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There are probably thousands of different definitions of the word “Christian.” We have chosen the same inclusive definition as is used by public opinion pollsters and government census offices: A “Christian”  includes any group or individual who seriously, devoutly, prayerfully describes themselves as Christian. Under this definition, Christianity includes: Roman Catholics, Southern Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, United Church members, even a small minority of Unitarian Universalists, etc. (www.religioustolerance.org

According to this definition there shouldn’t be a divide between the various Christian faiths and Mormonism (LDS).  However, those who follow the LDS faith know they are not included and perhaps do not want to be included in the mainstream Christian faiths.  Recently there has been a push from the LDS leaders to emphasize their belief in Jesus Christ and embrace Christianity and Christians (from my experience) are not eager to welcome Mormonism to their fold.  This is due to some major theological differences and attitudes that I have observed, some of which I will address.

Theological Differences and Attitudes

  • Christians believe in Creeds (that include the Trinity theology and more) Mormons do not believe in Creeds, rather they believe in revelation from modern Prophets and apostles.
  • Christians may or may not believe in baptism as being necessary for salvation.  Mormons believe in ordinances such as baptism, the sacrament, marriage, etc.
  • Christians believe the “church of Christ” or the body of Christ are all the Christian sects who believe in Jesus.  Mormons believe the “one true Church of Christ” is the LDS faith.
  • Christians do not believe in a pre-existance and Jesus being our elder brother.  Mormons do.
  • Both Christians and Mormons are passionate about their belief in Jesus and try to help others “see the light.” However, the Mormon Jesus and the Christian Jesus are not the same person if you ask a Christian. 
  • Mormons believe in universal salvation to a certain extent.  Christians believe those who confess Jesus are going to heaven.  Those who don’t are going to hell.
  • Mormons believe God has revealed scripture and will continue to reveal scripture through his prophets.  Christians believe the Bible to be the only word of God.

Through the years and during the past few months I’ve been reading blogs online, these differences along with other differences tend to be what Christians and Mormons alike tend to focus on.  Focusing on differences, however, causes a big riff between both Christians and Mormons (and any other people who have differences for that matter).  Is there a way to find common ground?  Is there a way to join forces for common good?  I believe there is.  I’ll outline ways I’ve found that we can bridge the Mormon/Evangelical Divide.

Bridging the Divide

  • Build on Common Beliefs

Regardless of who we believe Jesus is one can not argue that whether or not He’s the same Jesus that following His teachings will result in blessings.  Personally I’ve seen miracles happen in the name of Jesus in both Mormon and Evangelical circles.  In addition, I’ve seen God bless the lives of people who follow Jesus’ teachings in both circles.  Love, faith, kindness, service, patience, prayer, etc.  These are all common things both Mormons and Evangelicals can find common ground on. 

  • Don’t debate points of Doctrine

Mormons especially should be the last to argue with their fellow Christian friends about points of Doctrine.  In the Book of Mormon, Jesus clearly states that disputing points of doctrine should be done away with.  Trying to prove a point through scriptural debate will not lead to conversion and personally I’ve found that when I try to prove my point as being right and the other’s as being wrong, the Holy Spirit leaves and then I’m left to my own devises.  Building ourselves up to put others down leads to nowhere fast.

  • Don’t criticize others’ beliefs and religious practices

This ones a huge one.  I’ve heard Mormons criticize other Christians and put themselves on a pedastal by saying they’re in the “one true church,” that their baptism is the only baptism, that miracles can only happen through the priesthood, and much more.  Similarly, I’ve heard Christians mock Mormons for their “boring” religious practices in church and also scoff at their temple practices.  There are many more beliefs I’ve heard both sides criticize, but regardless of what one believes, we need to make sure we don’t condemn another for their belief.

  • Look for the good in every conversation

It is evident that there will be differences in belief, but even if we believe differently, it is very helpful to look for the good in every conversation we engage in.  There will usually be something both parties agree on and can build on.

  • Know when not to talk, or to walk away

I’ve seen both Mormons and Christians who simply do not want to stop arguing and want to prove their point as being right.  This is when it is time to be silent as Jesus was many times when people mocked him.  Sometimes it’s better to simply not respond to an argumentative blog post, or discussion.  Sometimes it’s best to be silent and walk away.

I’ve found personally that when I follow these guidelines I have much more in common with not only other Christians, but people from all faiths and beliefs as well.   I hope this post helps both Evangelical Christians and LDS to engage in uplifting discussions and bridge the divide. 

For some other great posts on this topic I recommend the following blogs:

http://summatheologica.wordpress.com/2008/05/04/the-temptation-to-debate/#comment-358

and

http://mormonmatters.org/2008/05/03/the-nature-of-god-and-bible-bashing-sharing/

 

 

 

Today I was at a company and an African-american gentleman visited my table.  We talked politics and of course religion.  We talked about how regardless of religion how God loves us all the same.  We talked about the Spirit we’ve felt in various churches and other situations irregardless to church affiliation.  When he found out I was LDS he was a little suprised.  He then told me he agreed with a lot of LDS teachings but because of past prejudice towards blacks and receiving the priesthood he couldn’t endorse the LDS church.  I told him I could understand his situation and didn’t blame him for feeling that way.  I went on further to say that I disagreed with the statements Brigham Young and many other apostles had said about blacks being an inferior race.  We talked some more and then he said something that I’ve heard in the church, but didn’t realize non-LDS Christians said.  He told me I wasn’t a “Utah Mormon.” 

I thanked him and told him that when I lived in Utah (Provo) I didn’t really feel like I fit in.  However, I later reflected on what is a “Utah Mormon” anyway?  I mean, I was born in Utah…does that make me a Utah Mormon?  I do my home teaching every month, I read scriptures, I pray, attend temple, church…all of it.  So why would he say I’m not a “Utah Mormon”? 

One of my other friends of another faith told me one time I was the coolest Mormon he’d ever met.  Maybe you can help me out…what is your definition of a “Utah Mormon” and why would someone outside of the church think Utah Mormons were “uncool”? 

I’ve been reading Echoes and Evidences of the Book of Mormon most recently.  Today I read in the “Hebraisms and other Peculiarities” chapter a section on a poetic form called “climax” (which means “ladder” in Greek), which was discovered in 1898 by a biblical scholar.  The definition of this poetic form is described as follows: “Climax occurs when the same word or words found at the end of one clause are repeated at or near the beginning of the next clause.” (Echoes, pg 166)

 The book then shares some examples of climaxes found in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon.  I thought the one found in Moroni 8:25-26 was beautiful and wanted to share it.  I will break it down as it is broken down in the book to emphasize the use of climax:

And the first fruits of repentance is

baptism; and

baptism cometh by faith unto

the fulfilling the commandments; and

the fulfilling the commandments bringeth

remission of sins; And the

remission of sins bringeth

meekness, and lowliness of heart; and because of

meekness and lowliness of heart cometh the visitation of the

Holy Ghost, which

Comforter filleth with hope and perfect

love, which

love endureth by diligence unto prayer,

until the end shall come, when all Saints shall well with God.

If I hadn’t read about this poetic form, I would have read right over it and missed great symbolic purpose.  I think it’s awesome to see how this is like a ladder, or climax in that each step builds on the other and at the top of the ladder is love, which is the greatest commandment.  Even better, it doesn’t just stop there.  The verses tell us how we can maintain our love and the result (dwelling with God) if we are diligent in keeping love in our hearts.

What are your thoughts as you read this?  Also, do you know of any other examples in the scriptures where this poetic form is used?

Last Sunday I was over at my inlaw’s house and watched a good little John Bytheway DVD called “Standards Night Live.”  I really don’t know much about John Bytheway except for his fun, but corny songs about being a Mormon and missionary, etc.  However, I really enjoyed this DVD and something he said in it has caused me to reflect all week.  

He discussed the famous and important scripture in Ephesians 6  about putting on the full armor of God.  He also mentions that of the things Paul suggests to have in defending against Satan, there is only one item suggested to use as an offensive weapon and that is the sword.  In Ephesians, Paul says the sword of the Spirit is the word of God .  John Bytheway goes on to discuss the tactics of Satan are to get us into situations where we loose the Spirit so we won’t have any offensive weapon against Satan. 

As I have pondered this, I’ve thought of a few things.  First, I thought it was interesting how Paul describes the Spirit (word of God) as a sword and I thought of other scriptures that have this imagery.  Next, I contemplated instances in my life when I have “let my sword down” and wondered what I could have done differently.  Finally, I wondered about how one can recognize the Spirit and have it return once it is gone.  I will share my thoughts on each of these areas.

The Spirit (Word of God) is as a Sword

Some scriptures that come to my mind that have the imagery of the Spirit being as a sword include:

Acts 2:37: “Now when they heard this, they were apricked in their bheart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, cwhat shall we do?”

Hebrews 4:12: “For the aword of God is bquick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged csword, dpiercing even to the dividing asunder eof soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a fdiscerner of the gthoughts and hintents of the heart.”

Helaman 5:30: “And it came to pass when they heard this avoice, and beheld that it was not a voice of thunder, neither was it a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but behold, it was a bstill voice of perfect mildness, as if it had been a whisper, and it did pierce even to the very soul—”

3 Nephi 11: 3: “And it came to pass that while they were thus conversing one with another, they heard a avoice as if it came out of heaven; and they cast their eyes round about, for they understood not the voice which they heard; and it was not a harsh voice, neither was it a loud voice; nevertheless, and notwithstanding it being a bsmall voice it did cpierce them that did hear to the center, insomuch that there was no part of their frame that it did not cause to quake; yea, it did pierce them to the very soul, and did cause their hearts to burn.

Each of these examples include similar characteristics.  I’ll highlight a few of them.  First, the Spirit (or word of God) is described as being able to pierce (or prick).  Second, each example states it doesn’t just pierce lightly, but to the soul (or heart).  The questions then arise what is the Spirit piercing and why is it important to be pierced all the way to the soul?  We could go into many details just on these two questions, but some of the thoughts I have on this include the Spirit is piercing through the pride, passions, prejudices, “hardness of heart,” and sin of the natural man.  Some people call this “being born again” or “putting off the natural man.” It is important to pierce us to the soul because if it just touches our physical senses or our mind it won’t leave as lasting of an impression on us.  As seen in following verses in Acts 2, the Spirit touches their souls and they feel moved to action by being baptized.  In our own lives, once we feel the Spirit, I feel it is prompting us to action as well…maybe visit a friend, or help a family member.  In my experience it has always been to do something good. 

Another similarity in three of the four examples is the fact that many of the people don’t even realize they are feeling the Spirit and when they do, they don’t know what to do.  This also is a whole other discussion, but I simply want to point out that it is important to be able to recognize the Spirit.  I know many times in my life I haven’t recognized the Spirit because I’ve been too busy or prideful to listen.  If we humble ourselves and quiet our own spirits as these people did, we will not only feel the Spirit, but recognize it as well.  This is crucial in our spiritual development.

Letting our Sword Down

Most recently, I posted on Steps to Avoiding Apostacy, which in my mind are steps to avoid loosing the Spirit.  I feel that all of us are in a “state of apostacy” so to speak in that we all sin and come short of God’s glory.  If we work on these steps we can continuously feel closer to God’s Spirit and keep our swords up.  It is important to note that we will always come short of the glory of God and that it is through His mercy that we are able to be granted the Spirit.  It is our duty to do everything we can through the knowledge we’ve been given to keep the commandments and stay close to the Lord.   

The scriptures say that if we “withdraw ourselves from the Spirit of the Lord” we are left to our own devices and led by the “evil one” because God doesn’t dwell in “unholy temples” (Mosiah 2: 36-37).  Further scripture states the Spirit withdraws when we try to cover our sins and not confess them, become prideful, and harden our hearts

The scriptures show many examples of people who both let their sword down and who kept the sword up.  The consequences are like night and day.  Examples off the top of my head for those who let their sword down include: King David, Solomon, Sampson, the Saducees and Pharisees, and there are many others.  Those who kept the sword up include: Joseph (coat of many colors), Paul, Stephen, and Jesus.

If we were to compare each of these examples, again it is like night and day.  Joseph kept the sword of the spirit up and denied Potiphar’s wife.  He became more confident in the Lord and eventually a great ruler.  David and Solomon both let the sword down and led lives led lives contrary to the Lord.  David was very repentant, but could have avoided much heartache had he kept his sword up.  The Saducees and Pharisees are very good examples for those of us who profess belief in God and the scriptures.  They were so focused on the word of God and the letter of the law that when the new law came through Jesus they didn’t recognize it and crucified the very One whom they had been waiting for.  This again is another topic, but how often do we get too focused on something other than the Lord and/or put ourselves in a situation to loose the Spirit and therefore “crucify the Lord afresh” as stated in Hebrews.  

As I contemplate my own life and wonder what I could have done differently to keep the Spirit in my life, I firmly believe turning to the Savior’s example is the best way.

For instance, when I feel tempted to do something I know is wrong rather than “tarrying” like David did and contemplating the sin and rationalizing it, whatever the sin is or however big or small it is, if I simply say “get behind me Satan,” like Jesus did I will be much better off.  When people tried to logically prove things or twist Christ’s words in many instances, he kept silent in quiet dignity rather than try to prove his point or why He was right.  He remained humble, prayerful, grateful, and was a perfect example of what we need to do to keep the Spirit. 

However, we’re not perfect and we’re going to let our swords down at some point.  This means we need to know what to do in order to get the sword back up.

Getting the Sword back Up

Obviously since the “sword of the Spirit is the Word of God,” it is imperative to “get into” the Word of God in order to receive the spirit.  However, it’s a catch 22 because if we’re reading or hearing the word of God without the Spirit, we won’t recognize it.  I feel there are a few steps involved in getting our swords back up.  First, we need to recognize the Spirit is gone.  Secondly, we need to relax and put ourselves into a position to recieve the Spirit.  Third we need to repent.  Finally, we need to make efforts to put our guard back up. 

What did people in the scriptures do to get the Spirit back?  I mentioned King David as one who fell away, but he returned again to the Lord.  He recognized his sin and became very humble and contrite for the rest of his days.  He relaxed and invited the Spirit of the Lord when he wrote many Psalms unto the Lord and prayed.  When praying, he repented of his ways and made effort to not commit the same mistake again, which he didn’t. 

Another example is the anti-christ, Zeezrom in the Book of Mormon.  He was deceived and openly rebelled against the people of the Lord.  However, when he opened his heart and allowed the Spirit to penetrate his heart, he was able to get the sword back up and he preached repentance the rest of his life.  Other examples in the scriptures that are similar to this include the sons of Mosiah, Alma the younger, and Saul (Paul) in the Bible. 

Some things I do to get the Spirit back into my life once I realize it’s gone include: prayer, scripture study, go to the temple, visit nature, listen to music, write music, serve others, and think of things I’m grateful for.  Once I’ve recieved the Spirit, I note what I did to lose the Spirit and make plans as to how to avoid the situation again.

In conclusion, I hope these things I’ve learned and contemplated help whoever comes across them.  If you know of additional scriptures or experiences of people in the scriptures, your own personal life, or other stories, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you do to maintain the sword of the Spirit in your life.

Retention

This is part two of my series on the Washington Post Article

I recently wrote a post entitled “Why do People Leave the LDS Church?”  I included a link to posts written by John Dehlin on what his opinion is as far as why people may leave.  He suggests that many people don’t know the history of the church and Joseph Smith and other leaders upon being baptized.  They feel lied to essentially that controversial issues in Mormon history aren’t discussed during the missionary discussions, etc.  This could very well be an issue.

The Washington Post mentions missionaries baptizing people after only attending church a few times or even one time.  There could be much discussion alone on these topics such as are the missionaries being pressured to baptize too quickly?  If so, where is the pressure coming from and why? 

The third possibility is that we as members are not “taking care of the flock.”  We aren’t doing our home-teaching or fellowshipping new members.  Along these lines perhaps it is that new members of the LDS faith have a very high standard of living that goes with membership and people may get discouraged and leave.  In this case perhaps members could do something to help them feel more loved and welcome.

The fourth possibility is that it’s just plain hard to be a Mormon and keep the commandments, etc. and people just choose to leave.

It is indeed a complicated issue and I would love to hear what people have to say about issues on retention.

Recently I was having a conversation with one of my friends and she said that having a testimony of the Book of Mormon was essential in order to stay in the LDS church.

However, there are other denomonations that believe and support the Book of Mormon.  The RLDS (now Community of Christ) church and the Church of Jesus Christ (nicknamed Bickertonites) are two denomonations that believe in the Book of Mormon as well.

I’m not the best historian so maybe someone can help me here.  From what I understand, Sydney Rigdon started the Bickertonites and Joseph Smith’s son (Joseph Smith III) started the RLDS church after Joseph Smith died.  Brigham Young and the other apostles were with the main body of the LDS people.  Interestingly, all three groups seem to have claimed authority given to them from Joseph Smith.

So the questions are:

Is having a testimony Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon enough to stay strong in the LDS church? If not, what is necessary to have a testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

What happened historically and who exactly did Joseph Smith give the keys of priesthood authority to? 

It appears organizationally the three are similar with apostles, prophets, etc. and they all study the same books.  What are the differences between the three organizations?

I have my own personal opinions from briefly reading the history of both organizations, but I’d love to hear what others with more historical knowledge have to say. 

 “The concept of a restoration is biblical and is frequently spoken of in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  Peter spoke of the anticipated ‘times of of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken of by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.’ (Acts 3:21).  Latter-Day Saints understand this as a prophetic anticipation of a full and final restoration of the gospel in the development and fulfillment of the purposes of God in these last days.” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism

As a Latter-Day Saint, or Mormon, I believe this to mean that in the beginning, God revealed all truth to his prophets.  Throughout time, His truths became corropted.  Through divine revelations from God, Joseph Smith received a full restitution of all truths.  It is my personal belief that elements of these truths can be found in virtualy every religion though.

It seems that the past few days I’ve had experiences causing me to reflect on the truths that can be found in other religions.  I’ll share some of my experiences. 

During a recent business meeting a colleague and I started talking religion.  She knew I was LDS and I knew she was Christian.  One thing that has baffled me about most Christians is the fact that it appears to me they limit the abilities of God to just communicating to one people through one book (the Bible).  I told my friend in our conversation that I believe in the Bible and am grateful for the inspired book, but what I love about the Restored Gospel (the LDS faith) is that we believe in a God that is all-encompassing and who is the Father of all people and who loves us all equally.  We believe that God has revealed more truth to us in addition to the Bible and that he can reveal more truth in the future to us should he choose. (see Article of Faith 9)  To my suprise she agreed with me and called herself a “liberal christian” in that she believed that there is a lot of truth in the Bible as well as in other sources outside of the Bible and that God couldn’t and shouldn’t be limited to one book.  It was a very refreshing conversation for me.

My wife is on a recruiting trip in the Middle East for business.  She called me today and as she was describing the culture and the way the people would pray and how nice some of the people were she said “It’s amazing to see how many of the truths taught in Mormonism are found in other religions that aren’t even Christian.”  I agreed with her.

Finally, I was reading an article posted on the Temple Study Blog about the “scattered fragments” of the ancient temple rites of the
Egyptians and how they correlate with those of the Jews and essentially with those taught in Mormon temples.  I recommend reading the article for more specific information.

These three examples are ones of recent, but I’ve had experiences in the past with people from all faiths and even those without any religion who practice the principles of love, faith, charity, prayer, kindness, repentance, etc.  All of which, are truths that are universal and come from God. 

To answer the question “Does Mormonism Cover truths from all Religions?” I would personally have to say it does cover a good portion of truth, including truths found in other religions, but there is still more truth that will be revealed.  Even if the religion is slightly warped or even largely warped it all stems from an original religion that Heavenly Father taught Adam.  I’m grateful that Mormonism teaches that there is a way for those who don’t have a chance to hear about Jesus in this life to be saved; that God is all-loving and just and doesn’t limit Himself to answering and blessing the lives of all nations; that families and marriages are an eternal principle and not “til death do you part”; that Jesus is our personal Savior and the Savior of mankind; that God has revealed himself in the past and that he can and will continue to reveal himself in the future.

I don’t claim to be a religious expert, but I have experienced first hand Budhist and Daoist temples in Asia, the wide variety of Christian denominations throughout America and Europe, Jewish temples and people, Muslims, and even though some of the religions are pretty far from the actual truth, one can see a semblance of original truth that it came from.

So the questions I ask are: Do you agree with me that Mormonism covers truth from all Religions?  If so, what other truths or concepts in other religions can you think of that Mormonism covers?

If you don’t think it covers all truth, why don’t you think it does?

(02-21-08) It’s about a week after I wrote this post, but I just read an interesting blog on how Muslim’s believe that there is part of a Book of Abraham that was lost and it could be similar to the Book of Abraham that Joseph Smith translated that is found in the Pearl of Great Price.  Check out the post here: http://www.mormonheretic.org/2008/02/16/is-the-book-of-abraham-related-to-muslim-texts/

I recently read a post from the mormonmissionblog that reported a recent article in the Washington Post (I coincidentally work for them) on the challenges the LDS church faces.  In the article it discusses the decline in the number of converts to the LDS faith (a decline of 8% to 3%), the poor retention rate of LDS converts (One in three stays active), and the rise in converts to other faiths such as Seventh-Day Adventists and other Evangelical faiths.

This causes me to ask a few questions:

1. Are the numbers accurate that the conversions have fallen from 8%-3%?

2. What can be done to increase retention?

3. Why are people going to other churches

4. How should the LDS church feel about people are converting to other christian churches?

I will address these issues in a series of posts.  The first is addressed below:

Are the Numbers Accurate?

I’m not sure where they got the numbers from, but according to the LDS Newsroom, the conversions continue to be very strong at around 800 members per day as announced in this video by Elder Ballard.  Further graphs of church growth can be found here

As shown in the graph it appears the church’s growth has exploded in the past 10 years rather than tapered.  The article does mention that the church has “tighter recruiting standards” now, which could lead to lower conversion rates.  I do know that when I was on my mission in 1996 there were around 50,000 full-time missionaries and today there are about the same.

Overall, I would say that the church shouldn’t worry about not having enough converts with a growth rate of 800 per day. 

The question is how accurate is the Washington Posts statistical information?  Does anyone know? (Maybe a more important question is does it even matter? : )

For anyone interested, here is a message from an editor at Meridian Magazine, who compiled over 100 talks given by President Hinckley.

Here’s the link:

http://www.ldsmag.com/churchupdate/080129talks.html

I have deep roots in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My fourth great-grandfather was the first bishop of the church, Edward Partridge.  Amasa Lyman was one of my ancestors as well and he was an apostle and a polygamist.  In addition, I’ve had many great spiritual experiences within the church and served as a missionary in Frankfurt, Germany and served in leadership positions of the church. 

If you read my post entitled “How I became a Mormon,” you will know of my conversion story and will know why I chose and still choose to be a Mormon.

That being said, I have had my own personal struggles with issues in our church history and our current practices in the church.  It has been hard for me to swallow the “polygamy” pill and the first time I went through the temple I was freaked out and had struggles going to the temple for 7 years afterwards. 

Being raised in a predominately LDS community in small-town southern Idaho, one is raised to think in black and white.  For example, the church is true (what does this mean anyways?) and everything else is false, prophets and apostles are infallible, Joseph Smith is the closest thing to Jesus there is, you have to go on a mission, etc. 

A few years after my mission I started learning more about the history of the church and many things that church leaders have said and done and things in the temple and my faith waivered.  I started exploring my personal faith and other faiths as well.  I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t deny the witnesses that I’d felt when I read the Book of Mormon and served in the church.  After examining other religions, I concluded that although our prophets and church aren’t infallible, they are definitely good.  Furthermore, I came to the conclusion that it is o.k. if I don’t know without a shadow of doubt everything there is to know.  I do know that I’m happier when I serve in the church and that I feel the Spirit and have felt the Spirit confirm to me on many occasions that many of the doctrines in the church are true.  I believe for me personally this is the path that God would have me travel and I’m very grateful for the blessings I’ve recieved as I’ve made the journey.

For those who have struggled, or are currently struggling in their personal faith within the church, I can totally empathize.  I have seen very close family members and friends leave the church and I don’t blame them or judge them in the least because I’ve had to deal with many of the same issues as well. 

I recommend reading the following essays and podcasts by John Dehlin for those who are struggling, or who have a close friend or family member struggling:

1. How to Stay in the Church

2. Why do People Leave the Church?

John interviewed people who had left the church for over two years and compiled reasons why people leave.  He also addresses what we can do to help those who are on the edge or already gone (and that could include ourselves).

Listening to these has helped me very much knowing that I don’t have to have a black and white mentality and also that other people, including Stake Presidents and others have had questions and overcome them as well. 

In conclusion I would like to emphasize that I know what the Spirit has testified to me throughout the years line upon line and grace for grace.  I know the scriptures make me feel closer to God when I read them; I know of the peace I now feel when I’m in the temple; I know that when I serve in the church I feel closer to God and love in my heart grows; I know as I partake of the sacrament I feel closer to God; I know and have felt the confirmation from the Spirit as I pray.  I know that I have a ton to learn and am grateful that I’ve had many experiences to help me keep moving forward. 

It is my hope that this helps anyone who may be struggling. 

Cleanse your Soul with Grace for Grace “Spiritual SOAP”

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