I have always lived in Utah. In fact, I went to an elementary school just down the street from where I live now until halfway through second grade before moving up to the Sugarhouse area. The farthest away from home I’ve ever lived was a brief stay at Snow College, a whole two-hour drive away, for my freshman year. After that I stayed home and began work at the LDS Church Office Building where I met my husband. Now I find myself living not too far away from where I started.
My friends and family have primarily consisted of members of the church. I’ve never really felt a need or the curiosity to explore other churches, as my testimony in this one has ever stayed strong in my heart. I think the closest I’ve come to attending another church was in my junior year of high school when my Baptist choir teacher took us to his church to sing, and to be honest I don’t recall a lot of what occurred. I only remember the beautiful music.
I’m explaining all of this because your experience with life outside the LDS (or Mormon) Church may not be the same. Many of you out there may have been asked repeatedly about our church even before your senior year of high school. I wanted to talk a little about the Plan of Salvation, or Plan of Happiness as it is also called. My hope over the next few posts is to enlighten those youth who might not understand what those outside the LDS Church believe, and why this Plan brings such hope and understanding. I also hope to provide LDS youth, and perhaps those just looking, with a few simple answers to three of life’s recurrent questions.
Several months ago I was offered the chance to speak on the Plan of Salvation. From the time we as members of the LDS Church are small we have been taught this plan. For my talk I wanted to take a different look at it. That’s when a surprising inspiration came to mind.
A woman by the name of Jan Karon has written a wonderful series of books people (okay, so the people might be old like me, but it’s still cool) have come together to share joys, triumphs, laughter, sorrow, and troubles. I’ve participated on this bulletin board for over four years now and have made some incredible friends.
Of all these people on the bulletin board, there are maybe three or four LDS members, while the rest are primarily made up of other Christian religions. So I asked them the same three questions Elder L. Tom Perry, a leader in our church, gave in his November 2006 General Conference talk:
1. Where did we come from?
2. Why are we here?
3. Where are we going?
The answers I received left me feeling sad. As I talked with my husband about the beliefs of those who’d responded he simply nodded his head. He certainly has a leg up on me as he not only taught the gospel on his mission in Pennsylvania, but he also spent many years in the military. So his exposure to other religions far surpasses mine.
Over the next few posts I hope to answer these questions for the youth, hopefully leaving you with some fairly simple answers you can easily share with those wanting to know. For those of you who are, perhaps, new to the LDS Church, or are just looking, I pray the truths we have been blessed with will touch your hearts.