There is a Newsweek article this week all about the Mormons. It seems we have been getting some interesting publicity lately, with Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman throwing their hats into the political ring, and the hit musical on Broadway, The Book of Mormon. And this Newsweek article was a very interesting read.
What I found most interesting was the following paragraph:
In recent weeks NEWSWEEK called every one of the 15 Mormons currently serving in the U.S. Congress to ask if they would be willing to discuss their faith; the only politicians who agreed to speak on the record were the four who represent districts with substantial Mormon populations. The rest were “private about their faith,” or “politicians first and Mormons second,” according to their spokespeople.
That phrase, “politicians first, Mormons second”, caught my eye. Now, I am not Mormon second to anything. That is who I am, that is what I believe. My faith shapes everything about who I am.
This attitude toward faith and religion is something that we have tried to address recently in our Bishopric meetings and in our ward. We are noticing that a lot of people treat their faith casually, they’ll show up to Church and other church activities when it’s convenient, but allow other things to take precedence over their worship. We have been talking about commitment.
And isn’t that what this is this really all about? We are not a social club, we are not an organization, we are not a church, but the Kingdom of God on earth, the power of salvation seeking to exalt all men and their families. Religion has to have more influence on peoples’ lives because the effect of religion is eternal. And that eternal perspective that Mormons have helps explain why we tend to take our faith a little more seriously than other religions. We are not looking for a church to entertain us or where we feel comfortable during this life, we have found a religion that is eternal. The truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ were true long before this world was formed and they will continue to be true long after this world has fulfilled the measure of its creation.
In one of our Bishopric meetings someone said something pretty profound: “Many are looking to find a church that fits their lifestyle, but really it should be the other way around.” And that reminded me of a passage from the book Sophie’s World, by Jostien Gaarder, from the chapter on Søren Kierkegaard, “either Jesus rose on Easter Day — or he did not. And if he really did rise from the dead, if he really died for our sake — then this is so overwhelming that it must permeate our entire life.”
That is what I feel, that is what I believe. If we truly believe in Jesus Christ, if we truly understand what the gospel is and can be in our lives then it must change us. It must change everything we do, everything we are. The gospel is an invitation to “put off the natural man and become a saint” (Mosiah 3:19), it is an invitation to “deny yourself all ungodliness” (Moroni 10:32), and if we deny ourselves all ungodliness, if we remove everything that is not godly from our selves, then we become godly. We become as God is, we become perfect (Matthew 5:48).
- Mormons Rock! (thedailybeast.com)