One question at a time 10 Faith
Faith that is strong does not falter with criticisms or attacks
Faith is believing something you cannot see. Faith that saves is only through Jesus Christ. If God gave us all the evidence of his true Church then we would have knowledge and we would not need faith. Understanding that we do not have all the information is a very important step to having faith. Following blindly on the other hand is extreme. We need to find our for ourselves and learn, grow and have spiritual experiences that are personal to build our faith. A man named Nephi from the Book of Mormon saw angels and it made his faith grow, Laman and Lemuel saw angels and because of their attitude it did not strengthen their faith.
On my mission we would say, do you believe I have a blue comb in my back pocket and they would say yes or no and I would then take the comb out and show them and explain that before they saw it they had faith because they did not have knowledge but after they saw the comb and I returned it to my pocket I would explain that now they had knowledge and it was no longer faith.
It was a simple example and since then my faith has grown, my knowledge of the gospel has increased and grown. My experiences of inspiration that comes with faith have given me beautiful personal experiences that have strengthened my commitment.
Reading of Christ in the Bible and other scripture increases my faith. As I apply the doctrines of the scriptures and of Christ himself I learn that these things are true and that the gospel or good news is real and there is power in these teachings.
Those that seek out negative information and dwell on messages and information that go against the words of God or against the Church bring more negativity into their lives. It is one thing to read and study these things although one really should spend equal or more time reading the scriptures and listening to the words of our current prophets but it is another thing to let them affect your inner thoughts and deplete your faith.
As we move away from God through justification of our sins or not participating in prayer or study of positive doctrines and striving to live those teachings the spirit leaves us and we are left on our own. Understanding that repentance is turning away from evil or negative and turning towards God we can once again gain the inspiration. As a Branch President I feel that the members are praying for me and I appreciate it. I get feelings about certain people that they may need a visit or a call on the phone or a specific calling and I strive to act upon those feelings.
It would be easy to deny the doctrine of the Word of Wisdom so one could say, it won´t hurt to have one beer or two beers because the LDS Church is too strict. Once your convince yourself that the Church is wrong anyway then it's ok to drink beer and the next thing you know nothing positive is happening because of it.
It would be easy and make our lives easier to live if we could deny the law of Chastity feeling no guilt when we had sexual relations with whomever and whenever we wanted. Wickedness never was happiness. The life of people that do this is not happy they have problems because of it. Whenever we live a commandment we are blessed for living that commandment and whenever we break a commandment we are not blessed and often we end up having negative things happen because of disobedience. Interestingly enough even if we don't believe in the commandments there are still consequences to our actions.
It would be easy and make our lives easier to live if we could deny the law of tithing keeping all of the money we earned and not donate any of it back to the Lord. We would then be able to decide where to donate such as a good charity. Those that do this with a negative heart will find sadness because two of the first steps of apostasy or moving oneself away from God are speaking evil of the Lord's anointed and not paying your tithes and offerings. The Bishop or Branch President will look you in the eye at tithing settlement and ask if you are a full tithe payer or not. You can tell him that you are and he will not ask for your paystubs. It is his duty to report this but he won't investigate or come to your home looking for tithing. Tithing is completely voluntary. No one is going to make you pay a certain amount or check up on you if you did not pay. This is a personal thing between you and the Lord. When we pay tithing we are blessed and he does open the windows of heaven.
It would be easy to deny God altogether making our lives easier so we would not need to go to Church on Sundays, we would not need to spend any of our time at church in callings. Beliving in God allows us to feel guilty and denying this guilt would make our lives easier, we would gain back time and money. The problem with this is that he really does live and Jesus is coming back and he will come back and judge us. People claim that these type of thoughts are foolish and that it is a way to control the masses. They can say what they want but as for me I still believe.
I think about these statements and then realize how empty our lives would be without self control in morality, without the Lord´s law of health and without faith in God we would have less hope, less health, more problems with our families more problems with our relationships. God does not give us commandments to limit us but to give us more freedom and happiness and to protect us. When we apply all of the laws we have been given we are blessed with many blessings.
I cannot imagine trying to deny God or forget the teachings from my youth. Obviously I have denied God when I have not done everything that I should have, I have denied him when I have sinned and yet I strive to repent and move forward in my life which is a sign of remembering him once again and trying to be better.
The positive changes that I have seen this Church bring into so many lives cannot be erased. The Primary songs and teachings, the youth programs about morality, the commandments and the teachings of Gospel each Sunday have helped people be happy.
We believe is how most of the articles of faith start out and they are powerful and a declaration of our beliefs.
I have investigated many religions and Churches I have seen the wonderful work that they do each day. It is like a puzzle and many churches have parts or pieces of the truth. Some churches have more pieces of the truth than others. For many years I went to Calvary Baptist Church with Paster Francis Davis at Christmas time to hear their beautiful spiritual choir. That choir and even the congregation understands that a hymn is a prayer unto God. They sing with their hearts and they sing with love. Many of those churches have the spirit with them because of their hearts.
The people in the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints should be the happiest people on earth although often we get caught up in our problems and when we go to Church we don´t sing with our hearts or with the Spirit of God so we could learn from these other wonderful children of God by listening and learning from them.