I have been doing a lot of studying and pondering lately. I’ve decided I need to make sure I really believe what I believe, and what it is that I believe. I think every person in every religion should do this – faith, without some reasoning, in my opinion brings out a lot of weakness in religion. I think God should “make sense” and not just be someone people follow blindly. While blind faith may be a start for some people, I think people deserve to have some reasoning behind their faith. Yes, you can have reasoning with faith.
Joseph Smith said, “It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.” I believe this is probably the phrase most criticized of Mormons – those against the Mormon Church love to use this to make us look weird and “non-Christian”. The thing is, I don’t really care what others think! Mormons should embrace this message! To me, this is the first principle of the Gospel, and Mormon or not, one must understand God most of all and that God must make sense.
I absolutely love Joseph Smith’s King Follet Discourse. Ironically, this link is from lighthouse ministries, I believe a Jehovas Witness site. Jehovas Witnesses and others, criticize away, but I don’t want anything else if what Joseph Smith says here isn’t true! I simply could not believe in God as a “mysterious being”. I want a God I can love, who will love me back, one I can talk to, will talk back, and who, Scientifically, just makes sense. The King Follet Discourse to me along with other LDS doctrine of the Godhead explain God in a way that actually supports science and can be explained “with reason”. No other religion I’m aware of has such a detailed view. Let me review a few things I’ve read about other religions’ belief in God. Please don’t take this as an attack against those religions – I respect your faith. I simply want to support the fact that Mormons do have a very detailed view of who God is, and why I simply couldn’t believe in a God if I didn’t believe in the Mormon view of God:
Catholics: “I pray to a God of mystery, a personal God, an approachable God, but a mysterious God nonetheless. Therefore, I have to bow my head and trust. God is not altogether unknowable, just not fully knowable, and never fully known this side of heaven.” (Reverend William J. Byron)
I think all other protestant religions share the Catholic belief above, as I can’t find a specific explanation of who God is out of the other religions. I would love to know if anyone can explain a difference. Here are searches for several under ‘(religion name) “character of god”‘ in Google: Baptist, Methodist, Jehovas Witness, 7th Day Adventist. I see many attempts, but no clear description like Joseph Smith. Ironically, the only clear descriptions in many of the search results are either in criticism of the LDS church, or quotes from LDS church members themselves. Have the Mormons been the only ones to actually try to explain the mysteries of God? Why is that a bad thing, especially if the attempt is through a belief in a Prophet who has talked to God?
Here is the Jewish belief, as I understand: “Although Jews have certainly considered the nature of God, man, the universe, life, and the afterlife at great length, there is no mandated, official, definitive belief on these subjects, outside of very general concepts such as the thirteen listed above.” (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/jewfaq/beliefs.htm)
And the Islamic belief: “Muslims hold to a monotheism which is closer to that of Judaism than Christianity, rejecting the Christian concept of a “Trinity.” Muslims believe that God, creator of all of existence, is just, omnipotent, and merciful. Muslims also reject the anthropomorphization of God which occurs in the theology of other monotheistic religions like Christianity or Judaism. For Muslims, God is completely “other” – God does not talk, does not walk and does not do anything like humans.” (http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/islam/blfaq_islam_basic.htm)
I love my God. He is a personal God. I can talk to him. He talks back. My God actually lives somewhere. Yes, I worship my God, and my God only, and I treat Him as my Creator. He sent His Son to redeem me. The thing is, my God makes sense! I don’t want any other God than the God I believe in. Other religions seem to miss the Character of God in their doctrines. They seem scared to approach it – I don’t get it, as I need something to back up my faith. If my God weren’t the God Joseph Smith explains, hey – Bhuddism looks kind of appealing… Who is your God and why do you believe in Him? Do you have a better God than the one Mormons believe in and can you explain it with reason? Or do we really believe in the same God, and you’re just missing some of the details? I’m very curious on other Christians’ thoughts about this.