Thursday, March 8, 2012

World Religion Series: The Mormon Faith

First I need to apologize for my sparse blog posts.  I've been finding it more difficult to post without my trusty computer... I'm trying to be better about it, I swear!  But either way, I'm so excited about this post.

Dayna and I met through Idaho politics.  She was working on a campaign and I was working for the party.  She and I would exchange stories and gossip between our offices.  She was always helpful and hardworking, so when I was asked by the RNC for help finding someone reliable to work on a campaign in California, I immediately told them about Dayna.  It all happened very quickly if I remember correctly, and off she and her husband went to Palm Springs.
Dayna and Carl Anderson on their Wedding Day
Well, once that campaign ended (successfully), she came back to Boise, deciding that California was not her thing.  And we started growing our friendship outside of work.  I'm trying to remember how it all went down exactly... because in many ways it seems like she's always been a part of my life.

Last June Dayna gave birth to little baby Claire... she's such a delicious baby!  Dayna lets me babysit Claire from time to time and I just can't get enough of her!  David can't either... Last time she was at our house, I gave her to David to hold so I could use the bathroom and when I got back he was having so much fun he wasn't ready to give her back telling me, "I've got her."  It was very sweet, and she's truly the happiest baby I've ever met.
Sweet baby Claire and Dayna
It was actually through chats with Dayna that I decided to do the World Religion Series on my blog.  Dayna has been very patient with all of my questions, comments, and thoughts on her religion, and her openness made me realize that I didn't really know all that much about Mormonism beyond the stories you hear... so I figured, why not clear it up for others as well?!

So, without further ado, I give you my dear friend, Dayna Anderson:

What religion do you practice, and how did you come to practice it?

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was raised LDS, as were my parents. That said, a year ago I was ready to leave, but decided to stay. So even though I was raised LDS, it is definitely my decision to practice it. I am unorthodox in my beliefs though. I'll admit I don't really fit in with most Mormons, either. The wonderful part of this religion, though, is that lots of emphasis is placed on our ability to receive personal revelation from God through prayer. Through prayer, I have been able to find peace and answers to many of my questions and troubles. 

Tell me about your religion.  Describe what the tenants of your religion are in your words.

Wow. So much. Here are some of of our beliefs closest to my heart: 

  • We believe that everyone is a literal son or daughter of our Heavenly Parents (Heavenly Father and Mother). I receive a lot of comfort in this - that a Heavenly Mother is also there for us. I'll admit I am very unorthodox in this. Our Heavenly Mother is acknowledged, but rarely talked about. Generally, we refer to our Heavenly Father only.
  • Marriage and families are the most important. In fact, because I was sealed for time and all eternity to my husband in the temple, we will be still be together after this life. As will my entire family. 
  • Jesus Christ is the only way by which we can return to live with our Heavenly Parents. Jesus suffered and was crucified for our sins, giving all of us the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only by His mercy and grace can anyone be saved. 
  • Prayer is the direct way to speak with God. I have received so much comfort and peace through prayer.  I don't believe God wants us to follow Him blindly - I believe He wants us to exercise intelligent obedience of our own free will. I am able to choose the best path to follow through prayer.
  • Our life didn't begin at birth and it won’t end at death. Our spirits lived with our Heavenly Parents who created us. We came to earth to experience happiness and a physical body. 
What does your religion mean to you?

Most importantly, being LDS means I am with my family forever. It also means that I am saved through Christ. Mormonism is true for me because it works for me.  

What are five things you don’t particularly agree with about your religion?

  • I don't think polygamy was or will be an eternal principle. It actually makes me sick to my stomach. Since Christ is not on Earth today to lead His church, it is, unfortunately, run by imperfect men. I think polygamy was a way for imperfect men to further their desires for power.  We are all human, and as such, fallible.
  • I think there is plenty of room for our homosexual brothers and sisters in our Church. Most members believe it is a sin - I don't. Christ is love, and loves everyone. We should do the same. 
  • It is frustrating to me how patriarchal this church is. I think women are just as capable of men, and deserve equal leadership in this church. I have received a lot of comfort through prayer that this will happen. 
  • I believe truth can be found inside and outside of this church. Most members say "This is the only true church today." I believe it is the truest church on earth. I found inspiration and truth outside of this church in other beliefs and religions.
  • I don't believe in blind obedience to our leaders as most of my fellow members do. I think it is our duty to exercise our gift of free will and right to personal revelation. I have never blindly followed anyone without first searching my heart and praying to God for guidance. 
What are the most common misconceptions about your religion and how do you address them?

That we worship Joseph Smith - nope. A lot of reverence is given to him as the the first Prophet of our church, but we worship Christ, our Redeemer and Savior.

That we are an evil cult. I certainly don't feel like we belong to a cult. But, honestly, if people think that, so what? I follow Christ as closely as I can. I seek to find His love and to love and serve others. I know that makes me a better person.  

That we still practice polygamy. No. Several offshoots of our religion do. But the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints does not.

How does your religion affect your family life?  Your work life?

As for family life, it puts a lot of potential problems or arguments into perspective for me since I believe I will be with my husband forever. Given that eternal perspective, I definitely feel we are more forgiving and loving to each other.  

Obviously, I don't drink or smoke. I go to church for 3 hours every Sunday. I love children, and want to have lots of them. The more the merrier (but no more than 5)! I stay at home full time with our first child - which I love.

If you could leave people with one idea that most closely describes the way you see and understand your religion, what would that be?

I will always strive to keep the greatest commandment of all, that we love everyone. Christ is love. Therefore, we should love everyone.

Is there anything else you'd like to add? is a good site for answers to any questions.  

Thanks again Dayna!

To check out the rest of my World Religion Series click on the links below:

1 comment:

  1. Interesting Read, I know several Precious Mormons and have done some research on there beliefs (which I am finding the beliefs vary)Some of the Mormon Beliefs don't line up with scripture that I can find..but highly respect their Upstanding morals and love for people ( we can all learn from them). Thanks Danya and Anabele