Archives: religion in general

Our church’s General Conference was this weekend (a semi-annual worldwide broadcast where the leaders have five two-hour sessions of talks, once every Easter weekend, and once in October), and as usual, it’s gotten me thinking a bit.

One thing that keeps coming to mind is that I should blog a bit on religious topics.  I’ve always been extremely hesitant to do so for a variety of reasons.  For one, I hate being preached to when I’m not interested in input, and because of that, I tend to go out of my way not to preach to other people who may not want to hear what I have to say.  Add to that that I’m extremely tolerant of people’s lifestyles, regardless of what my moral compass tells me how I should live.  I’m just open and accepting, but also strictly guard my own personal values, and try not to impose them on others.  Still, I get the distinct impression that I should share some my opinions a bit more, so I’m going to do so, but I’ll tread carefully.

Part of the problem is that I have a hard time in social relationships distinguishing between what should be private and what should be public.  When it comes to spiritual matters, I consider it all succinctly private, and rarely tell anyone anything.  So, it’s going to be a bit hard for me trying to find that middle ground between what I should say and what I shouldn’t.  Even writing this post is a bit of a difficult task — I’m never too sure how much information to reveal.  Living the gospel and it’s effects are, in my opinion, a highly personal affair.

Another thing I worry about is that I certainly do not want to sound like I’m tooting my own horn.  A holier-than-thou attitude annoys me just as I’m sure it does anyone else, and I certainly don’t want to be going off telling people about what I’m doing, as I think it may appear as vanity.  I’m also not one for trying to point out where the world is wrong and needs to change.  I’m a firm believer in progress, but also practicality.  Life changes are gradual, and the only way to gauge how a person is doing is to do a self-examination and honestly ask how you’re doing, and to consult the Lord.

So, that pretty much covers everything I’ll avoid doing — blatant finger-pointing, yelling, criticizing, grandstanding and terrifying the masses … but I still don’t have a clue what I am gonna share.   Probably my opinion in mild form, some small personal examples, and my beliefs.

Yah.  I have no idea what’s gonna happen.  So, we’ll see.  I’ll try not to keep it too over the top or anything.

Archives: to each his own

I thought of, perhaps, one way I can get my religious views across … instead of just focusing on doctrine and whot-not, just instead tell things how I tend to perceive and apply them in my life. That may work. Who knows.

I had a great comment on my last post from a self-proclaimed atheist, which basically noted that it’s possible to extract good principles from religious ones without attaching the supernatural to it. And I would totally agree.

I have long had a motto in life that demonstrates my tolerance for a lot of personal decisions people make in their lives — to each his own. Growing up, I like to look back on the fact that I’ve been able to both be friendly and make friends with people with whom I wildly disagree on moral issues. I respect their right to explore and choose what they think works best for them in their lives, just as I’ve done the same for myself. In doing so, I tend to not try to unload my own moral values on them unless they show any interest, and even then, I’ll only respond in equal scale. I’m not going to dump a library of books on someone’s head just because they ask one question, nor would I drag them to church and haunt them for the rest of their life just because they showed a small interest.

Okay, I totally forgot where I was going with all of this. More proof that writing this stuff is not going to be nearly as simple as I thought it was going to be. I did have one example that I wanted to share, so maybe I’ll just cut to that.

My main point was that people can extract a lot of good principles from religious living without necessarily subscribing to the whole. The gospel of Jesus Christ does not just encompass moral living as related directly to moral issues, but it also has instruction and guidelines on how we can live healthy good lives that will benefit all of mankind, personally and collectively, socially and individually. I can’t deny, though, that the best benefits to both person and world will only come from living the whole gospel instead of piece meal. To each his own, though. 🙂

A good example of practical, provident living that is taught by our church is the Word of Wisdom, which is a set of instructions related to diet. Anciently, the Jews were given dietary restrictions as well, and these were given both as guidelines for health and also to separate the Jewish nation culturally from others, as they would be mingled in with the rest of the world. Today’s revealed guidelines are much simpler in nature, but they are also tied to the religious belief that harmful substances not only damage the body, but the spirit as well.

I won’t go into a lengthy explanation of what the Word of Wisdom is, especially when Wikipedia has a decent entry on it. I will add this note though — that clarifications have been added to the law as it was originally given, and that that is also a part of our religion — ongoing revelation. The Lord has changed, altered, simplified or straightened His commandments in the past, so it stands to reason that He still can do so, and does. An example would be that we are not required to give animal sacrifices anymore. Thank goodness, too, I’m not sure I could stomach whacking any animals over the head.

This is the interesting thing about carnal commandments, though, is that there are benefits to living them and the Lord will bless us whether we regard the spiritual counterpart or not, or even believe in God for that matter. There is a law in heaven that says that God will bless us when we obey any of His commandments. Pretty cool stuff, actually.

Alright, that’s enough for me. If this post sounds too preachy, sorry about that … sure seems that way for me. As I said, I’m still trying to find the right medium to do this, so forgive me if it comes across a bit heavy-handed.

I figure I should throw in some personal experience to the mix here. Uh. Let’s see. I’ve never smoked or drank any alcohol, and I feel great. How’s that. I can’t even drink any carbonated soda though without hiccuping immediately afterwards, so I’m pretty sensitive to some stuff anyway. I can’t think of anything else. I sure hope these posts get better. My sister is much better at this than I am. 🙂