If you are my friend, then the chance of you knowing that I am a Mormon is high. Yes I am a Mormon and have been since 1992.
Nobody has directly asked me the question I posed above, of what it is like to be a Mormon. I’m sure to many it makes no difference really, or for them it does not really matter. For me this is okay. Why? Because I don’t also ask my friends what their religions are, and more importantly, I don’t choose my friends based on their religion. For me that’s just not right!
But I would like to answer the question of what it is like to be a Mormon, perhaps so that you, my friends, will understand me a little bit better (not that you don’t understand me at all). Let’s just say so you will know why I do things the way I do and why I try my best not to do things I am not supposed to do.
So what is it like to be a Mormon?
Oh! Before I answer the question, let me say a few things here for the benefit of those who do not know …
We are commonly known as Mormons because of the Book of Mormon, a set of scriptures that we use together with the Bible, both the Old and the New Testament. We believe the Book of Mormon as another testament of Jesus Christ. It is a prophetic record translated by Joseph Smith about a people who lived in ancient America. We study the Bible and the Book of Mormon together, side by side.
Are Mormon Christians?
Yes we are! The name of our Church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is Jesus Christ’s church that’s why it bears His name. However, most people call us by our nickname – the ‘Mormons” - most likely because it’s easier to say and remember. Are you curious about the words “Latter-day Saints”? Well, in the scriptures, Jesus’s followers or disciples are called Saints, and because we follow Christ, we are called Saints. Latter-day simply means the latter days … to differentiate us from the members of the church in the early days during Jesus Christ’s ministry.
So, back to the question on What is it like to be a Mormon?
Well, for starters it’s really fun to be an LDS (a Latter-day Saint) or a Mormon. In the Church everyone is given a chance to grow, to develop, and to progress … by helping out. The Church does not have a paid clergy and so every member has the chance to teach in the different classes and to lead in the different auxiliaries. Educational background is not an issue in the Church and as long as one has the desire to serve, one is “called to the work”.
As a person I really believe that I have grown and matured into a responsible adult because of the influence of the Gospel. I do not wish to boast because I am far from perfect, but I can honestly say that I am ‘better’ now in so many ways. What made me say this? Well, let me begin by saying that I have learned so much from attending all my classes in the Church. In the Church we have Sunday School classes where we study the Scriptures. Then we have classes for the young children and we call them the Primary because they belong to the Primary Organization, the Youth (young men and young women ages 12 to 17), the Single Adults (men and women ages 18 to 30), the Relief Society, and the Priesthood classes for the men. Then we have the Sacrament Meeting.
As an adult LDS woman I belong to the Relief Society Organization and when I go to church every Sunday, I attend my Relief Society class. It is a class for women from ages 18 and above. In the Relief Society class we are taught everything we need to know and do as daughters of a Heavenly Father. Topics on family, motherhood, being a wife, responsibilities of being a sister, a daughter, a friend, a neighbor, everything that has to do with the role and responsibilities of women are discussed there. In the Relief Society classes we are taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and how to apply it in our lives. We are taught patience, humility, repentance, forgiveness, meekness, diligence, kindness, and charity. We are taught and constantly reminded to serve others and serve with gladness. Listening is not enough though, to change someone. It took me years to learn and understand, and years as well to slowly put into practice what I learned. At first it was not easy, and I have to be honest even now, after more than twenty years of studying and listening, it still remains a challenge. But, and here’s the best part, it is always possible … and doable!
Oh! Lest I forget, in the Relief Society organization we also learn about homemaking, which includes cooking.
Then we also get to develop our skills and talents like singing and dancing!
Latter-day Saints have standards to follow, like for instance in the way we dress. As LDS we are taught about the importance of modesty in dressing. As parents and as youth leaders we counsel our children - our girls and our young women (and we set an example ourselves as adults, leaders, and parents) to dress modestly to keep sacred the body which is God’s temple. So if you see someone attending a ball, a party, or a Prom and she’s wearing something that is elegant yet it does not show so much skin, then chances are she is an LDS young woman or an LDS single adult.
Then we also abide by the Lord’s Law of Health. In a nutshell it admonishes members of the Church to take care of the body by not taking anything that can harm it physically.
I know a lot of people who see these standards as restrictions, but I don’t. I do not wish to say that I have followed everything perfectly, but the wonderful thing is I am trying my best to follow because I know they are designed to keep me safe.
Being a Mormon is awesome! I have appreciated more what parenthood is and I am grateful that because I know now how important parenting is, I am able to try everyday to be a good mother to my own five children. More than this I am also grateful that I am given the chance to share to others what I know to be good and true, and be an influence for good.
To be a Mormon is wonderful because I came to know that families can be together forever through marriage. Of course in order to become an eternal family there are ordinances that needs to be performed, and it takes a lifetime of commitment and dedication to make it come true. But I rejoice knowing that it is possible for families to be together after this life is over. I knew about eternal families only when I became a member of the Church, and for this I will be eternally grateful. Now, because I know what I want and I know how to get what I want, I try very hard, every day, to take a step, even one step, towards my goal. Had I not known, I can just imagine myself working hard for something that will never give me what matters most in this life.
There’s more about being a Mormon that I would really like to share, but for now I’ll stop here. I understand some may not like what I just wrote, but that’s okay. As our Articles of Faith #11 states: “We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.”
For those who want to know more, please do not hesitate to ask your Mormon friends. If you don’t have a Mormon friend, you can ask me. I’d be more than happy to answer your questions the best way I can. You can also visit the Church’s website www.lds.org, mormon.org, or our local church newsroom mormonnewsroom.ph.