Tuesday, January 13, 2009

My Faith

Over a year ago I had a conversation with one of my fellow ScrapGirl's designers - Ursula. Ok it was more than just a conversation, it was more like a 3 hour discussion late into the night about my faith and beliefs. She had a lot of questions about our Church - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints or more commonly known as the Mormon church. She has been taught various beliefs about us, she had heard various things and she had done her own study about our faith. She didn't necessarily believe it, but had a lot of questions she wanted to ask about it. Things that she had been taught but didn't understand, things she wanted clarified and was glad that someone of the LDS faith was willing to sit down and talk with her.

We also had Keri in our room who was listening to all these questions, and who had never even heard of the Church or of our faith, and was new to everything being said. I have thought back on that conversation for a long time. For one - thinking of poor Keri who was getting hit with all these hard doctrinal questions about a faith she had never heard about and the opposite spectrum of Ursula who had knew a lot and had so many questions. How I wish I could have been able to talk to both on the different levels of their knowledge of our faith, but at the time I couldn't and yet I gained so much from that conversation with Ursula.

I love the gospel. I love to study the scriptures. I love to teach from them. I love to answer questions about our faith and I love to share my faith. Often times people are hesitant to ask questions, and yet I WISH they would. Either they think they already know, or they don't know what to ask, or they don't want to bother us by asking. Yet I grow the most from sharing or learning from each other.

One of my favorite things to do is to learn about other's faith, to study various religions and what they believe, and to learn from others what they believe as well. Truth can be found everywhere. I learned a lot from Ursula that night. I treasure our conversation because I learned so much. In fact at the end of the conversation she asked me the question, "Has anything I said made you think, or possibly change your mind or question whether or not what you believe is true?" At the time I told her that it had made me think, checking myself as to how I know these things are true, and how I came to know that. I did tell her though that it hadn't necessarily changed whether or not I believed it was true. I have had too many powerful experiences where the spirit has told me it is true and nothing could ever change that.

I think she left thinking that she didn't make me think. That she wasn't able to change my mind. But I can tell her that a year and half later I am still thinking about that conversation. I have kept asking myself how I know. Why do the doctrines of other faiths not convert me? I agree with a lot of things, because as I said there are lots of truth out there. A lot of doctrines are similar, they're the basis of Christianity. I am Christian and believe in Jesus Christ, as other Christians do. Why is that I believe in my faith so strongly. One thing I've come to realize is that I have a lot of questions. I want answers to those questions, and I have found those answers in my faith. Other faiths can't answer them for me. Also as I told her earlier, I have had spiritual experiences, and answers concerning my faith that I can not deny.

But despite how much I believe it, there are people out there that either do not know about our faith, do not understand our faith, or are adamantly attacking our faith. Often times people hear things or are told things about our faith that are not completely true. They often times do not understand or have a background of our faith and so to them it is strange and scary. I have wanted so badly for people to just know about us. Know the truth about our faith, from someone who actually knows, practices and lives the faith. I don't necessarily want to convert people, but to at least educate them. They can choose for themselves what they do with the knowledge. I love learning about the faith of my Jewish friend. I enjoy reading my cousins views on atheism. I love talking amongst my Christian friends and hearing their various experiences, insight and faith. Why? Because in the process I grow. I grow immensely. I learn about myself. I evaluate my own faith, I find out where I have a testimony and where I don't and learn how to strengthen it.

For the last while I have felt a push to be more vocal about my faith. For one - I talk about it a lot and may use terms, scriptures, or doctrines that others may not understand from a quick post on a blog. I want to give them a background so that they can understand me. They can understand my background, what I believe, and how that translates into my blog posts.

I want to be able to maybe correct wrong information about our faith, or clarify things like Ursula needed. I want to be able to introduce it from the beginning for someone like Keri who had never even heard of it, so that it's not strange and foreign. I want to hopefully answer some questions that people have deep in their souls. Questions that my faith has answered for me. There are also lots of people lost because they know not where to find the truth. They don't even have a knowledge of the Savior. Maybe I can reach one of them.

So I have decided to just risk it. Risk criticism, risk attack, risk putting everything that I hold dear and my own personal experiences out there in the open. In the big wide open, to be seen by anyone that happens upon this blog. That is scary. But I can't sit here anymore with it nagging me in the back of my mind. I need to share my faith, because I need to be stretched. I need to grow.

I have decided to share briefly every week a post that explains and shares one doctrine and aspect of our faith. They will always have the header "my faith" on them. So you can read it or skip over if if you'd rather not read it. You can find them also at Mormon.org. But I wanted to share it from my own personal experiences that have let me know they are true. To share my own personal insights. I also want you to feel free to have a conversation with me through comments or email. I would love that. I seriously am not afraid to have people ask me questions. Please do.

So despite how scary it is to open yourself up, it hopefully will not only help me grow more in my faith, but I hope it will help you grow in your personal journey as well.


Caroline said...

I will love to hear about your faith Shalae! And ask questions whenever I have some. When I came to SG and discovered that some of the members are Mormons, I made a research on the internet to find out some things. I have no background regarding this belief, but just was confronted to lots of people rolling their eyes as soon as I mentioned Utah. Well you are certainly used to this kind of thoughts. But I am a curious nature and always want to build my own opinion. So I discovered some things and now I keep rolling my eyes upon those people. Like you are interested in other faiths, I am too. We are friends and I think that it is vital to respect each other, especially regarding the faith. But we can learn from each other soo much. So I will be an avid reader of your blog posts and I am more than interested to get to know some things from a person living that faith, than by making a research on the internet. This will be very interesting!

Mandy said...

Good for you Shalae. I always learn something from you, no matter what the topic. I'm sure these posts will be no different.

Laurel said...

I always admire your ability to be so open about the gospel, Shalae. I'll be following these posts as well. :)

Cherisse said...

I really loved that. You are such a great example, I have always admired you. I hope you are having a great day!

Angela said...

Oh I just stumbled on your blog from SG,and wow! I love it! I love that you explore, learn and grow! I am a convert from Mormonism, and am a christian. Your statement that you have had spiritual experiences that you cannot deny is straight out of my heart. I look forward to your posts about your faith. :) Big hugs!