The Prophet Joseph Smith was often asked, “What are the fundamental principles of your religion?”
“The fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it.”
("Who is Jesus Christ?"; Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 49)
Last Wednesday night, I asked the missionaries and WP, to share with me what they thought was the most important doctrine/idea/teaching that was essential in the LDS church. A few days later, I went and opened up my March edition of the Ensign. It was still in it's wrapping, not even opened. While reading the article, "Who is Jesus Christ?" I found the above statement by Joseph Smith. And found so much peace in it.
As fed up as I am by the denominations, preferences, and everything else right now - I began to think about how there is a difference between an essential and a preference.
I think back over the last couple of years and have realized two major things:
1. I've never known the lasting amazing peace as a Protestant Christian that I knew as a Mormon. The grace I had in my life, the transformation of who I was and who God was refining me to be - it all was so amazing and awesome. It's a time in my life that I can only describe as filled with peace and grace.
2. The personal relationship I've had with God in the last year has greatly increased. Steve and I describe it like going to Costco on a Saturday vs enjoying the full buffet.
I feel like the more I've been out of the LDS church, the more grace I have lost, the less peace I've had, and the more I know there is something missing.
“And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—
“That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;
“That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him” (D&C 76:40–42).
The rest of it - all these denominations and everything else that our SIN puts in the way, are just unimportant. They're man made walls, not God given boundaries.