I recently watched the Passion of the Christ with my wife and older kids. My wife and I had watched it before. Anyone holding off on watching it because of its rating may want to reconsider. It’s a very powerful movie, that for me, shows the toughness, love, determination, grit, and passion of our Lord that is so often not captured or expressed in media.
I wish we spoke more of this magnificent Man and of His sacrifice. He is worthy of our worship and adulation. Too vain are our meetings, too trite are the things we discuss and contemplate. Endless genealogies and endless fables and all manner of false doctrine. When possible, we should focus every talk, every lesson, every meeting, and every discussion upon Him and upon obtaining faith in Him. I fall short of this ideal and pray for God’s mercy and help.
In the above clip (which I highly recommend you click on) is the following exchange between Pontius Pilate and his wife Claudia that although embellished, I think captures her likely perceptiveness to truth. She was the one who had a dream that revealed Jesus’ innocence shortly before his trial (Matthew 27:19).
Pontius Pilate: What is truth, Claudia? Do you hear it, recognize it when it is spoken?
Claudia Procles: Yes, I do. Don’t you?
Pontius Pilate: How? Can you tell me?
Claudia Procles: If you will not hear the truth, no one can tell you.
Pontius Pilate: Truth… do you want to know what my truth is, Claudia? I’ve been putting down rebellions in this rotten outpost for eleven years. If I don’t condemn this man I know Caiphas will start a rebellion. If I do condemn him, then his followers may. Either way, there will be bloodshed. Caeser has warned me, Claudia. Warned me twice. He swore that the next time the blood would be mine. That is my truth!
I feel for Pilate and so many others whose “truth” is steeped in tradition or social and political pressure. All of us can relate to that, can we not? I cannot say that I would be any different than Pilate or than Thomas or Dieter, if I were in their seats. They deserve our prayers and our compassion. I admit that at times I’m frustrated or saddened by what I see and experience in the Church. But, my anger is not directed towards them individually. I know a couple of these men on a first name basis. They have “their truth,” as we all do and have a lot of pressure to keep the peace in their outpost.
Amidst so much worldly pressure and so many distractions, how can we hear and know Truth? And how can people share it (assuming they even have it) when the receiver’s mind and heart are often so incapable of recognizing it?
Young Joseph sought the truth. He had become discouraged and possibly angered by the “lo here’s and lo there’s” of his day. So many differing and contradicting voices even within his own family. I’m sure he felt the pressure to join a Church, to be baptized, to comply with his societal norms. There were several different religions being practiced in Joseph’s own family! Somehow Joseph knew how to hear Truth, and among the various sects, he wasn’t getting the full Truth he sought.
I cannot tell you, whether my truth is truer than yours. Or if you or I are able to hear truth or not. But I can tell you what I believe is the process whereby we discern truth. And I can tell you by what process I feel my heart is being changed.
I believe that God sends angels to certain men, women, and children (Alma 12:28,29). They minister to them and prepare them for a great work (Moroni 7:22). These chosen messengers have proven to be firm minded in every form of Godliness (Moroni 7:30). They become trusted by God and become His friends (James 2:23). They enter His presence and thus obtain a message from Heaven (D&C 84:23). Their message from heaven shared by the power of the Holy Ghost with us non-servants, has the power to change our very hearts (2 Nephi 33:1).
The true messenger, even when it was the disguised Savior on the road to Emmaus, is always to be a question of faith. And the burning of our hearts and its subsequent change of disposition away from evil is the only way we can know whether his message is from God or not.
I now see the Church and the gospel in a new light. I have come to see things differently than I once had. This new viewpoint has awakened me and startled me. There have been times where I have been angry along the way. Like many of you, my very identity has been entangled in a powerful and deeply rooted tradition. To untangle it all and to consider so many new possibilities and truths is indeed a painful and humbling process akin to passing through a dark birth canal or the eye of a needle.
So to you my fellow truth seekers LDS, exLDS, nonLDS, and everyone somewhere in between, may we rejoice in our love of Christ and unite in our love of finding Truth. May we each pray in humility to be led to the Truth, that we may be freed by Him of our darkness and sin. I pray you will forgive me of my weaknesses. I seek mercy for me and for all. May God bless the men who lead this Church that they too may receive mercy and light. That they may not be cast off for their false traditions, but that they and we may all learn to hear Truth. May we remember as we challenge each others views and ideas that we are on the same team — we are all children of God, souls in need of light and love and truth.
For now, this is my truth. God bless.