today i had a song that i learned as a child stuck in my head. it goes like this:
"i belong to the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints. i know who i am. i know god’s plan. i’ll follow him in faith. i believe in the saviour jesus christ. i’ll follow his name. i’ll do what is right, i’ll follow his light. his truth i will proclaim!”
every time i think of those verses i am struck with a hollowing gratitude for my faith. and when i meet people and they realize i am a mormon, i look them dead in the eye and say with all the fire i can muster, “i love being a mormon. it is the best thing in my life.” i am passionate about a lot of things, but there is nothing i am more passionate about than the restored gospel of jesus christ.
here are a few reasons why i love being a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints (certainly not a complete or exhaustive list): may it be noted that i know people of all faiths and no faith find these blessings in many other ways and not all of these are only applicable in connection with my religion.
1. i really and deeply feel that i have found truth, that i have found answers to the most earnest human questions of the heart. i understand my purpose in life, i have great hope for the future and the life to come, i know where i came from and who i am and who god is and that there’s a plan to all the craziness of mortality. i have peace in my heart because i am confident that all that is wrong and unfair about the world will be made right. with all my soul i believe that because of jesus christ i (and anyone) can be healed from any hurt and any mistake can be righted. i understand god’s plan, and this helps life to make sense even when it makes no sense. what i’m ultimately saying here is that being an active member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints brings me immeasurable and real peace, hope and joy.
2. being a member of the church of jesus christ offers a wonderful sense of belonging to an incredible, worldwide community. i have been to mormon church services in many corners of the world, and always i am welcomed with open arms, familiar doctrines, and the feeling of the spirit of god. the church is united across the globe, and it is truly amazing to be a part of the millions who share the same beliefs and standards. and, anywhere i move, i have an instant community … friends, people watching out for me, resources to find help that i need. i would feel absolutely comfortable moving any place in the wide world because i know there i would find a church family, companionship, brotherhood and sisterhood with fellow mormons. the community i have here in san francisco, and have had everywhere i’ve lived, has been a tremendous blessing to me, from finding housing to borrowing a truck to receiving emotional and spiritual support in times of need. the community of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints is phenomenal.
3. i love the traditions in the church – things like gathering with family and/or friends to watch broadcasts of general conference, going to “girls’ camp” as a group of young women, the little children putting on a program in sacrament meeting (our main sunday meeting), gathering as women of relief society to discuss books or share talents, spending time together at weekly family home evenings. there are sacred traditions as well, what we call ordinances, like baptism and partaking of the sacrament. these all add to the sense of community and culture and also just make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. i love looking forward to church things that are weekly or yearly. i love the righteous and wonderful traditions of the church.
4. the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints is all about service. no one is paid in the church, not bishops or teachers or even the prophet. we each have jobs in the church; we all sacrifice our time and energy to serve each other, and that is a beautiful thing. there is an attitude of willing service, of generosity and unexpectant brotherly love in the church that i believe is unrivaled. my family and i have been helped and blessed countless times and in countless ways through church programs and members. and i have had the opportunity to serve others in many capacities. i am so grateful for that. i have found great joy in fulfilling church responsibilities, in helping others in my congregations and reaching out together to the community, in supporting church programs and in learning how to be more selfless through service. the humanitarian efforts of the church to those of all faiths is gigantic, and i am proud to make monetary and other donations to such service.
5. my membership in the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints has given me a sense of security in my life. i believe with all my heart that commandments from god are advice from a loving father who happens to know everything. that advice is so valuable! i know that god has called a prophet who lives on the earth today and acts as god’s mouthpiece. god is speaking! and he is telling us how to be happy, healthy, and safe. i feel so much peace and security from keeping the commandments. i’ve never thought of them as rigid rules that constrain me – they are loving pieces of advice that keep me safe and free navigating all the beauties and vices of modern-day life.
6. additionally, i feel a strong sense of personal guidance thanks to my membership in the church. after i was baptized, i received the gift of the holy ghost, and i absolutely believe that the spirit of god guides me day-to-day and when making big decisions. in addition to the general guidance i get as a member of the church (like mentioned above), i feel that god guides me specifically and personally, and i can recognize that guidance and its origin and feel watched over and directed as i make choices in this crazy world.
7. speaking of this crazy world, the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints provides me with peaceful places and situations to escape the madness of life and society and meditate. when i go to the temple, i literally feel that i leave all the stresses and noises and distractions of the world behind and there i can see inside myself and commune with god. there is the heaviest peace in the temple, and it is so very good for my soul. additionally, at church every single sunday i can take a respite from all the busyness and focus on becoming a better human being and doing what is right for me and others. i love these much-needed breaks from the world, which give me fuel to live the best i can, to live passionately, to live calmly and to live gladly.
7. because i am a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints, i got to have the experience of being a full-time missionary. the mission was the most valuable experience i have had in my life, taught me a million trillion beautiful things, strengthened my character in countless ways, and expanded my heart many, many sizes. i will forever be grateful for those sacred eighteen months. yes, the mission is one reason i love being a mormon.
8. i feel that being a member of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints helps me to keenly understand what is most important. the church is incredibly family-focused and i am grateful for that reminder and emphasis. i feel that i have a really healthy perspective because of what i have learned in the church, and that helps me to be optimistic. i really do think that being a mormon helps me to be happy loving life, to be dripping with passion.
and on and on - the book of mormon as a miracle and a huge source of inspiration, knowledge about communication with god through prayer, quirky things like "linger longers," funny cultural tidbids and a trillion acronyms, hymns and children's songs that get stuck in my head, incredibly inspiring prophets and apostles, spiritual connections that help put the puzzles of life and history together, etc, etc, etc.
yes, being a mormon is pretty groovy. if you can’t tell, i can really gush about this stuff – we’re only scratching the surface folks. i’m forever grateful for the church and gospel in my life. i love it so dang much that i can’t help sharing it with others – how could i keep all this to myself?!