The Faces of God—
After reading the Wilford Woodruff lesson I quoted before, I drove to work and listened to a sermon from the evangelical church of my roommate from college. His insightful preaching is what finally got me to wake up and appreciate the many gifts of the spirit available outside the LDS church.
I find myself drawn to the message of sin, personal inadequacy, grace, and forgiveness preached by evangelical churches. Probably because I am very conscious of my own weaknesses and my inability to measure up to the cultural standard set by the LDS church. Evangelical churches tell you that your faith is mostly all that matters, and I can do that.
I find myself drawn to the gospel of social justice and relief of the poor found in the Episcopal church and other mainline denominations. Mostly this is what Jesus exemplified. I also find myself drawn to the tradition of thoughtfulness and tolerance for others’ interpretations of scripture. Because I can read the scriptures and see many different viewpoints most of the time, depending on what you choose to focus on.
I find myself drawn to the organization and commitment of the LDS church, that feeling of being part of a worldwide body that generally speaks the same language where faith is concerned. I find myself drawn to the idea of a plan of salvation as articulated by Joseph Smith, and that view of eternity as a timeline with a well-defined beginning and ending.
I often feel somewhat torn between these things. Should I stay LDS? Should I be Baptist? Should I be Episcopalian? Which one is right? What should I do?
The thought I had this morning is that the creation and plan of God is so rich and diverse, what leads me to believe that any man-made church can actually hold it all? The best any one church can do is to try to make sense of a little corner of it. No church has any hope of articulating the whole thing, without driving its members into madness trying to fit the whole thing into their brains.
Rather than feeling like I have to pick one or the other, maybe what I am called to do is to be blessed by whatever value I find, wherever I find it. I remember hearing somewhere that “all truth may be circumscribed into one great hold.” Maybe these artificial man-made divisions just don’t matter that much after all.