You learn something new every day.

Of a more serious nature, but still just as good.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Just thinking. Don't mean to sound preachy, but if I do, oh well. It's my blog.

A while ago, I met a wonderful person--a person that loved God and loved the Church very much. He was one of those people you could tell was a good person just by being around him.
A few weeks after I met him, he decided to leave the state and leave the Church.

I was quite surprised and very sad to hear that. I suggested to a Mutual Friend that abandoning the Gospel at a time he needs it most didn't make sense to me. Mutual Friend quickly corrected me--this person wasn't leaving the Gospel, he was leaving the Church, the organizational aspect of the Gospel. He had a good point, and I couldn't help but think about it.

He was right of course--the Gospel of Christ and the Church of Christ are two completely different things. But they are related, even intertwined. As members though, I think people we often focus too much on the Church and forget the importance of the Gospel. I know I'm guilty of it--I go to church and do my calling but my heart isn't always in it.

But is it possible to focus too much on the Gospel and not enough on the Church? I don't think there's such a thing as focusing "too much" on the Gospel...Perhaps I should ask a different question: Is it possible to fully live the Gospel without the Church organization standing behind it? At first I wanted to say yes, that the Church was instituted for us as imperfect beings, that the Gospel is perfect enough to stand alone, and that it would stand alone if we could but live it.

But then I kept thinking. The basic elements of living the Gospel--loving God, loving your neighbor, service, prayer, repentance, scripture study, etc.--could (and do) certainly exist without an organization. But what about ordinances like temple work, the Sacrament, or baptism? What about modern revelation? What about the Priesthood?

I can't help but think of incredible number of commandments regarding ordinances and the Priesthood. And without the Church, none of it could happen. Sure, we could get to heaven without Sunday School. Maybe we could make it without confiding in a bishop. Perhaps we don't really need to go to Seminary or Insitute. But we need baptism. We need temples. We need Priesthood-holders.

It's amazing how the Gospel and the Church are so intertwined. Taking away one greatly takes away from the other. But just think of them together--a Church and a Gospel with everything you could ever want and ever need. Lead by prophets of God, a world-wide organization that I'm proud to be a part of. It's wonderful to travel to a different state or country and find that the Gospel doesn't change because we're all on the same page. And no, the Church isn't perfect because it is run by imperfect people, and I can't say I love everything the General Authorities say, but no one can tell me that it's not an incredible organization.

Still, for one reason or another, people choose to leave. And I respect that--life's tough, and we all have our agency. It certainly makes me sad to see people go, but I'll wish you luck and love you anyway.


Blogger Klobas said...

I've thought about this a lot. There's a lot about the organization of the church that I dislike. Sometimes it's easy to lose focus and judge the gospel by the church.

And BYU is worse than everything.

9:49 PM  

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