… And I’m a Mormon
I’m a white American male between the ages of 18 and 35. And I’m a Mormon.Yes, I was raised Mormon. No, I don’t just believe it because that is how I was raised.
I don’t believe because somebody is trying to get my money, or because I am afraid of being ostracized or because people in power tell me I should do the things I do.
I believe because I want to believe.
The seminal moment in my belief was reading the Book of Mormon. It remains the keystone of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1830 to now. Without it, Mormonism fails. If the beliefs aren’t true, Mormons are just a bunch of nice people who do good things and make excellent green Jell-O salad.
The purpose of the Book of Mormon, taken straight from the title page, is “the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God, manifesting himself unto all nations.”
If the Book of Mormon is true, then the man who translated it, Joseph Smith, was a prophet like Moses or Peter before him.
If the Book of Mormon is true, then prophets have led the church since its organization in 1830. This means God is in charge of His church, and he makes the rules. He always has.
I have read the Book of Mormon. I have read it over and over again, and every time I do, my belief in it is reinforced.
As with many religions, there is something of a disconnect between the “doctrine” of a church and the “practice” of said church. They are not the same thing. There is an even greater disconnect between “doctrine,” or teachings, and the way people really live.
It’s almost cliché to say “nobody’s perfect.” But, well, nobody’s perfect. The Mormon Church teaches many wonderful things. Its members sometimes do not live up to those teachings, though most of us do try.
Mitt Romney does not speak for all Mormons. What somebody, even a leader in the church, said 150 years ago doesn’t describe all Mormon thought. Sometimes people are wrong.
I believe in the Mormon Church because I believe it is ultimately led by God. I believe in it because the doctrine helps me be a better person.
I’m not asking you to believe all of the same things I believe, I just want you to understand what I believe without buying into what second, third and fourth hand accounts say about it.
Don’t go to the Chevy dealer to learn about a Ford. Ask your Mormon friends about what they believe, and they’ll tell you. Visit www.mormon.org, and find out what the Church says about itself. Then you can make an informed decision about the veracity of the church.
Kasen Christensen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org