Something I appreciate about the Mormon faith is the constant search for truth. While I am not familiar enough with other religions to know how this compares, I’m encouraged as a member of the LDS church to find the truth and feel it in my heart. We are told not to exclusively rely on others to counsel and guide us, but rather to have our own personal relationship with God, through which we can receive encouragement and guiding counsel.
There is a constant reminder in the church to read our scriptures and pray daily. Some feel this is overly demanding or a source of coercion. In fact, I feel that reading my scriptures and praying gives me greater strength and access to God so that I can make decisions based on truth, rather than being unnecessarily swayed by misinformation (even if well-intended). In reading my scriptures I learn about principles that are true and that can be applied to life regardless of the age of human history. This is one of the definitions of a true principle, that it remains true regardless of circumstances. Our lives can become a real-life laboratory in which we can test principles for truth. (The following scriptures help us find and discern truth; Matthew 7:17-19, John 7:17-18, Alma 32:28, Moroni 7:15-17.)
Prayer, besides the obvious benefits, allows me to think through truths and their relation to what I’m striving to do in my everyday life. I try to make my prayers more than, “Thanks for this, Gimme that.” I do say ‘thanks’ in a reverent way, but try to thoughtfully consider the ‘gimmies’- to reason out in my mind those things I desire. Are they righteous desires, are they things that a holy God would want his child to have to further their growth? Are those things I ask for things of truth and virtue? If not, I shouldn’t be asking for them. This is part of discerning truth from error that is a part of our mortal experience.
Men can find some truth through the laboratory of life without religion but it seems a lot like driving cross-country without a map. You can do it, but it is much harder and takes more time. I feel that religion can inform you of truths that are eternally true. Truths given to us by a loving Heavenly Father who knows how the universe works and wants to give us, his children, help through life. His commandments are not just made-up rules, they are immutable truths through which we can receive blessings and learn. God isn’t up there just waiting to punish us, instead he is hoping that we will listen to him. That we will find the truth and live it so that we can be happy and successful in life.
As I learn more about life and the gospel of Jesus Christ I find that the truth fits together like an eternal multi-dimensional puzzle. I can find a piece of the truth in Sunday School, while talking with a friend, or while reading a good book (LDS article of faith 13). I don’t have all the answers, or pieces, to this puzzle right now, but I have enough that connect to build my life upon and have a simple view of where I am going. The more I learn about the truth, the better I see the big picture.
Everyday I am grateful for a religion that believes in truth, that we should gather truth from wherever we can to make our lives rich and full. Our former prophet and president Gordon B. Hinckley said:
We invite all, the whole earth, to listen to this account and take measure of its truth. God bless us as those who believe in His divine manifestations and help us to extend knowledge of these great and marvelous occurrences to all who will listen. To these we say in a spirit of love, bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it. This invitation I extend to men and women everywhere with my solemn testimony that this work is true, for I know the truth of it by the power of the Holy Ghost.
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When you said: “The more I learn about the truth, the better I see the big picture” I found myself agreeing completely.
I loved this line:
“Our lives can become a real-life laboratory in which we can test principles for truth.”
A couple of other scriptures I reference whenever I’m ‘testing’ something to see if it’s truth are these:
Doctrine and Covenants 50:23-24 (And that which doth not edify is not of God, and is darkness.
That which is of God is light; and he that receiveth light, and continueth in God, receiveth more light; and that light groweth brighter and brighter until the perfect day.)
Moroni 7:11-19 (highlight: But behold, that which is of God inviteth and enticeth to do good continually; wherefore, every thing which inviteth and enticeth to do good, and to love God, and to serve him, is inspired of God.