Right now I’m not comfortable going to the LDS church. I’m still officially a member and I don’t feel a need to resign and have my name removed from the records. I feel like I can get better spiritually uplifted at other places for reasons I’ve spelled out before. But on a message board I frequent, someone asked, what good things do we take from our experiences in the LDS church? I do enough complaining about the LDS church, so today I’m going to say what I like.
- I would have never met my wife if I weren’t a member of the church. We met at BYU, and we’ve always felt like we belong together. We have a lot of common interests that we didn’t even realize we had until we got married. I’m so grateful to be married to my best friend!
- I love how people in the LDS church are so willing to serve. There are so many callings that require a ton work. Those who serve really are a living testament to what they believe.
- This last week I had to give a short presentation at work, and I realized how much the church prepared me for that kind of thing. From giving talks in primary and sacrament meeting, to teaching lessons in church and on my mission, getting up in front of a crowd is surprisingly easy for a natural introvert like me.
- I learned to speak and read German fluently, and I was able to live in Germany for two years! I love the German language, culture and people. It pains me that I haven’t had a chance to go back there yet. I really feel at home there. I miss Germany and I’m grateful for the time I spent there, even though there were a lot of frustrating days going door to door looking for converts.
- I learned a lot about the Bible and Jesus Christ in the LDS church. Even though my beliefs have changed quite a bit, the symbolism and the language of the story of Jesus in the New Testament still speak to me in a very meaningful way. I cringe when other Christians say Mormons aren’t Christian. Sure, the Mormons don’t see the trinity in the same way, but they still believe in Jesus Christ. I don’t think Jesus would care how you view the trinity, as long as you want to follow him by loving others.
- I enjoyed doing service for others. I like helping others, and the church gave me plenty of opportunities for that.
- If I hadn’t grown up in the church, I might have missed out on Scouting. I loved getting to regularly go camping and hiking. Even as an adult I still loved going on campouts with the boys in our troop. When I quit going to church I was the Scoutmaster, and I was told I couldn’t continue to hold that position anymore. My time with the scouts is what I miss the most.
- I developed my love of music and singing in church. As a teenager, I was happy when my voice was deep enough to sing bass, and I liked how easy it was to pick out the bass line of most hymns. Music is a big part of the LDS church and most members grow up learning to sing at an early age.
- I loved my BYU experiences. From the good friends I made, to the great education I enjoyed, to going to all the sporting events, I really enjoyed my time there.
- I am grateful for the pioneering spirit of the early Mormons. Reading real church history has been so much more interesting than I ever thought it would be! They were convinced 100% that what they were doing was right, and I salute them for sacrificing so much for what they believed in. I went to Sunstone Kirtland this month and it was beautiful to see so many people celebrating our shared Restorationist heritage, whether LDS, Community of Christ, or even a man who was ex-FLDS.
I am probably forgetting some things, and maybe I’ll come back and add some more as I think about it. I don’t hate the LDS church. It might not be a healthy place for me spiritually right now, but I recognize how many people there love it and that’s why they stay.