people. Between the seven different locations in the area, they have over 25,000 attendees each week. It’s a seriously fine-tuned operation.
It was a vastly different experience culturally, and I’m grateful for the renewed exposure it gave me into how many of our friends and neighbors experience religion and worship. It increased my appreciation for their goodness and faithfulness. A reminder of just how many truly good, humble, earnest people there are.
Services started with an (optional) live concert. Professional musicians performed while the whole thing was projected onto three huge screens. The audience was on it’s feet singing along when we arrived.
After the music, an excellent sermon was projected via satellite onto the huge screens. The pastor was quite engaging; his message was based on verses in 1 Corinthians. Every word he said rang true with my beliefs. It was part of a series of talks on the topic, and I thought it would be interesting to hear the others, so when I got home I went looking for them online. While searching, I found several excellent series that I’ve enjoyed listening to, as have my kids.
It is because I know everyone wrestles at some point with relationship issues that I share the following. For some time now I’ve been studying, fasting and praying for direction and answers. I knew I needed divine guidance about our situation, but it never occurred to me that perhaps the truths I sought would be presented by a Christian pastor on the internet. Yet perhaps this four-part series I stumbled upon, Staying In Love, is the missing link not only for us, but also some of you, fair readers.
Even though he no longer believes in any religion, my husband and I have watched all four parts together (they’re about 40 minutes each). Not only did we both enjoy them, they’ve inspired some very good discussions. Every word of these talks rang true to me, and I’ve gained insights I haven’t had before about the Savior and relationships. I don’t know what will happen with us, but either way I am grateful for the insights I gained.
Whether you are single or married, happy as clams or barely hanging on, I can’t imagine any couple not benefitting from these messages. And remember, you don’t have to worry about being misled. Just apply 1 Thessalonians 5:21 and Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Our lives can only be richer as we incorporate truth from any source into them.
Have you ever found truth in unexpected places? Does the thought of attending another church make you uncomfortable? How could being more open to learning about other faiths or belief traditions build bridges and foster community with others? I know style matters, and these may not be to your liking, but if you’ve watched the talks I’ve linked to, what do you think? Did you feel the spirit while listening?