Tuesday, July 30, 2013


One of my favorite scriptures about Jesus Christ is John 15:5:

I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

It’s a radical and controversial claim. Certainly we can imagine plenty of people doing plenty of good without ever believing in or following Christ. However, Jesus Christ is here declaring, without reservations, that unless a person abide in Him, anything one does, as magnanimous or kind or heart-warming as it may be, is nothing. "You cannot enter in at the strait gate...by your dead works. (D&C 22:2)

Of course a person, any person, will be duly rewarded for his good works, and one does not need to accept Christ in this life in order to receive some reward. But without Him, at best our acts are only as temporary as the earth, which has an end. Moses says, "Now I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed." (Moses 1:10) Only Jesus can offer us more than nothing, and he does so by connecting us to him.

The gospel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is meant to connect us to Christ. We live in an age that is very concerned with the idea of being connected:  we connect to the internet, connect to facebook, to our iphones; we try to connect to people, ideas, social movements, news. But for all our hours spent connected to this world, there are those quiet moments when we look inside ourselves and feel a spiritual disconnection in our souls, a yearning for the presence of God.

Try yoga. Go to India. Eat really decadent ice cream while watching a sunrise. They could offer you some very real peace in body and mind. But overcoming the spiritual disconnection that is part of our existence on earth requires something much more extreme, something that has transcended and triumphed over every possible malady in this world: the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ.


  1. I absolutely love Jesus. And I completely agree about the power of the atonement and its ability to reconnect us spiritually. But I wonder if you've really looked in to spiritual accounts written by people of other faiths? To me they're substantively the same. I agree at the power of Jesus, but I disagree with the singularity you express here. And honestly, I find it dangerous, because it increases barriers to mutual understanding and dialogue in a world that needs nothing more. Food for thought.

  2. The singularity of Jesus is in his words, not mine. You are certainly not the first to find his ideas "dangerous" and a threat to open-minded sensibilities.

    And it is still possible to have mutual understanding and dialogue without setting aside one's own religious convictions. Thanks, Josh.