Sunday, April 27, 2014

On Thomas

A few weeks ago, I wrote about revelation, likening it to the appearance of dew on the grass. Dew appears gradually, almost imperceptibly. During the past few painful weeks, I have continued to receive revelation in various forms and from various sources, feeling the dew of revelation slowly form on my soul. I have felt spiritually wounded for various reasons; I followed several promptings from our Heavenly Parents that led me to what I thought would be good decisions. These decisions, however, did not work out the way that I had anticipated. My expectations did not meet the reality of the situation. Even though I have felt incredibly hurt and confused, I have tried to press forward with faith in our Heavenly Parents and Their plan. 

As I have felt so spiritually wounded, I have sought comfort in the typical manner. I have read the scriptures, attended Church services, prayed, read literature, and turned to a myriad of other sources. In my attempts to find comfort during these difficult moments, I have tried to examine my spiritual relationships. After attending my LDS services on Easter Sunday, I went to a small Episcopalian church, St. Mary's. As I sat in the services, I felt incredibly spiritually uplifted. It reminded me of my spiritual awakening that I experienced while I was in Europe that caused me to reevaluate my spirituality and my relationship with our Heavenly Parents.

I started to feel better this past week, but I still felt some spiritual wounds in my soul.  After moving back to Salt Lake this week, I decided that I would attend another Episcopal service at St. Paul's. St. Paul's was crowded; today a young man was baptized. During the sermon, I was reminded me of the healing that our Heavenly Parents can offer. 

The sermon discussed the story of Thomas. Thomas has fascinated me for quite some time. As I was trying to decide on a title for my blog many years ago, I thought of my own faith journey. As I have traversed the landscape of Mormonism, I have discovered that my faith is complex. I went from a doubter, a "doubting Thomas" as some would say, to someone who underwent a series of profound spiritual experiences and became converted to the gospel. I have now found myself at a crossroads. 

The man who gave the sermon discussed how we see Thomas. Thomas was a doubter. Thomas was the one who was too skeptical, too prone to intellectualizing the situation at hand. It is ironic, however, that the title "Doubting Thomas" is never used in the scriptures. In fact, the only title for Thomas that is used is Didymus (the twin). During the sermon, the man drew the connection between all of us and Thomas. We are Thomas's twins. We all experience human failings: doubts, fears, concerns, heartaches, and confusion. We are flawed, imperfect, but also beloved children of our Heavenly Parents. 

He also mentioned how Thomas needed to find a way to encounter the risen Christ. Thomas's desire to see Christ was a desire to encounter Christ personally. We all desire to find ways to encounter the risen Christ for us personally. We are called to bring our doubts and uncertainty. Christ and our Heavenly Parents will take us as we are. They do not expect us to abandon our humanity because our humanity is what makes us beautiful and it is our humanity that makes us divine. The flaws and the doubts that we all have prepare us to be sanctified and to triumph over all the difficulties of this world. It is in our flawed state that our Heavenly Parents call us to encounter the risen Christ and to come to know Them. One person's answer to meet the risen Christ is not the answer for all, however. We cannot discount the answers of others because these answers do not resonate with us. We must learn to discover our own way to the Divine. We all need the reassurance that Thomas desired, the assurance that we can come to know the risen Christ. 

In my own religious community, we tend to look down on the doubts that others experience. But aren't we all a bit like Thomas? Don't we all experience doubt and heartache? Confusion and sorrow? Disbelief and faith? I believe that as I have accepted myself as a Thomas, I have come to see how my Heavenly Parents see me. They know that I am flawed and that I experience doubt, heartache, confusion, sorrow, disbelief, and faith. But in the end, I cannot abandon my identity as a twin of Thomas. I am a Thomas. And my Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother love me for me, a Thomas. 

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