One of my very best friends has a beautiful and intimate relationship with God, but she could not comprehend the limited Christian caricature of Jesus Christ or His present relevance. She was meeting with missionaries of the LDS church off and on for four years and then more earnestly in 2017. We would have long, deep discussions on all sorts of spiritual topics.
My friend was fully on-board with everything she learned from the missionaries and in church meetings, which she attended regularly. She liked the sense of community, values, and morals. But she has a very hard time with understanding why Jesus Christ was so important. Why was He needed at all?
I know that seems like such a drastic contradiction:
“Christianity really speaks to me…except the Jesus part”
The fruits of the Spirit are familiar and sweet. We all have the light of Christ within us to lead us home. It only makes sense that we would be naturally drawn to true doctrine, even without a full comprehension of everything at once.
Jesus is key in the Plan of Salvation. Trying to answer her question, I’d reason through why He is important. We’d talk in terms of Karma and unpaid debts. My friend thought that He is only necessary for people who have a guilt problem. For those who could let the past go, who learn and move on, they wouldn’t need a Savior to expunge their guilt.
“Bible Jesus is limited to small cross section of humanity. He lived thousands of years ago and all of the stories are from a small strip of land on the other side of the world. He is not relevant to me”
Sometime mid-2017 I had a dream that I was at a BYU Education Week style conference. There was a class called, “Identities of Jesus Christ throughout the world”.
The poster board outside the hall advertised that the lecture was going to present evidence that Jesus personally visited peoples in other parts of the world after His resurrection. This is consistent with what He told disciples: (John 6:26)
And other sheep I have which are not of this fold. Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd.
Being familiar with the connection of Jesus to Quetzalcoatl in South America, I was very interested to learn more. He was, and still is, worshiped by people worldwide albeit by different names.
With mounting excitement, I crossed the threshold into the lecture hall, and as I did I woke up. My anger and irritation upon awakening was bizarre considering that I consciously knew it had all been a dream.
While in bed, and the dream memory still fresh, I grabbed my phone and did a Google search using the name of the class from my dream. My first hit was a brief article identifying different religious and mythical figures citing parallels to Jesus Christ. It confirmed the truth that had been conveyed in my dream: Jesus can be found everywhere. This began an earnest investigation with ongoing confirmation that all religions can be tied back to one original.
To capture the things I was learning I began a blog. The blog has since converted into this website for greater versatility, organization, and now collaboration.
Several weeks later and after hours of additional research I shared with my friend Jesus’ connection within every major religious belief system, either actively practiced or long since dead. She personally feels more connection to Buddha having statues of him in her house and garden. As I shared more and more of what I had found, it finally clicked. The Savior became global, relevant and she accepted Him. Not just as the Bible Jesus, but everywhere. She recognized that she already had a deep and meaningful connection with Him, just by another name.
She was baptized into the LDS church just as I was mentally finding my way out, but that’s another story. She didn’t drink the Brighamite Kool-Aid and is well aware that the church is deeply flawed. Her spiritual practice is still very unorthodox as far as the corporate church is concerned. But she loves God, accepts Jesus, and appreciates the community that the members of the church provide.
Despite finally having the missing key to help my friend understand and accept the Savior, my investigation and study into religious correlation did not end. Crossing the threshold into the lecture hall in my dream turned out to be a very real transition in my life. One that has profoundly impacted my belief system and relationship with the divine. The end of that dream was really only the beginning of so much more.