I am Mormon. I think most people I know, know this. It’s not so much that I wear it on my sleeve, but moreso it is just sort of who I am.
We could discuss the ins and outs of what exactly being a Mormon means, lets do that one day, but not today. Today I will indulge myself in just one little aspect of what being Mormon means.
Being Mormon is not so much what you believe, or where you sit on Sunday, but it is very much who sits next to you on Sunday. It is even more about who you hang out with on Wednesdays.
In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, there are no pastors or priests, at least not in the professional sense. There are plenty of people doing a lot of preaching, just not a whole lot of getting paid to do it. By not a whole lot I mean none.
But things still need to get done. Lessons to be taught, sick to be visited, Sunday sermons to be given. This is why Mormonism is about who sits next to you. Because that is who does these things. Better yet, you do too.
Sometimes it works out well, sometimes not, but that is how it works, and because this is how it works I have been forced to learn a few things.
I have not learned so much about what is in our books, which is important, but I have learned a little more about how the stuff in those books doesn’t matter a bit if I ignore the person in the chair sitting next to me. No matter who it is.
Some of the people who have sat next to me have been right, even more have been wrong, and better yet, I’ve been both of those things too. Some have been beautiful, some not so much. Some well educated, others not so much. Some have been nice, many more quite the opposite. On and on and on, and still things have to get done. And when it comes time to get those things done, you look around, and that is all you have.
The people sitting next to you.
And you learn to love.
A family kind of love. The kind of love where you want to strangle your cousin Larry, because he deserves to be strangled, but he is your cousin and always will be. So you have to love him. You don’t have a choice whether or not to be cousins, you only have the choice to learn to love him or be miserable.
It isn’t easy.
But thats the point.
This is simply how it is.
This is reality.
Take a look at the people around you and this is how it is. It is like this now, and it will be like this in eternity.
It is not clouds and space,
it is faces.
This is not to say that all these faces are just or justified, including that one in the mirror.
But here we all are. In this together. And our charge is to get better.
A lot better.
Christianity, of which we are part, is based on the idea that this human persuit of perfection is impossible. We can’t do it and are doomed to be failures, hence the need for a Christ to redeem us from ourselves.
And that is Mormonism.
This role of Christ, is where one sacrificed and helped another get better, even though that “other” was deficient.
And we are charged with the task of becoming more Christ-like.
So we have to help the person in the chair next to us, even if they are no longer sitting in that chair, even if they don’t deserve it, even if they are horrible…
Or even if they are wonderful.
Because on any given day or in any one way, I am both horrible, or even wonderful.
And this role of Christ, this role of helping others strive for perfection, the role we are charged to take part in, has to be done with love.
Love must be the motivator.
It takes practice.
So you go about trying to get stuff done; great lessons or boring ones, false doctrines or clear and simple ones, friendships or trials.
No matter what you get right or wrong, no matter how much you improve yourself or the others around you,
If you figure out the love part,
It is wonderful.