Media Attention Misses the Heart of Mormonism

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.

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8 Responses to Media Attention Misses the Heart of Mormonism

  1. Natalie says:

    Spot on. One of my favorites of yours to date Abalyn.

  2. I_Come_In_Peace says:

    I enjoyed reading your piece.

    I was hoping I could get your perspective on faith. At times in my life I have been a devout believer in God. I have also had my moments of doubt and uncertainty. I have several friends who are atheist or uninterested in the divine and one problem they have with faith is that there are many adherents to many different religions who proclaim very different truths. I assume why they believe in their religion is the very same reason why you believe in yours: faith (although I’m sure there are other factors at play: family/community pressure, blind faith, etc.) How then do you know what is true faith? Faith that will lead you to the truth.

    • Abalyn says:

      Wow, what a beautiful question.

      I want to respond right away, but I’m sure I’ll have a better answer later on as I think about it more.

      To some extent, I think faith is actually universal among religions. When someone shares with me their deepest beliefs (without arguing, bashing, defensiveness), no matter the religion, I feel respect and understanding. There is a certain peace and love that comes from true believers of all faiths that is godly. I believe whatever needs to happen so that people like that can go to heaven in the next life is going to happen. I don’t leave atheists out of that category either.

      True faith for me requires openness, and I think openness is also one way to think of faith. You have to start with the assumption that God could exist to be able to talk with him. Sometimes faith is said to start with hope in the scriptures; you hope God is true. Probably an easier way to think of it is that you are in an open position where God could be there and he could not be there, a church could be true and it could not be true. This is what agnostic is, perhaps. Another phrase in the scriptures for approaching God is “a broken heart and contrite spirit” which means being teachable, or again open. Open to learning, to whatever might be true, to how God will talk to you. From this state of openness, you then try to reach out to God for answers: you pray and ask him if he is there, if this or that church is true. The thing is, even if you don’t get an answer right away, leaving that state of openness will never allow you to gain one. When God does talk to you, you have that knowledge and that can help you to stay faithful, stay open, that he will answer your question the next time. This cycle continues, of answers and remaining hopeful. Sometimes I may fill stuck in the waiting for answers part, but I’ve never had him not eventually talk to me. Staying faithful is staying open.

      To some extent though, I can’t tell you what true faith will be for you. You also have to search it out for yourself and see how it feels inside of you. It is such an internal thing.

      Did that help?

  3. Michelle says:

    I really enjoyed this piece. And that last paragraph sums it all up so beautifully. (Will be sharing it!)

  4. Pingback: The Heart of Mormonism | Mormon Women - About LDS Life and Belief

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  6. Fuzzybones says:

    As I see it’ there is a God or there isn’t one comes down to more than believing. Many people believe in the big bang theory. This phenomenon caused the possibility of an infinite everything you can conceive of happening. So if infinite WE are part of that creation why not an infinite number of God like beings and satanic types. Otherwise it wasn’t infinite.

  7. Pingback: Mormonism in the News: Getting It Right | Meridian Magazine

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