It’s hard to believe nearly two years have passed since I wrote the column, “I am a Mormon.” To this day, it remains one of my favorites.
The piece was a public realization that I’d spent too long simply waiting for people to ask me my religion, rather than volunteering it as a major component of who I am and where I come from. For years I treaded lightly around religion because the majority of my readers are members of other faiths. It’s ironic that in my efforts to avoid offending people over differing religious beliefs, I was offending the God we share in common.
I’m occasionally asked about that column, and it remains one of the most read in my online archives. I’m grateful that so many of you have emailed your support and shared encouraging, inspirational anecdotes. But one recent note stands out among the others.
A woman wrote: “Sir, you’ve told us you’re a Mormon. But you didn’t tell us why.”
She’s right. I took such care apologizing for not being more open about being a Mormon that I gave little thought to explaining why I’m a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I’m glad she asked.
Simply put, I am a Mormon because over a long period of time, and after many accumulating spiritual experiences, I have come to my own understanding that the faith is true.
I like to think of my personal faith as a lengthy, never-ending manuscript. A single page, on its own, probably isn’t of great significance. But over the course of weeks, months and even years, those individual pages multiply with my hard work and become something weighty and valuable.
This is how my testimony has grown. It didn’t happen overnight in a singular burst of revelation from the Holy Ghost or after a weekend of non-stop reading in the scriptures. My faith has grown like that manuscript, through countless prayers and moments of worship and service. Together they’ve accumulated into something beautiful that I enjoy sharing with those around me.
I am a Mormon, in part, because it is the faith of my fathers. It is among the greatest blessings of my life to have been born into a good Christian family with a long heritage of worthy membership in the church.
As a child, my parents took me to church on the strength of their own testimonies, forged through their own long lives of obedience to God’s commandments. Like all parents, they hoped and prayed that one day my siblings and I wouldn’t need to rely on mom and dad’s faith.
Their prayers were heard. As a young man, I began to realize that I could no longer survive strictly on the strength of my parents’ spiritual manuscripts. I had to write my own.
Thus began my own journey to knowing. Day after day, year after year, here a concept, there a principle, here a doctrine and there a covenant. Each new spiritual experience refines the ones before it and adds breadth and depth to my own testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I am a Mormon because I believe that God loves his children today just as much as he loved our ancient ancestors when Peter, James and John walked the earth and preached with his authority. I believe that in preparation for the return of the Savior, our Heavenly Father speaks through modern-day apostles and prophets who are no different than those we read of in the holy scriptures.
Because of this, I know that God has today organized his church to resemble the church that Christ founded when he walked the earth. If he had apostles and prophets during the early days, why wouldn’t he have them during the latter?
He would and he does. I am a Mormon because that organization and the priesthood keys to act in his name are found in my faith and in my chapel each Sunday.
I am a Mormon because I believe that just like the Bible, the Book of Mormon is also the word of God. It is, truly, another testament of Jesus Christ. What a blessing that we have it alongside the Old and New Testaments to learn of his ministry and promised return.
I am a Mormon because I have gotten on my knees and asked to know if he hears me, if the ancient scriptures are true and if the words and counsel of today’s prophets and apostles will lead me closer to the Savior.
Sometimes the answers are overwhelming and bring me to tears. But more often, the assurances come in gentle whispers, just one more page to add to the others.
I am so thankful that this manuscript gets better each time I pay attention to it. But I know that I’m not writing alone. I know he is with me, word by word, writing and willing me to return and live with him in the eternities.
Let there be no doubt: my manuscript and I are far from perfect. But his gospel is.
And that’s why I’m a Mormon.