“Pure love is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
– Elder Massimo De Feo

Greg Trimble, an LDS blogger and author says that the culture of Mormonism needs to bust. We need to be full of tolerance and love in order for the crowds of people that need the fullness of the Gospel to feel welcome.

“I wonder if people looked at the Sons of Mosiah and said… “Who do they think they are? How can they be missionaries? How can they represent Christ? How can they give advice in church when they were the vilest of sinners?” I wonder if those great missionaries were made to pay for their sins by their contemporaries even though those sins had already been paid for? Because of these repentant boys ability to overcome their past, they may have been the only Nephites alive who were willing and able to make an impact with those wretched Lamanites. People who have lived through massive challenges in life or made major mistakes and have been willing to make themselves vulnerable enough to empathize with others are able to reach people like those hostile Lamanites who we thought might have never been reached. And all of this revolves around love. Love that is passed from person to person to person. An extended hand, an arm around a shoulder, or a fervent prayer on behalf of an individual who has been through the ringer in life. Our culture needs a reboot. We need to pull for each other instead of being like the whiners in the parable Jesus gave about the workers in the vineyard.

“One of the most influential senior missionaries I served with during my mission once told me that he loved the smell of alcohol and tobacco at church. He said, “It’s the smell of change.” There’s someone sitting in that pew… trying to kick a habit, learning of Christ, and hoping for a friend to help take their mind off of that addiction… and yet some of us will move to the furthest pew and simultaneously say things that throw it right back in their face. This is bad! This is wrong! How can people do this or that! Slam! Whack! Bam! And the shame begins all over again for that struggling soul as they make their way back to their lonely apartment” (Greg Trimble.com).

I agree with Greg. I feel like I LOVE everyone, but do I really accept them? I want to be better at expecting change and welcoming every soul. It is not up to me to decide who is ready for that change. Al Carraway‘s story fits in here. She was a new convert, who moved to a Mormon community. She felt judged because of her tattoos. I read her whole book, MORE Than a Tattooed Mormon. IT IS AMAZING to hear about her difficulties of fitting into LDS church culture as a new convert. It shouldn’t be that hard. I love this quote:

“We don’t feel jilted by being so far below [Heavenly Father]. We haven’t missed a thing. It’s just so lovely to be near Him. Because He’s trying to pull us up to Him. He wants us to be like Him. And we can’t desire anything greater than that, so there is none of this dominance or submissive business, He’s not putting himself in charge. We are drawn toward Him and He wants us to be drawn.” – Hugh Nibley

Recently I have been captivated by a podcast series, Mormon Perspectives. Did you know the Dead Sea Scrolls may be the most important discovery of the 20th century? Did you know that Abinadi and King Benjamin teach the same principles and even phrase their teachings the same, but didn’t know each other? or did they…? Did you know that the settlers of Nauvoo/Commerce Illinois were struck with Malaria? and it lasted 2 years? and MANY died, while others were healed – some by just touching Joseph Smith’s handkerchief since he was too sick to visit everyone himself. I am quite impressed with Laura Harris Hales. She knows so much! She asks scripture/history scholars all the right questions and adds her own insight to their study. Download your pick of 79 elipsodes HERE!

These episodes, general conference, daily scripture study, institute/seminary, personal revelation, lds.org, and uplifting books are only a few of the many resources we have to draw closer to the Lord. I know that as we do, we will become more like Him: full of charity and grace.

Have Christ be the center of your “Today.”

“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

“True disciples love the Lord more than the world and are steadfast and immovable in their faith. They stay strong and firm in a changing and confusing world. True disciples love to listen to the voice of the Spirit and of the prophets and are not confused by the voices of the world. True disciples love to “stand in holy places”4 and love to make holy the places where they stand. Wherever they go, they bring the love of the Lord and peace to the hearts of others. True disciples love to obey the Lord’s commandments, and they obey because they love the Lord. As they love and keep their covenants, their hearts are renewed and their very nature changes.

“Pure love is the true sign of every true disciple of Jesus Christ.”
– Elder Massimo De Feo