I’m very confused about what is truth and what is not when it comes to religion. I miss the peace I used to have when I believed falsely, before knowing it was false. It was so great to have something to believe in with all my heart. Also, to have my family surrounding me and supporting me in my beliefs.
Then when I found out that I had false beliefs, I felt panic or unrest until I found the Catholic Church and felt peace at Mass. I went through RCIA and was not baptized into the church because I could not let myself believe in everything.
Now I wonder if I’m really agnostic or should be. The whole Trinity belief is difficult. How does someone believe that there are three persons in one God. And the water, ice, steam explanations don’t work for me. Also, I can’t help wondering why the saints are declared as saints. How does someone know whether it was of God or the devil? If you feel good, it still can be false. If you feel bad about something, it may still be truth. In the LDS religion it was simple: you feel peace and it means truth and if you feel contention it is of the devil.
When I converted to the Catholic Church I decided I would quit RCIA when I was confronted with an idea that challenged what I knew to be true about God. I was raised in a protestant faith so it wasn’t quite the leap you had to make coming from the LDS. Obviously that never happened. Catholicism just enhanced & enriched what I believed to be true about God.
There were things I struggled with initially but the trinity wasn’t one of them. For me, coming from a church that taught the trinity it made perfect sense. I struggled with the real presence, that was a leap for me. I kept going back to prayer. Please Lord help me understand this! It worked. I was lead to scripture, good books, good friends who were patient with me, and most of all to Mass.
Some things I just decided some really small people had already figured this stuff out and I really didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. I accepted the teachings with faith. As time went on I came to understand some of those issues better.
Hi Kendra, I don’t know you personally but I have my doubts that you are agnostic. What I would say is you’re only human. We all are on this earth. And you may just be seeking the truth like all the rest of us are on our faith journeys. I believe all of us humans have limitations though with our finite minds in trying to know an infinite being such as our Creator. I’m perhaps different than you though. I was just explaining on another thread that I actually am more at peace when I don’t confine myself or God to a box. So all I can really say and do is to encourage you to keep some faith and make it a lifelong journey. Walk along your faith journey to the best of your understanding and don’t shut the door to further understanding. I do wish you peace on your own personal journey. God bless you along the way!
I do not say this with the intention of being a smart alec, but I think that religion itself doesn’t give peace. Religiousity can be used to cultivate peace that has already come, but the peace itself comes from the resignation of oneself to the Lord of the Universe. That’s how I see it.
As for the appeal that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints [that’s way too long to type] gives off, I’d like to contend that that is because they are an extremely image conscious organization. They spend lots of money in trying to market a wholesome image. I remember watching a few of those “I’m a mormon” videos and I saw a trend that’s bothersome. All of the testimonies that I watched were specifically designed to appeal to carnal ears.
What do I mean by that? well, they always shows you scenes where they’ve been successful in a worldly sense (having a good home, having new friendships, being at peace with yourself, having a decent career, etc). They want you to associate wordly success with spiritual success. They would’ve hated John the Baptist! [peace be upon him]. He was an ascetic who spent a lot of time in the wilderness. He probably looked unkempt most of the time. I can’t think of any religion, off the top of my head, that is as concerned about it’s image as much as the LDS church.
If everything that felt good/peaceful actually was good, many of us would be gluttonous, lazy, prideful morons who sat on the couch watching reality tv all day. This is one of the main problems with Protestant groups- many put feelings before truth. Why does the US have over 44,000 denominations? Largely because “something didn’t feel right, so let’s start something that does.” Not feeling peaceful about contraception, homosexuality, abortion? No problem. Join a religion that supports it.
Jesus didn’t tell us to follow him skipping and dancing (though we should). He said that we are to pick up our cross and follow him. Crosses aren’t peaceful- they don’t make us feel good. An example- I know, without a doubt, that homosexual “marriage” is wrong. But am I peaceful when I’m being called a bigot, even by my family? Heck no, I’m not peaceful. Does that mean I should drop what I know is truth just so I can feel peaceful at family parties? I thin you know the answer to that.
To your trinity question: I understand the trinity, as in I can explain it. But do I really GET it? Not really. My best analagy is that I am Regina. I’m Regina the daughter, Regina the mom/wife and Regina the teacher. I’m one person with many different parts. But even that isn’t a great analogy. There is a reason why the priest, at mass, says “The mystery of faith.” Some things are just too much for our human brains to comprehend, but we trust and have faith. I’ve been Catholic my entire life, and I’m always learning new things. Some are things that I’ve never heard before, but others are the result of a deepening of understanding. Even though I don’t fully grasp the trinity, and doubt I ever fully will, I get it a lot more than I even did 5 years ago.
The best advice I’ve seen when you are seeking is found in the "Tablet of the True Seeker’:
*When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.
That seeker must, at all times, put his trust in God, must renounce the peoples of the earth, must detach himself from the world of dust, and cleave unto Him Who is the Lord of Lords. He must never seek to exalt himself above any one, must wash away from the tablet of his heart every trace of pride and vain-glory, must cling unto patience and resignation, observe silence and refrain from idle talk. For the tongue is a smoldering fire, and excess of speech a deadly poison. Material fire consumeth the body, whereas the fire of the tongue devoureth both heart and soul. The force of the former lasteth but for a time, whilst the effects of the latter endureth a century.
~ Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 264
Just keep praying for the grace to follow your conscience in all things and to be enlightened of the truth. Keep going to Mass and pray the Rosary. The most important thing is to keep following your conscience and unless you pray you will find yourself not doing this.
Mormonism instills distrust in religion claims, so it is we have to learn to trust again. For myself, I put my trust in the love of God. Which is not to say, turn off your brain. ������ God loves you, desires your peace and happiness, but is not going to force you to believe.
As for the Trinity, personally I believe what God has revealed about Himself. As for saints, well, you don’t have to believe anything about saints to be Catholic. I have my own favorite saints, most are more modern, with my very favorite, Mary Magdalene, because she is a convert, like me, and needed Christ, like me.
Follow Jesus, who.is the love of God personified. Pray, read the Bible, listen to the Word of God.
Recall moments where Jesus came to His disciples, and told them, peace be with you. Live in the peace of Christ, Seek Him first.
The thing about truth though as faithful Catholics believe it to be, is when you get right down to it, the bottom line is still one must accept, believe, have faith in Catholic Church teaching and interpretations and in the Church’s teaching authority. Without such acceptance or faith or belief, one doesn’t arrive at the belief that they know the truth. All the reading and study one can do only takes someone so far. One still must have the faith in and acceptance of Catholicism as the truth to believe they’ve found it. I do think that is something anyone such as someone in the OP’s shoes must come to terms with who seek the truth the Catholic Church professes to have. It still takes some degree or a leap of faith at some point.
This excerpt from My Daily Bread, by Anthony J. Paone, S.J. might be useful.
MY CHILD, he who believes My words possesses the truth. I have spoken to the world; firstly, through man’s conscience, secondly through the Prophets, thirdly, through My personal life on earth, and finally through My Church.
My Church continues My work on earth. Her voice is My voice, and Her authority was given to Her by Me. “He that heareth you, heareth Me,” I told My Apostles. They still carry on My work through their legitimate successors. The Scriptures and the Traditions would have been subject to errors and misinterpretations, if I had not left an infallible Church.
Do not be surprised if you cannot understand all that I teach. As the intelligence of adults is greater than that of a child, so too is My Divine Intelligence far above that of mortal men.
He who believes only what he can understand is limiting himself to a very small portion of the Truth which I revealed. Human reason is weak, and it may be deceived in many things, That is why I told My Church to teach “what I have commanded,” promising to preserve Her from error. Had I not made these promises, you would have no way of being sure that you are following My words correctly. Only to My Church did I grant a guarantee from error. “He that heareth you, heareth Me,” I told My Apostles. The world today needs that guarantee more than ever. And therefore My promise still stands.
I do not demand great intelligence. I ask only for faith in My words and loyalty to My Will. I will not deny My grace to any man who is willing to pray and labor for My gift of faith.
God wants faith and a holy life. Whatever I cannot understand, I can safely believe on His word. He cannot deceive me because He is the Fountain of all truth. When I take God’s word, I am performing the most intelligent act possible to man. I can learn God’s thoughts and holy Will by learning the doctrines and commands which His Son placed in His holy Church. Christ speaks to me through His Church. He teaches me His unerring view of life and offers me His holy peace. In His sacraments He gives me His own heavenly strength to avoid what is wrong and to do what is right."
I also recently started reading “The Orthodox Way” by Bishop Kallistos Ware and want to share something Bishop Ware says at the beginning of his book that I think might be helpful. As LDS we “knew” the truth. It is a struggle to no longer have that certainty.
"Faith in God, then, is not at all the same as the kind of logical certainty that we attain in Euclidean geometry. God is not the conclusion to a process of reasoning, the solution to a mathematical problem. To believe in God is not to accept the possibility of his existence because it has been ‘proved’ to us by some theoretical argument, but it is to put our trust in One whom we know and love. Faith is not the supposition that something might be true, but the assurance that someone is there.
"Because faith is not logical certainty but a personal relationship, and because this personal relationship is as yet very incomplete in each of us and needs continually to develop further, it is by no means impossible for faith to coexist with doubt. The two are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps there are some who by God’s grace retain throughout their life the faith of a little child, enabling them to accept without question all that they have been taught. For most of those living in the West today, however, such an attitude is simply not possible. We have to make our own cry, ‘Lord, I believe: help my unbelief’ (Mark 9:24). For very many of us this will remain our constant prayer right up to the very gates of death. Yet doubt does not in itself signify lack of faith. It may mean the opposite - that our faith is alive and growing. For faith implies not complacency but taking risks, not shutting ourselves off from the unknown but advancing boldly to meet it. Here an Orthodox Christian may readily make his own the words of Bishop J.A.T. Robinson: ‘The act of faith is a constant dialogue with doubt.’ As Thomas Merton rightly says, ‘Faith is a principle of questioning and struggle before it becomes a principle of certitude and peace.’
“Faith, then, signifies a personal relationship with God; a relationship as yet incomplete and faltering, yet none the less real. It is to know God not as a theory or an abstract principle, but as a person. To know a person is far more than to know facts about that person. To know a person is essentially to love him or her; there can be no true awareness of other persons without mutual love.”
Hi. You have discovered something very unique when you felt peace at mass. Remembering that the mass is a unique worship since not everyone can celebrate it unless by an ordained consecrated minister of Christ, the priest, what happens in the mass is mind boggling. The passion and the death of the Lord being ‘reenacted’ all over again, but more importantly, his real presence in the awesome an hour worship. He personally speaks to us in the Gospel reading and personally be broken and eaten in the Eucharistic bread and wine.
The feeling of peace at the mass can amount to one thing - Jesus is present and He gives us peace just like he said (in the Gospel).
Build on that experience for that certainly was a grace of God for you and perhaps a gentle nudge to tell you God knows about you, he knows what you have gone through and therefore wants you to come to him. You did when yo go to the mass and he made his presence felt when you experienced that peace. It was indeed a reaffirmation for you.
The next step would be, perhaps like most of us who did not always automatically believe in every doctrines of the Church, is to surrender yourself, to believe. “Lord, I believe, even though I cannot know and understand, but please help me to believe.”
The road to believing is really not so much to try to do research and to understand, though these are important, but more so in making the decision to believe and then surrendering our mind to it and allow God, by his grace, to give us peace in that belief.
“How do I find peace in religion?” You don’t. You find it in a Person, God incarnate, Jesus Christ. You will find peace in the living God and if one’s “religion” does not establish the means for a relationship with the living God then it is pointless, even if it makes one feel comfy.
You have been given some very good answers here, especially by former Mormons. Begin with trust in God and then see how it all fits together.
I think you can be at peace, but I am not sure you can find peace in religion. Peace is internal it what is within you, we will all be challenged in our lives - how react to those challenges is how you can be at peace or not at peace.
Peace can only be after being justified in an instant by the Gospel of Jesus , receive his gift of grace alone through faith alone in the death on the cross and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah , also the Trinity is taught in literally hundreds of verses , and every believer is a saint , lastly forgive those who have taught you wrongly , and give them the gospel.
The great Doctor of the Church St. Augustine of Hippo spent over 30 years working on his treatise De Trinitate [about the Holy Trinity], endeavoring to conceive an intelligible explanation for the mystery of the Trinity.
St Augustine with the boy on the beach
Augustine meets a boy on the beach
He was walking by the seashore one day contemplating and trying to understand the mystery of the Holy Trinity when he saw a small boy running back and forth from the water to a spot on the seashore. The boy was using a sea shell to carry the water from the ocean and place it into a small hole in the sand.
The Bishop of Hippo approached him and asked, “My boy, what are doing?”
“I am trying to bring all the sea into this hole,” the boy replied with a sweet smile.
“But that is impossible, my dear child, the hole cannot contain all that water” said Augustine.
The boy paused in his work, stood up, looked into the eyes of the Saint, and replied, “It is no more impossible than what you are trying to do – comprehend the immensity of the mystery of the Holy Trinity with your small intelligence.”
The Saint was absorbed by such a keen response from that child, and turned his eyes from him for a short while. When he glanced down to ask him something else, the boy had vanished.
Some say that it was an Angel sent by God to teach Augustine a lesson on pride in learning. Others affirm it was the Christ Child Himself who appeared to the Saint to remind him of the limits of human understanding before the great mysteries of our Faith.