By Seth D.
I have many friends who recognize the importance of spirituality in their lives but the history of organized religions becomes a stumbling block in their path. Unfortunately many of this generation have abandoned the idea that a church can be of any assistance to them in their lives. They have seen that wars have been waged under religious pretenses and that many religious people might appear to be pious on the surface, but are hypocritical in their actions. But don’t stop eating just because you had a bad burrito!
Many of my friends who want spirituality but not religion are eager to not appear as though they are criticizing anyone’s life choices; unfortunately, they frequently abandon bedrock principles that could help to guide their lives. They are unanchored and I have seen many of them drift through life without a community that is invested in their spiritual welfare. They are on their own spiritually, which gives them a sense of independence. But independence from God isn’t freedom; life is not an independent study course. We need God, we need each other in this life and we need each other to draw closer to God.
Our souls need nourishment. Dieter Uchtdorf said, “I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.” The gospel of Jesus Christ provides principles for building a virtuous life. The goal of learning the gospel is to find how to apply those principles in your own life; problems arise when people start trying to apply them for other people, especially without understanding their personal circumstances and criticizing other for their choices. We can strive to live higher standards without judging or shaming those that don’t meet those particular standards. I believe in normative standards of moral living that don’t have to shame others who don’t meet that particular standard. If I only consider my friends that who met my moral standards, I’d have very few friends!
Without a church I’ve seen many friends lose any real connection to God and adopt a series of personal philosophies that change over the years to fit whatever new life choices they are making at the time. A church gives someone a solid foundation that can help you know in uncertain times. The world is always changing. Navigating the moral pitfalls is not something that I want to learn “the hard way.” I am grateful to attend a church where I know that the congregation and leaders want what is best for me and my family. I am delighted to know that the truths and principles taught there can help me guide my family to live a better life and draw closer to God.