Building understanding in 2017

My goal for 2017

A new year is upon us, and a new thought has entered my heart and mind. Ever since I was a youth, I’ve encountered people who want to save me from my faith, but who demonstrate an absolute misunderstanding of my faith. I’ve heard what I believe from the mouths of those who seem to only understand my beliefs through the lens of their own ideas. It’s like listening to someone from Paris describe New York while looking at it through a toilet-paper roll, standing on only one street corner. To me, their description of my faith sounds absurd.

This year, I’d like to help clear up some misunderstandings, for those who are willing to actually understand my faith. If that is you, then I welcome you, and hope that I can share my ideas with love. I have absolutely no desire to confront your faith. My goal isn’t to convert you (I’ll talk about that this year too.) My effort for 2017 with this website will be to present some aspects of the Mormon faith that seem to be skipped-over, misunderstood, or ignored by other Christians who want to correct but don’t want to comprehend. It’s my prayer that those people will find this website, and have a desire to actually expand their thinking.

Another hope for 2017

In conjunction with the goal stated above, I have a hope for 2017 that I pray will be fulfilled. Because I’ve been on the receiving end of a fair share of animosity concerning my religion, I recently discovered that I harbor some fear in my own heart. I fear that as I reach out to understand the faith of other people, an effort that I sincerely want to make more fully, I will be rejected, even abused. In 2017, I want to overcome that fear.

In 1996, President Gordon B. Hinckley, a man that I recognize as a prophet, said this:

“We recognize the good in all people. We recognize the good in all churches, in their efforts to improve mankind and to teach principles that lead to good, stable, productive living. To people everywhere we simply say, ‘You bring with you all the good that you have, and let us add to it. That is the principle on which we work’”

Recently I have pondered on what it takes to recognize the good in all people. What does it take to recognize the good in all churches? If I am to ask people to bring everything that is good and join me in my faith, then I feel I need to understand what is good in their faith. To do that, I need to reach out and understand.

In 2017, I hope and pray to find a way to overcome my fears and experiences, and attend more worship services of other faiths. I hope and pray that I’ll be able to talk frankly and honestly with people, and that they will feel safe doing the same with me. Through those efforts, I hope to gain and to give understanding, and to end the year stronger and more rooted in my faith than I ever have been.

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