As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I get some ridicule. But mostly I just get lots of questions. So I thought I would just put some of them to rest and set the record straight as to what I believe and what moral standard I live my life by. :) So here goes.
I was born into a LDS family and I love it. Although my extended family are not all members it's still pretty awesome. Many people think that just because I was born into the religion that I don't really think for myself and that I'm forced to go and that I only go because it's all I've ever known. That's only partially true. True I don't know anything else. But I love it. I know it to be true, for myself. I have found out for myself that the church is true. I don't rely on my parents belief in the church. I want to stay active. I want to be apart of my Savior's church. I want to live my life in accordance with the teachings of the church.
Many people think Mormon and say, "Oh so how many moms do you have?" or "You must have a BUNCH of siblings!" Ugh. Come on people. Mormons DO NOT practice polygamy. That was a part of our church in the very early days of it. The early saints moved west in order to escape the intense religious persecution that they were receiving in the East and many men went to fight for the United States when they were asked. So there were women in the West who lost their husbands in the fighting. They were alone in this new and uncharted place, often with children. They had no way to support themselves. Some men were asked to take on another wife in order to support her and take care of her. This lasted a very short time. It wasn't like every man was suddenly able to get with as many women as he wanted. Anyway, if a member of the church tried to marry more than one woman today, he'd get excommunicated. In other words, he would no longer be a member of the church.
And the sibling thing...not everyone has a bunch of siblings within the church. The only reason many members have multiple children is because family is such a huge part of our church. But it's not so normal as it was before to have large families. I only have 2 siblings, for example. Though both are married with 2 kids each. Haha. But seriously, family is really important to members of the church. We're counseled to build a strong family through things like family home evening (often on Monday nights), family meals, family scripture study and prayer. And just have fun together.
A lot of my friends know that I don't like it when people curse around me. I've been counseled throughout my life to keep my language clean because offensive words will drive away the Spirit or Holy Ghost; it will make my Heavenly Father uncomfortable. I have done just that. It's not easy when you have to go to school everyday with teenagers who can't say one sentence without a swear word. I'm lucky to have great non-member friends who respect me enough to work at not swearing around me. In 9th grade I met a guy who had a mouth like a sailor but we became friends in our math class and he came to know that I didn't like hearing certain words. He was wonderful at keeping his language clean around me. There were times when he would slip up but he'd look sheepishly at me and apologize. I didn't see him again until my junior year in chemistry class. He remembered where I stood and he remembered what he had to do. Over this past weekend I went out with a bunch of my guy friends and he was there. He must have sworn because another one of my guy friends said, "Hey don't swear around Bri." And he replied, "Oh I know, she's Mormon. I had her in 9th grade." Another guy heard this exchange and when he said something he knew he shouldn't he would immediately change what he had said and say sorry. I love that.
Dating is a huge one for me. There have been times when I'm walking down the hall with a guy and when they leave my other friends will start asking if we're "talking" (that would be code for being close to being a couple, yeah it's weird haha). I always laugh and say no. I don't want a boyfriend. When I say that to someone their eyes always get big and they say "Oh! Why not? You guys would make a cute couple!" I simply say that I enjoy being friends with everyone and I don't want that kind of pressure in my life. Especially right now. I don't want to feel guilty if I talk to another guy. I don't want to feel like I have to worry about someone else all the time. At this time of my life I know that I just need to learn and have a variety of friends in my life. In the For the Strength of the Youth pamphlet that my church produces there is a section on dating and it counsels the youth of the church to avoid singling off and steady dating. I totally agree with that. So many of my friends have a boyfriend or a girlfriend. I always feel like I can't go hang out with or talk to guys that have girlfriends because I don't want to make their girlfriend mad at me or something like that. And I know that when guys think I'm taken they don't approach me. I don't want that to happen. I want to talk to everyone. I want to be able to go hang out with everyone. I don't want to limit myself to one person.
Earlier I mentioned the Spirit. In my church we believe in Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost as three separate beings. The Spirit is kind of hard to explain. It's a person but also a feeling. Some people refer to him as your conscious. When I feel the Spirit I feel comfort, peace, joy, happiness. Basically every good feeling out there. I love having that feeling in my life. I don't feel those things when I watch an inappropriate movie, listen to offensive music or hang out with the wrong crowd. I try to always do what I'm supposed to do because I love how I feel when I have the Spirit. He will not stay with me if I'm not living as my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would want me to live.
I love my religion. I don't know what kind of person I would be without it. I don't know how I would act or what I would want from life. All I know is that I wouldn't want to live without it. I know that what I'm being taught and what I have been taught is and did come from my Heavenly Father. I know that I'm His daughter and that He loves me. I know that He has counted all the tears I've shed and that He will be speaking to some guys because of them. :) Seriously now, I know that my Savior died for me and through Him I can return to Heaven. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Christ and that the word written within are true. I know that Joseph Smith could not have simply fabricated that book. I know that he really was called of God to reorganize Jesus Christ's church on the earth again. I know that there is a prophet on the earth today and his name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that if I live the standards that I've been counseled to live by I will be just fine. I know that everything will work out. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true. Simple as that.