After listening to Elder Jeffrey R Holland’s address on Religion at BYU’s Education Week, I pondered the question – why is religion important to me? How does it affect and change me, and how does it affect my world?
I believe in a patient, loving God who sent me here to earth to learn, to grow, and to become something more than I was before. I know He is watching over me, and I have had several experiences that convince me beyond doubt that He is involved in my life, He cares about me, and He wants to help me, if I’ll let Him! (Sometimes I stubbornly try to do it on my own…and it never turns out as well as when I invite Him into my life.)
Because I believe in Him, and trust Him, I try to live His teachings. When I do, I am always happier.
My religion makes those teachings more accessible, and gives us the opportunity to understand and live them more fully.
I try to follow in the footsteps of His Son, Jesus Christ, who God sent to be an example for us and to complete the Atonement for us.
Through that Atonement, I find release from guilt and remorse for the things I’ve done that I regret. Through that Atonement, I find strength to do better and be better. That makes me feel happier. Through that Atonement, I find comfort for the pains and sorrows I experience through no fault of my own. I am healed, and I can face life with new hope.
My religion teaches me to be less selfish – to notice others, to forgive, and to reach out and offer support. It teaches me to notice and find joy in the beauty of God’s creations that surround me.
My religion offers me frequent opportunities for dedicated service to my fellow beings, some very different from me. I am learning to be reliable, and responsible, even when it is inconvenient and uncomfortable. I am a better person for that service.
My religion tutors me to be patient, and to grow in love. That process, though very gradual, is changing me, and allowing me more joy and peace than I thought possible.
Religion brings me growth, understanding, patience, comfort, peace and joy – and nearness to my Creator and His son, which perhaps is the greatest blessing of all.
(James 4:8 – “Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you…”)
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