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Teaching Ideas
Article of Faith 13
Living Our Religion
Perhaps the most significant but most overlooked words in this Article of Faith are, "We believe in being."  Ours is a practical religion.  It is not just lived on Sundays as we go to church and then forgotten as we go about our activities during the week.  It affects who we are and why we do things.  It should show in everything we do - at work, at home and in our communities.

The way of being and the purity of heart that we seek is the higher law taught by the Savior in the Sermon on the Mount.  He taught us that we should be motivated out of a love for God and for our fellowmen.  Thus, when we pray, we do not pray mindlessly or out of habit, but we pray earnestly with faith to know and follow God's will and seek his help.  When we study the scriptures and attend church, we don't just do it out of obligation, but we do it, seeking for greater light, knowledge and understanding.  When we serve, we don't do it grudgingly, but we do it with joy and with a true desire to help others.  When we keep the commandments, we don't do it out of guilt, but out of a love for God, a knowledge of how righteousness blesses us and those around us and a desire to become like God.

So where does this fit into this Article of Faith?  We believe not just in acting honest, but in being honest, both with ourselves, with God and with our fellowmen.  We believe in being chaste, having pure thoughts and desires and loving our spouse.  We believe in being benevolent or good from the heart.  Our participation in our religion is not out of social or familial ties, but out of a testimony born by the Holy Ghost that this church is true and a firm faith in all of the past, present and future teachings and revelations of God as spoken of by Paul.

We believe that because of God's love for all his children, regardless of their religious choices, he sends as much light into their lives as possible and as they are willing to receive.  Through the light of Christ and through inspiration, many good men have tremendous insights and ideas that bless all humanity as well as the members of the Church.  Truth can be found in science, in philosophy and in history.  Good can also be portrayed in the arts and in literature.  We embrace all that is good and true, wherever it may be, for ultimately it came from God.

We also recognize the good that is in mankind and believe that men will be rewarded for the good that they do, regardless of religion.  That is why there are three kingdoms in heaven - one for the wicked (telestial), one for the honorable men of the earth (terrestrial) and one for those who make and keep all of the covenants of exaltation (celestial).  We respect men for where they are at and strive to set an example and share our faith in the hopes that they will see our good works and seek for more.

(For additional insights, read The Articles of Faith by James E. Talmage.)
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