This week’s writing assignment:
Was yours a religious family? Did you attend services together? Were these dress-up affairs?
Our family has always been very religious. We’re members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a.k.a. Mormons or LDS. My father comes from a long line of LDS church members, though he is the only active member of his family. My mom was converted as a teenager but it is the principal cause for her being essentially disowned. I’m very proud of the strength both of my parents show in putting God before all else, even family.
Our family of six children grew up going to church every Sunday (and it was certainly a dress-up affair), Mutual (youth activities and Boy Scouts) on Wednesday nights, home teaching visits on Sundays, Firesides and more. Our parents were both very active in making sure we participated in all of our activities. I’m sure it took a toll on them but they did what they knew was right. I remember when we only had one car and it was a hatchback. That doesn’t carry eight people very well. I used to ride to church in the back. We looked like a clown car emptying out two minutes before church started. Then we got a Ford Escort with a trunk and the trunk became my knew spot. At least nobody was jabbing or pinching me in there.
Our faith has always been a huge part of our lives and continues to be today. I got home from a teacher improvement meeting two hours ago, that was after the three hour church block from 9-12. That was after a special training meeting from 6:30-8AM. Sundays are full days. Sundays are special days. Sundays are good days. They are the Sabbath.
I believe religion of any kind is beneficial to children and adults alike. It teaches respect. It encourages social awareness and friendship. It gives understanding and breeds curiosity. Most importantly, it draws us close to our Saviour and God. The Mormon faith is amazing. I know it is true and I want my children to learn that for themselves, like I did. Despite all of my activity in church, it took me until I was 18 and on my own to truly know that the church was true. But my testimony was and is my own – independent of my parents, siblings or circumstances. That’s part of the reason I love living in Utah. Utah is to Mormons what the Mall is to teenagers. OK, not quite but you get the idea. I’m grateful to my folks for helping me discover what was right – even when we were less than anxious to participate. I’ll finish up with a few memories of growing up Mormon.
- There were two LDS families in our school. Just me in my grade. I hung out with the Jehovah’s Witness kids (both of them).
- My Dad was called as Bishop three times. He rode his motorcycle to church in his suit. One lucky child would ride on the back and avoid the aforementioned clown car.
- My Mom is a genealogy nut. She has been teaching it and doing it for as long as I can remember. I remember long nights at the genealogy library in our stake while she scanned microfiche. I was bored to tears.
- I remember breaking my hand punching another young man in the shoulder (amicably, horsing around) and waiting for my Dad to finish his interviews and meetings so I could go to the hospital.
- Temple trips to Washington DC – some of my very favorite teenage memories. Eight hours in a bus with dozens of other youth, touring the nation’s capitol, hitting on girls in the stake and learning from our leaders. They were amazing trips. It’s almost sad that the youth who are growing up now where I did only have to travel an hour or two to the nearest temple.
- High Adventure trips – This was a Boy Scout related adventure but was always awesome. We climbed Mount Washington, Mount Katahdan, went white water rafting, canoed to and camped on a bear infested island where I drank a small bottle of Tabasco sauce for my initiation then spent the next hour drooling and crying near the fire. Not just good times, excellent times.
For anyone reading this who is curious about our faith, please realize that I and my family are certainly not perfect, we do try to be. For more info on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, visit www.mormon.org.