The plethora of articles I’ve been seeing on the web lately about Mormons are missing a very vital something. They range from how Mormons try to keep the rules and stay cool, how we are leaving the church, our strangest beliefs, that Mormon doctrine is too complex for sound bites, or how the Book of Mormon is great Christian fan fiction.
These are all interesting ideas, but to me these articles are missing the essence of what makes being a Mormon so great. In an attempt to seem evenhanded, they never reach understanding. They never talk about what Mormonism means to the heart of the believer. They want to understand a religion from facts when religion exists in faith, feelings, and Spirit. It’s as much something you feel as something you think about.
Mormonism has changed and is changing my life. It brings me community, scripture, service, healing, and closeness to God.
I feel community in classes as in Sunday School last week when we talked about Nephi’s journey in the Book of Mormon, our own journeys in life, the hard things that can happen, the difficulty of knowing the way, and the different ways we can get inspiration from God. It seemed as if we all felt together a mutual understanding of and compassion for each other’s difficult paths.
The LDS Church also gives me scripture. Feeling some doubts about the Book of Mormon, I reread it last year. This year I am reading the Doctrine of Covenants (another book unique to Mormonism). I have come to feel a simple peace about these books no matter my questions. Spending time within their covers brings me to a place where I can work out my feelings with God.
One of the most important tenants of the Mormon faith is the worth of every soul. I grew up being taught the importance of people and watched my mother, particularly, in her ability to love and care about people no matter their social position or race. The LDS Church emphasizes the importance of caring for each other and offers countless opportunities to serve church members and the community. Caring about other people is at the heart of our faith.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also brings me healing because it is a church of Christ. The Atonement, Christ’s suffering for our mistakes and pains, is God’s greatest gift. His power allows change. I am in awe at the changes that I have seen within myself in the last five years as I have continually turned to God and my Savior for help. The Atonement makes up for my imperfections, the Church’s imperfections, and for the things in life that seem irreconcilable. No hurt is too great for the Savior to heal.
Then there is my relationship with God, my Heavenly Father, which is the greatest thing in my life. It came through this faith. I feel so often his compelling strength and love. I can talk to him about anything and know he will understand. He hears my frustrations, knows my faults, and still loves me. I feel his patient, comforting guidance towards the direction that will bring me the most growth.
You don’t have to agree with us about what we believe. You don’t have to think we are Christian. You can find our practices odd or strange or have issues about our history. Please, though, understand how precious the LDS Church is to the heart of a believer.