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Question

 

Dear Gramps,

I have been an firm believer in Christ for an long time now for numerous reasons. Now as a grown man there has been negative talk about Jehovah Witnesses and now Mormons. The only reason I quit going to traditional churches was because most of the Preachers did not live by their own advice and made everything out to be perfect life.  Now how do I keep reaching for my own spiritual glory towards comprehensive understanding of the word of Jehovah God?

Melvin

 

Answer

 

Dear Melvin,

I commend you for remaining firm in your belief in Christ.  In this day and age, that can be difficult.  I don’t feel like I have enough details to directly address you concerns, but I’ll do my best and hope I come close enough to help.

 

Negative Talk

 

Regarding “negative talk”, I’m going to assume one or both of the following two varieties:

1) people saying things they ought not to say (unkind, vulgar, untrue, etc.)

2) and people not living up to the ideals they preach (you specifically mentioned this one)

Regarding the first, remember that we live in a fallen world.  None of us are perfect.  We all sin.  If you examine your own past, I’m sure you can find a time (as we all can) when you weren’t as kind as you could have been, or when you weren’t entirely honest.  I would bet that in those instances, you were frustrated, scared, or confused.  When you encounter this weakness in another, try to remember what it was like for you.  While we should all be striving to overcome such weakness, the simple fact is that none of us will overcome all our weaknesses in this life.  But in your desire to continue reaching for your own understanding of God, you can do as the Savior taught, and forgive:

Matthew 18:21

Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?

 

Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

You can be an example by being kind, by asking forgiveness when you err, by speaking the truth even when doing so is difficult.  In this you show others how to improve.

Which leads us to the second problem — people not living up to the ideals which they preach.  You might call this hypocrisy.  But I contend that it’s only hypocrisy if one isn’t trying, if one doesn’t believe in the ideals they “teach”.  If one is trying, and knows that they haven’t reached the ideal, then it’s a good thing, because it means they are trying to improve, they aren’t satisfied with “good enough”.  Regarding this accusation against church-goers (and I would add church leaders), President Uchtdorf, in his October 2013 General Conference talk, “Come, Join with Us” said:

Some might say, “I know a member of your Church who is a hypocrite. I could never join a church that had someone like him as a member.”

 

If you define hypocrite as someone who fails to live up perfectly to what he or she believes, then we are all hypocrites. None of us is quite as Christlike as we know we should be. But we earnestly desire to overcome our faults and the tendency to sin. With our heart and soul we yearn to become better with the help of the Atonement of Jesus Christ.

 

Your Spiritual Journey

 

Ironically, your spiritual journey requires both your own weakness and that of others. It requires you to recognize that there is such a thing as “negative talk”, and that you must try not to be guilty of it, and that you must forgive those who are. It requires that you recognize that Christ’s example, to which we aspire, is something we mortals fall short of. But Christ himself provided the way for us to make amends, through repentance and turning to him for peace and the strength to forgive others. As you study the word of God, look for ways you can change yourself, and help others to change, to follow the Master’s example. This will help you come to understand the Savior more than all the study in the world.

Ether 12:27

And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

As you strive to overcome weakness, and forgive those who are trying to do the same, Christ’s grace will be sufficient for you.  You will find yourself more able to follow him, more able to repent, more able to forgive, and more able to learn his ways.

That many preachers of religion also fall short does not mean that you cannot learn truth from them.  Through prayer with your Heavenly Father, you can come to recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  As you study and act upon what you learn, your ability to recognize the truth will increase, and you will soon be able to distinguish between who is teaching you the truth, and who is trying to deceive you.

 

Conclusion

 

If Mormons have offended you in the past in some way, I pray that you will forgive them.  Please read President Uchtdorf’s talk and come join with us in seeking the truth.  In general, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are striving their best to follow and share the teachings of God.  I know that they would be glad to share your journey as we all try to come closer to Christ.

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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