Now we have seen that much can be gleaned from the equation of faith. We have shown that faith itself has a term in this equation (actually more correctly we have shown that the relationship of our faith to the supreme deity's faith and the faith in His son has a term), but can we show all faith comes from this same source? The next few posts will be my attempts at just that.
To start we'll explore my own faith, the LDS faith. What does it mean to be a member of the LDS church? Here we will take a brief detour and I will give the answer I gave in church:
"What does it mean to be LDS. This is an enormously broad topic to discuss.
How does one even start to approach this. Well fortunately we are
given guidance in this matter, published on October 6th 1890 is the
document that outlines what it means to be a member of the LDS church.
It begins with "we." We is the the first person plural pronoun.
What this implies is that each one of us has come to this church for
our own reasons. We have all had our own experiences. Our our trials
and tribulations, but WE have all come to the same conclusion
together. What does it mean to be a member, a member of a club, a
member of a gang, a member of a family, and finally a member of the
church? It means to belong to, to be accepted. It means to be loved
and welcomed, which brings me to my next point. We Believe, belief is
knowing without seeing, knowing God the eternal father. THE eternal
father, there is only one. He is our father and like any good parent
in his eyes we ARE accepted, loved appreaciated and welcomed now and
for all time, for he is eternal without begining and without end. We
believe in God, the eternal father, and in his son Jesus Christ. We
believe that he died for us, that he is the pathway back to salvation,
the guiding light should we err. We believe that men shall be judged
for their own sins and not the transgressions of Adam. What does this
mean? It means that we have the best of both worlds. Adam had to
take the bite of the apple for man to know what sin was--this suggests
a plan, devine guidance. But, we are "graded" on our own sins
suggesting that we have free will. We are allowed to choose, to make
our own sins upon which we are to be judged. We are not merely the
pawns of some all powerful controlling being's game, we are children
of god, guided by our maker but allowed to choose our path. We
believe in the atonement of Christ. One man divided by zero sin, an
infinite sacrifice, an infinite sacrifice given freely for us. Christ
is not the well for our sins, for any reservoir, no matter how large,
if only filled and never emptied will one day overflow, Christ did not
store our sines, but rather he destroyed them. In his death because
he was untainted by sin he has freed us from our bonds. Whatsmore,
this ultimate gift would not be nearly so powerful if Christ were
naught but a God, for it would be easy for a God to overcome anything
that was thrown at him, but Christ was a mortal, feeble like us.
Suffering like we have, it was this property that made his sacrifice
so great. But what does all of it mean if we do not believe in him
our redeemer? If we do not believe then his death was without
purpose. Second only to faith in Christ is repentance, verily he
spoke unto us saying "Repent and sin no more!" For repentance is as
Elder Russel Nielson said in his Spring 2007 General Conference address,
"when Christ uttered these words they were recorded as the Greek
phrase Metanoeos coming from the root words of meta meaning a change,
pneuma meaning breathe, gnosis, knowledge, Neuma spirit, Taken
together this was an imperative for us, when we repent to experience a
change in our mind, body, knowldege, breath and spirit." This is no
light charge, and indeed none would be expected from the man who died
for our sins.
The Articles of Faith continue by saying that they believe in men
being ordained by profesey by the laying on of hands and by the
complete baptism by immersion. Indeed, baptism comes from the Greek
word of the same name meaning to dip or imerse. In the bible
dictionary it says that baptism by any other means is not a baptism.
Indeed if we claim to be followers of Christ then we must do as he has
done. In the book of John Chapters 1-3 the story of Christ's
immersion is told. If prophesy is of no consequence, why then does
the entirety of the Old testament set the stage for Christ to come?
If the laying on of hands are of no import why then does Christ
himself lay his hands upon the heads of each of his apostles in his
last moments during the last supper? If personal revelation and
responsibility are not an important part of this church why did Christ
and the father themselves descend upon Joseph Smith? Nay I say these
things are of the utmost importance. Now there are many more things I
could go into on what it means to be a member of the LDS church, but
alas, my time draws short. There are still 7 Articles yet to be
discussed, but sadly these shall have to be the venues of yet another
discussion, though there is one last thing I would like to leave you
with today. I would like you all to note the name at the very end of
the passage. Joseph Smith. I believe him to be a prophet and
enlighted seeer of the world the way it is. Let us, for the sake of
argument, assume that he is wrong. Tell me even in error, how many
1000+ page books printed in over 100 languages and countries around
the world have you published? How many 13 million member religions,
have you with high school and college educations started recently?
How many Harvard, Standford, and Yale graduates have you convinced,
how many papers have you published that can withstand 200 years of
scientific scrutiny the world over? I dare say, that even if he is
wrong, this man is one of the most influential people in history. And
if it were all a lie, why should he standby this lie even unto death?
Truly he has the marks of an enlightened man. I believe these things
are true, I cannot doubt their veracity. These things I say in
Jesus's name. Amen!"
So, can any of these things be found within my equations? And what about those other 7 articles, they are clearly part of the creed of what it means to be a Latter Day Saint, but what are my opinions of them? Stay tuned we'll see.