When life gets tricky, I can’t help but analyze where I can turn for peace. And, right now… life is tricky for me. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort, assurance, motivation, and optimism. What do I have in my life that gives me those feelings? I have my children and my husband, both of which are huge blessings in my life. I have a relationship with God and confidence in His willingness to guide me in my life. But, so much lately I have been exceptionally grateful for my religion. Every week, while sitting in church, I think about how GOOD I feel there and how I really love being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Latter day Saint’s lifestyle. All of those feelings that I long for, I feel, as a member of my church, and it keeps me coming back for more.
It’s been enjoyable for me to ponder the reasons I love being a member of The Church, and I wanted to put them down on paper (or… my blog,) as a way to sort out my thoughts, but also to share with you.
10 Reasons I Love the Latter-day Saint’s Lifestyle
#1 – Support:
In the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints church (sometimes referred to as the Mormon church), the teachings are the same wherever you go, so it doesn’t matter which building you attend anywhere in the world, you will be taught consistently. However, to foster a sense of community and support, the members are asked to go to the building closest to their home, at a specific time. All the members that attend the building at the same time make up what’s called a “ward.” So, when I say “ward,” it means the folks that I go to church with and live closest to me. I LOVE MY WARD. It’s always a little hard to move into a new ward… it’s kind of like attending a new school (I remember those feelings from my childhood!) But, when you really give your ward a chance, make efforts to serve and get to know everyone, there is this deep connection that forms and you learn to lean on them for support and desire to support them, as well. It really is an amazing system.
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve had arms put around me, asking me how I’m doing, and how I can be served. If we need some extra heavy lifting done at our home, a group of willing men are ready to help. If I exhibit the smallest sign of life being hard, I have 15 ladies asking to bring me dinner, watch my kids, or fold my laundry. If my children are struggling, rarely would I have to say anything, my ward members already know and are so anxious to help and inspire them.
A couple months back, a wonderful and inspired lady in my ward, called me and said that she woke up in the middle of the night with the strongest impression that she needed to bring me dinner and let me know that God was thinking of me. It was one of the most touching moments. I had been struggling and praying endlessly, trying to stay on top of life, and longing for more involvement from God. Of all people in the ward, with so many having much greater needs than I, she woke up thinking about ME. I am so thankful to her for living a life that enables her to receive such inspiration, and I’m so thankful for her willingness to act on it. It had such an impact on me and really helped me to know that God was there, looking after me. Stories just like this, I could rattle off all day. I love the support I feel as a member of a ward and it inspires me to want to support my ward members, as well. It’s definitely one of my favorite things about being a Latter-day Saint.
“Bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light; …mourn with those that mourn; yea, 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 that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life.” The Book of Mormon, Mosiah 18:8-9
#2 – Opportunities for Growth:
Starting at the tender age of 3 and ending… well, never… members of the church are presented with endless opportunities to improve themselves and serve those around them. What kinds of things am I talking about? Well, let’s talk about my 7 kids for a minute. Not only are they (minus the baby) taught the gospel and about being Christ-like each week, but they are given the opportunity to speak in front of many other children and adults regularly. They pray in front of the church members, they give talks, share scriptures, and are invited to share their feelings in a public setting.
I have always believed that public speaking is a wonderful skill to practice and can be quite valuable in life, as well as humbling. Also, the preparation involved in doing so invites much soul-searching and dedication, both wonderful things. It makes me so happy to see my children pushing themselves out of their comfort zones and spending the necessary time to prepare for their small speaking assignments.
For my children that are 8 and older (up to 18,) they are provided with mid-week activities that they are invited to attend. These activities foster growth spiritually, socially, educationally, and physically. They have had activities revolving around sports, CPR, homemaking, manners, camping, babysitting, neighborhood clean-ups, and even just straight-up fun, bonding activities, like boating or skiing. I love having my kids attend their weekly activities because they have the chance to bond with their leaders and the other kids in their ward/neighborhood, as well as grow in some way. Randomly, we have a scheduling conflict where they aren’t able to make it, but I do everything I can to try and make sure my kids are there each week. It’s worth it to me and they have a good time. And FYI, you don’t have to be a member to attend these activities or to attend church. All are welcome.
Members of the church, age 12 and up (all through adulthood) have the opportunity to receive a “calling.” A calling is a specific position in the church where you are asked to donate your time and serve your fellow members. There are lots and lots of callings to be had and you serve in any given calling usually anywhere from 1 year time period, on up. My children have been called as leaders in their church class. They attend meetings to discuss and plan upcoming activities, they talk about the needs of the class members and how they can improve the experience for everyone. Over the years, my husband and I have had a variety of callings, all opportunities for growth. Some of the callings I’ve had, just to give you an idea of what’s needed in each ward:
- Primary Teacher – I’ve had this calling several times. The Primary is the organization for children in the church. It is filled with teachers who are each in charge of a specific age group. They sit with their class in the big group meeting, Sharing Time, then take their class to a room where they share their assigned lesson. I have had lots of great experiences teaching the children of the church.
- Primary Pianist – Every organization needs a pianist because we usually start and end every segment of church with a hymn. In the Primary Sharing Time, the kids sing a lot, as well as play fun games to help them learn the songs and understand the message.
- Young Women’s President – The Young Women’s is the organization for girls, ages 12 to 18. I love being around girls this age! They are often so eager to connect with you, as their leader, and the difference a loving leader can make in their life is HUGE. The Young Women’s President will have a couple counselors, as well as a secretary. Between all 4 ladies, they focus the organization on teaching the girls the Young Women’s Values, which are: faith, divine nature, individual worth, knowledge, choice and accountability, good works, integrity, and virtue. Those values are taught in both the Sunday lessons and in the weekly activities. The organization for the boys, of the same age group, is called “Young Mens.”
- Minister – Ministering is a really neat system of keeping tabs on the other members of the church. It’s a program of love and safety. Every woman is assigned a partner (also a woman) in the ward. Together, the team is assigned a number of women to watch over. They are supposed to visit or chat with those ladies regularly, be aware of their situation, and be on-call to serve them when there is a need. The men in the church do the same thing, but rather than visit other men, they are assigned entire families.
- Family History Consultant – Family history is highly valued in the Mormon church. We love learning about our ancestors, as well as serving them. As a Family History Consultant, I taught other members how to do genealogy research online and encouraged them to work on starting their own family history (keeping a journal, preserving pictures, etc.)
- Relief Society Teacher – The Relief Society is the organization in the church for women. It was founded in 1842 and there are currently about 6 million members in over 170 countries! If a woman in the church doesn’t have a calling in the Primary or Young Women’s (or another calling in the church,) then she will attend the Relief Society class during the same hour. The men, if not in a calling that requires them elsewhere, attend either Elder’s Quorum or High Priests during the same hour.At the beginning of Relief Society, we will sing a hymn, have a prayer, followed by announcements. Sometimes there are R.S. activities planned for mid-week that give the “sisters,” and anyone in the area that would like to come, an opportunity to bond with each other. Sometimes the leaders will pass around sign-up sheets, with opportunities to serve. If someone just had a baby, is sick, or in need otherwise, the sisters can sign up to bring meals to the family or help in any needed capacity. They help host funerals, by providing meals to the family of the loved one who passed. They put together care packages, serve refugees, or provide Christmas gifts for children and families in need. The list of service opportunities are endless and I’m so thankful for them!
Anyway, I am one of maybe 3 other Relief Society teachers, so I have to teach the assigned lesson to the class about once a month. My next lesson coming up is on honesty, so I’ve had that on my mind a lot lately. I love teaching the women and I love spending an entire month focusing my mind on the same topic… studying about it, talking about it, praying about it. I always come away from the lesson feeling like it was more for me than anyone else. It’s truly a blessing. I’ll be heartbroken when I’m “released” from this calling. But really, I have found that every calling is a blessing and an opportunity to grow, if you let it be.
“Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great.” Doctrine & Covenants 64:33
#3 – Peace:
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I have quite often recognized my religion as the biggest contributor to the peace I feel in life. There is a never-ending amount of knowledge to be gained in the church, about Christ and His gospel, and the more I learn, the more I am rewarded with feelings of peace. That’s a huge deal for me. Life is busy, life is difficult, raising children is a big responsibility, the world becomes more chaotic every day… you know how it is and about the unnerving feelings that creep in. To be able to feel calm and happy inside, through it all, is priceless. What brings this feeling of peace? An understanding. Knowing who I am, where I came from, where I’m going, and why I’m here. It helps me maintain a proper perspective on everything that goes on around me. It helps me to rise above it and stay focused on the end goal and how I need to live my life to get there.
I could never say that the overwhelming feelings of life don’t get the best of me. They have and they do. But, what I know helps me to shake them off, remember who those bad feelings are coming from, and pull myself back together. It’s a tried and true method that I can absolutely vouch for… drawing closer to God equals feeling greater peace. Distancing yourself from Him equals fear, confusion, loneliness… basically, nothing good.
I am thankful for the peace I feel, that has come to me through my beliefs and living them.
“Know ye not that ye are in the hands of God? Know ye not that he hath all power, and at his great command the earth shall be rolled together as a scroll?” The Book of Mormon, Mormon 5:23
#4 – Reminders:
If you’re alive, you will be faced with temptation to make bad choices. That’s just how it goes. And, falling for that temptation will bring about those feelings that are 100% the opposite of peace… I’m talking: guilt, anger, loneliness, worthlessness, etc. It can literally ruin your life. When you have those feelings inside, you long to feel better… some people try to justify their decisions and look for others to share their misery, but the only REAL remedy is to recognize those feelings as a sign from your spirit that you’ve done something wrong, as all people have, and you need to fix it. You need to be a better person. Feeling guilty isn’t the worst thing. In fact, I’m grateful that those guilty feelings come to me when I do something wrong. I hate feeling guilty and I know that my spirit is absolutely right when it tells me I need do better.
With all of the horrible things to be tempted with in the world, regular reminders to be strong and be your best self are always welcome in my book, for me AND my family. At home, I do all I can to teach my kiddos to make good choices. It is a huge bonus for me to know they are getting that same information every Sunday, as well. I love thinking about them in their classes learning about loving their neighbor, respecting their parents, making decisions ahead of time to turn down drugs and alcohol, forgiving those who have offended them, including and loving those around them, and so on. How could I not want that for my kids? A guaranteed reminder every week, on top of anything we do at home… I love it.
I love thinking of my husband in his class, being reminded to put family first, to better himself as a husband and father, and to serve and represent God in his daily life. How could I not want those reminders for my husband?? I love being in my own class, being reminded how important family is, how much God needs my service and a humble heart. I need those reminders, to help block out the negativity and craziness in the world. I could never be reminded enough, nor could my family. I am thankful to be reminded weekly, as I attend church. I want a happy family. I want a family that feels peace inside. I want a family who makes this world a better place. I want to bring my family back to God and have Him welcome us and feel so proud.
“And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.” The Book of Mormon, Ether 12: 27
#5 – Knowledge:
Oh, man… there’s so much to learn. It can be overwhelming to think about, but it’s also really exciting! How awesome is it that there is always something to learn that we didn’t know before? That applies to both worldly matters and to spiritual matters. I always long for more time in the day and more energy so I can simply learn MORE about everything.
One of my most favorite things about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the gospel makes sense. It’s given to us in our own language and we are encouraged to study, ponder, and pray as much as we can, to further our understanding. It makes me think of a large puzzle where you can start to see how everything fits, the further you move along. Everything has it’s place and it’s purpose and we are invited to start where we are, on a journey of amazing knowledge. And as mentioned before, with that knowledge comes blessings of peace, so it’s like a two for one!
“For my soul delighteth in plainness; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth light unto the understanding; for he speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding.” The Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 31: 3
#6 – Stronger Family:
When I say a stronger family, I am not comparing mine to anyone else’s, but to MY family as I imagine it would be, without the church in our lives. It’s because of our beliefs that Dan wakes me up each morning, sits by the edge of the bed, holds my hand, and says a prayer with me, before he leaves for work. It’s because of our beliefs that we gather around our coffee table every evening with all the kids and say a family prayer, praying that we can be watched over, mindful of those around us, and find ways to improve ourselves individually and as a family.
Each day, for homeschool, we set aside time for scripture study or a spiritual thought. I love that part of my day! It doesn’t always go as smoothly as I would hope, but out of all the things my kids learn in school, I believe those 20 minutes, or so, are the most important of all. Not only do they add to their historical and spiritual knowledge during that time, but they are reminded of the most important things in life and they get to hear a bit of their mom’s testimony each day. It’s a special time for us.
A central theme you will hear all through the church and it’s teachings is the importance of family. Many of the lessons are focused on family. The ward will hold activities for the whole family to attend, such as BBQs, campouts, holiday parties, etc. We believe that if we live righteously and follow the path that has been laid out for us, we will be a family unit, in heaven, just as we are here on earth… but, with heavenly perks. 😉 An eternal family! This belief, coupled with our natural profound love for our children, fuels our motivation to have a love-filled home and strong family bonds.
“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of they children.” The Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 22:13
#7 – Prayers for Me & My Family:
Of course, I am always able to say a prayer on my own behalf, but how cool is it to have prayers said FOR me and members of my family?!? During every segment of my church meetings, there is a prayer offered, asking God to watch over the members of the class, inspire them, guide them, and bless them. I want all the prayers like that, that I can get! The leaders over each auxiliary say regular personal prayers and prayers with their counselors, for the well being of those whom they teach.
I know that when I prepare my Relief Society lesson every month, I must say a hundred prayers prior to teaching. I want all the help from above that I can get, for sharing my lesson with the class. It’s not so much that I’m asking for help to do a good job, but it’s more that while pondering on the topic, God will inspire me with what He wants me to share to His special daughters. I think teaching the gospel is a huge responsibility! To have a room full of people with their hearts and minds open, ready to draw closer to Christ… I can’t blow that. And, knowing God, I know that FOR DANG SURE He will let me know what I need to share. He’s not going to waste that chance. So, recognizing that I am a tool in His hands, I’m praying, praying, praying all month long, pleading to know what to share that will touch the hearts of the class members and inspire them to come closer to Him. And, it works. I feel His hand in my lessons and I know that my prayers, focusing on the class members, make all the difference between me sharing my own thoughts and me, sharing God’s message. And, when I don’t have to teach and get to sit and enjoy a lesson, I am pretty confident that the teacher prayed her heart out, as well, so I better listen up, because God has a message for me.
“Thus we may see that the Lord is merciful unto all who will, in the sincerity of their hearts, call upon his holy name.” The Book of Mormon, Helaman 3:27
#8 – Standards:
We believe in the unpopular notion of right and wrong, and I like that. I’m okay with being different! We have been given commandments by God and when we break them, we are wrong, we have sinned, we need to repent, and try super hard to never do it again (and if we do, we repent again.) We believe that by keeping His commandments and properly repenting, when we fail to do so, we become right with God and will be rewarded with blessings, guidance, and the gift of living with our Heavenly Father and Savior, when the time comes. (Click here to read more about repentance, in a different blog post that I wrote.)
Having that belief makes it easier to brush aside that noise of the world that righteousness is relative. It’s more important to please God than to be popular and avoid criticism or persecution. Life isn’t one big party where we can do whatever we want and nothing matters. It does matter. We believe life has an absolute purpose and by doing our best to follow the commandments or standards laid out for us, we will achieve our goal and feel joy in the journey. I feel that joy inside. I have felt the emptiness, as well, when I’ve been less of the person that I know I should be. It’s a notable difference and 100% worth it to me to try and abide by what I know is right, despite anything going on around me.
“What I the Lord have spoken, I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mind own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same.” Doctrine & Covenants 1:38
#9 – Optimism:
I love that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an optimistic church. It’s focused on learning, growing, improving, finding joy, helping each other, attaining blessings, and all of the wonderful things that our Savior has done for us. With the negativity, hate, and depressing things all around us, the church is so refreshing. It’s a light in my life. Every time I go, I’m reminded that it’s okay that I’ve messed up, that I’m not perfect. The Savior has a way for me to make things right, thanks to His love. I’m reminded of the amazing gift, that is the gospel. There is so much to be happy about, so much goodness and beauty still left in the world, and so much to hope for.
“And what is it that ye shall hope for? Behold I say unto you that ye shall have hope through the atonement of Christ and the power of the resurrection, to be raised unto life eternal, and this because of your faith in him according to the promise.” The Book of Mormon, Moroni 7:41
#10 – The Book of Mormon:
This book has changed me. It changes me still. It’s my instruction manual for living. It’s a book of hidden treasures, revealed to those who are prayerfully yearning for God’s influence in their lives. I cannot tell you the number of times that I have been struggling and praying for guidance, only to have my answer found on the pages of The Book of Mormon. God spoke to the ancient prophets whose words are in this book, and through those words, God speaks to me, and can speak to you. I swear that it happens, upon all that I have been blessed with. Not only have I been given answers for my life, but I am blessed with peace, knowledge, and strength when I read it regularly. I try to read a little every day, it’s definitely worth the effort! (If you want a favorite tip for never missing a day of scripture reading, check out this other blog post that I wrote.)
What is the Book of Mormon?
“The Book of Mormon is another witness that Jesus Christ really lived, that He was and is God’s Son. It contains the writings of ancient prophets. One of these, Lehi, lived in Jerusalem around 600 B.C. God commanded Lehi to lead a small group of people to the American continent. There they became a great civilization.
God continued to call prophets among these people. The Book of Mormon is a collection of the writings of their prophets and record keepers. It is named after Mormon, one of the last of these ancient prophets.
These prophets knew about Heavenly Father’s plan for His children and the mission of Jesus Christ. They recorded that Christ appeared, after His Resurrection, to the people in America, taught them His gospel, and formed His Church among them. The book contains the teachings of Jesus Christ, testifying of His Atonement and His love. It supports and verifies the Bible.” Mormon.org
Want to Read the Book of Mormon?
If you haven’t made The Book of Mormon a part of your life, I recommend it more than I can recommend anything!! It has brought so much goodness to my life and I have so much confidence in it, that I am more than happy to buy a copy and ship it out to you. I have been blessed to send out roughly a thousand Books of Mormon to my readers, and I’m not planning on stopping anytime soon. When something is awesome, you share it, right? You just have to promise me this…
“And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.” The Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:4
If you can do that, email me your name and address to [email protected] and I’ll ship one out as soon as I can. Just be patient with me, I try to make my way to the post office once a month. Oh, and I promise that I don’t send missionaries to your house or share your info. You can read more about this offer, here: Free Book of Mormon Without Missionaries. If you’re okay with missionaries coming (they’re awesome), teaching you, and even accompanying you to church (if you want), then you’ll want to make your request here: Come Unto Christ