Friday, April 18, 2008

Obligation to Our Fathers?

Who said this?

"I believe in my Mormon faith and I endeavor to live by it. My faith is the faith of my fathers - I will be true to them and to my beliefs."

If you follow politics, you probably know that this was Mitt Romney is his faith speech.

His phrasing makes me uncomfortable. Do we, as Mormons or people of any faith, have any obligation to remain in the same church as our ancestors? Are we not being true to them if we convert? Aren't we to seek out truth wherever it leads us?

Thankfully, I don't think Mitt's sentiment is endorsed by the church. From President Uchtdorf's conference talk:

"I remember when I was a young man, one Sunday I noticed a new family in our meetinghouse—a young mother with two daughters. It wasn’t long before the three were baptized and became members of the Church.

"I know the story of their conversion intimately because the oldest daughter’s name was Harriet, and later she would become my wife.

"Harriet’s mother, Carmen, had recently lost her husband, and during a period of introspection, she became interested in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After studying the doctrines, Carmen and her daughters knew the Church was true and made plans for baptism.

"When Carmen told her mother about this decision, however, her mother was devastated. 'How can you be so unfaithful to the faith of your fathers?' she asked.

"Carmen’s mother was not the only one who objected. Carmen’s strong-willed sister, Lisa, was every bit as troubled by the news. Perhaps troubled is too soft a word. She was very angry.

"Lisa said that she would find those young missionaries and tell them just how wrong they were. She marched to the chapel and found the missionaries, and, you guessed it, Lisa was baptized too."

This story (and the rest of this talk) makes clear that honoring the faith of our fathers does not obligate us to stick with it. Pretending that it does cheapens the definition of faith, in my opinion.

(For those of you wondering, don't worry, I'm not considering leaving the faith.:))

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