In my first post on why I love the Church of Jesus Christ, I focused on how I loved that it was true.
I meant that in the strictly literal, by the book definition, that everyone would normally acknowledge.
But I think the Church is also true in other, more metaphorical, ways.
In navigation a compass points towards magnetic north, which is close but not quite at “true” north. Depending on its location, a ship’s navigator needs to calculate a correction so that the ship’s course is based off true north, and not magnetic north. Only once the correction is made is the course set correctly. Once the course is set based on true north, can it be said that the ship is true.
This meaning of the word true, as in headed in the right direction, is applied to arrows, planes, and metaphorically to people and organizations.
So when I say the Church is true, not only do I mean that I believe God visited Joseph Smith, I believe that the Church is good. That it is taking me and others in the right direction.
A Facebook friend, Randall Bowen, does not believe the Church’s truth claims. In fact, he describes his beliefs as “deist.” A god exists but doesn’t particularly interfere in the affairs of man. So it may surprise you to know that his blog is called “The Church is True.” So why would someone who doesn’t believe, so proudly proclaim “the Church is true?” Because he believes it.
“I do have great belief in the power of The Church to be a force for good in the world and in people’s lives. The Church is true is a very valid thing for me to say.”
Randall’s and my beliefs may be different, but our faith is the same.
I attended the smorgasbord of Mormon culture in Rexburg, Idaho. The culture is peppy, bright, optimistic, but naive.
My senior year I drove down to a conference with two cynics—professors—who had spent years enveloped in this environment. We spent much of the drive down kvetching about some of the peculiarities of the town. After one comment I felt compelled to say “I like Mormons.” I do.
I’ve seen the way the Church has molded my convert parents, and I admire it. I like the thoughtful, considerate, humble, reverent, and, yes, happy people that the Church of Jesus Christ produces. There’s something about the combination of the faith they hold, and the actions they take that create people I admire.
I want to be like them.
I admire the integrity of the Latter-day Saint lawyers I know. I admire the trustworthiness of the Latter-day Saint businessmen I’ve met. I admire the thoughtfulness of the Latter-day Saint tradesmen I know.
Wherever I find them, I find attributes in Latter-day Saints that I want.
And the answer on how to get there is not really that complicated. Do what they’re doing.
Brigham Young was fond of describing the Church as “The Old Ship Zion.” I think it’s an apt metaphor. The Church is an entire set of attitudes, values, stories, and behaviors, that effect us in similar ways. If I want to get where all those Latter-day Saints are, I need to get on board the ship.
Brigham Young said, “Let us stick to the old ship, and she will carry us [safely] into the harbor; you need not be concerned.”
So I love the Church because I trust it will get me to where I want to go. I trust that it is true.