Why On Earth Are You A Mormon?
The other night, I was sitting with a friend of mine at a comedy show, waiting for it to start. We were talking about dating, and at one point I said, “Yeah, I tend to go for those really Mormony guys.”
“Really? ‘Cause your not… well, you’re not exactly a ‘Molly Mormon.’”
I laughed. “No. No, I am not.”
This was not the first time the oddity of my faith and me have been brought to my attention. Now in this case, my friend was not implying that I didn’t seem like a good LDS girl; I just wasn’t what came to mind when thinking of the stereotypical Mormon female. When it comes to people outside my faith, I think they see a very outspoken woman who deeply believes in things they don’t associate with any religion, especially one of those “crazy” ones. To a certain extent, I think this comes from a misunderstanding of the LDS church, and how intellectual it is, and how its rationale makes it easy to be deeply religious in the modern world. It’s not just that I think women should have access to birth control, or that we should have more restrictive gun laws, which are issues now intertwined with the religious section of America, but it’s that I’m a very logical person. I grew up in an academic world. My parents are engineers. I remember my father talking about how creationism shouldn’t be taught in science. I saw the world through biology and physics – not exactly what most would think of when describing a religious individual.
But here I am, a Mormon, and a very active one at that. I’ve long since left the nest, so it’s not by any pressure of my parents that I’m this way. To be honest, they weren’t particularly pushy about church when I was young, so they certainly aren’t now. This is my choice. But why?
I don’t know if I can adequately convey the joy and hope that comes to me because of my faith. I have visited many places in the world, but never have I known such a people as the Mormons. While I’ve encountered bad eggs, as would be found in any group of people, as a whole, they are the most kind, and a most giving people. They are so genuine so as to be far removed from hypocrisy. I am of course speaking in only a general sense. They deeply want what is best for the people of the world, and take very seriously Christ’s command to love one another.
“Ah, yes, but Rebecca, many people are doing wonderful things in the world. Why believe in a religion that’s so difficult, with so many rules and commitments?”
To questions like that, I would respond with the following story recounted by Neil L. Anderson:
Gordon B. Hinckley spoke of meeting a young naval officer from Asia. The officer had not been a Christian, but during training in the United States, he had learned about the Church and was baptized. He was now preparing to return to his native land.
President Hinckley asked the officer: “Your people are not Christians. What will happen when you return home a Christian, and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?”
The officer’s face clouded, and he replied: “My family will be disappointed. … As for my future and my career, all opportunity may be foreclosed against me.”
President Hinckley asked, “Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?”
With his dark eyes moistened by tears, he answered with a question: “It’s true, isn’t it?”
President Hinckley responded, “Yes, it is true.”
To which the officer replied, “Then what else matters?”
The answer is easy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ’s church. I say this in no uncertain terms. I have studied many religions and philosophies of the world. I sought to understand them in their purest form, and I found great light there. But it was in the faith of my childhood that I found a wholeness of truth that I saw nowhere else.
I know we are guided by a prophet who receives revelation. I know that in addition to the Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, Another Testament of Jesus Christ is the word of God. I know that Christ is the head of this church. I know that I can be with my family forever because of the temple. I have felt the Holy Spirit testify of these things. Now, I cannot quantify that – I have no tests, or studies, or numbers, but it is as true to me as cell division, and gravity, and the Earth’s rotation causing the sun to rise in the east every morning. Perhaps one day I’ll write about how my religion doesn’t contradict my other beliefs, but in fact compliments them. But for now, I will leave it at this:
I am a Mormon because I know the church is true. It’s as simple as that.