The Things I Know


Years ago a friend in high school told me something that shocked me. She said she went to church that past Sunday and the pastor’s sermon was all about the Mormon church - how evil it is, how the members of the congregation need to stay away from Mormons, etc. I was floored. As a member of this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I had never experienced anything like that. I told her my leaders never gave lessons about other churches and although we share testimonies with each other about how we believe our church to be the true church, no other religions are brought up specifically. We would never spend a day bashing on other religions or talking about how evil they are for believing what they do.

Fast forward to a month or two ago... I was browsing the Internet for ideas to compliment one of my scripture study lessons. As usual, I saw many anti-Mormon blogs/websites pop up in the search results. I didn’t click on any but saw what some were about based off the description underneath. I couldn’t help but get sad and feel weighed down, seeing how many people are so adamant to post about and criticize the LDS church. Why do they feel the need to spread so much negativity and hatred? If you don’t share the same beliefs then fine, but why dedicate so much time and energy to keeping others away too? Why not just post about the things you do believe or any other uplifting thoughts and feelings for others to enjoy?

Now news has come out about a new church policy regarding same-sex couples and I think it’s obvious how much negative attention this has received. Once I saw the initial post on Facebook and some of the comments that followed, I got a little depressed once again. Any time I checked my Facebook after that I would get a pit in my stomach. What new article was going to be written next? What were people saying now? What harsh and judgmental comments would be written about my religion that has made me who I am today?

To be honest, some of the comments made me question things myself. But that’s okay. It’s normal to have questions. Elder Uchtdorf’s wise counsel helped me through this. “Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.” As I prayed and thought things out for myself, I received the answer that I needed and can now go forward with faith.

I am not a genius. I can’t quote scripture from memory. I don't have a fancy vocabulary. I am not always eloquent in my speaking. However, I do have a simple testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it has done for me in my life. So, while everyone is focusing on the complicated and controversial aspects of my religious beliefs, I would like to share some basic thoughts and experiences that allow me to cling to my beliefs while others are telling me to abandon them. 

The gospel brings me hope. This past year, Jordan’s family experienced an unexpected and tragic loss. I can’t imagine anyone being able to endure what his family has without the hope that the gospel brings.

“And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind…

And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people…” (Alma 7:11-12)

Christ did not just suffer for our sins. He took upon Himself every form of pain that we will ever experience in this life. No matter what trial or hardship you may face, Christ can help you through it. I can’t imagine losing a loved one and thinking I will never see them again. I can’t imagine losing a child and believing my chance to raise them has been lost. I can’t imagine having a physical or mental ailment and thinking I’ll never be whole again. I can’t imagine believing that once I die, that’s the end.

Sometimes my faith waivers and I struggle to comprehend all that we believe. However, I have come to learn that we don’t have all the answers for a reason. That’s the point of faith. And as I hold fast to my beliefs and the things I do know, I am filled with hope.

The gospel makes me want to be better. As a youth in my church, I participated in a program called Personal Progress. This program focuses on different values and encourages young women to complete different activities pertaining to these values. For example, one value is “good works.” Here is an example of what one activity would be (taken from the Personal Progress book):

“Read Mosiah 18:7–10, and in your journal list three ways you can comfort others or help them bear their burdens. Do the things on your list, and tell a family member or leader about the experience and how your attitude and understanding have changed.

This book contains dozens of activities and one big project per value that encourages young women to develop attributes that will help them become more Christlike. Church-wise, this is what I was working towards as a youth. Honestly, who wouldn’t want their daughter or son working on developing values like integrity, individual worth, virtue, etc., especially at that stage of life?

After I turned 18, I moved on to join the other women of my ward in what we call Relief Society. Each week I would hear a different lesson on topics like how to develop Christ-like attributes, forgiveness, repentance, strengthening marriage and family, creating a Christ-centered home, etc.  

Now I serve in the primary and am blessed to see children ages 18 months-11 years be taught basic gospel principles. For example, this past Sunday the three-year-old class had a lesson called, “I Can Be Honest.” The children also get together to sing uplifting songs about Christ and the things we believe in like prophets, the scriptures, etc. (We occasionally sing some wiggle songs too because they are kids and they need it!)

I could go on but my point is that from the time I was 18 months, I was being taught about my divine nature and how I can become like Christ. Fine if you don’t believe in the same things I do or if you don’t believe in God, but you cannot argue with the fact that members of our church are just trying to learn how to be good people. I’m not saying the leaders are perfect and we think we are all perfect (in fact, we have lessons about humility and avoiding pride), but the bottom line is that we are striving to be the best we can be. When I go to church I am uplifted. I learn how I can be more kind, more loving, more charitable, more forgiving. I learn how I can become more like Christ. The gospel makes me want to be better.

The gospel provides all that I need. Life is hard. I look at some of the trials that people I know and love have to endure and I often wonder why. I am thankful to have been raised in a church that has a lot of answers to those, “why’s?” As I said before, we don’t have the answers to everything, but even in situations where we don’t know everything, we know enough.

Some times I wonder about how things will work out in the eternities. These are deep-doctrine questions that I won’t go in to, but the things I know help me not to worry about the things I don’t. I do know that God is just. I know He loves all of His children. I know that while He is perfectly just, He is also perfectly merciful. I know He is omniscient. And because I know all of this, I know it will all work out. It may not make sense to me now and I may wonder why things happen the way they do or how they will work out in heaven, but it will all work out for those who follow Him.

The gospel makes things better. I have already mentioned faith-based examples of how the gospel helps bring hope and peace, but I would like to talk about other ways the gospel helps those in need. We believe in being like Christ and being charitable. Not only does the gospel teach us to support and help one another but we also have programs designed to help during times of crisis, both spiritually and temporally.

My sister has a friend whose husband died unexpectedly in his sleep. I can’t imagine the heartache this young wife and mother was experiencing along with her kids. The pain of losing someone you love is enough but can you imagine all the other effects of his death she would have to face?

My sister and I were raised in the church so we have seen the church in action before but she said she was amazed at how quickly things were organized for her. Church leadership came and provided blessings of comfort. Meals were brought on a regular schedule. Members volunteered and took shifts to watch the kids. The mother had constant support and while it did not take the pain away, I’m sure it made it easier for her to cope.

I could go on forever about all the good that the church does. Google “LDS humanitarian aid” and you will get a glimpse. While the media focuses on the bad, there really is SO much good. Again, I’m not saying members of the church are perfect, but the gospel is.

I am blessed to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will not try to force anyone to believe what I believe, but I will share it. The gospel brings hope and peace; it helps me be my best self; it makes life sweeter. Amidst all the negativity, these are the things I’m choosing to focus on.

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