I recently read an essay by Eugene England that talked about how the Church is as true as the gospel. It gave me pause, because people tend to talk about how the gospel is perfect and the Church is not because it is run by imperfect people. While indeed it is run by imperfect people, the writer of this article talked about how that is what makes the Church so perfect. It groups together imperfect people and makes them work together. England recounts about moving to a very small branch and his experiences there. England states:
“I soon became involved in a religious life that was practical, specific, sacrificial, exasperating—and more satisfying. And I saw, more clearly than before, how true the Church is as an instrument for confronting all kinds of people with the processes of salvation, despite—even because of—its management by imperfect instruments like me.”
If the point of the gospel is to bring us closer to Christ, the Church is an instrument in allowing us to do that. It is because of our participation in the Church that we are able to interact with those we would not normally and serve in ways that put us out of our comfort zone. As the England says, that religious life is above all else, satisfying.
So what does it take to really utilize the Church to become more like Christ? First of all, I believe that it takes stepping out of our comfort zone. I’m become somewhat of a comfort zone junkie. I tend to stick to my routines and not much else because it’s what I’m used to. I don’t normally make first contact with people- I wait for them to reach out to me. I used to be the opposite, and I’m trying my hardest to get back to that old self, because I truly believe that being the person who reaches out is what blesses our lives ultimately. I think another thing we need to do to allow the Church to work for us is to allow it to serve us. We aren’t a part of the Church simply to serve others. It is meant to uplift and serve us. But, this circles back to the initial point, in order to be served, you need to be known in the ward, be open and honest about life. As Mormons we tend to buckle all our problems under our belt and never let people know that we’re struggling. There is no point to this. Open up, and be honest.
I believe that as we serve within the Church and see the Church for the wonderful tool that it is in our lives, we will more fully understand the gospel in a practical sense.