Recently, I was asked to take over posting on the I love being LDS Facebook page.
Doing so made me ask questions, such as, “Do I actually love being a Latter-day Saint, and if so, why?” I started writing down reasons I love being a member, and eventually had to stop at twelve. The hardest part was not coming up with the list, but how to rank the entries.
Creating the list was not only reaffirming (I do love being a member of the Church), but it proved to be an enjoyable stroll down memory lane.
The best thing is, everything on this list has helped me, or continues to help me, learn more about Our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ, and how I can be more like them.
I share the list with you now. Feel free to make your own list, and reminisce, if you like.
12. Church Activities
These are the gatherings outside of the regular block of Sunday meetings—the potlucks, Christmas parties, devotionals, service projects, dances, pioneer treks, roadshows, talent shows, etc.
As I thought about the activities I enjoyed the best, the ones I remembered involved food, interacting with peers and service.
11. The Standard Works
Not only that, but a Bible Dictionary, Joseph Smith Translation (of the Bible) footnotes, and other reference material, right at our finger tips. There is so much to know, so much to understand, and all of these books of scripture testify that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer.
Plus, I love knowing that God did not just talk to the Old Testament prophets and New Testament apostles, but to prophets in the Western Hemisphere as well. It is a blessing to have more witnesses bringing clarity to every gospel topic.
10. The Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ
This is a huge topic, and much of what is on this list falls under the general heading of the gospel, but as I thought about it, I just love the fact the gospel, in its fullness, has been restored. There is a reason why this is called the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Every saving doctrine and ordinance has been restored in one great whole. It’s awesome to think about in its entirety, and because of that, it gets a spot on my list.
If you live long enough, life will come full circle. That’s happened to me in many ways, and one of them is Seminary.
I loved going to Seminary. Unfortunately, it wasn’t so much for the scriptures and the learning, but the competitions we prepared for, like Seminary Bowl and Scripture Chase.
Years later, I was asked to be a teacher, and I learned much more than I ever could have as a student. Both experiences have helped me appreciate more the scriptures, the prophets who wrote them, all that Jesus Christ did and does for us (of whom the scriptures and prophets testify) and the sacrifice my own teacher made in trying to teach me.
Being prompted, guided, warned, comforted, and educated through the Holy Ghost are all amazing things. Knowing that it can happen to anyone on a personal level, or in callings, families or other such groups, is truly mind blowing. It’s not necessarily the easiest thing to get the hang of (is it me?—is it Him?), but the feelings associated with personal revelation when recognized can be the most profound, life altering experiences we will have in mortality.
Knowing that there’s a prophet the Lord speaks to for all of us is just as comforting, just as exhilarating, if not more so. God might not intervene constantly or micro-manage our lives, but He has far from left us to our own devices.
It seems like any time I’ve needed help with something I was incapable of doing on my own, the Lord has either moved me closer to someone who could, or moved them to me. Most times, these people were members of the Church.
While the Lord certainly has His hand in the mix, I know it’s been because of the willingness of these members, too. Especially when the purpose or intent for their moving had little to do with me.
Thankfully, too, I’ve had the opportunity to help and serve others in similar ways. It helps to be able to give back even if you’re constantly receiving more than you’ll ever pay back.
Temples are another one of those cases of life coming full circle. As a young man, I was baptized and confirmed in the stead of those who had passed on. Then, when I went on my mission, I went to the temple for myself. Later, my wife and I were sealed in the temple. Now, my wife and I go back as often as we can.
As an adult, I’ve been able to perform baptisms and confirmations, as well as sit in on the sealings of friends and my two sons. It’s heartwarming and fulfilling to see others beginning a life together, and to remember how it was when I and my wife did the same.
The peace and quiet found in the temple is unparalleled, and the opportunity to serve others, even ones beyond the veil, is yet another blessing.
5. The Priesthood
It is a great responsibility, but more than that, the priesthood is a great power and blessing to have in my life, and for my family. Not just the authority to wield the power of God, but too, the companionship and camaraderie of men and youth who share in the Priesthood. It is a brotherhood like no other to be found on the face of the Earth.
4. General Conference
I love General Conference. Especially the times my family and I have had the opportunity to attend in person. I wish it happened more than every six months. I feel like the prophet, the apostles, and the rest of the General Authorities are the mortal equivalent of a spiritual center, and when I feel like life in the trenches is getting out of kilter, these chosen servants show up to realign, bolster up, and recharge me.
3. Full-time Mission
I know missions can be hard, but they can also be rewarding. There’s a reason for the cliché, “best two years.” So much opportunity for spiritual, intellectual and personal growth in such a short period of time. In some ways, it’s like living an entire life.
I grew so much during that period of time, and came back with abilities and skills that I did not have going in. Those abilities and skills opened up doors to employment I would not have had otherwise. And because I first met my wife on my mission, and for many other reasons besides, I’m still being blessed because of those two years.
Having both my sons serve missions has also been an incredible experience for me, and seeing other youth go that I had a much smaller role in preparing is extremely rewarding and satisfying.
I have experienced the windows of heaven pouring out temporal blessings upon my family so many times in my life that I hope there’s still some left for what remains. I know it’s not been because of me alone, but it’s always been because of God’s mercy and love. I don’t know why it happens like this to some and not to others. I just know that it can happen, and I am very grateful for it.
It may be a law of sacrifice, but how can anything be a sacrifice that blesses you at least tenfold? Even when it’s not financial, the fact you are able to pay tithing even in the lean times is a miracle.
1. Eternal Marriage and Family
My wife, sons and I have had our share of good times and bad. We continue to experience both. However, when it comes down to it, I can’t imagine a life without them. Because of financial reasons, I’ve spent more of the last 14 months away from them than I have with them. I didn’t get married and have a family just to live my life without them around me. I know I don’t want that to happen for eternity, and I’m glad for the opportunity to keep my life in order, and they, too, so we can be together forever.
It’s the focal point in my life. Everything else, including everything on this list, is just the means by which my family can return to Heavenly Father’s presence.
There You Have It
It’s not a comprehensive list. Undoubtedly, a list you create would include things on my list and others that are not. Your list might be longer or shorter, too.
If you’ve enjoyed this post, please stop by the I love being LDS Facebook page and like it. I will continue to provide posts there that I feel uplift, inspire and reaffirm why we all love being a follower of Jesus Christ in these, the latter days.