Apparently it's also a day of soliciting. We had one woman come by selling newspaper subscriptions, the proceeds of which would go to sponsor her through school, I think. She said she was in foster care, too, so it would have been really hard to say no, except for the fact that we're currently broke. And I think I already have a subscription to the LA Times. Sigh.
We also had a visit from some very adorable, very sincere Baptists, inviting more people to come to their church. The first man who came to our door didn't speak any English, so he called his son over, but then, since they're supposed to have women talk to women, they called a couple of other high school girls over. It was super cute.
It also brought up some interesting things to think about. Their message was basically, from what I understand, this: Everyone is a sinner so we would all be doomed to hell if Jesus Christ hadn't come along and saved us. So far, I'm with them.
What I couldn't quite get behind was the idea that all you had to do to avoid going to hell was to read their little statement out loud, basically confessing your belief in Christ and asking Him to save you. I mean, I totally agree that faith in Christ is the way to salvation, but if that's all you have to do, what happens if I read that statement, so I'm technically saved, and then I go rob a bank? Am I still saved, or do I have to read that statement again? Then what if I just keep repeating the cycle?
I've actually heard stories of stuff like that happening with LDS people, too. We believe that baptism symbolically wipes away your sins, but since you're bound to sin again, we take the sacrament each week to renew those covenants, and it has pretty much the same effect as baptism. So I've heard stories about people who would take the sacrament, go and do something they know is wrong, and be like, "That's okay; I'll just take the sacrament again and it'll be fine." It's not fine, because if you don't mean it when you make the covenant to always keep the commandments and try to be a better person, then making the covenant is meaningless. Except that now you're making a covenant that you're deliberately breaking, which is a really jerky thing to do.
Anyway, I guess the point is, we do believe that grace is vital, and that without the atonement, you could be the best person in the world and still be damned. But we also believe that it's our choices that make us who we are, and if we want to be the kind of people that feel comfortable being surrounded by the kind of people who would be in the highest heaven, we're going to have to work for it. In other words, it's not about grace or works--it's about grace and works.
Today I'm thankful for getting to sleep in this morning, the chance to have a vacation from our vacation, finally being caught up on our Fairy Tail watching, not having to go to church early tomorrow (we were going to rehearse a special musical number for sacrament meeting, but it's been postponed), and Gaston buying us whole milk and string cheese.