Ask A Mormon: Why should I be Mormon?

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Why should I be Mormon?

SPO-House-ad_Ask-A-Mormon_0823139The only reason to become a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that you’ve received a witness that that’s what God wants you to do.

Now, I can tell you why I’m Mormon and what I love about The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how it helps me grow closer to God and be a better person, but that’s my experience and my testimony. The answers I get from God when I ask where He wants me to be and what He wants me to do are not directly transferable to anyone else.

One of my favorite tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the emphasis on personal revelation, the idea that each person has access to direct communication with God through the Holy Ghost to guide her life. If you’ve read the Book of Mormon, studied the scriptures and the doctrines of the Church, met with missionaries, and prayed sincerely asking God what He wants you to do, I believe that you’ll get an answer in God’s time and in God’s way. At that point, it’s up to you to respond in the way you feel God is directing you. And that’s such a personal, individual experience that I can’t tell you what your answer will be or what you should do.

That’s God’s job, not mine.


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Shaun Lorraine Brown

I just wanted to say what a remarkable job you did in answering this question.

Paul Susac

I’ve never understood the whole “personal revelation” thing.

I mean, ok, I get it, but think it through for a minute.

If a stage hypnotist can give you an orgasm, or make you believe that you are a chicken, WHY ON EARTH would you trust your own subjective belief about what god wants you to do?

Atilla the Hun believed that the God’s wanted him to be the vicious warlord that he was. The Aztecs believed the God’s wanted them to practice daily human sacrifice. The list of bad things that happen when people follow divine revelation is as long as history itself.

Clearly there has to be a better strategy for organizing your life.

Paul Susac

Actually, Emily that was a VERY satisfying answer, thanks!

And yes, to be fair, I AM dismissive, and yes, to be fair there are lots of historical examples of people doing great things with the belief that God wanted them to (Sacred Heart Hospital comes to mind, as does Salt Lake City).

Sometimes I get angry with Theists in general and with Christians in particular, because, I belivf that Christianity stands in the way of human progress. I believe this because 150 years after Darwin, 40-60% of Americans still cling to the ignorant belief that the biblical story of creation is literally true. I also get angry (as I have gotten angry with you) because I see people of faith undermining basic standards of intellectual honesty in order to privilege their sacred narrative.

Apparently intellectual honesty is a sacred value that I hold, and I can be quite unreasonable when it gets challenged.

I also believe that by denying the true nature of our species, Christianity stands in the way of any honest effort to create a society that is respectful of our nature as a species of primates.

But that said, your post has reminded me that religious belief is one of the hard-won survival tools that our species has used to create societies that are bigger than tribes. Not only does religion create a bigger “tribal” group, it also creates a group that is WAY more effective at creating human prosperity than a tribe can. So thanks for that reminder.

I still hold the impression that your practice of consulting God is basically a ritualized form of psychological “gut check.” But who am I to tell you what metaphors to use to organize your experience?

The good news is that we live in a pluralistic society, so the risk of religious fervor driving violence in our society is slim. The bad news is that as the gulf between rich and poor increases (and it will), religious fanaticism will most likely rise along with it. Certainly this has been the pattern throughout history.

So while I really do appreciate your response (great response btw), I think I’ll go right on being antagonistic. I view challenging these assumptions as a kind of civic duty. Granted, I’m a bit lackadaisical in my duty, but still…

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x