i grew up in a religious home.
i went to a private-religious university.
i served as a missionary preaching the gospel of jesus christ and baptism in brazil.
i go to church for 3+ hours every sunday and i’m at church at least two other nights a week leading the youth group and participating in institute.
as members of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints we live our religion in such a way that it becomes a very distinct mormon culture. i even wrote my international baccalaureate extended essay on that very idea. and while we have very unique attributes, habits, vocabulary and characteristics… i try very hard to find a balance in the real world.
the real world vacillates between how people really feel and what is perceived to be politically correct to feel. it’s a tedious dance where an undefined authority leads and all others scramble to follow. sometimes our true feelings are masked by real world distinctions.
almost five years ago, an overwhelming and emotional wave hit the country, and the country *turned* back, forgetting those distinctions. in those five short years it seems america as a whole has already forgotten… except for a small pocket of central virginia.
there is something refreshing about meeting someone for the first time and they call me honey and ask if i have a church. it can be one of the weather watchers who calls each morning before the sun rises to report the temperature… and also asks us to say a prayer for him because he’s taking his wife to the hospital later. it’s people who ask what church i attend and are happy that “at least i have jesus.” it can be all the “god willings” and “god be with yous” and “by god’s graces” that i hear throughout the day.
it can even be walking through the doors of an unfamiliar church, being greeted with smiles and welcomed by strangers. it is scripture passages. it is professions of faith through sacred acts. it is reverance. it can be sitting very still and knowing… even though the hymns may be different or the wording may be somewhat foreign that we are all children of the same god.
*** Deuteronomy 30: 10 Turn unto the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul. ***Lamentations 5: 21 Turn thou us unto thee, O LORD, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. *** Mormon 9: 6 Turn ye unto the Lord; cry mightily unto the Father in the name of Jesus, that perhaps ye may be found spotless, pure, fair, and white, having been cleansed by the blood of the Lamb, at that great and last day. *** Mosiah 7:33 But if ye will turn to the Lord with full purpose of heart, and put your trust in him, and serve him with all dilligence of mind, if ye do this, he will, according to his own will and pleasure, deliver you out of bondage.***