Filed under: Jesus Christ, Joseph Smith, Mormon Church, Mormon Doctrine
I traveled to Italy in December, to visit family and friends with my son Luca, who had just come home from his mission in Boston. We visited Rome, among other places, and obviously the Vatican. While in Rome and in Italy in general, my eyes met several times the symbol of the catholic religion, and of other Christian churches, the Crucifix.
I then remembered the feeling I had the first time I was in an apartment of the Mormon missionaries. That day (sometimes in December of 1984) I had accepted their challenge to be baptized in the Mormon church, and my mom was absolutely contrary to that.
In fact, she had challenged me to leave her home or give up the idea of becoming a member of the Mormon church. I had then decided to leave my home but without really knowing where to go. Having in my hands a pamphlet with the address of the missionaries, I had decided to go talk with them. I arrived there around 10 pm and they offered me to stay with them for the night. The first thing I noticed in their apartment was that on the top of their bed there wasn’t a crucifix, but a picture of Jesus resurrected.
That had a profound impact on me. What a different feeling brings to you to see a picture of Jesus resurrected – in this case a representation of his Second Coming, than a crucifix. Not that in the Church we do not believe or we do not give importance to the fact that Jesus suffered for us, on the contrary, but it is important to realize that is His victory over death and sin that should be the symbol of our religion, and not his death and suffering.
I understand that many can have different taking on this matter, but for me that was another step toward understanding and accepting the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. In harmony with this experience I like the focus given in the church about not only working for our happiness in the future life, but about how keeping the commandments in this life will allow us to experience true happiness right now, and not only in the future worlds. Suffering is a “necessary evil” not the purpose of our lives here on earth.
This quote from Joseph Smith well explain this doctrine:
Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God.