Chat With a Mormon Online
I am an individual with varied interests and hobbies. First and foremost I am a father to my daughters and a husband to my partner of several years. She is an incredible woman with more endurance in difficulty and seeking after challenges than I who has taught me many things, both in terms of life but also intellectually. I am by trade a computer programmer. I am also an armchair classicist and have studied Ancient Greek and love learning about the ancient world. In so many ways it is like a foreign country: simultaneously similar and yet different to our own culture. I guess it's difficult, but in this regard I enjoy the difficulties. Puzzles fascinate me and I love thinking.
I am a Mormon because of what the faith represents to me. As I study the history of the faith, especially its earliest years, I am struck by the democratization of Christianity that it represents. Here was a faith that was founded upon a foundation of revelation---not just revelation through a strict hierarchy but one where all could prophesy, all could preach, and all could be edified. The early Saints who enjoyed this free flow of power and inspiration, both men and women equally, are to me an ideal of what is possible for Christians today and Christian behavior. The ideal of agency is also a powerful doctrine: the idea that life is a proving ground for us all to grow through our choices is, to me, a liberating doctrine. I am bothered by those who would attempt to place limitations on our freedom of choice; there are some who feel that they are somehow better suited to make choices for others. How can we grow without these opportunities? How can we be benefited if others, through the forces of culture, politics, or other supposed forms of authority, attempts to curtail the rights and freedoms of others? We believe in the freedom of choice for all men and women, let them worship "how, when, or what they may." I'm a Mormon because the journey that the Church has traveled over its history, while twisted and rocky, is interesting and I want to see where it will travel. We continue to grow and adapt both to the revelations received by some of our leaders and to the changes that society itself brings. From 1890 to 1978 and beyond, the future for Mormonism is exciting and beyond human knowledge. We are a church of human beings; us and our leaders have made mistakes in the past, both large and small, are making them now, and will probably continue to make mistakes of various magnitude. Yet believe that through the grace of Christ we will continue to move forward with boldness. The future is unknown, but if we are prepared we shall now fear.
I am a teacher in our Sunday School where I currently teach New Testament. It is a fun time to go over the various writings of the New Testament evangelists. It is important to me to stress the individuality of the various authors (whoever they were): they were human beings like the rest of us. They gospels are not pleasant histories written to amuse and educate us: they are polemics written with a purpose and goal in mind. They are meant to be difficult and to bother us. And each of them has something different to say and they are not meant to be read in tandem with each other as though they all thought the same, felt the same, and spoke the same. I enjoy this because it is like the modern LDS Church: while we are striving to find Zion, where all of us can be of one heart and one mind, we value and treasure the individual conviction that everyone has to give. The LDS Church is a wide tent with room for everyone within who can have a testimony of Jesus of Nazareth as the Savior of Humankind from sin and death and that the LDS Church is the vehicle through which God's word can authoritatively be taught. We have room for all, be they black or white, bond or free, male or female, traditionalist or liberal, straight or gay, patriarchal or feminist. All are welcome at the table. Just as the differing gospels agree in what matters and do not feel the need for harmony on other details, so too does the Church ask for harmony of what matters but celebrates the diversity of all of us children of God who band together within it. Embracing this diversity is part of what I love about Mormonism. Though I, and many others of my age and younger, do not believe that the Book of Mormon is an ancient work, there is still a place for me here. Being Mormon is not a checklist of beliefs that a person must believe, but a community striving to be one "one heart": a Zion-like community. Whether we believe in Joseph Smith or Brigham Young is irrelevant to that community we seek for.