I’m A Mormon – and I’m Glad

I don’t often talk about religion on my blog.  It’s kind of funny, really, because religion is actually a large part of my life, of who I am.  I tend to steer away from it because it can be a sensitive subject, sort of like politics or parenting practices.  In fact, it’s taken me a few weeks just to get this post written.

So why am I writing about it today?  Because it IS a large part of my life.  It’s something I believe in and it brings me happiness and purpose.

And also because of this awesome new website: www.mormon.org.  I put up a profile of me and there are dozens of profiles of other LDS people too.  It’s actually a pretty cool site.  Take a look when you get a minute.

I appreciate that the church has put this site together because it shows who Mormons are.  I’d like to think that it also shows that we’re normal people trying to live our lives the best we can, just like everyone else.  I say that because I remember what it was like to grow up in the South (the Bible Belt) and to often feel like the odd person out.  People thought it was strange that I didn’t drink or smoke and that I attended church every Sunday for three. whole. hours. (gasp!)  I didn’t get invited to parties with my friends because of that which, in hindsight, was probably a good thing, but still made me feel like I was different.

But you know what?  I’m glad that I’m different if that’s what different is.  I’m glad that I have a strong belief in God and in a Savior who died for me.  I’m glad that I have an understanding of our purpose here and of what happens after we die.  I’m especially glad that I believe that families are forever because I can’t imagine not being with my family after this life ends.  And most importantly, I am glad for the knowledge that I’m not alone, that I can pray and can receive answers to prayers because of a God who knows and loves me.

Why am I glad for all of these things?  Because they give me peace and they make me happy, plain and simple.

So when people ask what religion I am, I tell them: I am a Mormon.  And boy am I glad.

Has your religion ever made you feel different?

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joy - November 11, 2010 - 8:53 pm

While I am not Mormon myself, I have great respect for all religions. I admire and respect people who find solace in their religion. I am Buddhist and I am proud to tell people that although I get interesting looks since I do live in the South and there are no Buddhist temples of my sect around. One of my former bosses when I was living in Las Vegas is Mormon (and I think he is pretty high up in the church). I enjoyed working with him. He was always respectful of everyone that worked in our area and passed no judgment based on his religion (though some people thought he did but I worked the closest with him as I was his assistant and did not feel that way). We had really interesting talks and I was sad when he left to move back to Provo to work at BYU. He was one of the best bosses I had. I am glad you are proud to talk about your religion! :)

Kristina P. - November 11, 2010 - 9:54 pm

I need to get me a button. I was actually at a blogger’s launch of the new site, and was super impressed.
.-= Kristina P.´s last blog ..Its a European Shoulder Bag =-.

Paula @ KnitandSeek - November 12, 2010 - 9:23 am

I’m not Mormon, but as an evangelical Christian, I really appreciate my Mormon friends and the love they have for their faith, even if we do enjoy some spirited debates on the finer points of theology. I’ve seen a few billboards that are part of the new campaign, and I think they’re great as there are lots of folks with misconceptions about Mormons. I do take issue with their font choice, however, because I had to read the first billboard 3 times before I realized it didn’t say, “I’m a moron”. (No disrespect intended, promise!)
.-= Paula @ KnitandSeek´s last blog ..So much to celebrate! =-.

Mindee@ourfrontdoor - November 12, 2010 - 9:27 am

Religion and faith are touchy aren’t they? I don’t cover mine very often in my blog either. Thanks for “stepping out” today!
.-= Mindee@ourfrontdoor´s last blog ..Pie Day Is Coming! =-.

admin - November 12, 2010 - 9:36 am

Joy – I think it’s great that you’re Buddhist and living in the South. I’m sure you’re right about there not being any Buddhist temples around and I’m sure that makes it more challenging for you. Good for you for living your religion even if it’s tough!

Paula – no disrespect taken. In fact, your comment made me laugh because I can see that the small font could be a problem. :)

Mindee – thanks, I admit it makes me nervous to “put it out there” but felt like I should.

Casper - November 12, 2010 - 9:40 am

I was baptized Mormon when I was younger. One day we got kicked out of church because we wore jeans. I never went back after that. Now I don’t really consider my self a certain religion, I believe in God and I pray, but I don’t go to church. I have found that most churches (not just Mormon) around me are pretty judgmental and unless you dress and act a certain way, you don’t belong. However, one of the nicest people I have ever met was a Mormon missionary who came to our house for a period of time when we were younger. I didn’t grow up with the greatest of male influences and he was the first decent guy I met. He gave me a little faith in man kind, and that meant a lot.
.-= Casper´s last blog ..Gluten Free Gravy =-.

Heidi - November 12, 2010 - 9:42 am

I just found this blog and love it. I thought what you said about how you usually avoid the religion topic was interesting. Especially because (as Mormons) it is such a big part of our life. In many ways, it IS our life. But it is a hard balance – you don’t want to be too in your face about it, but you are proud of who you are and who the church helps you to be.

I’m just so grateful that religion can give guidance and direction in a world that hardly has any.
.-= Heidi´s last blog ..The Cup Really is Half Full =-.

Jessika - November 12, 2010 - 9:52 am

I think there are negative receptions to religious posts because some readers feel like they’re being lectured or sales-pitched a religion. But your post did neither of those things. It was a personal testament to a big component of you. And for that, I say “well done.”

I grew up Catholic and still am. I’m having to figure out how I will someday show my children the religion. There are a few aspects where I think the church is narrow-minded. But I like that about who I am… that I love my church but still can use it to determine my right path. As I sort things out though, I don’t particularly want to blog about it. It’s not something I always want the entire world (or my rare reader) to see. But I do think it’s a pretty frequent occurrence (to question) in today’s day and age. I think it brings me closer to my faith.
.-= Jessika´s last blog ..New toy and Maddie loving her dog bed =-.

admin - November 12, 2010 - 10:04 am

Casper – I’m so sorry to hear about that experience and I’m sorry to hear that that’s the way you were treated. It definitely is not how it should be or how it normally is. I know that when we lived on Capitol Hill (a very urban area of DC) half of the congregation wore pants/jeans to church so we wouldn’t have anyone there if they were turned away! :)

Heidi – so sweet of you to comment and you’re right, it is a big part of our lives yet we (speaking generally of course) don’t want to be preachy or overbearing. It’s a fine line to walk sometimes. I try to just live the best I can and set a good example so that if people are watching, they come away with a good impression of the Church.

Jessika – thanks, that’s very nice of you to say. And good for you for trying to figure out how to one day teach your children about your beliefs. I tell you – there’s nothing like having kids to make you question your beliefs and what you want to pass on to them. It also makes you question how much you’re living your beliefs too because we all know that kids pick up on everything! :)

Courtney - November 12, 2010 - 11:54 am

This is a great post! I grew up in a Lutheran church and was very active in it even through the first years of collage. Midway through collage I moved and found myself attending a Baptist church with a friend. At first, I was a little overwhelmed by the differences, but eventually I found myself learning, growing and expanding my faith to a new level – one I now beleive I would not have attained had I not looked at faith from a different perspective. I find that I believe more in faith in God rather than religion. Each Christian religion whether it’s Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, etc. has the same basic principle – the belief in God and Jesus, the belief in God’s grace, the encouragement to follow God’s Word and to be of service for others. This is the meat and potatoes of Christianity. But each is surrounded with the “fluff” of its specific religion and dogma. I think and beleive that the “fluff” is not what really matters – is it really important that I say so many Hail Marys, or that I have to go through confirmation, or that I can only wear certain clothes to church, or that I have to do so many of the things that religion requires of you? Getting back to the basics, the meat and potatoes if you will – the belief and faith in the Triune God, the belief in that only by God’s grace we are saved from Hell, the pursuit of making yourself a better person and Christian by studying God’s Word, giving of yourself to serve others, and trusting God to be your primary caregiver in all matters – these are the things that are the most important and should be where we put our time and energy. This, I believe, is where happiness and peace within come from – not a specific religion. I am by no means trying to demean or be a critic of any religion. Quite honestly, I am happy that people are indeed involved. I just hate that people are so wrapped up in the fluff of religion that they are not only missing the bigger picture, but are actually causing others to have the bad experiences (like some of the stories above) that turn them from God.
.-= Courtney´s last blog ..Im Back! =-.

Newlyweds on a Budget - November 12, 2010 - 12:56 pm

I don’t talk about religion or politics on my blog–despite having strong opinions and beliefs for both–because I’m afriad of alienating people or being judged…

good for you for standing up what you believe in!

Genevieve - November 12, 2010 - 1:48 pm

Paula – I am a Mormon and your comment made me laugh out loud hard for several minutes. I’m still chucking. I’ve got to go find that billboard!

Tabs – Great post. I’m glad you’re a Mormon too!
.-= Genevieve´s last blog ..Confessions =-.

Paula @ KnitandSeek - November 12, 2010 - 4:16 pm

Tabitha & Genevieve, so glad to hear the comment was received in the goofy way it was intended. :) And that billboard is somewhere between Boise and Cascade Idaho (we passed it on vacation this summer), in case y’all are ever in the area…
.-= Paula @ KnitandSeek´s last blog ..So much to celebrate! =-.

AlisaS - November 13, 2010 - 12:53 pm

I think it’s good to share about your religion without being ashamed. There are definitely misconceptions regarding Mormonism. One misconception is that there are only slight differences between Mormonism and Christianity. Also, while Mormonism is a “religion” (man-made set of rules), Christianity is not.

Mom of 5 - November 13, 2010 - 1:58 pm

Wonderful post!!! Love you so much.

Barry@Independant Review The LG M227WDP - November 14, 2010 - 12:40 pm

Hello,
How would someone from the LDS(mormon) religion get married to someone who isn't mormon?
Really great post, enjoyed reading it. Thanks

admin - November 14, 2010 - 12:46 pm

Thanks for all of your kind comments. Newlyweds – I know what you mean, I have the same fears which is probably why I forced myself to write this post. :)

Alisa – I appreciate what you wrote. I don’t want to get too much into the theologies of Mormonism as that wasn’t the intent of my post, but I did want to clarify that we are definitely Christians (here is a link describing more about our beliefs in Christ if you’re interested: http://www.mormon.org/jesus-christ?gclid=CI-wxbWIoaUCFWBN5QodhVrgFw) and there are probably a lot more similarities between Mormons and other Christian faiths than people realize. :) Thanks again for commenting…

Tabitha

Heidi - November 15, 2010 - 9:34 pm

My not having a religion has made me feel different, that’s for sure! I could write you a book about it, but I’m so, so sleepy and just popped onto your blog for a brief look-see … maybe some other day …

Maybe it’ll show up as a Lance post … :)
.-= Heidi´s last blog ..Over the meadow and through kitchens =-.

Tabitha W - November 24, 2010 - 9:02 am

What a great post! I have a strong belief that what ever you believe if it gives you happiness, peace, understanding and it does not harm any one else then it is a great belief.

I personally am Pagan, and do consider myself a witch. Have I been treated differently? you bet. I went to make a donation to a church that was by my university. I spent a lot of time in their park grounds being with nature and feeding squirrels. These grounds in the middle of the city made me feel at peace and brought me back to my calm self when classes were stressful. I was not allowed into the church, I was stopped at the door as I wear a pentacle. So the church did not receive my donation and ever since then I have been quite put off. I have also been turned down for jobs, and while I was traveling through Alabama was swarmed by several men who where trying to force me to my knees to pray to Jesus for my crimes of witchcraft. It has jaded me a little, I wont lie, but I try my best to see the beauty in all beliefs.

Molly - December 7, 2010 - 6:47 pm

I really like your post! In answer to your question “has your religion ever made you feel different?” I say it has, and it hasn’t. I’m a Swedenborgian, and I would be very surprised if you knew what that was without having to google it. It makes me feel different when I stop and think about that fact. However, it doesn’t make me feel different when I think about what “true religion” is. I give religion two levels: An external and an internal. Your external is what doctrines you subscribe to, the churches you attend, and so on. Your internal religion is the way you carry out your life. It is where you take what you have learn, and do your best to live by it. It is raising your family. It is doing your occupation honestly, justly, and faithfully. It is loving one another and your Higher Power. In the case of external religion, yes, I feel different. In terms of internal, no, for I see people of all walks of life, of all religions, doing the same thing I am: Living a good life to the best of their knowledge. Both external and internal religion are important and necessary. It is what makes the human race a wonderful variety of different people who are all at the same time working toward the same goals of serving God and the neighbor.

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