Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Personal Pathways and Fair Judgments

I am thankful for great Sunday School teachers. I mean, the majority of my Sunday School teachers have been good, but only a select handful are truly great teachers. Most follow the lesson plan ideas and are scared to deviate if it feels appropriate, or deviate so far from what the lesson is meant to be that nothing ties together at the end. However, every once in awhile you find a really exceptional teacher... Someone who cares about what those who comment are saying, and validated those individuals. Someone who know how to follow the spirit and speak appropriately not only doctrine, but their opinions or thoughts - and clarifies the difference.

Most of the Sunday School teachers in my current single's ward (for non-LDS folk, that just means where I live in boundaries that send me to a certain church building) are fairly great. Some struggle a little bit, but we all bond together and try to help that person's confidence grow, as we watch them improve over time. See, in my religion we don't pay our Sunday School teachers, or Bishops, etc... It is purely volunteer work, and we are placed according to where the Bishop feels is best for us to be, and within our comfort level... Don't worry - they always ask first, and you can give your thoughts on the calling.

Anyway, back to Sunday School...

Yesterday, I was sitting through what could have been a potentially common-placed lesson. However, our teacher was incredible... Really, I found myself re-realizing things about myself and about our Heavenly Father, and I love those moments. Those moments meaning, moments in which you learn something new or re-learn something with more power to it this time around.

We discussed how our Heavenly Father has designed the plan of salvation, or life, to allow us to live it as individuals. Yes, I believe that we have been given boundaries and regulations to live our lives by, but he lets us decide how we wish to accomplish our personal destinies and plans. For example, some members of my religion serve full-time missions, and some serve in different ways. I had always wanted to go on a mission growing up, and I made it a goal to strive for -thus, I was always living so I could be worthy to go. However, as the time grew closer I was pulled toward other things and could strongly feel that I wasn't suppose to go on a full-time, knockin' doors mission. I thought, maybe I am feeling this way because I'm not worthy to go, or not as spiritual... haha!

I laugh now because I have have realized that this has nothing to do with it. I realized how ridiculous, and somewhat asinine, that is. I am a great person, but it wasn't necessary for me to go on a mission at that time. I am being used to spread the gospel in other ways and I am working on other things that are important for me to accomplish in this life. My "path" in life is unique and personal, and I feel good about where I am heading...

This lead to a discussion about everything in this life being personal and individual, including the final judgment. This quote came up from Joseph Smith, "God judges men according to the use they make of the light which He gives them." Now, I don't know about you, but I find such comfort in that thought. I know that I will be judged only according to what I know and go through... He doesn't say everyone in one religion is judged one way, or everyone who hangs out shall be judged together... Because even though my best friends and I have a lot of the same experiences, we aren't the same people and our understanding is different because we see some things differently. It would be unfair to lump people together - even if it's similar people. Thus, I will be judged according to where Heavenly Father believes that I, Linze, am... and no one else. I love that.

Now, this also led me to think about two other things... One, I think that the LDS Church is often looked at as the most strict, or exclusive, out of any religion because others believe that our view is that if you aren't Mormon, you will be damned. Not true. Not even CLOSE... and thank goodness for that, because some of the BEST people I know aren't LDS and the thought that they would go to Hell for that one reason wouldn't make sense.

Now, I believe what the LDS religion teaches, and yes, I believe it is correct and is the full, true gospel. Does that mean I do not believe that other churches or individuals have truth? No. I believe that almost every religion has a piece of the truth, or many pieces of truth and light. However, I believe that my church has been given the full truth. It's not about "my horse is bigger or better than your horse," or about a hierarchy. I hope that every individual has a testimony of their religion, a strong conviction to stand beside, and can say that they knew its true, like I can for the LDS church. Otherwise, why would you stick in that church or belief system? It's true for any belief in our life, not even just religious ones... Why would you stick next to a belief if you didn't really believe in it? Figure out what you believe and stand for that...

For me, I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is found in its fullness through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I know that. See, I believe that beliefs can turn to knowledge... Thus, I am going to believe that we have the full gospel, and I want others to have the opportunity to partake of it. However, if they do not accept what I know, then they will be judged according to the light and knowledge they do have - not what I believe, but by what believe. I think that proves that God loves us - and that he loves us individually. He has designed it so that we can all succeed if we will but come unto Him. It's beautiful...

Then why be LDS? Can't you be any religion? These are tough questions, and I would be happy to answer them if someone wishes me to expand. However, at this moment I am going to move on to thing #2 that I noticed...

Second, I thought about how we all tend to judge others on a daily basis. Whether its how someone is dressed or what they believe, we see others and conclude (usually quickly) what we think of that person. We form these ideas about who someone is, based upon our personal analysis of them, when that doesn't matter. God's analysis, and our personal analysis of who we are, are the only ones that mean anything... We look at others and think, "They know better than to do that!" However, do they?

Who is anyone to say what another really understands or believes is right or wrong? Who are we to look at someone's actions and assume they agree with us as to what is right or wrong? They might not.

Yes, I believe in righteous judgment - in the sense that you must be wise in the company you keep and things you get involved in. It's a good thing to judge a situation and see if its where you should be. It's good to look at someone, and talk with them, and see if they are the kind of person you want to continually surround yourself with. However, it's not okay to assume the person believes like you do.

Does this mean I am saying we should lay back on what we believes and not stand up for them? No. Everyone should definitely feel comfortable voicing their opinions. Everyone should stand for what they believe in and fight for what they believe is right and true. But, we should allow others to voice their opinions to, and understand when they do not agree with us. They don't have to - and you don't have to agree with them either. That is the beauty of individuality, freedom of mind, and being allowed to use agency.

Imagine if God had put us all on earth with the same routines and we were forced to believe the same things, do the same things, and not make any opinions and choices for ourselves. We wouldn't learn anything. We would not grow. We would be robots... and then, what's the point. Everyone has agency for a reason, and I believe that we should respect how everyone uses their agency to create beliefs and create who they are. You do not have to agree with someone to respect and accept them.

You do not have to agree with someone to respect and accept them... We are all unique and different, and thank goodness for that.

Song of the Day: I have missed doing this... Today's song is by Jason Reeves - who should be MUCH bigger than he is, cause his work is INSANE, off the hook! I did JUST discover him too....

Check Jason Reeves' song, Photographs and Memories, in the video below. He also has an AMAZING song called Someone Somewhere and a cool duet with Colbie Caillat before she was famous called Permanent. Just love him, and ENJOY!


SilentSpeech said...

I just discovered him too! He is so good!

Adam R. said...

Linze, you are wonderful! Sunday School teachers are great and sounds like life is AWESOME for you.