Being A Latter-day Saint

Latter-day Saint chapel in suburban Salt Lake City

Image via Wikipedia

Elder Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles answered the question “What Is A Latter-Day Saint?” during the Sunday session of our most recent General Conference.

“A Latter-day Saint is quite an ordinary individual.

Packer

We are now everywhere in the world, 14 millions of us. And this is only the beginning. We are taught to be in the world but not of the world (see John 17:14–19). Therefore, we live ordinary lives in ordinary families mixed with the general population.

We are taught not to lie or cheat or steal (see Exodus 20:3–17). We do not use profanity. We are positive and happy and not afraid of life.

We are “willing to mourn with those that mourn . . . and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places” (Mosiah 18:9).

If someone is looking for a church that requires very little, this is not the one. It is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint, but in the long run it is the only course.

President Packer is right, it definitely is not easy to be a Latter-day Saint. This was driven home to me personally on Saturday night when I checked my Facebook page and discovered a personal message had been sent from one of my dear friends not of my faith. A former co-worker, she and I shared many years working side-by-side in an office, as well as spending time outside of work hours socializing, and enjoying a bond of sisterhood. We’ve shared the joys and worries of being Mothers with heavy loads and juggling many hats. We have laughed and cried and commisserated together. And, because we are both devout women, actively participating in our respective churches, we naturally have had several conversations about religion and our beliefs. Conversations that were always mutually respectful. I treasure her friendship and the unity we’ve enjoyed despite our differences.

This is why the content of her message came as such a shock. In dismay, I read that she no longer wants to be my friend, not only on Facebook but in real life – specifically because of my religious beliefs. She feels that I have become “brainwashed”, and “too focused” on my religious life and it has made her feel excluded. She added that she thinks I belong to a church that “preaches hate”, and so she can’t associate with me any longer. My heart hurts that she could even think these things about someone she has known for so long, and is simply so contrary to who I am and what I believe. I feel awful that she has felt excluded – I always thought that by sharing what I am doing and thinking on Facebook is a form of being inclusionary. Who knew it could be interpreted the opposite? Social networking is such a mixed bag!! As for her last accusation, the truth is that nothing in my church is ever preached that doesn’t have to do with love. Love of God, love of others, love of family, love of country, love of life…read any official talk or pamphlet or manual or scripture and you will find love. And we don’t just preach it, we believe in putting it into action. The LDS Church Welfare and Humanitarian Service is one of the most active charities in the world, known for being a first responder in times of need and disaster irrespective of country, race or creed [celebrating 75 years this week]. Locally, we participate in the “Helping Hands Project“, and individually we strive to get to know our neighbors and watch over them. We don’t do it because we “have to”, we do it because we Love To. Sure, just like any religion or group of people there are Latter-day Saints that don’t live up to what is being preached and fall short of being good examples. We’re imperfect humans and we have our rotten apples. But, the vast majority of us are really nice people who are trying our best to be like Jesus – whom we love and worship, and improve the communities we live in. All of that said, her feelings are valid and her concerns are sincere.  I would like to reassure her that I will never stop loving her or being her friend.  I feel really sad, but nothing has changed the way I feel about her. In time, hope we will get to talk about this, and our bond of our friendship can be mended. In the meantime, I remain steadfast in my faith. There is nothing more joyful to me than being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; a “Mormon” and a “Latter-day Saint”. It gives life purpose and strengthens my ability to teach my children God’s commandments.  So, despite the risk of being perceived as a nut job, or having to experience the pain of rejection by someone I love, I simply cannot deny or apologize for my convictions. I will “stay the course”. I will continue to share my joy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world, be a co-worker, a wife, a mother, a singer, an American, trying to find opportunities to serve others and make the world a better place in some small way. Being a Latter-day Saint teaches me how to be a little more humble, long-suffering, patient and loving each day. – MoSop

8 thoughts on “Being A Latter-day Saint

  1. Holly- I am so sorry to hear about your dear friend. I too hope that she will soon return to her friendship with you. I saw you many times during conference singing with the choir. Each time my heart was gladden to have been blessed to have such a daughter as you. Love, Mother

  2. Jesus says, “If they are not against me, they are with me.”
    We may percieve God’s heavenly Kingdom and God’s Kingdom on Earth in different ways, but our goal is the same, salvation for everyone. I felt this deeply when I toured the LDS Visitor Center, and another time when I attended a Thursday evening rehearsal of the Tabernacle Choir. I am sorry I missed viewing the semi-annual Conference this spring, because the thoughtful addresses by your lay leadership are always inspiring. I feel pain when I hear non-LDS Christians demonize the brother/sisterhood. Blessings.

  3. hopefully she will revisit the situation that left her feeling excluded. I know I often misinterpret the message being communicated and have more than once thought the exact opposite of what was actually intended. When I am feeling especially isolated, I tend to take everything wrong.

    It puts people on the defensive because I took their words completely wrong. I feel the best way to reach a person in that frame of mind is to ask (without any condescending tone) if they are OK because you would feel the same (horribly alone and offended) if you were in her position and felt excluded. If you can understand why she feels the way she does, she will feel understood, and that is like a magic potion towards healing hurt friendships.

    I Hope the two of you can each do whatever it takes to deal with this, in emotionally healthy ways MopSop, and doing so may require different actions for different people, even if regarding the same situation.

    hang in there!

  4. I’m sorry your friend said that. All I can say is, it is definitely hard to be a Member in these times! We all just have to rely on Heavenly Father and the knowledge that He will get us through everything! This life is a test and I’m glad it looks like you are weathering this particular one well. :)

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