Chat With a Mormon Online
I just recently graduated from law school and am trying to balance getting my career started with trying to be the best husband and father I can be to my wife and two little girls.
I was born a Mormon but have lived most of my life with my best friends not being of the same faith. As I've tried to follow what I believe to be God's plan, I've had my views challenged on many occasions--both from internal and external sources. While I have the same ups and downs as anyone, for me it keeps coming back to how much happier I am when I'm following God's plan, and how willing He is to reassure me and guide me to the degree that I'm willing to ask and be patient. He's not let me down and I intend not to let Him down.
I was baptized when I was 8 years old by my father. While it is fair to say that I did not have the same understanding then that I have now as a man of the importance of baptism, I remember feeling that I was following the example of Jesus and doing what Heavenly Father wanted me to do. I remember feeling pleased that so many of my friends and family members were excited for me. Their understanding, their knowledge, their faith was contagious to me. He has since passed on, but I also remember feeling glad that my father performed my baptism. I admired him as a righteous man and as the hero a father should be to his 8-year-old son. I knew he had the authority to perform the baptism and I'm glad that he had the chance.
Having moved into an area that was new to us, our family naturally was drawn to friends that we made at church. This limited our interactions with those not of our faith. Recently, with the encouragement of the missionaries, my family and I have made the effort to be a bit more "visible" in our neighborhood--taking walks more often, working outside, spending time in our front yards, etc. This has given us more chances to meet and speak with neighbors who are not of our faith. Very early in those conversations, we try very hard to find a natural way to mention church. Never are we asked how our weekend was without mentioning that we spent time at church and that we loved it. It has helped us avoid the awkwardness of bringing up church for the first time months or years into our friendship and has provided a comfortable avenue for our friends to ask us about church. We've also recently started our family and have had two small children. Our friends and neighbors have quite obviously noted the change in our family dynamic. We've made it a point to invite all that we can to our babies' blessings and intend to do the same for their baptisms when the time comes.
Feeling confident in receiving answers to prayers is something that I've struggled with all my life, even though I've been an active participant in the Mormon church all along. There are those who speak with much gratitude of feeling prompted to do one thing or another in answer to their prayers. This has rarely been the case for me. More often than not, I get a quiet sense of encouragement that I make my own decision with a comforting feeling that in whatever I decide, I will be supported. It can be challenging. It would be nice to feel that Heavenly Father would make certain decisions for me. I would gladly follow. I'm coming to appreciate the confidence that He's showing in me by not giving me direction on every thing I ask. The doubt and question becomes not what to do but in how to learn what Heavenly Father would have me learn. He's not let me down yet!
The Book of Mormon is particularly special not because of anything profound written on the pages but because of one of its key purposes and how it takes effect when we study it the way we should. The Book of Mormon was written by prophets who likely never shared the things they were writing with their contemporaries. It wasn't shared with the people who lived during the events that are in it. It was written and put together so that we would have it in our time as part of God restoring his gospel now. He wants us to read it every day. Even though there's a lot in there that adds clarity to Biblical teachings, that's not what makes it special. What makes it special is that reading it seems to inspire reflection and pondering in a very distinct way. It takes time to make it a habit, but when you do, you find yourself thinking about God, His plan, Jesus, and our purpose so much more. Thinking those thoughts is a reverent, sacred thing, and part of prayer. Doing that has done more than anything else to deepen my understanding of what God wants for me and for my family.
Right now, what I consider to be the most important expression of my faith is the efforts that my wife and I make to teach our small children. Every day we try to remember to pray as a family, read the scriptures, and talk about Jesus. Outside of our home, I'm fortunate enough to involved heavily in our congregation's mens group. It makes me feel very blessed and very privileged to be in a position to serve, even though it requires some additional time away from my family for meetings and to visit other families in their homes. For me, with all of the relatively unpleasant things that life requires us to worry about (bills, logistics of life, etc.), it's gratifying to be in a position where we can be concerned for and in a position to help others.