Saturday, December 29, 2012

Why I am a Mormon

I am a Mormon.  I'm LDS.  I've been asked why I don't leave (Umm, so soon?).  I've been asked why I don't start my own church (Umm, no, thank you).  So in this entry I'll maybe give a little insight into why after ten years of free-wheeling faith I still intend to die a Mormon.

I am not a Mormon because it's the only way to enter the fullness of God's eternal glory.  I'm a Mormon because Mormonism is expansive enough to allow me to practice anything that leads to the glory of God.

I am convinced beyond doubt that God is not LDS.  I am also convinced that Mormonism is big enough to accept that same assertion about God.  Many LDS leaders have said that any truth and all truth is circumscribed within Mormonism.  I am ready to cash in those sentiments at the window as I say, "Here I am with all this wonderful truth.  Isn't it wonderful to have this now included in the realm of Mormonism!"

I am not LDS because it's a supremely good religion.  I am LDS because my personal path is a part of making the LDS religion better.

The LDS religion could be better at teaching happiness as Jesus did.  It could be better at practicing non-resistance and non-possession, also known as peace and simplicity.  It could be better at teaching prayer and fasting.  It could be more wary of fostering the yearnings of men for power, honor, and worldly security.  In all these things, it could exemplify and spotlight more effectively the Sermon on the Mount and the Parables of Jesus.

The LDS religion could be more moral and could rely more on the Golden Rule and universal spiritual gifts than on traditions, hierarchies, and decrees.

By my participating in ways that glorify the Golden Rule, peace, simplicity, modesty, and universal spirituality, I am realizing the best of the promise of the religion of Jesus in and through Mormonism.

I am not LDS because it's the best religion I can find.  I am LDS because it is the religion I can find best.

I was born LDS.  I quote LDS scripture by heart (not just by memory).  I sing LDS hymns spontaneously.  I know the LDS themes, stories, challenges, strengths, interpretations, sins, and victories.

All my earliest and deepest roots and people--family and friends--are LDS.  Joseph Smith's blood is in my blood, for better or for worse.  I'm happy to call him a cousin as I call him a prophet and a reckless blind guide, an inspiration and a distraction, as I am happy for anybody to call me.

My habits still lean toward the LDS culture, though I do my best to temper them with love and reason.  Independent of any LDS stereotype, I wear very simple clothes, drive a very simple car, rent my home, keep very little money put aside, keep only mandated insurance, and owe not a penny to anybody for anything today.  But like many LDS, I have no substance, food, swearing, or other addictions that I know of.  I even let my internet addiction lapse in the past two years.  And I am monitoring closely my activity/performance/work addiction.

As far as I know, there's no reason for me not to be a Mormon.

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