LDS Question 16: Why Does Anyone Take the Time to Study Religion Anyway?
As most of you know—as I’ve mentioned oft before---I have spent most of my life as a counselor; with a Master’s Degree in the topic from Oregon State University, I have counseled many of the human family about multitudes of issues that face them in life . . . such as issues in marriage, self-esteem, depression, goals, career aptitudes, business, sleeplessness, anger issues, drug abuse and addiction, parenting, child rearing, efficient time use, study skills, which classes to take, skill development, talent acquisition, etc., etc. But one of the deep and lingering questions that I find seems to exist in just about everyone are such questions as . . . Why do I exist?, What is the PURPOSE of my life?, Is there really a way to know for sure if a God exists?, Is there a specific and special reason for my life?, Does it really matter in the huge scheme of things what I do, or don’t do?, Why should I even care and waste my time searching the beliefs of any religion?, And . . . “Is there any religion on the earth that is really true?
These are a lot of questions that most of you, reading this, can feel apply to you . . . because you have wondered such things yourself, right? Can you imagine my exhilaration, then . . . when I can sit down and be a tool to help guide people to find their own answers to all these questions?
But, I will just touch on one topic that applies to most of these questions. Some people are logical and some people, well, not so much. But, most directions of problem solving stem from logic. What is “logic?” Briefly, the dictionary states that logic is; 1. the science that investigates the principles governing correct or reliable inference (or assumption and/or reasoning). For example, if I turn the “ON” knob on a radio to ON . . . and it does nothing . . . it is the thought of “logic” that would have me look to see if it is plugged in. As . . . my first thought being, "If it doesn’t work, it must not be getting any power!" A "logical path" of thought on a cold and icy day, can be as simple as, "Hmmm, since it is icey out, I'd best walk on the grass because it will have more traction and safety than if I walk on that icy board."
We as humans apply logic all the time, every day . . . but may not realize it. Well, the same principle applies to the deepest-of-deep concerns of life. For example, wouldn’t there be more meaning to your personal life if you knew of a certainty where you came from before you were born . . . and you knew why you were here and living now . . . and you knew where you would go after your death . . . wouldn't this mean something . . . if you KNEW of a certainty? AS APPOSED TO . . . believing that we are just here by chance, for no purpose or reason . . . but that we just are here to exist and then death and that’s it . . . nothing more????
So, with this in mind . . . wouldn’t it seem that one of the most important subjects you could ever study would be to know this one answer . . . the purpose/meaning of your life??!! And what harm could there possibly be to be diligent in your studies of such an important subject . . . so that you have a basis from which to make the most important decisions of you and your family’s life [AND for your children and posterity]?
Well, this was my personal, logical approach. I thought, what could I lose? What will I gain? Is there truth on the earth . . . about these things . . . so that I can prepare and use my life to it’s maximum efficiency? These were and are my thoughts. I studied every religion I could get my hands on for a time. I had people in my home, I spoke to them and asked questions; whenever I met someone of religion I asked questions . . . and as I met regular people, I asked questions. I studied the scriptures and looked to see what points defined truth. Eventually, after much listening and asking and searching, I came up with 17 points of truth . . . and that if I found any organization that had these 17 points . . . IT would be the one true church upon the earth to which I would subscribe and dedicate my life; for it would give meaning to not only this life, but any life that was to follow this one (which I believed did truly exist; i.e., a life after death).
That is how diligent I was in seeking to find the answers to these questions of life. It became more important to me than the golf or tennis or video games or sports of all kinds or TV shows or money or wealth or fame . . . that so many pursue . . . BECAUSE those things were FOR A MOMENT, my questions were FOREVER!!I So, I wanted to know their answers of a surety . . . IF was at all possible.
Each of you could have the same curiosity as I did; each of you could know for your own self, once you find what is truth for you. For example; IF there is a God . . . then . . . each of you HAVE a special purpose and meaning; for, what God would create something for no purpose??!! And, if there is a God, then you and I have a very special purpose; and I wanted to know what that purpose IS!!!
In my pursuits of knowledge and faith, I have discovered that EVERY SINGLE PERSON who doesn't believe there is any purpose in life . . . or doesn't believe in God . . . NEVER reads the scriptures . . . nor makes any earnest effort in other ways to see and experiment and try out different roads of actions to find out . . . to use the experimental practices of science!! To observe, question, hypothesize, work and prove or disprove a theory. They all---at least that I have ever met---just make up their mind from just an unfounded "opinion" in a mind of whatever age they may be. THAT to me, is the height of ignorance . . . and the peek of pride. That's as far as they're going to go, and their knowledge will be shallow, and their wisdom non-existent.
Me? I wanted more . . . I would make every effort to see if I could discover TRUTH about all these questions. One scripture I have found that demonstrates my approach reads this way;
"27 But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words.
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
29 Now behold, would not this increase your faith? I say unto you, Yea; nevertheless it hath not grown up to a perfect knowledge.
30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow."
Doesn't this make sense to you? Isn't it reasonable . . . like eating? If you were going to see if you liked some kind food that you would first taste it . . . to see if it kindled your tastebuds for good, right? Then, why not Spiritually give a taste to faith . . . food is for a meal; faith is forever?!! What could you lose? Then, why not put these white words [above] to practice? No one will ever bowl . . . if they never pick up a ball to throw. It takes ACTION . . . EFFORT!! To TRY is to learn . . . that is . . . when it comes to "good things;" i.e., of course "some things---if you just look at the world around you---are obviously horrible for you . . . like alcohol, cigarettes, heroine, coffee, pornography, and gambling . . . ALL these are ADDICTIVE . . . and disturb and RUIN the patterns of life. I speak by personal experience; my father, my children . . . have all been demolished by addictions. Once you are an addict, 1. your freedom is gone; 2. your brain's potential is gone (you are either using or wanting . . . when you could be THINKING and GROWING, you are instead responding to the luring of your master). Whereas FAITH WILL LIFT and BUILD and PROTECT . . . The WORLD will tear down. Any addictive substance or action---accepted by society or not---can destroy. Addicts tell me the first thing in the morning and the last thing that enters their minds at night . . . is their addiction. Don't ever use . . . you never lose, like they do.
So, to conclude, when I am helping people who are trying to find the answers to these mentioned questions, I tell them that there is only one true source of TRUTH. And, it isn’t from anything I could “say” . . . nor is it from anything anyone else could “say” . . . truth comes from God. And when we hear the truth, there is that special feeling inside that identifies itself through the Spirit of Truth. I diligently did my homework . . . in reading . . . in inquiry . . . in prayer . . . and established the points of truth I needed to find; and, once I found them, I prayed and asked God if what I found was truth. And, I found my truth . . . now you need to find yours. The question of what is the purpose of life is the most important question you could ever ask.