“It is surprising to me that these people [Mormons emigrating from Liverpool] are all so cheery, and make so little of the immense distance before them. . . . I should have said they were in their degree, the pick and flower of England.”
— Charles Dickens
I am a Mormon.
Some of those Mormons that Charles Dickens speaks of were my ancestors.
The full name of my church is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
The nickname Mormon comes from a book which we believe to be scripture called the Book of Mormon which is an account of a group of Christian people on the American continent around the time that Jesus Christ was on the earth.
I hope I can help you understand a little of what that means to me and how what I believe may be able to help you. I have hoped to write about my religious beliefs for a long time.
But in this day and age, writing about God without appearing bigoted and self-righteous seems really hard. Maybe that’s why I’ve waited so long to write these words. I want this to be perfect because of how close I hold my belief in a loving God and maybe I’m more than a little afraid of being mocked.
But I’ve been mocked before, and I’m tired of letting that hold me back from sharing something that has helped me so significantly.
Because it can and will help you.
God is your Father and He wants to talk with you. He is a real, living, breathing being. I don’t know where exactly He is. Not that that matters, really, but He is there and you can talk with Him. Just try it. He will help you learn. I know it because He has helped me, every day.
I don’t know these things, I don’t know any of what I’m saying here.
But I do believe it. Or rather, I choose to believe it.
When I was young I heard members of my church speak in our weekly meetings and tell of how they knew that God was really there or that our church was true.
That didn’t make sense to me, I didn’t understand how anybody could say that they knew it was true, or even that they believed.
I knew that I had an important choice to make.
I could either give up my religion, or I could test it out to see for myself if the people I was hearing in church each week were really telling the truth or if they were just making it up.
I chose to test it out.
I wasn’t great at it at first.
I felt really weird praying, like I was just talking to an empty room.
I felt like these books of scripture that I was reading were just confusing history books. When I first began reading scriptures consistently, I got absolutely nothing out of them. At times I was very self-righteous, bigoted, and hypocritical. Sometimes I still am, although I’m working on that every day.
But gradually, over time, I started to feel something.
Some may call it brainwashing or manipulation. That’s alright if you choose to say or think that, but I know what I’ve felt and what I’ve experienced.
And I believe that God is real. I’ve felt Him there.
I can’t entirely explain how, but I can try.
Often, it’s been on my knees begging Him to help me with something that is far beyond my capabilities. I’ve felt peace in times of great chaos when all I should have been feeling was frustration and darkness.
Sometimes, it’s been by an impression that has come seemingly out of nowhere that I later realized came from a loving God who wants to see us all be happy and successful.
Many times it’s been reading or learning a principle and feeling that it was right. It has come as a “burning” in the heart, or a feeling of peace, or just a soft calm knowing that everything would be okay.
As a Mormon, I believe many different things. Some may sound strange and that’s another interesting story for another day.
But the most important aspect of my belief is that God is my Father and that He loves me.
He is also your Father, and He loves you too.
If you try talking to Him, He will help you. He doesn’t care if you stumble or feel awkward at first, He just wants to hear from you and help you. He cares about the little details of your life as well as the large ones. From a missing set of keys to the loss of a loved one.
I believe because I’ve lived it, tried it out for myself.
But more importantly, I know because I’ve felt Him there helping me.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not necessarily reflect the official position or policy of any other entity.