Due to my inconsistent religious upbringing in a dominantly Mormon culture, I took many principles for granted. Three truths surrounded me, and I accepted them from a young age. It never dawned on me that these principles were unique to the LDS religion. I was stunned to realize that such basic principles were misunderstood or even rejected by other people and faiths.
Children are Born Innocent
Several religions believe babies are born into the “Original Sin,” as in, the sin resulting from the fall of Adam. Because of this, it’s common practice to baptize infants to make them spotless in the eyes of God. If a child died before baptism, it’s speculation if God will save them. There are no definitive answers, and each leader interprets the Bible differently.
In the LDS Church, there is no Original Sin (D&C 93:38) and babies cannot be anything but innocent. In Moroni chapter 8, The Lord clearly explains that little children are whole and incapable of committing sin. How comforting to know that our little ones are safe, no matter what could happen to them. How motivating is it to teach them gospel principles while they are perfect and innocent. Through revelation, we know that if a child were to pass away before the Age of Accountability, they would be saved in the celestial kingdom of heaven (D&C 137:10).
Families are Forever
A common saying in marriage ceremonies is “‘til death do you part.” This implies that once we pass away, the bond of marriage breaks, or no longer recognized. Many faiths believe that we will see our families in heaven, but they aren’t sure how we will be connected. The most they can do is hope that they will be close with their families in the afterlife.
In LDS temple sealings, we hear the promise that we are “sealed . . . for Time and All Eternity.” The Lord promises that if we marry “by [His] word, which is [His] law,” the sealing “shall be of full force when they are out of the world” (D&C 132:19). When I was doubting God’s existence, I would think, “How can I believe in a God who would not keep families together? How can I look forward to a heaven in which I may not be with my husband and children?” Over time, I understood that this thought process was a testament to the truth of the LDS Church, not a reason to doubt. Our God is all-loving and merciful. We can take heart knowing that when sealed by proper authority, parents and children will be together forever.
We Have Living Prophets
Many churches teach that revelation is dead, that there are no living prophets on this Earth today. They believe that everything God has to say has already been revealed in the Bible. If faiths or individuals are open to the prospect of a modern-day prophet, they can only speculate on who it may be. They may hope, but they aren’t sure where to turn or who to trust.
Joseph Smith Jr. restored the true Church of Jesus Christ to the Earth in 1830. Prophets are called of God and give counsel relevant to modern trials. We are fortunate enough to hear from our prophet not rarely, but semi-annually. We can hear doctrine and direct revelation of the Lord (D&C 1:38) every April and October at General Conference. General Conference is what brought me back to the Church, and now it’s two of my favorite times of the year. General Conference helps remind me that He is still watching over me, and helping me with my daily trials.
How incredible it is that we know and understand these truths! Because of our prophet, we will only learn more from the Lord in His time. My experience leaving and returning to the Church has helped me see what many of us take for granted. It is so important to hold fast to what you know in times of trial or doubt. Remember what President Uchtdorf said: “doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.”