I’ve been sitting here for more than 30 minutes, trying to figure out how to begin this entry. It’s not so much that I don’t know what to write about–it’s more that I simply have so much to say. :)
Let’s start here: I love being a Mormon.
I think a lot of people hear “Mormon” and really have no idea what that means, on a day-to-day basis. They know it’s different, somehow, and with as much as the LDS church has been in the news in the past few years, I know there are lots of random tidbits of information (and misinformation!) out there. I thought maybe I’d just start with a little list of things I do, and believe. It won’t cover everything, but it’s a start!
* I believe in God. I believe He is my Heavenly Father, and that He loves me. I know He knows me by name, and that He hears and answers my prayers. I believe He wants us to be happy, and that this world was made beautiful just for us.
* I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe He is the literal Son of God, and that He lived on the earth. I believe He atoned and died for me, and that He was then resurrected. I know He lives.
* I believe we were all created, in spirit form, by God before we were born. I believe we lived with Him, and that He knew and loved us as His children, just like our own fathers do now. I believe Christ was one of those children, and that makes Him my brother. It also makes all of you my brothers and sisters, in an even more literal way than a love-your-neighbor kind of sense.
* I believe in service. Because we’re all brothers and sisters, you’re my family, and family sticks together. I have a tendency to be really horrible about noticing when other people might need something, but if I’m asked, I am there. That makes me just about the lamest person I know in my church, because I’m surrounded by people who are amazing at seeing other people’s needs and just…being there. We believe in serving others as Christ did: no matter who they are or what they believe. I love that.
* I believe in going to church for three hours every Sunday. Really! :)
At church with my boys.
It sounds like a long time, but it goes by quickly. It’s three separate meetings, actually–the first is Sacrament meeting, which is similar in nature to most people’s church services. We take the sacrament: bread and water, like Christ and his disciples did at the Last Supper. We have speakers from the congregation and clergy. It’s pretty normal. The second hour is Sunday School. I love it, because it lets me actually engage my brain (hey, I’m surrounded by children at home!) and discuss the scriptures and theology with other adults. Third hour, though, may be my favorite. The women all meet together third hour for Relief Society, an organization founded in the 1840s, whose mission is to build up the women of the church. I love that so much. RS is similar to Sunday School, in that we discuss the scriptures and the gospel, but I find that having only women in the room changes the nature of the discussion. That hour is usually full and rich and wonderful. I love it.
While we’re there, the men go to Priesthood meeting. In the LDS church, we believe that the same priesthood that existed on the earth while Christ lived has been restored to it now. The men in the church hold that priesthood, as was the case in Christ’s day, and with that gift comes great responsibility. Exceptional service to the church, its members, their families, and the world at large are required of priesthood holders; they are expected to take those responsibilities seriously, and perform them with humility. In their priesthood meetings, they discuss the gospel, and how they can better serve in the priesthood.
Meanwhile, the kids are at Primary and Nursery. :) Yay, a break from the kids! Seriously, though, I’m so grateful for Primary teachers and the work that they do. Each week, they prepare lessons to help teach my children about Heavenly Father and Jesus, reinforcing the lessons they’re learning at home. And usually, they have a class of at least 6 wiggly little kids to try and corral while they’re teaching. It’s a busy job!
* I believe in “keeping it clean.” That’s my own term, but it covers a lot of how we roll as Mormons. We don’t drink alcohol, or coffee or tea. We don’t smoke or take illegal drugs. We don’t watch “R” rated movies. We stay away from porn. We dress modestly–nothing low-cut or too short or too tight. No tattoos or body piercings. We don’t gamble or play the lottery. It sounds like a lot of restrictive “don’ts,” right? Here’s the kicker–it’s the opposite. For me, that list of things is a list of freedoms. Every one of those things is about unhappiness and addiction, in my mind. I’ll just say right now that I have not always been perfect about this list, so I’m speaking from my own experience, here. I had years when I decided that a whole lot of these things weren’t important to me anymore. During that period, I discovered that when I had any of these things as a part of my life, some part of me felt clouded, unlike myself. In each of those instances, there was either an anxiety or an unhappiness in me, either because of the choice I was making, or else I was making that choice because I was unhappy. Either way, that issue didn’t exist when I was free from those influences. I find that keeping my life clean helps me have clarity, and it helps me to be able to feel the influence of my Heavenly Father in my life. And honestly? I don’t miss any of those things one single bit.
* I believe in family. I can’t type that word without smiling. I have the most wonderful family ever, and don’t try to tell me yours is better, because it’s not. ;)
Best family picture ever.
My father is compassionate, clever, funny, and patient. My mother is brave, wise, perceptive, and a generous friend. My brother, my only sibling, is hard for me to describe without getting teary. I don’t even know where to begin. Suffice it to say that I would do anything for him. Anything. And I believe he’d say the same.
As for my husband? Well–this morning, I woke up at 5:40, for no reason. Wide awake. Decided to come down to the living room and read a bit, and I started this post. I heard the shower turn on around 6:00, and Justin’s shoes on the stairs around 6:20. Then I heard his iPod, and some weird fumbling noises, while he continued to lurk in the stairwell. …? He finally appeared, dressed in a suit and tie, smelling faintly of aftershave, with Louis Armstrong playing, “Let’s Fall in Love” in his jacket pocket. He presented himself in front of me with a huge smile, and stretched out his hand. “May I have this dance?”
Yeah. Top that, ladies. :)
I believe my husband and I will be together forever, because we were married in the LDS temple.
We believe our marriages there are different from other marriages, because they’re performed by men who hold the priesthood Christ held. We believe that power and authority make them binding both here, and in heaven. Far and away from thinking that makes us super special and better than you, we would like nothing more than for everyone to share those same blessings. (In fact, if you want to know more about that, please click here.) Knowing my husband, and by extension, my children, belong to me forever is one of the things that makes me happiest in the whole wide world.
* I believe in being happy. That sounds…simple-minded, maybe? I mean, who doesn’t want to be happy, right? But I think happiness is more a choice than most people realize. I believe in being grateful for what I have, and that makes me happy. I believe in being optimistic. I believe in having faith. I believe in praying for direction for my life, and I know that when I follow that direction, I’m in the right place. I know things will work out. That makes me happy. Does it mean every day is perfect? Heck, no! Things go wrong. I get grumpy with my kids. Life gets messy. But I do know where to go to fix things. And, ultimately, that brings me peace.
* I believe in me. I believe I’m important; I know I’m a daughter of my Father in Heaven, and I know He put us here on earth for a reason.
I know I’m here to do important things. I know that even if my profession is not influential, my life will be, simply because it will touch the lives of other people. I know that influence will be strongest on my children. I believe in being smart, educated, well-read, strong, loyal, honest, open, and authentic. I believe those are the gifts I was given, in this life. I believe they are the qualities that make me someone who can change the world, one tiny ripple at a time.
If you’d like to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, you can click here or here. Or please feel free to comment below if you have questions!