Say what you want about polygamy and seer-stones and multiple accounts of the First Vision, but the Church produces some downright decent people. One of these people is featured today as reason # 50 to stay LDS. Her name is Rebecca Maesato. Don't ask me how to pronounce her last name.
Actually, if you want to pronounce her last name correctly, listen to this podcast. The proper pronunciation is probably in that podcast somewhere.
Really, listen to this podcast. Do it! Please! I mean, if you're reading this blog, by now you've probably listened to a couple of Mormon Stories and Mormon Expression and Infants on Thrones podcasts, and you've probably read a lot of angry ex-Mormon forums and articles on Mormon Think. Can't you take the time to listen to an episode of A Thoughtful Faith?
If you don't want to listen to the podcast, I'll just blab about it here in this blog post. And if you don't want to listen to the podcast... well... I'll blab anyway... because... that's what I do...
Sister Maesato has spent a lot of time in Haiti doing humanitarian work. She has helped establish orphanages and care for some of the poorest, most vulnerable people on earth. She's truly Christ-like.
She sounds just wonderful.
In the podcast, Sister Maesato describes some of the faith and stories of Christians from other denominations, and it's clear to Sister Maesato that God is working through other denominations. She says that some of the prayers she heard from "non-members" in Haiti were some of the most heartfelt and sincere prayers she had ever heard. She also describes a non-denominational church service that she went to, shortly after the major earthquake in 2010. In that church service, a lot people sang church hymns and played and sang uplifting gospel music. Sister Maesato says that that church meeting, in the open air, was one of the most spiritual experiences she ever had.
Sister Maesato did not go to Haiti to convert people to Mormonism. And she didn't go as an official missionary from the LDS Church. She basically went to Haiti on her own and eventually formed her own non-profit organization. When she's in Haiti, she does not proselyte, but she does occasionally share values, and generic faith in God. Most of all, she shares Christ-like love, through deed more than through word.
Also, she actually ended up adopting a lot of Haitian orphans. She said she saw so many miracles in her years-long process.
At one point in the podcast, Kathy, the sister of Rebecca, describes a time when Christians gave her the Christian equivalent of a priesthood blessing. A bunch of men and women put their hands on their heads and shoulders and prayed, and the Spirit was there. Rebecca says that she felt that that prayer was just as valid as any prayer that she had ever said. She said, "You don't need the priesthood to call down the powers of Heaven and to bless people."
If you're going through a faith crisis, I have some advice for you. Follow the admonition of Christ and serve your brothers and sisters. Help them. Care for them. Relieve their pain. Love them. I'm not saying you necessarily need to care for your LDS brothers and sisters. Maybe you can't stand most TBM's now anyway. But why don't you try caring for your spiritual brothers and sisters, a.k.a every person on the planet? I think you'll find yourself growing closer to God by serving others than by reading anything on FAIR and Mormon Think.
(By the way, I should be taking my own advice. Instead of caring for orphans, I usually waste time online. But I suppose I serve and care for my own two little children, and I really enjoy doing that, and I do feel that I grow closer to God as I try to become a better father.)
Look, everyone has to deal with the sometimes ugly and sometimes beautiful history of Mormonism in his or her own way. I'm not sure staying LDS is best for everyone. In fact, in the case of the Wilder family, it seems to me that they were better off leaving. But for me, and a lot of other people, I think staying LDS is, in fact, the best path.
So if you leave, I respect your choice to leave. But I hope you'll listen to Rebecca Maesato on A Thoughtful Faith podcast. If you do, I think you'll be less angry at the LDS Church, and you'll recognize that there are some wonderful, wonderful people in the Church.
Well, thanks for reading this. Sorry if my writing is... um... not so good sometimes... anyway... I hope that the importance of my subject matter compensates for my lack of style.
Take care, whoever you are.
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