Frameworks #2: A Personal Faith

Posted on July 30, 2008 by

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This is a follow-up to my post about gospel frameworks.

One advantage of separating frameworks from principles is that it gives room for individual expressions in a highly centralized church. By separating underlying gospel principles from personal frameworks for applying those principles, we give each other space to live the gospel as we understand it.

I find this sentiment expressed in President Kimball’s book Faith Precedes the Miracle. He tells the story of a young married couple (I’ll call them John and Martha, I don’t remember the names he used.) John and Martha came to Pres. Kimball for counsel on their doctrinal differences — John thought Martha’s liberal views on the gospel were apostate, and Martha thought John’s conservative bent was overbearing zeal. Pres. Kimball’s response was that Martha was not an apostate, nor was John a zealot. Both were sincerely living the  gospel as they understood it. The take-away message for me here is that the path may be narrow, but it’s not a tightrope.

A similar modern-day story can be found with Joy Gabriel. Joy tells her story of learning that she could hold different doctrinal opinions than her mother while still being true to her faith. She was able to take the true principles of the gospel and put them into her own framework.

I think the oft-quoted phrase of the prophet Joseph applies well here:

I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled. (WoJS 183-184)

We know that “…all have not every gift given unto them; for there are many gifts, and to every man is given a gift by the Spirit of God.” I believe that, since we each have different gifts, we also each have different needs. These needs are based on universal principles that apply to everyone, but find unique expression in each of us. I don’t want to give the impression that gospel frameworks give us license to ignore those principles. Rather, they allow us to live them fully and sincerely.

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