Chat With a Mormon Online
I like to question things--societal norms, assumptions, opinions. I highly value logic. I'm a scientist to my core. Currently, I'm a post-doctoral researcher studying computational genomics as it applies to cancer. I love my work, and I find it highly rewarding. I've been a wife since 2004 and a mom since 2009. I choose to work full-time outside of the home, which is fairly uncommon in the church. Our culture emphasizes doing what's best for our children. In my case, I would resent having to give up my career, so I didn't, and I know my daughter will benefit from that. I don't fit the stereotypical Mormon mould in many ways, but when I look around me, I see many people who don't. And yet we all love and support each other, and I have rarely felt out of place, especially as an adult. I once heard a lesson where the teacher made bracelets for us out of a bunch of random beads that didn't match. The lesson was that when we come and work together despite our differences, we can make something beautiful. I have experienced that time and time again in the church, and I have made many dear friends of all different varieties. I like to spice things up, and I derive great pleasure from arguing either side of any argument. I enjoy reading intellectual Mormon blogs and hanging out with passionate deep thinkers. I love to be exposed to a diversity of opinions, and I can easily find them in the church, especially thanks to social media.
I was born into the church, but I was very rebellious as an adolescent. Around the time I went to college, I realized the Mormon way of living is a much happier way of living. It seems counterintuitive, but I find great freedom in living the principles of the gospel--freedom from addiction, freedom from many forms of sorrow, freedom from isolation. I have gradually come to believe many of the doctrines of the church. I believe in a God who cares about me. Logically, it seems more likely that a Creator enabled the universe to produce the amazing living cell rather than it being some sort of strange accident. Really, though, I believe in God because when I meditate and pray, I get answers to prayers that I don't think could have come from me. I've also seen many miracles in my life. I also believe the teachings of Jesus Christ and have faith in His atonement. He taught beautiful concepts, culminating in the idea that we need a Savior to guide us, to help us, and to understand us. I see great value in being humble enough to ask for help and in realizing we shouldn't try to do it all on our own. As far as Mormon-specific doctrines, through reading the Rough Stone Rolling biography about Joseph Smith, I've come to believe that if Joseph Smith had fabricated the Book of Mormon for personal gain, it would have looked a lot different than it does. The Book of Mormon teaches beautiful principles that make me feel closer to God. I trust Joseph sought inspiration from God.
The LDS church is not simply a religion, it's a lifestyle and it's a culture. Much is asked of us, and in return, the blessings are great. The church meets many of my spiritual, social, and temporal needs. As one fellow in our congregation likes to put it, the key is to, "Just show up." Give a little of your time, and you will receive ten-fold blessings of spiritual and social growth. I am the website, calendar, and email list administrator for our congregation. I also serve as the building scheduler. I, just like other regular attenders, am assigned four people to visit monthly to ensure their spiritual, social, and temporal needs are met. My husband serves at the regional level, overseeing youth programs in eight local congregations. He travels around the city giving talks at neighboring congregations and making sure their needs are met. I am also active in several online groups of like-minded Mormons. We discuss things such as practical approaches for ensuring that women's voices and input are heard and ensuring that all members feel loved and valued, especially those that may not fit the stereotype, for example single parents and members who identify as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangender). I have made many lasting friendships through church, as we have learned and grown closer together and closer to God.