Yesterday, being the first Sunday of the month, was Fast & Testimony Meeting. This is something I’ve historically dreaded; who wants to hear the thoughts of everyone? I know this is potentially a very hypocritical thought as I strongly believe that everyone has a voice, and everyone should find a forum for their voice. But oh so often these meetings diverge from their true purpose – to allow individuals a chance to testify of Christ and the Atonement in their life – to a story-telling, all-purpose emotion-sharing, meeting. It is that which I can’t stand.

So I would be lying if I were to say that I woke up yesterday excited to go to Church.

The meeting started out not too badly; nothing  caused me to cringe overtly.

Then, one gentleman stood up and shared words that resonated with me. I was so grateful to know that someone was able to share openly what they believed, and what I believe many believe, but don’t openly share.

I paraphrase:

I am grateful for all the truth in the world that is available to us. And I don’t mean just Gospel truths. Through the Gospel, and the tools within, God has provided with the ability to perhaps see truth more clearly, but there is truth all around. The truth is not circumscribed within the walls of this building, within the Gospel itself and within the 15 million of us on this earth. And I am grateful for all I can find and understand.

Thank You. He disappeared after the meeting before I had the chance to thank him personally, so this is my thank you. I’ve always believed this; I love when I come to an understanding of various pieces of knowledge.

It is very dangerous to assume only one set of beliefs is accurate, is true, is the one and only. Many years ago I started academically studying the tenets of a variety of religions. I wasn’t “shopping” for a new religion, I was seeking to understand others. Looking for points of commonalities and points of divergence helps is essential for tolerance, compassion and granting of religious freedom or for actively pursuing effective missionary work – whatever way you want to go. I can’t profess to be an expert on any of the religions, I’m not even sure I remember what I studied. What I do remember, however, is the profound realization I had that there were many, many similarities, and that what seemed like obvious points of divergence were due, in part to culture differences influencing how similarities were acted on. Looking at these other religions through the lens of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the one religion with the most truths and fullest of the Gospel”  I could see the stepping stones of belief within that religion which, with a bit of additional knowledge, could lead conversion to the Church.

I can’t substantiate this, because as I said, this is based on memories of thoughts from casual reading many years ago. What these memories mean to me today is that there is no single keeper of truth on this earth. There is a lot of truth, half-truth, maybe-truth, definitely-not-truth, out there in the world. Each of us has the personal responsibility to go out there, investigate, and come to our own conclusions.