Chat With a Mormon Online
My wife and I are both from pioneer heritage, making our children unique in the Church. Except for my paternal grandmother, our children are sixth or seventh generation members of the Church on all other lines. Early in our marriage, we had difficulty having children but were finally blessed with eight. I work as a Professional Agrologist in Agronomy and thoroughly love what I do.
Although having been raised LDS, I was taught at an early age to determine for myself if the gospel was true. As I learned, studied, read the scriptures and prayed, I felt a warm burning in my soul that confirmed to me that these things are true. It is within the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that I have found the answers to life's most challenging questions. I once had a coworker who asked several questions and I was able to provide answers from what I had learned, often with scriptural support. She was a Minister's daughter and had attended her church college. She told me that the questions that she had asked me were the same ones that she had asked of her professors at college. She wanted to know why I was able to give her answers to her questions when her professors were not. I told her that it was because I was the beneficiary of having received the restored gospel with living prophets who provided us with those answers to life's questions.
We cannot put ourselves or our children in a bubble and keep them from the influences of the world. I have seen that situation too many times and it invariably leads to disappointment when the protector is no longer available and the children find out, often rather rudely, that the world is not what they had perceived it to be. The best protection that we can give our children is correct information, answers to their questions and skills to deal with the challenges that life will throw at them. It is difficult to anticipate everything but if we provide our children with life skills, they can then adapt to the changing landscapes of life. These skills will include prayer, learning to listen to the promptings of the Spirit, reading and pondering the scriptures to learn how others before us dealt with life's challenges and learning that honesty is always the best policy. That means being honest with ourselves as well as with others.
It has become quite common to share "feel good" stories via the internet. Many of these have come from friends who are not LDS. Many of these stories relate something about how family members will meet again after they die. I have replied to some that I appreciate those stories. I find it interesting that many people believe that they will be together again but that there are only two places in the world where that concept is actually taught. One is in Hollywood movies. Think of "Ghost", and there are many others like it. The other is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. We know who we are. We are children of a loving Heavenly Father with whom we lived prior to coming to this earth. Coming here was a choice that all of us made because we wanted to progress and grow. While we are here, we can learn eternal truths and make covenants with our Heavenly Father to do the things that we promised Him we would do before we left His presence. By obeying His commandments, we will be able to return to His presence. Not only will we have an opportunity to be reunited with our families after we die but will be able to continue to grow in knowledge and understanding of eternal truths.
Early in our marriage, my wife and I were returning to university, pulling a U-Haul trailer with some material posessions that we had gathered to furnish our apartment. We had offered a prayer prior to setting out. At one point, on a very busy two-lane highway with limited shoulders, as we entered a turn in a narrow canyon, the left wheel came off our trailer. The sudden loss of that wheel caused that side of the trailer to drag, which pulled us across the on-coming lane. There was a break in the traffic just at that moment that allowed us to cross the highway without incident, and a broad shoulder on the other side to allow us to pull off out of traffic, the only such place in that narrow canyon for some distance in either direction. No sooner had we cleared the pavement onto the shoulder that the traffice resumed. After pausing a moment to gather our breath and rejoice in our good fortune of surviving this potentially very dangerous incident, we offered a prayer of thanks for having been delivered safely in a time of crisis. It took a couple of hours to get a replacement trailer and continue our journey. We arrived back at our apartment without further incident, feeling grateful for having been watched over.
When I served as a missionary, I soon discovered that religion was not a popular topic. I changed my approach and would ask questions about life's experiences. For instance, when speaking to a young mother, I would ask her if she remembered the first time that she held her newborn baby in her arms. They would always say that they did. I would then ask that when they looked into that baby's eyes for the first time, could they tell me that they knew in their hearts that their baby was a sinner. Several said no, while the others didn't answer. I would then tell them that we were there to testify to them that their baby was not a sinner but was a child of God. Children were not born in sin but rather into a sinful state, i.e. this mortal world.
When I was young, we moved to a farm with my Dad's brother and his family. One fall Sunday morning as my Dad and Uncle were doing chores, they could see a hail storm coming. Many of the neighbors were out trying to harvest as much crop as possible before the storm hit. Dad had obligations at Church that morning and asked Heavenly Father to watch over the crop, as all we had was in the field, while he attended to his Church duties and we went to meetings. When we came home from our meetings, the storm had passed through and we could see the devastation all the way home. Dad went out to check the field and found that the storm had arrived at the northwest corner of the field, had split and followed each fenceline, rejoining itself at the southeast corner and continuing on. There was some moisture up to 10 feet inside the fence but the crop was untouched. Although young at the time, I never doubted that Heavenly Father heard and answered prayers. This story has become a family legacy to the grandchildren and great grandchildren of how Heavenly Father watches out for us no matter how insignificant we may think things are.
I always planned to serve a mission because I wanted to share the truths that I knew in my heart. I had the privilege of being called to serve in France for two and a half years and have always been grateful for the experience.
The greatest influence from the Savior is not so much what he taught but what he did. He gave us the gospel, which gives us direction in our lives. He gave us the scriptures, which provide answers to our deepest questions. He gave us the organization of the Church, which gives us the opportunity to serve Him, to strengthen our testimonies, to serve others and to receive the ordinances of Salvation. Above all, he atoned for us, allowing us to repent of our sins and weakensses so that we may return to our Heavenly Father's presence.
Mormonism is not a "just for Sunday" religion. It is a commitment and a lifestyle that we live every day. I am committed as a disciple of Jesus Christ to live the best that I can, striving to overcome my human weaknesses, asking for His forgiveness as needed, and for the strength to do what is right in all things. I have had the privilege of teaching the gospel to people of all ages and one of the greatest delights is to see the sparkle in their eyes when their hearts are touched by the Holy Ghost and they come to know that these principles are true and they make a commitment to live those principles themselves.