While our backgrounds and experiences are diverse, we share a deep commitment to Jesus Christ, to each other, and our neighbors. Watch these stories of faith in the everyday lives of Mormons. You can also meet Mormons here.
Our faith influences nearly every aspect of our lives. Beyond simply believing in Jesus Christ, we try to bring His teachings to life at home, at work and in our communities. Here are a few of the cultural priorities embraced by members of the Church around the world.
We are all spiritual children of a loving Heavenly Father who sent us to this earth to learn and grow in a mortal state. As Mormons, we are followers of Jesus Christ. We live our lives to serve Him and teach of His eternal plan for each of us.
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Freedom to Choose
Agency is Part of God’s Plan
Imagine going out to eat and ordering a salad,
only to have the waiter tell you that you may not have it, that you must have the soup
instead. How would you feel? The choice between soup and salad is a fairly benign one, but
it demonstrates a characteristic of human nature: we don't like to be forced into decisions
we're capable of making for ourselves. We resist compulsion. Even when we face more serious
decisions, ones with moral implications, it is important that we choose for ourselves. God
gave us our agency and will always respect our freedom to make choices. While we are
"accountable" for our choices (Doctrine and Covenants 101:78) and there will always be
consequences for those choices both good and bad, God has never approved of using force. In
fact, God fosters the spirit of freedom and He knows that the human spirit requires freedom
to effectively serve and believe in Him. He told Adam and Eve not to eat the forbidden
fruit, but He also said, "nevertheless, thou mayest choose for thyself." (Moses
It’s important not to trample on other people’s
freedoms in pursuit of our own. Even when we feel our way of thinking may be for someone
else's "own good," it's important that everyone has the right to their own opinion and
Making Hard Choices
Being tolerant and nonjudgmental can be good
traits, which preserves the right for all to choose for themselves. But doing nothing is a
choice in itself and not a very good one. Neither is letting other people, society or
political institutions make decisions for you. For example, just because many films portray
intimacy before marriage as perfectly acceptable, doesn’t mean it is. Our character will be
developed and refined when we make choices based on what’s morally right. And despite
prevailing wisdom, there really is a right and wrong in the world. Truth isn’t relative and
sin isn’t just some unenlightened person’s "value judgment."
Not long ago, James E. Faust of the First
Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints related a story from when he
was a young soldier in World War II. A board of "hard-bitten career soldiers" were
interviewing him for officer candidate school. They asked him if he didn't believe the moral
code should be relaxed during wartime, due to the stress of combat. President Faust felt
they were suggesting it should, and wondered if he would score points by going along with
the idea. In the end, though, he simply said, "I do not believe there is a double standard
of morality." He was ultimately accepted for officer candidate school, perhaps because of
his determination to do what was right because it was right, even when it was
Young single Mormons often get asked questions
like, "How is it possible that you’ve never slept with anyone?! Don’t
you want to?" Wanting to, says one young woman, is so utterly beside the
point. "Mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct." A parent with young
children may want to sleep in past 6 a.m. and let the kids fend for themselves or quit his
job in favor of doing something more fun. A responsible parent chooses to make all sorts of
sacrifices. It requires discipline to choose the right. The ironic thing is the more
disciplined we are and the more righteous our choices, the more freedom we have. Sin limits
our future choices: drugs, alcohol, infidelity quickly become addictions that become very
difficult to break free from. The addiction becomes the master and we its slave. Abuse of
freedom tends to paralyze.
Taking a Stand
With the benefit of hindsight, history books can
sometimes simplify issues that have divided people over the years. One side comes out
looking forward-thinking and right, while the other seems like shortsighted "bad guys."
Thinking about controversies that face us today, however, makes it easier to see how hard it
can be in the present to tell who is "right" and who is "wrong." Taking a stand in an issue
like this is difficult, especially if your stance is not a popular one.
Mormons are encouraged to stand up for what they
believe, regardless of prevailing opinion. It may not be easy, popular, or fun. Sometimes
taking a stand means subjecting yourself to ridicule, slander or even physical abuse. In
this kind of situation, a person can rely on the Lord to help them maintain their beliefs.
He expects us to do what we believe is right in any situation, and He will help us have the
moral courage to do it. It isn't enough to look away or to keep quiet. Looking away can
sometimes be a sin in itself. We are acting as Jesus acted when we stand up for what we
believe and take action.
Although we believe in taking a stand on moral
issues, as a Church we remain neutral in matters of party politics. Church leaders don’t
dictate which candidate Mormons should vote for even if a candidate doesn’t agree with a
publicly stated Church position. Neither does it dictate policy to elected officials who are
Mormon. The Church may communicate its views to them just as it would to any other elected
official, but it recognizes that these men and women must make their own choices based on
their best judgment and with consideration of the constituencies they were elected to
represent. Mormons align themselves with whatever political party they believe best
represents their individual views.