Well, that does present a real problem. I don't want to be doing something simply because I have convinced myself it is the right thing to do. Recently I found out that I am diabetic. Who in their right mind would give up sugar and shoot up twice daily if it wasn't to get something better? -- in this case, the chance to live.
As a child like millions of others, I believed in Santa. The Easter Bunny always seemed ludicrous, but I got into the whole Santa thing. Even when I was older I still sooooo wanted to believe. I created my own little reality where Santa was a man that was so busy that he instructed parents around the world who then acted as his agents to make sure that worthy children received the gifts they rightly deserved.
That lasted a year. By then puberty kicked in and I was too busy thinking about other things to worry about Santa. I had been so sure about the Santa thing. But I was mistaken.
So, what if we are putting our whole heart into religion, the Mormon church and the teachings of the gospel and it ends up that Jesus was/is just a good man who tried to keep us from killing ourselves?
Let's say, for the sake of discussion, that we in the LDS church who are also, by definition members of the LGBT community (read - gay Mormons) are functioning under a premise that is mistaken -- our own little "If we are good then Santa will bring us gifts" premise.
The premise is this; if we live a good life we will go to heaven. (We will define good will be as following the commandments as stipulated by the prophets living and written.) How do we find out if we are being taken or not?
For me there are two things I consider. First, what was in it for Christ to ask us to follow him. He was not political. There was nothing physically or monetarily for him to gain. He got nothing but grief and ended up dead. What would have been his motive if He wasn't who he said he was? What He asked us to do was be kind, be honest, and to focus on the needs of others. Doesn't seem super logical that it was some sort of scam.
Second, in order to know that I am not off on the wrong track, I would need to know the answers to the following questions; Do I believe in God? Do I believe that He knows more than I do and that he has power that I do not have? Do I believe that He wants what is best for me?
Now that we have the questions established, who do we ask? Who has the knowledge of things from the beginning of time? Not John Dehlin. No one here on earth.
Mormons believe that the third member of the Godhead is the Spirit, the Holy Ghost. He will testify to us when we ask with real intent. He will answer us. We do not need to go through anyone else for personal revelation. Not John Dehlin or anyone else here on earth.
- I believe in God and that God has set standards.
- I believe that the prophets speak for Him to instruct us while allowing us the freedom to choose for ourselves.
- I believe that God is just and that he is in a position to judge.
- I believe that God's knowledge is more than man's knowledge and that his power is more than man's power.
If I believe these things, and I do, then giving up something for something better in the long term is doable.