Grace: Not Just a Small Town in Idaho

Today was our first Sunday in our Moscow (Idaho) ward. The people were so warm, welcoming, and friendly, I felt right at home almost immediately.

I also felt right at home because of what I would call the standard Mormon over-emphasis on works.

I guess it’s alive and well everywhere.

A woman spoke in Sacrament Meeting today. She was beautiful, intelligent–and you could tell deeply committed to the gospel. The topic of her talk?

Complacency.

It was an excellent discourse; well thought out, well spoken. But underneath it all, I saw the old stirrings of perfectionism. I could see myself in her; the person striving desperately to earn salvation, to live up to an impossible standard.

Then in Relief Society, I heard it again: “Satan works to make us women feel so worthless and unworthy,” another sister said. “But it’s so hard. I mean, it’s not like you can just do it once and be saved.”

My heart kind of broke hearing that. I wished I could shout: “But that’s where you’re wrong! You CAN do it once! Once you’ve accepted the Lord Jesus Christ through faith, repentance, baptism, and the laying on of hands, you’ve already done it! You’re ALREADY saved!”

But I kept my mouth shut because I didn’t want to cause on scene on my first Sunday. 🙂  Not only that, this is a very delicate topic, and if I am to say anything, I want to make sure I’m meeting people where they are so I don’t alienate or offend.

But if I could have spoken up, this is what I’d say:

Because we’ve related the concept of salvation so closely with the concept of an eventual perfection, I believe that many of us Mormons, when asked if we’ve been saved, would say, “No, but I’m working on it.” What I believe we don’t recognize is that we CAN be perfected IN CHRIST NOW–today–just as we are–and, in fact, if we have partaken of the grace of Christ through the covenants and ordinances of the gospel, and have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, we are considered clean and whole and pure and SAVED–perfected–this moment, as we speak.

Does this mean we are perfect in the “objective” sense of the word? Of course not. But it means that because of the relationship we have with our Savior and advocate, we are clean before God–something we could NEVER do on our own, regardless of how well we behave.

The faster we can shift our focus away from what we have to “do” in order to become more like Christ, and start focusing just on Christ and the miracle of His atonement, the faster we’ll find we’re meeting all the “goals” we’ve set for ourselves spiritually. And we’ll acknowledge, in that moment, that it’s not us doing it–but Him changing us; His image being reflected in our countenance, as the scripture says.

And that’s a powerful place to be.

About Katie L

A doubter by nature, a believer by grace.

Posted on August 24, 2008, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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