In February 2014 The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church”) published the first in a series of five articles on the value of religion. The first installment, posted at LDS Newsroom, was called “Why Religion Matters: The Longing Within.” The article explained that because we are spiritual creatures (indeed, according to Mormon doctrine, the literal spirit children of God) we will always long for Him as we are separated from Him during mortality. Says the article…
…there is something incomplete about us. And so we yearn for fullness. If every question had a ready answer, there would be no reaching in prayer. If every pain had an easy cure, there would be no thirst for salvation. If every loss was restored, there would be no desire for heaven. As long as these needs remain, so will religion. It is a natural part of life. To be human means to experience uncertainty, sorrow and death. Religion, however, is a school for making sense of chaos, a hospital for healing unseen wounds, a lifeline that gives us second chances.
The article claims that religion is not merely a creation of humans suffering hardship and wondering how the universe works. In good times and bad, humans search for the higher power they intuitively know exists. “Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote: ‘To believe in God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter.’”
Belief imbues life with meaning, a “higher sense of purpose,” which bears fruit in charitable giving and service, an increase of love for others. Those raised without or living without a spiritual aspect in their lives often reach a point when they glance around at the material world, its works and requirements, and wonder, “Is this all there is”? I reached this point at the age of 15.
Suddenly, the world seemed empty, and I began to feel a deep yearning, unquenchable and becoming more desperate, for finding my spiritual roots and something above this earth I could naturally reach for. I began to investigate various Christian religions, having more or less accepted Christ as I grew up in a Christian-based society. Although I enjoyed every church service I experienced, it wasn’t until I attended a youth conference at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that I felt spiritual power flowing into me. It said, very powerfully, that this was the place for which I was searching, I was home.
At the time, I knew nothing about the Mormons, their doctrines or practices. If this was to be a spiritual learning curve, then I was certainly at square one. But the spiritual experience I had received was overwhelming and real, and only increased as the evening progressed, and various church members told their individual stories. I felt it continually, but it refreshed me anew when I read and prayed about the Book of Mormon. At 16, with my parents finally relenting, I was baptized a member of the Church.
Continual Blessings of the Spirit
It’s been 50 years since I was baptized. I married in a Mormon temple and raised six children in the faith. Having come of age in the sixties, I know joining The Church of Jesus Christ, with its emphasis on clean living and help through the Gift of the Holy Ghost, saved me from the sinful trends that were rife during the decade. I doubt I would have had one marriage or the myriad blessings I now enjoy had I not found the “restored gospel” in my mid-teens.
We had a lot of fun raising our children, and we did so in four countries. Being a member of the Church and following the guidance of the Holy Spirit has made our lives more adventurous, not less. All of our children are active in the faith and continuing the focus on a global culture at the same time. I can’t imagine raising children without prayer and the constant inspiration I received from the Holy Ghost, and the healing power of the true priesthood of God. Personal revelation has been an abiding help. But you have to ask for it in prayer. It’s hard for me to see how people mutter through with only their own logic to help them with decisions.
So I know about spiritual yearning, and am so grateful those yearnings led me to the true and living God, and to His Son, Jesus Christ.