There have been many people in my life that have questioned my religious beliefs. People in my own family, dear friends, and acquaintences.
From the time I was in high school I was told by peers: “Oh you’re Mormon? So you know you’re going to hell right?” I remember the shock that pulsed through my body in that moment and how heavy my heart felt. I remember thinking how people around me professed to be Christian but chose to condem me themselves.
It broke my 15 year old heart. It confused me. And I have continued to feel puzzled throughout my life as I have progressed and my faith has increased. It confused me to think that there could be so much hypocrisy and hatred towards a people choosing to live in a kind and pure manner. A people who are generous and proactive. A people who emulate and want to be like Christ.
As I left high school and traveled to BYU Idaho for college I went from contsantly being challenged about my religion to a religious bubble. It was wonderful, except when I left those holy grounds 4 years later and ventured again into the real world. It was a culture shock! Once again I was being challenged, even by dear friends who have similar beliefs as myself. Not only that but I was confronted with my own spiritual responsibility. I wasn’t in religious classes, or living right next to a temple, or constantly surrounded by wonderful influences (college roommates).
I am soley responsible for how I choose to believe. As I have merged into adulthood I have realized that that responsibility falls on me. I believe in being happy and finding your own happiness. The LDS religion has given me the most amazing happiness. It has led me to amazing friendships, deeper family bonds, and to a forever marriage with my best friend. It has not fixed all of my problems, fears, or trials. However my faith has kept my head up, has hugged me in my darkest moments, has reminded me to respond with love instead of hate.
Some things members of our church do may seem odd to those who are not directly involved in it. But so do most things we are unfamiliar with. So do most things that require us to step outside of our comfort zones.
I wrote this post because lately the LDS religion has gotten a lot of news coverage and flack for various differing of beliefs. All I ask is to remember to be resepectful. There is no need to tear others down. Our world history would be very different if those who chose to believe were not persecuted for living their faith.
I also write this to remind those who may be struggling to believe and to be positive. There are forces and people praying for you and loving you. There is reason to keep hope in your life.
I think those people who have challenged me have actually made me stronger. Probably not their plan to do so, they wanted to break me down. But I do believe. I have a knowledge of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves each one of us. I know that He continues to help the people of this earth. I know my Father in Heaven loves me and sent me here with a purpose. I know He has a hand in my life. I know the scriptures are true and are the word of God. I know I never have to be alone. And I know I can return to live with them again.