A few years ago, I was in line to make a purchase at my local grocery store. Ahead of me stood a young woman, about 15 years old. She appeared confident and happy. I noticed her T-shirt and couldn’t resist talking to her. I began, “You’re from out of state, aren’t you?”
She was surprised by my question and replied, “Yes, I am. I’m from Colorado. How did you know?”
I explained, “Because of your T-shirt.” I made my accurate supposition after reading the words on her shirt, “I’m a Mormon. Are you?”
I continued, “I must tell you that I’m impressed by your confidence to stand out and wear such a bold declaration. I see a difference in you, and I wish every young woman and every member of the Church could have your same conviction and confidence.” Our purchases completed, we said good-bye and parted.
Yet for days and weeks after this random everyday moment, I found myself seriously reflecting upon this encounter. I wondered how this young girl from Colorado came to possess such confidence in her identity as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I couldn’t help but wonder what meaningful phrase I would figuratively choose to have printed on my T-shirt reflecting my belief and testimony. In my mind, I considered many possible sayings. Eventually, I came upon an ideal statement I would proudly wear: “I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it."
The first part of the statement is a self-assured, unapologetic declaration: “I’m a Mormon.” Just as the young woman I met in the grocery store was not afraid to let the world know she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I hope we will never be afraid or reluctant to acknowledge, “I’m a Mormon.” We should be confident, as was the Apostle Paul when he proclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.”1 As members, we are followers of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Such conversion and confidence is the result of diligent and deliberate effort. It is individual. It is the process of a lifetime.
She makes her declaration, "I'm a Mormon". I'm letting everyone know. I'm not a physician, a teacher, an artist, a musician. I am a Mormon, that is how I'm identifying myself. That is the insidious nature of the church. It permeates all aspects of the psyche, digs its claws in and doesn't let go. That is why it is so painful to realize the whole system is a sham. The member's whole self perspective is rocked to its core. She continued;
The next part of the statement affirms, “I know it.” In today’s world, there are a multitude of activities, subjects, and interests vying for every minute of our attention. With so many distractions, do we have the strength, discipline, and commitment to remain focused on what matters most? Are we as well versed in gospel truths as we are in our studies, careers, hobbies, sports, or our texts and tweets? Do we actively seek to find answers to our questions by feasting on the scriptures and the teachings of the prophets? Do we seek the confirmation of the Spirit?
The importance of gaining knowledge is an eternal principle. The Prophet Joseph Smith “loved knowledge for its righteous power.”2 He said: “Knowledge is necessary to life and godliness. … Hear, all ye brethren, this grand key: knowledge is the power of God unto salvation.”3
All truth and knowledge is important, but amidst the constant distractions of our daily lives, we must especially pay attention to increasing our gospel knowledge so we can understand how to apply gospel principles to our lives.4 As our gospel knowledge increases, we will begin to feel confident in our testimonies and be able to state, “I know it.”
I find it ironic that she talks about distractions in life. Activities that take time away from God or the corporation/church--the thing she feels is most important. I feel that the family is most important in life. Unfortunately, the Mormon church, claiming to be family oriented, sucks any free time away from the family.
Sister Dibb's next proclamation is to "live it".
Next is the statement, “I live it.” The scriptures teach that we must be “doers of the word, and not hearers only.”5We live the gospel and become “doers of the word” by exercising faith, being obedient, lovingly serving others, and following our Savior’s example. We act with integrity and do what we know is right “at all times and in all things, and in all places”6 no matter who may or may not be watching.
In our mortal condition, no one is perfect. Even in our most diligent efforts to live the gospel, all of us will make mistakes, and all of us will sin. What a comforting assurance it is to know that through our Savior’s redeeming sacrifice, we can be forgiven and made clean again. This process of true repentance and forgiveness strengthens our testimony and our resolve to obey the Lord’s commandments and live our life according to gospel standards.
Member's, although not perfect, need to "live" the gospel. Which to me, is doing what our leaders teach and say. The current prophet's words trump all past scriptures or teachings. It means to be strictly obedient without questioning or challenging.
Ann's last statement is;
The final phrase in my declarative statement is “I love it.” Gaining a knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and diligently living gospel principles in our everyday lives leads many members of the Church to exclaim enthusiastically, “I love the gospel!”
Loving the gospel/God or church above all else. There is no distinction between the three. They are one and the same. That means putting your callings, responsibilities, tithing, temple work, scripture study, prayer, etc.. above everything else in your life. Give tithing before paying bills, sacrifice family time for church busy work. It is the "kingdom of God" or nothing else, or in other words, it is the Mormon church or nothing else. A Mormon is who you are--so in reality when you build the church you build yourself, your character, your being. That is why when you quit the church you are in essence, quitting yourself. That is why it is so painful.