Jul 17, 2011

Sunday Special: It's a Choice

One of the main things I hear against the LDS Church (Mormonism) is that it's members follow blindly without making any of their own decisions.

I think that this idea comes from many things. One is that people just don't understand our religion. They don't care enough to really learn about what we preach.

Another reason, I believe, is that it is the faults of the members.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think that anyone who truly loves this gospel ever willfully misrepresents our church. But I think that we live in a world where we feel like we have to make excuses for ourselves, no matter who we are or what we believe.

"I can't . . . I'm Mormon."
There was this t-shirt company that started making these "I can't . . . I'm Mormon" shirts awhile back. While I can see the humor in them, I think that this phrase perfectly illustrates what I'm trying to say; which is that sometimes we use our religion as an excuse.

By saying that we "can't" makes it seem like we are either ashamed of our religion or using it to take the easy way out. Is it a wonder that people think we let our religion rule our lives? We should be having our religion guide our lives. Instead of "I can't," it should be, "I don't."

What is wrong with just saying, "I don't drink coffee. I don't smoke. I don't drink, etc."? I almost feel like we are putting down our religion when we say "I can't."

Why do you follow the gospel?
I guess it really comes to your attitude. Do you follow the standards, doctrines, and principles of the gospel because you have to or because you choose to?

I hope that everyone lives the gospel because they choose to, not because they feel obligated. I hope they live it because they love God and Christ and they see that their lives will be better for it.

I don't drink alcohol just because I was told not too. I don't drink because, based on my religious beliefs, I have chosen not too. There is really nothing holding me back--I am over the legal drinking limit. But I have chosen not too.

It's a choice. And we should make it seem like we have made that choice--not just following blindly.


  1. That is such a good way to put it. One of the talks in our ward on Sunday was about free agency and the speaker kept saying he didn't really understand free agency because God knows us well enough to know what decision we will make. And that made him feel like he didn't really have free agency. But the truth of it is, you are deciding in a moment what you will do. Like you DON'T drink alcohol and that is 100% your choice and decision. You could drink it if you wanted to but you don't. And besides, it smells gross!

  2. Too true, the older (and wiser) I get, the better I come to understand the council that I first took on faith on why I couldn't and now truly can say "I don't". Great writing Whitney!

  3. Ah! I totally agree with this. I have always hated those "I can't, I'm Mormon" shirts for that same reason.

  4. A couple stories about things that have happened out here with us and our non-member friends:
    One day we were at a farewell party for a friend who was moving for a job after graduation. Somebody brought a bottle of wine, and they asked me if it was okay if they drank the wine. I told them it was fine, we just wouldn't have any. It made me happy to know that THEY knew we don't drink, and wanted to make sure it wouldn't make us uncomfortable/offended if they did.

    Another time, we went to a pot-luck, and our friend was telling people "We have some green tea, and some fruit tea." Dale said "Can we just have water?" To which the friend went "OH NO! I FORGOT!" We just laughed and drank our water.

    People are really nice about beliefs and don't seem to care much if they seem strange, like not drinking tea and coffee. They have questions some times--once we were asked if we could drink juice--but we just explain that our religion teaches us not to eat or drink certain things.