A religion is a lens by which an explorer attempts to see that which is heavenly, God. When I engage with Mormonism, with my lens, God appears more clearly to me and life becomes more meaningful. My lens is not perfect and I have no doubt that other lenses provide a similar experience. A specific lens, or lenses in general, may be unimportant to or disliked by certain explorers. Some explorers may have no interest in the heavens, because heaven seems so far. Lenses themselves may be tweaked and changed over time to give seekers a better perspective. One lens may work for one person, but not for another, not due to anything “wrong” with the lens itself, but that the people engaging with the lens are different. It is important to disengage with one’s lens in order to get a more holistic view and get one’s bearings.
The heavens are the same for all, but the lenses that we use are different and we, explorers, are different. The infinite amount of lenses and the infinite amount of explorers allow for unique combinations and thus unique experiences. One person may look through a lens and be overwhelmed by the beauty or experience an epiphany, while another looks and wonders what was so special. The first may return to analyze the same point in the sky and not be effected at all, while the second may try again and be enlightened themselves. Timing matters. People change. The heavens change. The lens changes.
Most people believe that their lens is best, for it is what they have the most experience with and it has added value to their life. Their friends and family probably use the same lens or type of lens. A lot of people engage with their lenses together and share experiences with what they have seen and experienced.
Some people have found fault with their lens, perhaps an imperfection in the glass or a frustration at the lack of detail or the difficulty of trying to engage with the lens.
Some days, when you look through the lens, the sky is clear and the celestial bodies are brilliant, on other days the sky is cloudy and you may wonder if there is any use to using the lens at all.
How clear is your lens?
Has it been a long time since you have engaged with your lens?
While you may consistently engage or appear engaged with your lens, have you lost your passion for exploring the heavens?
Do you envy other lenses or desire to give up lenses all together?
I like the train of thought you present here. To answer your last question honestly, I must say I think I desire to give up on my lens altogether because it seems all I see through it these days are disappointment and heartache.
The only problem I see with the train of thought is that this particular lens of mormonism still teaches that it is the only lens for everybody, and through this lens is the only real way to see the heavens and God as they really are. All others are wrong and faulty. It doesn’t allow for multiple lenses, perspectives and paths. I truly struggle with that, and a lot of the good perspective you illustrate in this shows why.
I feel what you are saying. There is a paradox or conflict that every religion has to deal with and that is the issue of exclusivity. I think that every organization must, in a sense, see itself as exclusive. Why would members be there if there is something better? Do every-day church goers take the exclusivity too far on Sundays? You bet. Part of the experience of Church is to bolster the idea that you are in the right (exclusive) place. I am also uncomfortable at times when the discussion goes too far or is disparaging of other faiths (lenses).
I live by quotes such as the ones below and I hope that you will find them encouraging.
If you are up for a longer read take a look at this speechgiven by Terryl Givens to a Catholic Audience at Notre Dame.
i do not believe that truth from God comes fron only obe religion because Gods truths are revealed unlimitedly and are not locked in to one religion. i do not believe in the doctrine of exclusivity in churches. i see truth and error in all religions and good and bad in all religions
when it comes to seeing truth thriugh any lenses i prefer to see truth through a number of lenses. i am a post modernists when it comes to.picking and choosing beliefs .i have been in the sectarian world of denominatoonalism exclusiveness and i have been their and done yhat
i do not believe that one is damned to hell because one is not in tje one and only true religion.
as a born again evangelical christian convert in the lds church known as the morkonn church i do not believe that one is going to hell for not being in the one and only true religion. i do not believe that one whonleaves the pne and onlybtrue church is going to.outerdarkness. i believe that ones personal salvatipn and personal relationship with God and personel spirituality is far more important then saying your way is the only way. i am not a universalists totally and i am not a calvinists totally either. i do.not believe in the arrminian doctrine any.more then i believe in tje doctrine of predestinatoon.
Seems that you definitely fit the title of “explorer.” I respect your belief that “truths are revealed unlimitedly and are not locked into one religion.” I have found that to be true in my experience as well. God appears to be an equal-access revealer.
Awesome !! Very thought provoking – Zona
Your lens? Mormonism is one distortion and lie after another. Joseph Smith, corrupter of all that he came into contact with,