Chat With a Mormon Online
I work in the oil and gas business as a maintenance manager. I commute about 6000 miles to work every month by flying to and working in Algeria, North Africa for 30 days and then return home to the US to be with my family for 26 days. I’ve worked in the Alaskan Arctic, the jungles of Colombia, and the metropolitan city of London England. I’m married to a wonderfully tolerant and patient woman, have 5 married children and at last count 10 grandchildren. We sometimes joke that we’ve been married for 36 years but been together only 18 of them because of my travels. Every homecoming is exciting and greatly anticipated. Our children are spread all over the US and none of them live closer than 3 hours away. Thank heavens for internet, e-mail, cell phones, and text messages. It makes even a far-flung family like ours stay close and in contact with each other. I love seeing them grow and mature and successfully overcome their individual challenges and heartaches that come with life. I love family reunions.
The easy answer is because my convert mother and member father were already active members by the time I was born. However, regardless of my birthright into this faith I eventually had be become converted myself otherwise I’d just be part of the “club”. My own conversion came largely from being obedient to the wise counsel of my parents and the gospel teachings I learned at home and church. The truthfulness of those concepts and teachings became increasing evident in my young life after experiencing and recognizing the differences that happen between when I obeyed and prospered or disobeyed and struggled. I learned for myself that prayers were indeed answered. I learned that comfort and encouragement through spiritual insights and impressions increased my confidence in the teachings and direction the Savior gave me through his scriptures and his chosen leaders.
The Book of Mormon is clear and precise in explaining why this short time on earth is so critical in preparing me to meet my Heavenly Father. The truth is evident that none of us know how much time we will be allotted before accident, health, old age, or some calamity bring our mortal lives to an end. The Book helps me understand why it is so important to use my time here wisely and to not procrastinate my preparations.
How much space can I take? I think it’s important to realize that answers to prays do not often come in the exact form or fashion we may have “specified”. I mean praying is not like sitting on Santa’s knee and demanding a precise and specific list of toys we expect to find under the tree on Christmas morning. When we humbly recognize our dependence upon God for EVERYTHING and thank him for the many blessings we already receive from him then with that sense of indebtedness it’s sort of hard to order Him around the universe doing this or that favor for us to make our lives wonderfully easy. But in the spirit of thankful indebtedness to him and believing he loves me more than I can comprehend then I feel confidence in sharing with him my concerns, challenges, weaknesses, and cares and supplicate him, according to his will and pleasure, to bless me with guidance and insights and even knowledge about the things I must do and change to resolve said concerns. Then patiently wait for that guidance while continuing to exert all of the faculties he already blessed me with to tackle said concerns. The ways I’ve been blessed following that approach include premonitions and impressions that when followed absolutely led to my safety; Insights and understanding about how something in the physical world worked and I was able to resolve technical difficulties for which I’d never been trained; the strongest of impressions to propose marriage to my wife; foresight about the negative consequences of taking a job I thought I wanted but turned down to my later sense of relief; things I should say to a friend to provide comfort and ease a burden; and on and on.
Simple, the answer is cause and effect. By that I mean when I read the Book of Mormon the unseen truth meter inside me pings as I read something that is particularly applicable to my life and situation. The book’s teaching or story always has some principle of behavior or attitude that when followed (cause) results in me feeling closer to God because I sense he is pleased to see the positive changes (effect) my changed behavior or attitude has brought.
Faith implies the confidence to do something. My faith in Jesus Christ’s teachings as being true and correct encourages obedience to them. Consistent obedience to the principles He taught develops character traits like kindness, thoughtfulness, honesty, charity and so much more. When I am able to exemplify those character traits when dealing with my fellow workers or neighbors, and especially my family then I’m blessed with contentment and peace of mind.
I’ve always worked in industries largely populated by hard, gruff, men where profanity and vulgarity are oft times mistaken as manly or macho and unfortunately widely practiced. Inevitably throughout my career in construction and oilfield camps as I moved around to different jobs in different locations I’d be the new guy on a team. The new guy is always tested to see what he is made of and whether he conforms to the practices of the team or how well he’ll fit in. It never seemed to take very long before others on the team noticed I neither swore, nor smoked, nor told lewd stories. There were times I’ve been the target of practical jokes and ruses to test my resolve but they never got the satisfaction they hoped for. It usually doesn’t take long before everyone knew my standards and affiliation with the Mormon Church and the testing and teasing died off as they understood the strength of my convictions and saw I was serious about doing the very best job I could at my assigned tasks. I never had to overtly preach at people but it's been my experience that most of my colleagues would eventually go out of their way to abstain from their profanity and bad behaviors when I was around. I live my faith by trying to do the right thing and let the consequences come. I live my faith by recognizing that all I am or have is a loan of sorts from my Father in Heaven. I’ve been blessed so far beyond my worthiness for those blessing I feel a huge debt to the giver of all blessings. Paying tithing and making donations is the easiest decision in the world for me. When I'm home from my travels I attend church every Sunday with my wife. I'm sometimes asked to teach a lesson to other men about my age and I enjoy the comaradier and strength they possess. In my travels I'm often the only member of my religion and as we work every day, even Sundays, I miss the spirit of brotherhood those great men offer. When I'm finally back home and can attend church it is always very special to me.