Why I Stay

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Lily Darais is a mother of four living in Orem, UT.  She earned a B.A. from Michigan State University, a Masters of Education from Harvard, and has earned a diploma in culinary arts.  She currently spends most of her time trying to keep her toddler and baby alive and begging her older kids to practice their instruments.  She previously wrote a BCC guest post on Heavenly Mother.

Over the better half of this past decade, I have returned to the same question over and over: Why stay in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints?

The events and issues that keep me so close to this question have been myriad, but always thematically connected. I reject an idea I embraced at the time of my initial conversion–the idea that the Church and its leaders always speak directly for God. As a teenager I was taught that because the Church was lead by prophets and apostles, its history was to be interpreted as God’s will, and its current policies were to be embraced. Questions were always to be resolved by prayer, which would, if it was honest prayer, lead only to more purposeful obedience.

The Church’s current policies do not always reflect my personal feelings. And after studying Church history, I do not feel confident turning over my mind and heart to the Church. It and its leaders have historically been deeply fallible–and honestly, when I think of issues like polygamy or the priesthood ban for blacks, “deeply fallible” is truly the gentlest of euphemisms.  

Even though I am also human and therefore at least as fallible as my religious leaders, my salvation is something that I prefer to work through directly with God alone. I do not need a church or the Church to atone or intercede in a relationship that is as personal as it is real.

But I do need Jesus. I love Jesus. I aspire, in my best moments, to be a disciple of Jesus. And because of my relationship with Jesus, I keep deciding, over and over, to stay active in the Church. Christ said, “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” (1 Corinthians 12:27) When I read that, I interpret the body of Christ to be bigger than the Church, but also particularly church. As an ardent Christian, I long to fully participate in the particular body of Christ.

Even though the Church, “big C”, often upsets me, the church, “little c”, is clearly part of the body of Christ. In my personal circumstance, I happen to live in Orem, Utah, and all of my neighbors are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They also happen to be almost all active church goers. When I go to church, I get a chance to know my literal neighbors better. I hear their comments, attend their lessons, listen to their talks, appreciate their musical talents, and join them in song and prayer. I minister and am ministered to. Through our church service and activity, we are building a holy community where people are known and loved on earth as well as on heaven.  Through loving interactions, we enter the Kingdom of Heaven now.

This is not to say that my ward is perfect. We have the same issues and vulnerabilities as any other church community, and I am sure we all have many opportunities to actively restrain judgement or even, at times, practice forgiveness. But at the end of the day, church activity progresses me in love for God and love for my neighbor.

In fact, love has become my litmus test for all personal religious practice in general: Does it progress me in love for God and for my neighbor? If yes, I keep it, and if not, I thoughtfully, prayerfully, dismiss the practice from my life.

For example: Garments. After having children, the bottom garment went from being a slight nuisance to becoming a wedge in my relationship with God. It made me break out in a rash that required daily medication, and I experienced continual discomfort. Aside from the rash, as a mom of young kids, I found myself bending and lifting a lot more than I had previously, and my garment was always pinching, sliding, or making it more difficult to complete tasks. For years I felt upset at God for making my life so needlessly complicated and so horribly uncomfortable. Why, I wondered, did God care so much about my underwear?

But as my relationship with Heavenly Mother deepened, I gradually became aware that every aspect of my worship should be based in love. If any practice in the Church or in my personal interpretation of religious practice does not progress my ability to love, I now know to let it go. Rather than rigidly following rules and beating myself up for every infraction, my religion is now about being most intentional about love. The bottom garment does not progress me in love. It makes me irritable and frustrated, and actively upset at the religious patriarchy that imposes it on me. On the other hand, church activity deepens my understanding and appreciation for God and my neighbors. It progresses me in love.

Religion and church attendance are also ways that my family develops our spiritual life and values. I appreciate the way the Church names and nurtures love, forgiveness, hope, and faith. These are spiritual realities that philosophers, poets, writers, and even cynics must admit are metaphysical realities independent of religion. They are the substance of what I personally consider to be the full, abundant spiritual life Christ promises in the book of John. And the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints does a phenomenal job of equipping even the youngest children with the skill set necessary to recognize, name, and develop a beautiful spiritual life comprised of these very values.   

Church, to me, is about building a community, teaching my children spiritual values, and progressing in love. It is about knowing and loving my neighbor, both figurative and literal. It is a place I go to worship through prayer, song, education, and social interaction. It is a place I choose to go every week.

It is a place I love to be.

*Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Comments

  1. Don Casias says:

    I appreciate the sentiment and you seem like a good person, attending church for good reasons. I guess I would just ask you to consider whether you want to raise your children (and attend yourself) in an organization that:
    1. Actively excludes LGBTQ individuals and essentially denies the reality and science surrounding transgender individuals. Also an organization that fosters an environment of extreme shame for these individuals.
    2. Actively places women in lesser roles without the possibility of rising to the highest levels of leadership.
    3. Actively suppresses questions of doctrine and where individuals speak out about historical issues or when church leaders have been less than forthcoming uses excommunication to silence them.
    4. Uses your donated funds to support causes that favor suppressing individual rights if they conflict with church doctrine.

    Your desire to follow Christ, get to know your neighbors, and be a good person are positive. Just consider whether the organization you support with your attendance and donations is.

  2. Lily, thank you for articulating the reasons that many of us stay in spite of the Church’s shortcomings. I, too, believe there is much to be gained by participating in a ward family and trying to follow Christ there.

  3. Amen.

  4. This is a courageous post. Like you, I have doubts about the infallibility of Mormon leaders, and like you, I believe it’s important to rely more heavily on my own sense of truth than that of others. However, I came to the opposite decision on the stay versus go question. Here are the reasons why I’m leaving: https://rewritingeden.wordpress.com/2019/01/12/why-im-leaving/.

  5. Lily, this is so much of what is in my heart.

  6. I appreciate this personal expression. And I appreciate that it doesn’t dictate to anyone else.

    I suppose the authoritarian “stayer” will object that “my salvation is something that I prefer to work through directly with God alone” isn’t good enough. Get with the program, the essential covenant and sacrament program.

    I suppose the authoritarian “leaver” will object that “building a community” isn’t good enough. Reject that awful place.

    I am happy with “it’s a place I choose to go every week.” Others have extended the same courtesy to me. It is enough.

  7. Lily C Darais says:

    @ Don, I really appreciate the reasons you listed for not staying in the Church, and I have considered them. There might come a time when those outweigh my reasons for staying. But for now, I can see that on a practical level, my personal and family’s spiritual health is nurtured by church attendance. Perhaps this is a selfish reason, but I believe if something is keeping me close to God, people, and love in general–then I should hang on to it. @Ari, I related hard to your blog listing the process you went through before choosing to leave. The past election also felt like a crisis to me. For me it was: How can the Church be good if its practical political influence (in the U.S., at least) is so obviously bad? This is one of the many reasons why I feel disconnected with the Church, “big C.” It seems like leaving the Church was a huge spiritual experience for you, and I completely believe and respect that.

  8. Lily C Darais says:

    @ChristianKimball, I am so sorry to ask, but are you Linda’s husband? If so, we were in the same North Shore ward, and I absolutely adore your wife!!

  9. Lily, yes. I’m making connections now in real time.

  10. Lily C Darais says:

    Well, thanks so much for connecting here, and thank you for your comment. (I also was lucky enough to get one of your family Christmas card updates and enjoyed it so much!)

  11. Lily,
    I can understand your thinking about church leaders, church history, and other associated problems of being a church member. I can also relate to your love of being at church, and enjoying the social interaction of being a member of the LDS church offers.

    When I first became aware of prophet fallibility I felt great disappointment. I felt betrayed. However, I had a testimony that wouldn’t allow me to do anything other than study the issues that surrounded prophet fallibility. I studied and prayed–prayed and studied. Over the years, I found all sorts of examples of LDS prophets being more fallible than I could imagine God’s anointed servants should be. All of my studies took place before the internet came in to existence. My sources were BYU special collections, the Tanners, and a few BYU religion teachers who spoke candidly in one-on-one discussions.

    By the time the internet came out an unmasked the truth about church history and doctrine I had no problems because I had already resolved questions I had, and was at peace.

    The key for me was prayerfully reading,and rereading the Book of Mormon. Joseph Smith taught:
    “I told the brethren that the Book of Mormon was the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion, and a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than by any other book.”

    I took this teaching seriously and turned to Book of Mormon study, fasting prayerfully every Sunday for many years seeking understanding. I found understanding, and got closer to Heavenly Father!

    I found that the prophets in the Book of Mormon (and all scripture) were fallible just as today’s prophets are. You wrote about the priesthood ban for blacks. The church’s essay on the ban makes it clear that BY was in error. I learned, that when God’s prophets are allowed to do such a thing, then God owns the problem and will use it for His own purposes, and in the case of the ban, make corrections by revelations at some point.

    The Book of Mormon prophet, Lehi taught that there is opposition in all things. The Book of Mormon affirms that God uses opposition to bring about His purposes. For example, Alma the older was converted by Abinadi’s teachings. He formed a church and fled king Noah’s corrupt regime. He and his followers built a city called Helam and prospered. Then Mormon adds commentary explaining how God deals with His followers. This is where I began to understand things about God that helped me deal with the problems of our day.

    Mormon reveals an important aspect of God’s character:

    20 And it came to pass that they did multiply and prosper exceedingly in the land of Helam; and they built a city, which they called the city of Helam.
    21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith.
    22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his trust in him the same shall be lifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
    23 For behold, I will show unto you that they were brought into bondage, and none could deliver them but the Lord their God, yea, even the God of Abraham and Isaac and of Jacob.

    (Book of Mormon | Mosiah 23:20 – 23)

    This Godly pattern or motif appears through out scripture. It is just as Lehi taught, there is opposition in all things. When we encounter opposition to our faith, or as Mormon put it when God “seeth fit to chasten his people; yea, he trieth their patience and their faith”, God will eventually deliver us if we stay strong and don’t harden our hearts.

    I’m at peace about the opposition that has visited our day. Prophet can be deeply fallible and still be God’s anointed servants.

  12. Lily C Darais says:

    @JFK, Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts. I am impressed at how vigorously you pursued truth and understanding, even before the internet made this journey so much more accessible! I appreciate your point of view and agree that fallibility doesn’t mean someone can’t also simultaneously serve God (or honestly think they are serving God, even if they miss the mark).

  13. JFK thank you. I have many of the same feelings as you do. I feel that some of the mistakes church leaders make are such that “none other can deliver (us)”. Somehow miracles will happen that will make everything okay.

  14. “Even though the Church, ‘big C’, often upsets me, the church, ‘little c,’ is clearly part of the body of Christ.”

    I like that. Pretty much captures the way I feel.

    On the subject of garments, I had a physical reaction similar to your own (though I’m guy), along with some other issues pertaining to perspiration (nuff said).

    My doctor diagnosed a couple of different conditions (can’t remember their medical names) that were exacerbated by the garments and advised me to stop wearing them. I asked him to put that in writing and he obliged.

    When I showed the letter to my bishop during my next temple recommend interview, he said: “Well, I’m not going to tell you to do something contrary to your physician’s recommendation,” and he promptly signed my recommend.

    While having the letter from my doctor provided some salve to my conscience, I admire the way you resolved this issue on your own. In hindsight, it’s what I should have done.

  15. “The church’s essay on the ban makes it clear that BY was in error. I learned, that when God’s prophets are allowed to do such a thing, then God owns the problem and will use it for His own purposes, and in the case of the ban, make corrections by revelations at some point.” Some members continue to throw God under the bus (“God owns the problem). Church leaders need to man up and take responsibility. Apologize for past racism! The Church’s history of racism goes far beyond the priesthood/temple ban. And it didn’t end in 1978.

  16. To whom will you go?

    I have a friend with issues with JS’s approach towards women… And is moving Anglican.

    I guess the way Henry the VIIIth dealt with his wives as a founder of a Church is better.

  17. Shiny Swarovski says:

    These are all lovely reasons to stay, and many of them were mine. In the end, my LGBT children trumped them all. I won’t be where they are not fully welcomed without extraordinary conditions; it does them too much emotional harm during their most tender years.

  18. You have articulated so well why I have chosen to stay. There was something in President Uchtdorf’s recent devotional that really spoke to me. I feel I can hear the music when I am engaged with my fellow saints in my ward (even those with whom I disagree). The restoration is unfolding, and we are busy trying to create Zion. I long for the day when we will gladly welcome our LGBT brothers and sisters in proper fellowship. If I had a child who was LGBT, then I may not have the patience to remain on the inside, but I admire those who have stayed and tutored me. They have caused me to examine and ponder aspects of my faith that I had not considered.

  19. Do you worship God or do you worship love?

  20. Fortunately that’s not an either-or question, Darnell. 1 John 4:16: “And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”

  21. God is love does not mean that love is God. Their is a very big difference and if one doesn’t look closely it can be missed. The consequences of not fully understanding the difference are staggering.

  22. Lily C Darais says:

    @Darnell, my personal experience of God has been love. Even when I feel God has corrected me or changed me in a way that felt difficult, I have always understood my relationship with the divine to be a relationship with Love, personified– and in Christ incarnate. That’s just my personal experience, so if yours has been different, I can accept and respect that.

  23. Thanks Lily…for your kind reply and especially for your initial post. What a beautiful and powerful way to approach your relationship with God. I particularly appreciate the last sentence in your reply. At its essence our journey to and relationship with God is truly a unique and individual thing. Much respect and love to you from a fellow traveler.

  24. What a beautiful article and follow-up comments. My family is also Christian, but not LDS. We are planning to relocate to Utah sometime this year and hope that we can also find neighbors and a community of friendships that you have described, especially for our children. Thank you for a very uplifting article.

  25. Lily C Darais says:

    @Darnell, thank you, fellow traveler! @Mark, I sincerely hope you have a wonderful experience in Utah. I have been fortunate to always find myself in great wards, but usually it takes me a while (a couple years, actually) to feel really comfortable, known, and at home in them. I wish you and your family all of the best in your transition here!

  26. Thanks, Lily! May I ask, what is a ward?

  27. Lily C Darais says:

    @Mark, a ward is a local congregation of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. So sorry for the lingo! I feel hopeful that if you choose to visit or attend one, you would be very welcomed. You can check out the church website, LDS.ORG, and search for “meetinghouse locator” to see when and where your LDS neighbors meet. :) I hope this helps!!

  28. The answer I’ve settled on is basically that I stay because I feel called by the holy spirit to make my spiritual home here and throw myself into service in this community.

    I choose to believe that Jesus is my savior and that his grace is real. I know that he calls me by the voice of the spirit and the voice of his many servants to repent and come unto him. I choose to believe that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, that the restoration is real, that the priesthood is real, and that God is still speaking through the ordinances of the restored church. But when it really comes down to it, I feel called to be here.

  29. Lily C Darais says:

    @JFK, “But when it really comes down to it, I feel called to be here.” I love that. Thank you.

  30. Another Roy says:

    I really love the concept of the continuing restoration. I believe that it could eventually provide a framework whereby the church could disavow such things as polygamy and the priesthood and temple ban as mistakes while still affirming the overall divinely guided progressive arc of the church. This will also involve some re-evaluation of what it means to be a prophet and the human reception/transmission of divine inspiration/message. I speculate that, as time moves on, we will hear more and more of the “continuing restoration” concept.

  31. There is one sure way to determine how we’re doing Spiritually. Prophets, both living and dead continually point to this criterion as the one we need to diligently pursue.

    There are many verses that teach about this, I selected the following two verses.

    4 And there are many among us who have many revelations, for they are not all stiffnecked. And as many as are not stiffnecked and have faith, have communion with the Holy Spirit, which maketh manifest unto the children of men, according to their faith. Jarom 1:4

    6 And blessed are all they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled with the Holy Ghost. 3 Nephi 12:6

  32. Mr. Schmidt says:

    I wonder if we can ever progress individually, and then collectively, from being right (in our own eyes) towards finding and keeping truth. I feel like often lines are drawn because we want to be right. e.g. – one side saying, but if you stay without accepting the necessity of authorized priesthood ordinances, then you are missing out! … and another side saying, but the prophets have been wrong before, and they’ll be wrong again, so who knows what is essential!

    I can see the concern from both viewpoints. But in the end, oftentimes they seem to be raised from a perspective of who is right, versus what is true. Frankly, I inwardly ponder at times whether I would have done the same thing as Pilate and exclaimed, ‘what is truth?’

    I appreciate Lily’s thoughts on why she stays. FWIW, I do believe that there is universal truth out there, and very much look forward to “ongoing revelation” not as a euphemism for covering mistakes, but as an earnest reality. Perhaps if we let go more often from being right, we’d be able to roll better with the mistakes and progress as we all work towards additional truths.

    ….and I apologize if this is all just an incoherent ramble…

  33. Lily C Darais says:

    @ JFK, oops! I meant to make that last comment to JKC! I didn’t read that carefully!

  34. Mark – a great book that might help you is “to Mormons, with LOVE” by Chrisy Ross. I read it and thought it was a fantastic memoir of someone new to the Utah culture.

  35. Krystal K Crawford says:

    With respect to the garment, I don’t know if you are aware, but there are many different materials available. My mom was allergic to the waistband. Distribution Services actually made her garments with an encased band so that she could be comfortable and not have rashes. They cost the same amount as regular garments. I love that God provided a way for her to keep her covenants.

  36. No worries, Lily.

  37. Count your blessings that little c is not a bigger problem than Big C with its disturbing history.

    One of my adult children is pretty far out because of a mixed experience as a youth (excellent early morning seminary and crappy primary & YW program) and a horrible Single’s ward. There are so many wonderful things to do on Sunday than suffer with a bunch of crazy, boring, rigid, religious zealots. Lack of guys at church who do not want a junior-companion-for-life wife leads to marriage to a wonderful man unaffiliated with religion.This raises the question of why any religion in her mind. He was willing to convert for her but not willing to exclude his mother from their wedding. So why bother.

    ***

    As an aside, don’t make your children practice their instruments. i know about this. The adult child mentioned above is a professional violinist for a small orchestra. She beat out dozens of graduates from conservatories in a blind audition. She has gigs at several churches. She is also the marketing manager for her orchestra and her small but energetic team of about 5-10 people raised around $30 million in the last few years to refurbish an old theater that had been abandoned for decades as their new concert hall. She attended an ivy league college on a music scholarship, (double major in economics and music) and performed almost every day of December and more than a few times the rest of the year for years before that- all the way back to grade school.

    At age 5 she wanted to play the violin. We didn’t take her serious and honestly I never did. But when she insisted upon expensive music lessons, I required that she help pay them off by working for me- as my own private violinist. One of her chores was to play for me every night, pieces of her own choosing. Practice was optional. I know nothing about music and never criticized her, just clapped with approval. (The sooner she stopped this nonsense the better-but I didn’t say that out loud).

    She became a pure, fearless, but less-than-perfect performer. Failing her first audition for a children’s orchestra (age 9) was crucial in strengthening her inner drive to play better and we had only a general supportive attitude about that. Later, strict teachers tamed “the wild pony” and got her to self- inflict the discipline required to play at the top level. A few weeks ago she played a Christmas concert just for the family in her personally designed music room in their nice new home. It was about the most beautiful, inspiring and spiritual experience I remember in decades.

    Her brother in contrast was a complete failure at 3 string instruments and we did not push it past a few months each. He took up the trumpet in junior high as a torture device. His most memorable musical achievement was as the bugler at scout camp where other scout masters demanded he not be allowed to play. In some instances he held the bugle tightly against the head of sleepy scouts while blaring out noise. Most kids are musically closer to him and who cares?

    If the desire for music does not come from within, the external pressure to perform can be extremely devastating. I remember the tears and the misery in so many other children at those auditions for various orchestras in the many years before college. I recall one little girl with 3 older sisters who went to conservatories and she could play better than any of them, but she was so anxious that she couldn’t even start her piece at the audition. Her mother was furious. My daughter gave her a big hug and calmed her tears and begged the judges to give her a second chance. The little girl proceeded to beat my daughter out for first chair. This budding virtuoso gained the self-confidence from my daughter to tell her mother she hated music and quit after that year. Some of what parents put their children through in the pursuit of excellence immediately is as bad as child abuse.

  38. I stay because I have received a testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel. I stay because I feel the Spirit so strongly when I read the Book of Mormon. I stay because I so admire the examples of bipolar friends who humbly submitted to Church discipline following sexual sin and now serve as temple workers despite their six divorces. How can one not want to live near these people in the next world? I stay because Joseph Smith taught us there was much more to be restored but that he could not teach because the people flew to pieces every time he taught anything that disagreed with their prejudices. I stay because mortality is messy and God allows it so we can learn from it. And I stay because I leave room for human error without requiring an apology for every mistake. After all, Cynthia L could not bring herself to apologize for rude and inaccurate verbal abuse of posters on this very blog despite people repeatedly requesting, then demanding an apology. If she would not apologize, and the people who own the site would not require it, why should we expect others to?

  39. I was feeling guilty for the long thread jack above- bragging about my daughter while dispensing unsolicited advice to the OP on rearing and guiding her children. Sorry about that, Lily.

    Then I realized that the reasons to pursue music performance and the reasons to stay in the church might overlap significantly. Now I offer the thread jack as a metaphor for why many people stay in the church (and for why one person is quite far out at this point). Read my thread jack again and substitute religion for music.

    The areas where the analogy might not fit quite right include:
    -God gifted natural talent and developing it with discipline.
    -Motivation from within at an early (or later) age and from without like parents, missionaries, church leaders, skeptics, etc.
    -Social experiences, friendships, and community.
    -Financial costs, music lessons and tithing are expensive.
    -Perfectionism or more of a work-in-progress. (The gospel of not even once or the gospel of repentance, sinning and repentance again).
    -Marketing and performance, two different things (she does both-rare) compared to various missionaring approaches of which our church does quite a bit of marketing but performance is a patchwork.

    At the bottom is the question of why church? And why music? And the question of Exclusivity.

    Music is apparently not required for salvation. But too many people resemble my unmusical son with his blasted bugle when it comes to religion (and some of them hold high callings in the church). The presence of many sects of music (classic, jazz, rock, hip hop, country, bluegrass, etc etc.,) is the opposite of exclusivity, or the One and Only Living Church….

    Ironically for me, music (at Protestant services) is the single most consistent window to heaven I can see through these days. It is the most reliable source of my strongest feelings of the Spirit, not scriptures with their burden of endless academic problems over which I have obsessed for half a century in an attempt to not dismiss them as superstitions of dubious worth. I can’t intellectualize music. Performance of it is never perfect but it is nothing short of a miracle to me. And honestly, I can’t tell the difference between my daughter’s playing and that of Izhak Perlman whom I have heard in person. My daughter assures me there is an enormous difference- but it doesn’t register to me.

  40. Lily C Darais says:

    Michael, I actually REALLY appreciate both of your comments and have been seriously thinking about your music comment ever since you first posted. I am reworking my paradigm in every area of life. I have been historically as committed to giving my children a musical education as I have been to raising them in the Church. Obviously, I am in the mode of questioning these firm parts of my paradigm, so I appreciate all the stories and experiences others are willing to share. It’s hugely helpful. Thank you!

  41. Lily C Darais says:

    @Shiny Swarovski, (if you are still following!) that would be the exact situation which would cause me to re-evaluate my decision too. I am glad you made the right choice for your family. Your children have a great mother in you.

  42. I am not a Mormon. I go to the Seventh Day Adventist Church but I don’t share all of their beliefs and so I have never been baptised into the SDA Church. I keep going because I see them as faithful to the essentials of the Gospel and to living a godly life, committed to family, mission and a healthy lifestyle and believing in the literal truth of the Gospels. They live what they believe, however imperfectly. From what I have read about and seen of Latter Day Saints, I get the impression that Mormons are the same, even though the theologies of the two churches are radically different and I think it is possible to remain part of a church community without necessarily endorsing all that that community believes. (However I would also not seek to try and change what members of that community believe) I recently came across 17th century philosopher John Locke’s book “The Reasonableness of Christianity” in which after considerable engagement with the Bible, he came to the conclusion that there is only one belief essential to salvation: that Jesus is the Messiah and Son of God who literally rose from the dead. The Bible itself doesn’t make any other belief necessary for salvation, though it does seem to require us to strive to live lives of moral purity after salvation. I would be happy to attend any church that endorses both of these things. The key verses for me which sum it all up are 1 John 3:23-24: “And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. 24 Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him.” I think if your church accepts these minimal requirements then, whatever else they may believe, you can continue in communion in good conscience.

  43. TruthSeeker says:

    I have mixed feelings about the church. I was raised in it. It was my community. I worshiped the general authorities as a youth. Now I don’t really feel like I belong there anymore. Yet, I love the Lord. I love the scriptures.

    It was through the study of the scriptures and church history that I came to the belief that the church has been in apostasy since the Nauvoo period. God confirmed this to me through personal revelation. The gifts of the spirit, the things that are supposed to accompany the true believers, are entirely absent from the church. The church was rejected per God’s words in D&C 124. The same section says the church lost the fullness of the priesthood and would be cursed with a multi-generation curse. That curse was the teachings and practices that came out of Nauvoo that have haunted and stained the church for 170 years. This includes polygamy, the masonic temple endowment, and the misguided teachings on the efficacy of vicarious temple ordinances (again see section 124).

    Yet there is still hope. Like ancient Israel, the LDS was left with a lesser Gospel than what Joseph preached in Kirtland. People are waking up to their awful situation that the LDS church is not what it claims and that they have been lied to. The LDS church does not have the power that it claims and its leaders are just as blind as the rest of us. However, God promises that he will reclaim his people from their state of blindness and help them repent. Jesus promised to return and reclaim his vineyard. There is hope in that.

  44. April May says:

    Honestly I come to this site for articles like this one, but this one I really could have written myself down to the personal details. I need Jesus and I choose to worship Him through this faith, and although the reasons decrease as I age, there’s enough on the scale to tip in favor of staying. I am concerned how we as a religious body invalidate those who do not stay strict to the orthodoxy. I have been quietly preaching grace and only needing a mustard seed of faith and basically pointing out the Sadducees among us who are bothered by those who can’t live the faith in its full orthodoxy and I’m always surprised at who responds to my word (read: this who come off as highly orthodox). That having been said I’m tired. Not spiritually, as I know how to fill that side of me, and those at personal and private moments that happen outside of church and temple, but socially and emotionally. There isn’t much space for me in our ward, eveidenced by the fact that I haven’t maintained a friendship within the church for as long as a shared supper. I’m not one to preach my ideas, but I’m also not going to, when asked, pretend like I comply with the hell and damnation talk that is so cleverly disguised as a cultish attitude towards “them.” Keep writing. I will be here to read and breathe deep sighs of relief that I’m not alone.