I have been writing a post over the past two weeks about the doctrines and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that I disagree with. As I have polished and thought about the post, I thought about what kind of response it would garner and who it might benefit. A few people will tell me they agree whole heartedly, and others will argue. In the end, no one will benefit. It will only make me sound negative and critical. So I'll save the post for when I'm in a pissy mood. Since I'm not pissy now, I've decided to write from the positive side and make a list of the good and beautiful doctrines I have gleaned from the LDS faith and express my gratitude for them.
1. The Eternal Nature of Man
I appreciate being taught that the soul of man existed before birth and will continue after death. To me, that is significant belief that provides hope, accountability, self worth, and a desire to seek greater things. While the teaching is not unique to Mormonism, the Church is certainly one of the few Christian sects to emphasize and teach the idea of a pre-mortal existence.
2. The Atonement of Jesus Christ
Often people cite the song "I am a Child of God" as the greatest gift that Latter-day Saints have to offer Christianity. They're wrong. "I Stand All Amazed" is the greatest gift that Latter-day Saints offer Christianity. The teachings of the Atonement, the need for Christ, the nature of His Sacrifice, and the breadth and scope of the applications of that sacrifice are one of the most remarkable contributions of Mormonism. Though the doctrine is taught clearly and emphatically in the New Testament, the Book of Mormon provides beautiful additional descriptions of it that other Christians could benefit from.
3. The Divine Heritage of Man
"I am a Child of God" is the second most important contribution of Mormonism. I appreciate growing up with a theoretical understanding of the divine worth a human has as the offspring of deity. I definitely understood the divine potential of man. Though I may disagree with the specifics, I still believe that man is meant to become one with God and like Him.
4. A Passionate Call to Action
Joseph Smith had a way of getting his followers excited about this new movement. That legacy lives on. Growing up I got very passionate about the religion. I love the way he wrote about this cause and the enthusiasm with which he and other leaders have spoken about what they believe is the future of the Church. It helped shape me into a passionate person.
5. The Need for Modern Revelation
I am so thankful my parents taught me how to pray and taught me that prayer was a vehicle for seeking knowledge from God. I have drawn upon the powers of prayer time and time again. The fact that we need to know things from God and that we can know things from God and that we should seek things from God is one of the most appealing aspects of Mormonism. It is the very principle that gives me confidence in what I have decided to pursue now. I will always strive to petition the Lord's will for me and the path that will lead me to the most happiness.
I may get distraught over certain Church teachings, or over our history, or even over the attitudes of Church members, but I will always be grateful that I was raised by parents who taught me these five beautiful principles. They have blessed my life, and will continue to guide and motivate me.
"How about no longer being masochistic. How about remembering your divinity. How about unabashedly bawling your eyes out. How about not equating death with stopping" (Alanis Morissette).