Is the gospel of Jesus Christ, and all the truths that it entails, a bold claim? It depends on who you ask, but many would say that yes, it is. Saving grace? Infinite mercy? Loving Savior? Eternal life?
Our church gets a lot of attention. "Mormons" are starting to be nationally and even, in some places, globally recognized, especially in recent years.
Are we nationally - even globally - positively being recognized? Ha. Not even close.
We are even - and here's what I am kind of trying to address - bombarded with criticism, anger, and doubt coming from our own members.
Some believe women are being oppressed in our church. "Ordain women!" They cry.
Some believe we ought to be more accepting toward the gay community. "Equality for all!" They cry.
And there's more. These are just a couple of the biggest ones, but my point is that there's controversy and doubt surrounding our lovely church.
Look, I don't care where you stand on ordaining women or gay rights or any of the other stuff. These subjects are complicated and touchy because we simply don't understand God and His eternal plans. And, quite frankly, we don't always understand our fellow humans and their internal struggles, and we aren't always very willing to try.
We know where the church stands, but sometimes we struggle. Doubts creep in and we dwell and we dwell until sometimes we don't know what to believe.
I don't think we can ever truly understand God and why He does what He does, at least not while on this earth.
We try to make sense of it. But we all make sense of it in different ways, which I think causes problems sometimes. For example, I know some people quite personally who hope for a day when women will be ordained. Do I hope for that? No. But I do understand that for some people, this is a real desire and a real struggle, and I try to at least acknowledge that and try to understand and reach out to them.
Here's what I'm getting at, really: We're all different. We all have different opinions, and even within the church, some of us are going to disagree on doctrine and believe different things.
If we could put on some sort of goggles that made it so we could suddenly see all things with God's perfect understanding and wisdom, that would be great. That would undoubtedly clear some things up. But unfortunately, that isn't possible. We are just going to have to trust and have faith and wait patiently and faithfully for the day when we will see all things as He sees them.
In the meantime, let us be understanding of and compassionate toward our brothers and sisters who struggle and who believe different things than us. None of us have a perfect knowledge. None of us have perfect lives, and some of us believe in or hope for things that another person may not be able to understand or relate to.
It's all part of the human experience, my friends. We aren't perfect, and we aren't the same.
But here's what I think we can all agree on:
God is good. He is over all, and He knows what He's doing. Jesus Christ is full of grace and mercy, and he understands and loves each and every one of us.
I think we can all say that we love our family and our friends and that we want to be with them forever.
I think we can all say that we love the gospel.
The gospel is amazing, friends. And the church is amazing, too. It's run by and made up of imperfect people, but somehow it works.
And it will continue to work and be an incredible vehicle for Christ's gospel, so long as we continue to support and love one another.
So until Christ comes again, until we actually have a perfect knowledge and understanding, praise God. Because even with all the turmoil and controversy that's in the world - and even in the church, sometimes - God never changes.
No matter what I struggle with, no matter what turmoil I have in my life, I will sing praises until I die. I have so many reasons to. God is so good to me, and so good to us all.
So don't get caught up in little doubts and troubles. The gospel is good. It's true. It's simple.
"Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me,
Let me be singing when the evening comes."
10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord) by Matt Redman