Today, a good and close friend posed the following question: “Some time ago, you expressed doubt about the divinity of Jesus – if he is not who he said he was – why are you so hep on following Jesus??
My Dear Friend,
Thanks for your question. A great question. Three years ago, I started to discover that I’d been deceived, lied to, and told half truths. Many of the teachings, doctrines, and practices foisted on me by previous prophets have now been CONDEMNED by current prophets. What we now disavow, for 63 years I believed to be true.
Almost everyday of my mission, I taught falsehoods given to me by the church. These falsehoods are no longer taught. But, they were core to my teaching as a full time missionary. The church now recognizes them as falsehoods.
When I found all this out, my reaction was anger. My free agency had been stripped from me, from childhood on, by the very apostles and prophets I had complete trust in. Many members don’t really care that the prophets taught falsehoods or offered up half truths and deceptions. Why it doesn’t bother them, I can’t really fathom. I can only speak for myself. Claiming to speak for God and then to present me with falsehoods, does not and cannot sit well with me.
Early on in my faith journey, I found out that discussing questions, doubts and differing conclusions is shunned in the church. How would I have ever known this in advance? That it’s not acceptable to talk about our own history and doctrine at church or with church members or with family. Our culture and our leaders forbid it. And…therein lies a glaring problem with the truth claims of the LDS church. Truth can stand up to questions, to examination, to challenge. It’s the opposite of truth that prohibits examination.
Once I had done my research on Mormon history and doctrine, I turned my attention to Christianity in general. After months of study, I found that the Bible and Christianity have every bit as many problems as Mormonism.
So what to do? After much consideration I came back to my roots….Jesus Christ. I had been burned by my blind belief in anything that was fed to me by the church and it’s leaders. I wasn’t going to be burned again. Like everything else in life, I now only place my faith in what I have good evidence for.
Personally, I don’t have adequate evidence that Christ was in fact the Son of God. I simply don’t KNOW. But….there IS something that I DO know. I have lived 64 years on this planet. I’ve learned a lot. Still have a lot to learn. And, I hope to keep learning. One of the most important lessons I have learned is that the teachings and example ascribed to Christ are a good way to live life.
Back to your question, “If Jesus is not who he said he was – why am I so hep on following Jesus??” I’m ‘hep’ on following the teachings and example ascribed to Christ because my lived experiences tell me this is a true way to navigate our short mortality.
Some say that these are universal adages, not limited to Christianity or even religion. My response is, “Well looky there! The ultimate evidence of truth. Pretty much every human being eventually reaches the conclusion that the principles Christ taught are a good way to live.”
So, even though I don’t KNOW that Christ was divine, my choice is to attempt to follow the teachings and example ascribed to Christ….because I know it’s a good and fulfilling way to go. And……it’s HEP.