I was born into a Spanish speaking family who were the descendants of the early explorers (Columbus, Coronado, Balboa, etc.). My parents were Catholic and made sure that all their kids went to confession every week and attended Catechism. There were seven in our family, so we kept the priests busy. It was hard for me to come up with real sins every week, so I had to invent a few white lies. I was an altar boy for many years and volunteered for weddings and funerals because you could always count on tips from the families. I was seeking more truths as I grew up and went through stages of doubt, agnosticism, atheism, and then periods when I just accepted the fact that all religions were designed for old people who needed a crutch.
My life changed after being taught by two sister missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It required a major adjustment in my life of smoking, drinking, and Sabbath breaking. I was excited when the missionaries invited our family to the stake center. I was expecting a night of feasting on steaks cooked by the Mormons. There was a lot of feasting, but unfortunately or fortunately, it was on the scriptures. The Church offered me the truths that I had been seeking all my life. I was excited to learn from President Eyring’s grandfather that you did not have to believe anything in the Church that was not true. Brigham Young said that there is no difference between true religion and true science. I had learned early that I could find truths in science and now I had the opportunity to learn the truths of religion.
Below are five reasons I believe in God:
1. I believe in God because new truths have been revealed to me since joining the Church.As a thinking person, I have a responsibility to accept only things that are true. In science, truths are proven through the scientific method; in scripture, truths are revealed through the prophets. Amos 3:7 states unequivocally:
“Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.”Galileo Galilei, an early pioneer scientist said:
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”The gospel of Jesus Christ requires that we be fully engaged in continuous learning. The philosophies of men mixed with scripture or science is a poor way to discover any truth.
2. I believe in God because everything from quarks to universes testifies that there is a Supreme Creator involved.Everything that we witness in the universe, the solar system, and the earth reveals the presence of God. Alma 30:44 related to Korihor:
“Thou hast had signs enough; will ye tempt your God? Will ye say, Show unto me a sign, when ye have the testimony of all these thy brethren, and also all the holy prophets? The scriptures are laid before thee, yea, and all things denote there is a God; yea, even the earth, and all things that are upon the face of it, yea, and its motion, yea, and also all the planets which move in their regular form do witness that there is a Supreme Creator.”Even the early prophets talked about the movement of planets!
3. I believe in God because of the great love that I feel in the Church.This love comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus commanded us to love one another the way He loves us. His love is perfect. God expects us to love ourselves, our families and every person on earth the way He loves them. I love my wife and family and pray every day that I will learn to love them the way Jesus loves them.
4. I believe in God because of the clarity in the gospel.If man created God, He is a mere idea and the winners in life are the philosophers. If God made man, His existence should be pursued with all the intensity of one's capability. Questions should be asked of everything. For example, how did all that we observe today arise? Did the universe expand from something smaller than an atom and grow into everything that we see? Were Adam and Eve our first ancestors, or did they evolve from lower life forms? Was there a plan that was designed and executed by a Master Creator, or is everything we see and experience the result of random chance? Does anything come from nothingness? The answers are very clear in the scriptures. Man is the capstone of the creation.
5. I believe in God because science does not have the answers to the mysteries of life.I am convinced that life is not an accident and did not occur spontaneously. Evolution is not the key to understanding the beginning of all living things. Man did not crawl out from under a rock or evolve through the excruciatingly slow process of natural selection. The scriptures have taught me to distinguish between opinion and fact. The scriptures teach truths about our first parents and the world in which we live. When one embraces only truths, science and scripture are more in agreement than they are in disagreement. There is a plan in all that we observe. The mysteries of the universe, the solar system, the earth, and all living matter are made clear in either science or scripture. When one removes the philosophies of men and accepts only what is proven or revealed, the picture is as clear as the sun at noonday. Events don’t just happen without a reason, and things don’t appear spontaneously without a cause.
I love the Lord Jesus Christ. I have a strong testimony of the Gospel and expect to keep learning through the eternities.
Thomas E. Baca is a thirteenth generation New Mexican whose hobbies include writing, photography, genealogy, gardening and restoring old automobiles. He attended New Mexico State University, the University of New Mexico, and the University of Minnesota where he graduated with a MPH in environmental science. He married Patricia Gibson of Quanah, Texas, and raised two children. They have five grandchildren and two great grandsons. They have been married for 46 years. Tom served as Director of the New Mexico Environment Improvement Agency; Associate Vice President for Administrative Services at the University of Arizona; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense - Environment, Department of Defense; Vice President, Environmental Technologies and Systems for BDM International, Inc.; Division Director at Los Alamos National Laboratory; Vice President Material Management for Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site; and Senior Technical Manager for CH2M Hill, Inc. Tom is currently retired and free lancing as a writer, gardener, and photographer. He is an author of the 2014 book, In the Beginning: Did God Create Man or Did Man Create God?