Chat With a Mormon Online
One of my biggest regrets is that I majored in a hard science in college. I was trying to be smart, but I really wish I'd majored in something more right-brained because that's what interests me and gives me the most joy now. We bought a 100 yr old house in need of a lot of TLC 2 years ago, and I enjoy working on making it beautiful and reflect our tastes. I love to read and enjoy learning about almost any subject -- from finance to politics to computer science to photography, etc. After many failed attempts I finally entered the blogging world. I had hoped it would be a decorating/DIY blog, but this pregnancy has slowed me down, and it's mostly just a lifestyle blog (and boy is my lifestyle thrilling!). www.penelopespad.com
I was raised Mormon, but our religion requires a lot of us; our founding story is not logical; we are asked to live pure lives, to put our own time or money preferences on the altar to help others, pay tithing, give to charity and serve in the church. Even though I had grown up in this environment, it is impossible to just swim along for life. We must make our own choice. In college I had concerns about polygamy lived by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and stopped by John Taylor. We don't practice polygamy now, and haven't for over 150 years, but that it had happened ever bothered me. I wondered whether Joseph Smith was really a prophet of God. Or, I wondered how God could love His daughters, if the command had come from Him. The anxiety made me sick. My theories rolled all over the place, but I could not find peace. Finally, I read a revelation from God to the prophet Joseph Smith regarding the covenant of marriage (D&C 132). It calmed me down some, but I knelt and prayed, telling my Father what was troubling me. I had two answers come to my mind, accompanied by the peace I'd been seeking. 1. Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, and 2. There was something very good about polygamy being practiced then, that I didn't need to know right now. That may seem an incomplete answer, but the anguish was replaced by total peace, and I'm content to know that my Heavenly Father does many things that I do not understand right now. He will teach me when the time is right.
I've always been a good girl, and I used to feel a sense of pride in that knowledge. But, one summer in high school I was traveling and competing, and I did not go to church for three weeks in a row. The decline was gradual. After the first week missing, I wasn't very interested in reading my scriptures or praying, but after the third week I was a mess. I was mean, mad, and entertaining thoughts that had never entered my mind before. Things that I had always known were wrong, started to look not so bad, and even good. It was a bit of a shock to me. Here I had thought that I had this innate ability to do good, and really, attending church every week was keeping me strong and protecting me from an onslaught of temptation. I never miss church now.
I think that sometimes we look for big, impressive blessings to show our faith in Jesus Christ, but mine have all been small steps that anyone can do. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ I was baptized and received the Gift of the Holy Ghost. This Gift means that I can enjoy the constant companionship (peace, comfort, clear thinking, revelation, love, patience, etc.) of the Holy Ghost throughout my day. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ I pray, and I receive answers to my prayers. From things as little as, "Please, help me find the keys." to bigger things like who to marry, and whether Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I read the scriptures every day to learn more about Him and grow closer to Him. Not only do I learn and grow (imperceptibly over time), but I have a daily infusion of peace, and my day runs smoother. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I attend church every week and serve where asked. I know from experience (of doing the opposite) that this shields me from temptation and makes me happier. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I always pay 10% of my income to tithing. I have always had enough money, and spare to help others. I have sometimes received extra money from unlikely places, when money has been tight, because I paid my tithing first. Because of my faith in Jesus Christ, I do hard things that he has asked me to do. It is not always easy to give up my time to someone else who needs it more or to serve in a way that I don't feel like I excel, but I believe that it is the right thing to do, and that I will be blessed.
Every decision I make revolves around my faith. My time is limited, and I make sure our (and I say our because my decisions run the household) daily life reflects and includes the things that I believe are the MOST important. The rest falls to the wayside. For example, we read scriptures and discuss them every night as a family. I read scriptures by myself daily. We pray together several times a day (and I do personally). We pay tithing and give money to charity. We try to help those around us, and we attend church every week. I serve in my local congregation, and currently oversee a weekly activity for girls ages 14-16. I participate in their lessons on Sunday, and counsel with the organization's president on matters affecting all girls ages 12-18.