I was reading this book which served, for me, as a great introduction to the Orthodox faith called The Law of God. The book essentially is a non-scholarly explanation of the church’s theology and practices. So far, I’ve enjoyed reading it very much.
While read, though, I stumbled upon a beautiful prayer that is found inside.
The Prayer of the Publican.
God Be Merciful To Me A Sinner.
This is the prayer of the publican (tax collector) who repented of his sins and received forgiveness. It is taken from the parable of the Saviour which He once told people for their instruction. Here is the parable. Two men went to the Temple to pray. One of them was a pharisee, the other a publican. The pharisee stood in front of everyone and prayed to God in this way: “I give Thee thanks, O God, that I am not such a sinful person as that publican. I give a tenth of my possessions to the poor, I fast twice a week.” But the publican, realizing that he was a sinner, stood at the entrance to the Temple and did not even dare to lift his eyes to Heaven. He struck himself on the breast and said: “God be merciful to me a sinner!” The prayer of the publican was more acceptable and pleasing to God than that of the proud pharisee because the publican was humble and remembered to ask for forgiveness.
This reminds me of a verse that is actually found in the Book of Mormon. Alma 38:14.
Do not say: O God, I thank thee that we are better than our brethren; but rather say: O Lord, forgive my unworthiness, and remember my brethren in mercy—yea, acknowledge your unworthiness before God at all times.
It also reminds me of the sublime teachings in Alma 1:26.
And when the priests left their labor to impart the word of God unto the people, the people also left their labors to hear the word of God. And when the priest had imparted unto them the word of God they all returned again diligently unto their labors; and the priest, not esteeming himself above his hearers, for the preacher was no better than the hearer, neither was the teacher any better than the learner; and thus they were all equal, and they did all labor, every man according to his strength.
There’s a lot more that could be said about Gods sublime teachings. But I will only add one more pertaining to Mormonism. When Joseph Smith was put into Liberty Jail, he wrote a letter to Isaac Galland, is which Joseph wrote that
Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter Day Saints, is truth. . . . the first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same; we feel ourselves bound by the laws of God, to observe and do strictly, with all our hearts, all things whatsoever is manifest unto us by the highest degree of testimony that God has committed us, as written in the old and new Testament, or any where else, by any manifestation, whereof we know that it has come from God: and has application to us, being adapted to our situation and circumstances; age, and generation of life; and that we have a perfect, and indefeasible right, to embrace all such commandments, and do them; knowing, that God will not command anything, but what is peculiarly adapted in itself, to ameliorate the condition of every man under whatever circumstances it may find him, it matters not what kingdom or country he may be in.
Echoing this teaching of Joseph Smith, I too, want to embrace every bit of truth that I can. Whether that truth is found the the East Orthodox Church, the Catholic Church, Protestantism, or even Mormonism. Let truth come from where it may in whatever shape or form.