TBM? NOM? Ex? Post? Orthoprax & Unorthodox? Deist? Liberal? Conservative? Orthodox? Fundamentalist? Faithful?
I’m not sure what category, if any, I fit in. Sometimes I think categories are only useful or good for those who are doing the categorizing.
I suppose this post should be titled, “Tell me what kind of Mormon you think I am.” I can never get enough of the Johari Window.
- I believe in God – some sort of being that is bigger, stronger, and wiser than the rest of us. I believe our relation to God is a lot like a parent-child relationship. While I don’t claim any scientific knowledge of God, the existence of God makes sense to me. This belief is probably the strongest of all my spiritual beliefs. Whenever I do any real searching, praying, or pondering, I always come back to belief. I can’t shake it.
- I believe in Christ. A Savior who will make up for all the ills of the world, especially fear and shame. I don’t believe in Christ to the extent that I believe in God, but something happened during the course of my mission experience that instilled this belief in me.
- I don’t smoke. I don’t drink caffeine. I don’t drink alcohol. I don’t even drink soda very often. I don’t use profanity. I occasionally watch “R-rated” movies. I don’t have any earrings or tattoos. Sometimes I buy ice-cream on Sundays. I don’t flaunt any of these things. I do brag about my refusal to do dishes on Sundays, however.
- I attend church almost every week. If I had more time I would attend other churches as well, but I barely have time as it is. I don’t like to fast on Fast Sundays. I LOVE to fast on other days, however. It is so much easier on other days to make it meaningful. I have a calling, which I enjoy.
- I served a mission. I loved it, and really didn’t want to come home.
- I am sealed to my wife. Sometimes I choose to neglect church service to spend more time with my family. My marriage will always come first.
- I enjoy the temple. I am really glad the ordinances have changed over the years. I love the symbolism involved with the actual wearing of the temple garments, and believe that individual members know what is best for how to wear them.
- I believe everyone has a responsibility to make the most out of what they have been given in life, whether that is in or out of the church.
- I believe the “gospel” is bigger than the “church.” I believe the CoJCoLDS is just one of the many influences that God works through to elevate his children, to help them grow. I do see the church as special, but only in different ways from other sources that also have unique things to offer.
- I don’t believe God demands “belief” as a prerequisite to charity.
- I believe prophets can make mistakes, even on a church-wide level, just as bishops can make mistakes, as can parents. Most of us are generally doing our best. I try hard not to “canonize” (RT Elder Maxwell) our leaders, and never let anything from their mouths into my heart without my intellect and the spirit doing some filtering, as needed.
- I believe Joseph was a prophet, but not necessarily more enlightened than say, the Buddha. Again, we are all doing our best. I believe in the Book of Mormon. Whether or not it is “historically” real, I don’t know, but I believe in it.
- I believe in birth control, evolution, and that God is still progressing.
- I have been guided at times by an unseen force or influence that I believe is from God… or else the still small voice in my head is just a super-good life-navigator. My relationship with my God, my attempts to grow and face my fears, and to serve my family and others are the most important parts of my spirituality. Everything else pales in comparison, including whether or not this is the “Only True” church. I would rather be happy than “right.”
What kind of Mormon am I? Does it matter? I have sometimes felt cautious about sharing some of my views with other members, but when I have things have turned out fine. People don’t always agree, but I’ve found that when I have a good relationship with the other person, they are not threatened. My point in this post is not necessarily to debate the merits of any of my particular views, but to explore what beliefs make one a Mormon, and if categorizing oneself is even a helpful exercise. I’m not sure it is.
What kind of Mormon are you? What beliefs or values do you hold that make you “Mormon”? At what point (e.g. what views) would you say someone is no longer “Mormon”? Why do you feel the need to draw the line? What are you afraid of?