Friday, July 25, 2014

Between Testimonies

I have always had a testimony of God. I've always just known deep inside of me that He exists and that he loves everyone and that He made this beautiful earth for all of us to live on and enjoy. I've never once questioned that. Whether Jesus Christ lived and died for me is a different story. Whether the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) is true is a very different story.And whether Joseph Smith was a true prophet, well that is a very very different story.
Right now things are changing on a rapid scale and everything seems to be screaming out at you from every social media, internet article, newscast, family member and friend saying, "pick your side---no fence sitting allowed. Oh yeah, and also you're wrong and I'm right." After reading articles like this, I spend my day stressing out about my life and my religion and who I am and who I'm not and what I believe and what I don't. After reading articles like that one I get angry, frustrated and stressed out. Why? Because I have heard the same things they have about the church. I have had the same questions as they have. I have had the same thoughts as they have. I  have NEVER had an easy time being a member of the church and obeying all of its guidelines and rules and I have NEVER had all of my questions answered. I get angry and frustrated and stressed because I read what these people write and I relate to it, and then it ends with them leaving the church and/or being anti-Mormon. Then I have this weight on my shoulders that feels like it is forcing me to decide, forcing me to discover and get an an
swer to that question or that doubt right then or right now, and if not, I am a blind follower. A lemming following the crowd I was born into and throwing myself over a cliff because of my ignorance and refusal to believe the truth in front of me.
In the church they always compare your testimony to a muscle. Once you get your testimony you need to exercise it and continue to build it and work it out everyday. You do this by bearing your testimony, reading scriptures, praying, keeping your covenants, and trying to be more Christ-like. I gained a testimony once of Jesus Christ and that He is my Savior. I gained a testimony of the Atonement. I think that our church has the fully restored gospel on this earth. But sometimes, I feel like I lose that testimony. Not completely, but I question it. It becomes weak, just like a muscle that has not been utilized and exercised....sometimes when it has really been a long time since I last worked out. I feel shaky. My body is physically asking me for exercise. My testimony is the same, it gets shaky and is asking me to feed it and strengthen it, but I get too busy or too distracted. It is always at that time that I hear stories about someone I know or some random person leaving the church because of their doubts or disbelief. I feel like I have to leave the church because I am "between testimonies" at that time, meaning, I'm at a low point with some of the things the church teaches, and I am not sure if they are true.
Who has a place in the church that doesn't know how they feel about Joseph Smith? I have discovered that I DO. I have a place in this church, regardless how I feel about its members or some of its teachings. Because truthfully I love its gospel. We lived before we were born. We came to earth to learn, challenge ourselves and become better and stronger and happier and to return to the Heavenly Father that loves us. There is life after death, and most importantly we can be with our families forever. No "until death do we part." I am willing and I WANT to give the church the benefit of the doubt. I want to give Joseph Smith the benefit of the doubt. Who would ever want somebody to read everything bad they had done in their life and base their character and who they are off of it? I wouldn't. I would want people to look at the righteous labors I had done and the FRUITS of those labors. This doesn't make me blind and it doesn't make me ignorant.
I want to stay a member of the church and continue to work for my answers and not be so demanding of God. And solely because of the fact that  I want to be a member of this church, I can be, whether I'm between testimonies at the time or not. God still loves me and I know that Christ does too. And as long as they are willing to work with me on my questions and doubts, I will be a member of this church.