I accessed the March First Presidency Message online so I will be prepared for what our home teachers throw at us this month. President Uchtdorf caught my attention with his story of a family checking out schools before buying a house in a new locale. The first potential neighbor they questioned raved about the wonderful neighborhood school with its caring principal and competent teachers. The second person they interviewed described the same school as totally inadequate. The principal and teachers were rude and uncaring. They wished they could change schools for their children.
Having taught in both elementary and secondary schools for most of my adult life, I have no problem believing that both parents in this story were right. A school or teacher may be absolutely perfect for some children, but not meet the needs of others. Children’s needs vary and expecting one person or one school to meet the needs of every child is unrealistic. The same is true of churches. The reason we have thousands of different religions and sects worldwide is that throughout the course of history, some people found the belief system of their culture didn’t meet their needs, sought inspiration elsewhere, and shared their insights with other disaffected people.
I rather believe that if God ordained one pure church, and its precepts and ordinances were the only way He wanted people to live, He would have made it a bit more clear which denomination had his sole approval. Obviously, similar truths such as variants of the Golden Rule are found in many different religions. We live in a world where honest, upright people exercise faith and come to different conclusions about where and how to worship. If a church motivates us to live good lives and provides comfort, surely that is the true church for us although it may not be for our neighbor who needs a different approach.
Somehow I can’t believe God cares more about belief systems and ordinances than about behavior.