Is living the commmandments of God, and being part of Christ’s church, only good for some and not others? Does it do some harm and help some more because of the type of people they are? Is it just something you choose, like the sort of food you eat or school you attend, or the city you live in? Is church just unhealthy for some, and they’re better off without it?
I can see how this perspective can arise, if you’re looking at church as just ‘church’ – a cultural phenomenon, filled with difficult and flawed people who do, sometimes, do each other harm. If you see being part of it as following and agreeing with rules and customs developed over time within that culture – with maybe a bit of good spiritual direction thrown in. It might arise if you thought the actual doctrine taught there was true, and then things around you kept going bad; your life didn’t turn out the way you hoped, despite continually trying to do the right thing and keeping all these rules. If you gave it a good shot, and then felt tired, discouraged, and at the point of wondering whether it was all worth it.
What sort of God do you believe in?
If you believe in God, what kind of God do you believe in? If it’s a God who is omniscient and full of perfect love and all other good attributes, it follows that everything He commands is good. So all of His commandments are good for everyone.
People can choose not to follow them, but it’s not because those commandments aren’t right for them. It’s because they don’t want to follow them. They’ve chosen a different way, but they can’t choose the natural consequences of not keeping these commandments.
God’s commandments are expressions of eternal law/realities. He translates them into principles, along with actions for us to take and ways for us to be, based on those laws. As an omniscient God who created us, He knows exactly what leads to happiness and what leads to misery. As a perfectly loving God, He gives commandments that will actually lead us to happiness and away from misery. His commandments aren’t arbitrary, or good only for some. They work for everyone, because they’re based on eternal realities.
Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh (i.e. in mortality); and all things are given them which are expedient unto man (i.e. we have everything we need to choose well). And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil…2 Nephi 2:27
There are only these two choices, fundamentally: liberty and eternal life (yes! who wouldn’t want this one?!) or captivity and death. Two paths to follow; two masters to serve. There’s no ‘third choice’, where you can un-choose God and following eternal law, but not choose the devil and captivity. You must choose God, or Satan. Life, or death. If you un-choose God, you necessarily choose Satan and death. Whether you think that’s what you’re doing or not.
To not believe this means necessarily not believing in God. Or a type of God who is not good. Why would you believe in that kind of God? What point would there be? Rather believe in none.
So the question is not, Is this commandment good for me, or just for you? – Maybe it only makes you happy, but not me – but, Do I believe in God?
I think this is really what it comes down to. I think that saying these things are good for some and not others is an excuse for wanting to do things that are against His commandments, or to not have to do things which go with them. Perhaps because a person has already made decisions which are against them, and wants to feel justified in them, or because he/she wants to do other things, or wants to have less restrictions on them, or not have to try so hard to be a particular kind of person and do particular things – things which are so different, often, from the rest of the world. Wouldn’t it be easier to live like they do? Am I really happier by living this way?
Again, the answer is, do you believe in God? If yes, then the above holds true. You have to keep His commandments. There are no two ways about it. Because His way leads to peace, happiness, power, fulfillment, love, beauty, truth, wisdom, etc. Whatever it looks like from here, that’s what you buy into when you trust God – because it looks quite different to Him; He sees everything, and knows all the connections. You trust Him that it’s all true, that doing all these hard things is the only right choice and will lead to all the good things above.
If the answer is no, I don’t believe in God (and we’ve seen that it can’t be ‘believing’ in a God who doesn’t exist; one who apparently lets you do less or differently), then do whatever you like. Live like other people who don’t believe, or pretend to believe – but don’t expect results different to eternal realities. If God’s way is the way to eternal life, any other way leads away from it.