The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Being an individual with a strong up-bringing in Roman Catholicism and having conformed to my own ideal on religion and spirituality on the Buddhist side of the spectrum, I decided to explore The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I felt this would be a great opportunity to approach a religion with having limited understanding about their core beliefs, values, and view of their interpretation of God and the Bible. One reason being I coach a family of seven that have been brought up through the Mormon church and community for generations and have moved to Texas from Utah. Both parents have been Mormon their entire life and moved here since the beginning of their marriage from Salt Lake to raise a family and work. There were several topics I wanted to explore such as; why their service took three hours, the history of their migration to Salt Lake, interpretation of the bible, and rituals.
Confirmation and Preparation for Sunday Service Before I confirmed my plans on attending their worship service and Sunday school, I called and spoke with an official from the church to ask them permission to attend service concerned that if they realized I was there studying their customs I would come across as disrespectful. But they were very welcoming and delighted for me to come worship with them. They seemed very open-minded for me to be an observer for the weekend so that immediately made me feel more comfortable. The experience at first it seemed very similar to the memories I had at mass in a Catholic church. Hymns were sung, prayers were offered, participation in communion, and a few speakers that read out of The Book of the Mormon. After their worship service I went up to one of the speakers, Darren, and asked him what he personally enjoyed talking about most during service. Darren's response was the moral lessons of what you sow you reap.
Galatians 6:7; Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that he also reap.
I then explained to him that particular moral lesson was a good friend of mine's favorite topic to extend to his listeners as well; him being a Minister at a Christian church in Houston, Texas. And continued to ask him that if I attended my friend's Orthodox Christian church service would I find the ideology behind that phrase to be interpreted any different. His response was most likely not, Mormon's and Christian churches (in this respect) mirror one another and often his viewers have conformed from Orthodox Christianity into Mormonism and vice verse. Darren grew up in a strict Christian community in Dallas, moved to Salt Lake City, Utah for college and at the age of 23 began to study and devote himself to the Mormon Church. He mentioned that he didn't feel pressured to conform although he was living in a city and state that was dominated by Mormons. He felt more in sync with their philosophy and interpretation of God and the Bible. He explained that it was “Okay” for Mormons to question God's existence, only as long as they keep the word of wisdom which is one of the reasons why he was initially intrigued and decided to explore the Mormon Church.
Speakers Initial Thoughts and Revelations on Mormonism
The Beliefs That Led To Darren's Conversion The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believes in an afterlife that is prepared for by adhering to the teachings and counsel of the Church. The premise of our conversation was around how being a Mormon extended a path that lead to more happiness in the next life that should also bring more happiness in this life as well.
That being a member of the Mormon Church would provide or extend a longer life; and explained that there was a study conducted in Utah that researched Mormons vs Non-Mormons and the life expectancy of both as well as a study conducted including the entire United States population of Mormons vs Non-Mormons. Mormons are said to