Wednesday, March 5, 2014

To a Friend: Why I Choose to Be a Mormon

A friend asked me recently a few questions about my membership in the LDS Church.  They were thoughtful, sincere questions, and I thought I would share some of them here, along with my initial responses to them.  There are more reasons why I choose to be Mormon than are listed in this post (many more), but this is what I shared with my friend.  

Just a few, immediate responses:

1. What benefits does your Church provide that can't be provided by other temporal humanitarian or educational institutions?

a) An over-arching, empowering, transcendent theology that is radically different than anything else in Christianity. I've studied just about every other religion in existence (at the very least the large ones, including Christian denominations).  It's similar to the overall end-view of Buddhism, but it also provides a Brother-Savior and a Father-God framework that is MUCH more powerful for me than the more amorphous presentation within Buddhism. I could list many, many aspects of that theology, but it is the theological grandeur, in totality, that captivates and "benefits" me the most.

b) Theoretical balance and abundant paradox. Complexity that is baffling and unsettling to many, but which I value highly.

2. After a person has gained commitment to principles of honesty, charity, clean living, and overall goodness, what benefits does your Church provide? Are they significant enough given the high financial and emotional costs of being exposed to the long checklists of things you must do that you can never accomplish without destroying balance in your life?

Gaining those things is a foundational benefit that causes someone to "become" those things - and people who have become those things find a way to mitigate the general demands and find a balance that works for them, even if that balance is different than others' balance. Yes, the benefits are significant enough - IF a workable balance is found.  I have found such a balance for myself. 

3. What value do you see in participating?

Great, lasting, immeasurable value - as long as that participation is meaningful to me.

I know myself well enough to know that I need structure and general stability in order for my kite to fly without getting unhooked and burning up in the heat of the sun. I could jump off the theoretical / theological deep-end if left to myself.  I need my personal, pondering kite to fly (since I need to contemplate the cosmos, so to speak), but I also need the string that keeps it safely tethered - and my wife and kids and the LDS Church provide the tether to my kite.

Finally, I find GREAT value in trying to help others learn to fly - and I would feel extremely . . . ungrateful . . . if I didn't make that effort within the community that gave me wings.

1 comment:

Jana said...

Love this! Thanks for sharing.