I think if you did a survey of LDS Church members and asked the question: “What does it really mean to live the gospel?” You’d get a variety of answers. You get many who would give what I would call the standard answers, which I will list below. But you also get some very thoughtful answers which I hope this is one.
So, the standard answers to living the gospel might look like this:
- Individual Prayer, both morning and night
- Study and ponder the scriptures
- Hold regular Family Home Evening
- Have daily Family Prayer
- Have daily family scripture study
- Have prayer with your spouse, if applicable
- Attend the Temple often, preferable at least one a month
- Give meaningful service
- Teach the gospel to your children and set a good example
- Be a good example to others.
- Share the gospel with family, friends and those you meet
- Have meals with your family
- Serve well in your callings
The list goes on. I am sure you can add to it easily. In fact, I remember a sister gave a Sacrament Meeting talk on all the things we need to do as members and her list was about 12 feet long!
I also think about those great answers from the Savior about the two greatest commandments:
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (Matthew 22:34 – 40).
Certainly that list above follows those two great commandments. But I often wonder if we fall into a pharisaic-like pattern with making sure that we try to do all those things as regularly as we can, without attention to the QUALITY of what we do to live the gospel.
Example 1 – Regular Temple Attendance – Sometimes in our hectic lives, it is hard to attend the Temple each and every month, especially if you are not close by. So, is it better to have a few truly meaningful experiences in the Temple in a year, where you are fully prepared to give the time and attention necessary to learn and partake of the spirit than 12 attendances where getting to some is an extreme hardship and one is not prepared to be there? Seems like a simple answer to me. But how would a Pharisee respond to that question?
Example 2 – Giving service to others. I realize that any service to others is good, but some is better than others. Church members love to clean up! (Except for their own chapel, but that’s another story). Clean up parks, empty lots, streets, etc. and it gets written up in the Church News. But, isn’t it better to do something like visit a hospice or senior citizens home, help build houses for those who need them, visit a homeless shelter, volunteer at a children’s shelter, etc. Actually do what the Savior preached, “Comfort those who stand in need of comfort.”
Please don’t misunderstand me. Plenty of members give generously of their time and do those things that I have suggested. But, I think we could all be doing more because giving Christ-like service is what living the gospel is all about. Also, I am not in any way, downplaying the work that members do to respond to natural disasters. They are incredible! That is exactly what I am talking about. But just not waiting for a disaster to happen.
On another note, truly living the gospel also means accepting people the way they are. It does not mean we have to accept their actions, but we are required to honor all of God’s creations. (My wife and daughter would say, “except for bugs!” 🙂 )
What do you think it means to truly live the gospel? BTW, this certainly does not apply just to LDS members. It is just as applicable to all those that call themselves Christians.
PS. I will do a later post on the Pharisees and Sadducees, the most misunderstood groups in the bible!