Chat With a Mormon Online
I'm a dad. I work in the foster care system, working with some of the most difficult youth in that system. I am also a domestic abuse advocate. I enjoy Scottish Country Dance, English Country Dance and Contradance.
I'm a Mormon because I was raised in the Church (second generation member) and have always viewed the world from a Mormon point of view. Since the time I first read the Book of Mormon at age 16, I've had a testimony that the Book of Mormon is true. Through the ups and downs of life, this has remained true, even when I didn't want it to be, even though I don't claim to understand what exactly the Book is or who it is speaking about, or even what it means to say that it is true, I have had the witness that it is. The stories and sermons it contains speak to my heart and help me feel a connection with God. I also believe that the name of the Church says some very important thing. First, this is the Church of Jesus Christ. That means that it is owned by him and directed by him. Second, it is a Church of Latter-day Saints. That means that it is made up of a whole bunch of Mormons. Jesus is perfect, flawless, and infallible, but Mormons are not. We do the best we can, with the tools that we have, like Priesthood and the right to inspiration and even revelation consistent with our responsibilities to understand what he wants us to do, and how to do it, but, from the bottom to the top, we are all imperfect, flawed and fallible. We get things wrong regularly, but, then, we can repent, learn and grow so that we become better. Like a bunch of rough stones rolling, we can only become smooth by experiencing the painful chipping away of those rough edges and the power of Jesus' Atonement.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ, as taught and understood by the Church, is that our Father in Heaven sent Jesus Christ into the world so that he could pay the price for all of our sins and offer us the opportunity to repent of our sins, to be healed of all of our infirmities, and to be made perfect in him if we will. It is a message of hope, love, healing, faith, gratitude and becoming that goes beyond our ability to understand or encompass completely. I share this with all that can receive it because I believe it holds hope for all of us. By carrying the message to others I am better able to receive it and understand it myself. I carry it to others by bringing the pieces to them that seem to be appropriate for the time and circumstance. This can be as complicated and trying to describe the Plan of Salvation, or as simple as saying "Hi." I don't try to convince people that I am right or better than they are, because I'm not, and I don't try to shove ideas down their throats that they aren't receptive to. But I don't hide who I am or what I believe in from anybody, so I'm available to answer whatever questions they might bring respectfully to me. I also spend time gaining more and more thorough understandings of matters related to the Gospel, including how it is understood by others who profess Christ. I want to be able to respond as fairly and accurately as I can to their questions by understanding how we might be meaning different things with the same words, or saying the same thing with different words. It's quite a challenge to use the meager tools of language for one blind man to describe the portion of the unseen elephant he is experiencing to another blind man experiencing a different part. I'm never able to do it as well as I wish I could. But I trust that the Spirit is there to facilitate communication and understanding to those who seek.
Prayer is a struggle for me. It always has been. I can pray in public just fine, but to get on my knees and pray in private is very, very hard. I tend to do better with having a prayer in my heart and just talking to God as I go about the things I do in a day. I value knee-prayers, and have done them once or twice a day for months at a time, but those spells are few and far between. When I do, they are helpful in building my relationship with God, which makes it easier to make good choices.
I live my faith to the best of my ability, which is far short of what I would wish it to be. It's very easy to see the ways I am supposed to behave, but much harder than that to make all the right choices, and I never reach that. Currently, I'm serving as the secretary in my ward's Young Men's organization. I'm getting to know the young men and their personalities, as well as tracking their attendance. Beyond that, I participate in the greater Mormon community through the internet, moderating support groups for LDS people who have experienced or are experiencing divorce. I also participate in online Mormon communities with people who have experienced some level of disaffection with the institutional Church as they interface with it, as well as those who like to dig a little deeper into Mormon history. And I participate in on-line recovery areas for Mormons struggling with addictive and compulsive behaviors. Recovery is a process of applying the healing power of the Atonement in our lives.