I view the purpose of this life as becoming like Jesus was in His mortal life - and the purpose of the next life as becoming like Christ is now in His post-mortal life. Everything else (specific doctrine, intellectual understanding, nuanced discussions of exegesis, whatever) is secondary to that.
The core Josephism to which I cling is: "I teach them correct principles and they govern themselves." "Principles" is not equivalent to "doctrines" or "intellectual understandings". That's important to me.
When it comes down to it, I base my core principles on three main statements of Jesus:
"Be ye therefore perfect," (Matt. 5:48) - "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:20) - "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 7:21) -- (basically, the entire Sermon on the Mount, but especially those three verses)
When push comes to shove, I don't give a rat's hairy hindquarters exactly what someone says they believe - only what they do and what they are becoming. If they teach Buddhism or if they claim atheism - whatever their background - I don't care one bit. I really don't, as long as they are trying to do the will of the Father (the God in which they believe or their conscience) and become perfected (whole and complete) - and not doing so in a highly destructive way or exercising serious unrighteous dominion and compulsion.
Why do I share that in this context? I believe in the Restored Gospel deeply and passionately, and I enjoy the intellectual stimulation I find on various blogs. However, my intellectual efforts do not define my discipleship. That is defined by my realization that no matter how my brain constructs my doctrinal understanding, it's much more important what I do than what I say - what I am becoming than how convincing my arguments are. My understanding might be different than another's, but if we both are working to become the same thing (complete and whole and "right"eous), our journey can be one of mutual respect and camaraderie and joy.
I engage in internet conversations specifically to find ways to hone my discipleship - to plumb the depths of others' understanding to find new ways to bring me closer to my Father. That's what I long for in the discussions in which I engage - a place of refuge and rest, where I can drink deeply from the cup of perspective and insight - no matter the theological or denominational affiliation of those with whom I converse. I don't want to fight and argue over minute points of doctrinal interpretation, although I will challenge statements that I think are hyperbolic and mean-spirited. I want to share and sup. That is the sustenance for which I hunger and thirst - the soothing sips of insight that restore and reaffirm my resolve for righteousness. I don't hunger and thirst after insight for itself; I hunger and thirst after insight that leads me to greater *righteousness* - to be filled with the Holy Ghost - to do the will of my Father - to bring forth fruits meet for repentance - to become therefore perfected (whole and complete).
Everything else is meaningless if it isn't involved in getting there and helping others get there.
Advent: Unto the Least — (Part 2 of 2)
2 hours ago