Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Why are You Mormon?"

 The other day, we had the privilege to table at Humboldt State University in Arcata.  Now, for those of you unfamiliar with the concept of "tabling", it is basically a way to advertise and initiate conversation via table.  Here's how it works: you set up a table (in a strategic location), and you put a whole bunch of stuff on said table to attract people.  Once these two ingredients are in place, you stand and wait for the people to come.
 And on a misty, cloudy morning in Humboldt county, that is precisely what we did.

  As the hordes of students ambled by on the way to their classes, we got several different reactions.  Some laughs, some cold shoulders, plenty of snippets of conversation that didn't include us ("-they have castles!"), but I was pleasantly surprised at the number who actually stopped to have an open minded conversation with us. 

 After an uplifting conversation with several students (who then left to go to class), we got to talk to another student who approached us.  She asked us lots of good questions, and was determined to get each of the four missionaries present to talk. 
 At one point in the conversation, she turned to me and said, "So why are you Mormon?"

  Now, as someone who asks other people questions all day, I was quite taken aback for a moment.  This was a good question.  A very good question.  This wasn't just something I could answer with a simple "yes" or "no", this wasn't something I could glibly deflect with "just 'cuz" or something of that nature.  I could go off on physical and geographical evidences of the Book of Mormon, how we can see fulfilled prophecies of Joseph Smith throughout the Doctrine and Covenants, or even how modern plasma cosmology may support the idea of Kolob. 
 But that wouldn't answer the question.
 Why was I Mormon?
 It didn't take long for the words to come.

 Now, in my opinion, a true testimony is when you don't have time to think about what you are going to say.  An unfortunate side effect of this is that you often don't remember a word you said afterwords.  And such is the case here.
 But what I can remember is what I felt.  And I still know what I know.

  I'm not a perfect person.  I'm not the smartest person.  I'm not always the nicest, most giving, or most forgiving person. I'm not even the most spiritual person. But I know that my Savior loves me anyways.  I know that I am a better person through my Friend and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I still have a long way to go, but that is the joy of life: being able to learn, and to grow, and to love.

 Being a "mormon" isn't about the white shirts, ties, and nametags.  It's not about telling people they are wrong and we are right, or about the little differences that can divide us from other churches.  It's not about green jello, knocking on your doors, or having a lot of wives.

  It's about following our Savior's example, loving all our brothers and sisters, and striving to fulfil the Divine potential that is within all of us.  It is about being a family, whether in the home or in a nation or in a world.  It's about serving and giving to all who's hands hang low, because they are our brothers and sisters.  It's about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.  It's about faith, hope, and love.

 It's about Jesus Christ.

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