"I have searched high and low for fifteen years and I still cannot find one religion practiced by mankind today that has remained faithful to God's message of truth." -The Truth: About the Five Primary Religions by Laurel.When times are tough and the chips are down many of us turn to religion. But the sobering fact is that even religion has demons to wrestle and skeletons to hide, so what then do we do? Where do we go? Meet Laurel, the author of The Truth and a spiritual seeker going on 16 years. She, like many others, turned towards religion in search of answers, in search of Truth. What is Truth? Is it found in religion, and if not, where?
Before I crack open any book on religion and spirituality, I like to know a bit about the author. I didn't have to look to far since Laurel spells out her life story in the first few pages. I've got to admit, retelling her life story seemed a bit too personal, but after giving it some thought not only do I find this necessary to connect with the reader but I do the exact same thing when I meet a stranger and attempt to spell out my beliefs. Regardless, she is a passionate seeker who began her quest after being hurt by life's injustices which cracked opened her heart, mind, and soul to God. True seekers approach inter-faith studies with an open and thirsty mind devouring not only scripture but histories, biographies, and commentaries of the early believers. In her 15 years of study, Laurel has come to the conclusion that the religions of the world has taken a perverse turn leading away from the Divine. Humanity has gone through four shifts in our collective consciousness, she calls Spiritual Paradigms, and we are on the verge of a fifth. Before mankind can move into the fifth we must understand where religion went wrong, which Laurel states in two major points:
- Religion has failed in assisting us to develop a relationship with the Divine and lead us toward higher spiritual vistas
- Religion was to be our model for demonstrating unconditional universal compassion and love for one another. (p.21)
Laurel devotes one third of the book to a brief understanding of the prophets and their message. This is where I felt a bit unsatisfied over the imbalance of material towards the Western religions, but the detailed issues brought up in the section on Christian and Muslim Prophets was incredibly enlightening. Without sounding like a broken record, a lot of the material covered in this section was review for me but there is A LOT of ground to cover and Laurel does a phenomenal job of introducing the reader to the basic teachings and tenets of the five faiths: Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. I can relate to the author as she cautiously delves into the section of the Christians Prophets and spells out her fears in questioning the very roots of her beliefs. With over 80 pages dedicated to the Christian prophets it seems like she poured an enormous amount of time, energy, and spiritual growth into tackling the foundation of her faith. Yet as she delves into the revelations the prophets brought to mankind, Laurel weaves their foundational truths together into what she calls our Tower of Truth. Throughout history, each messenger built upon the tower of man's spiritual knowledge adding their message upon the preceding messengers. It was then I realized the similarities between her Tower of Truth and the teachings of Bahá'í, the 19th century monotheistic religion which espouses a message of unity and universal acceptance of all religious faiths. Thus far she has not mentioned Bahá'í, yet I do not think she is attempting to convince the reader that any one faith contains the Truth, but only if we strive to seek the foundational truths at the core of our religious faiths we would then uncover a sense of spirituality which would lead us to The Truth.