A friend expressed to me how she could not believe in traditional religion, recounting Christianity's history of voting on doctrine, political maneuvering, conquest (Crusades), and cruelty (Inquisition). She also stated that though she did believe in God, she could not believe that one person's ideas about religion were better than another person's ideas. I agree completely with her.
What!? You are a Mormon. How could you not believe in traditional religion? Aren't Mormons the most traditional, conservative religion around? We do believe in truth and do not give in when we know something is right, but our faith is not based on tradition. Throughout time there have been many good people who have set up religions based on what they believed was right. I think some have done a lot of good, but by the time I was eleven I knew that was not enough for me. I didn't want to choose between the many philosophies of men one that I liked the best and join that church. What I was looking for was revelation of truth from God.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) is a living church based not on tradition but, on revelation from God. Some will say that most religions claim their foundations were laid on revelations from God; on their prophets – Moses, Christ, Muhammad, Confucius, and Buddha. The Mormons believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet, so how is that any different?
You don't understand. We believe that God leads His church today! He did not just give some revelation nearly two hundred years ago, then go away leaving men to manage things. Though many religious leaders throughout history have enjoyed feeling that they were “in charge”, He never went away. I believe that God loves us and has from the beginning of time been trying to help people be happy. He is a God of miracles who listens to and answers prayers, and He has certainly not gone away and abandoned us.
Evidence of His love is that He has a prophet today to give us guidance in our troubled world. My friend made these astute observations, “It has long been my opinion that religions need updating. What worked in the year 100 is obsolete today.” “We cannot have a 14th century religion functioning with any authority in the 21st century.”
That's right! Several years before the economic downturn, a prophet of God advised us to get out of debt, save, and avoid home equity loans. www.lds.org/general-conference/2006/04/true-to-the-faith?lang=eng My husband and I followed his counsel and and paid off our home and our debts. When the bottom dropped out of the financial world, we were ok. In 1833 when smoking was accepted as a “manly pastime”, the Lord revealed “The Word of Wisdom” advising people to avoid tobacco. www.lds.org/scriptures/dc-testament/dc/89?lang=eng If this counsel can been followed, how many people, including many of my relatives, would have lived longer lives.
Not only do Mormons follow God's counsel given through His prophet on the earth today, but we enjoy the comfort of knowing that God is there to help us. We do not need to grasp at the thin straws of people's opinions. We do not huddle around some faith just because it is traditional, but we rejoice in the power of the Gospel. We know we can pray and receive revelation personally from God to help us with our own individual life.