Once again, we have a few more responses that we’d already received to Len’s question before it ever posted here. Thanks to those who have contributed their own thoughts and experiences. (To comment, please go to the original post here.)
Our first response today comes from Koreen, who is not a Mormon herself, but has many family members who are. The emphasis on and principles taught about the importance of family are one thing that really stick out to her.
I hope you don’t mind if I reply too. I have also tried to figure out what is different about “the Mormon population.” There are many faiths that hold many of the same beliefs as the LDS church and [use scriptures like the Bible] that are followed by many religions. So, what’s different about the LDS church?
Here’s my “outsider’s” point of view. Almost every Mormon I know is an emotionally healthy person. Why? One word…family. I have had experiences with many religions and none have as much focus on family as the LDS church. Children raised in the LDS church are loved and nurtured. Those children grow up to become emotionally healthy adults. I once read that the number one factor in helping an individual overcome an illness (be it physical or mental) was the level of their support network. If someone knows that they are loved unconditionally and that someone (or several someones) always has their back, they are much more likely to get through the trials of life more quickly.
I also saw a 20/20 show many years ago on centenarians. They compared all kinds of factors for as many people as they could find that were 100 years or older. The number one factor that they all had in common was their ability to deal with loss. Not whether or not they smoked, or drank, or ate healthy, or exercised. None of those. It was their ability to remain happy in the face of life’s trials. And the LDS church has that going for it in spades.
I wonder what the divorce rate is for LDS members vs. the rest of the population. I bet it’s much lower. In my own opinion, it is due in large part to the emphasis on family. Men and women choose their relationship and family first…always, not just when it’s convenient. I believe that many divorces could have been avoided if each person put their relationship first. Should I watch this football game or should I play with my children? No question. Should I buy this thing I’ve always wanted or should I save the money for the dishwasher repair? No question. Should I stay and do this one more thing at work or be home on time to have dinner with my family? Dinner…hands down. Should I flirt back with my co-worker? Not even a fleeting thought. All the little things add up and make relationships successful. And children surrounded by parents in a healthy relationship learn to continue that cycle when they marry and have children.
Where does the emphasis on family come from? Well, from what I’ve learned, it’s the restoration of the church that God and Jesus originally intended many, many years ago – with the family being an integral part of that.
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I only know about my own family, but what I can tell you from that perspective is that the members of my family have trials like anyone else, but the source that they gain strength from is an overwhelmingly loving and personal Father. When I look at my blessings, it is pretty easy to be joyful and to recognize the long legacy of strength that I come from. That uplifts and buoys my spirit. I also know that my vision of the future is bright, and clear, and encouraging. That makes my difficult days smaller and the hope of my future a brilliant beacon before all I encounter.
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I think it’s for many reasons. But one of the most important reasons is because we have knowledge of the Plan of God. That knowledge gives us peace, and that peace brings us happiness. It’s not an act; it’s truly how most LDS members feel. I also truly believe it stems from our knowledge of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. We also know exactly where we came from, why we came here to Earth, what the point is of being here, and where we are going, and what will happen later. Ironically, this knowledge isn’t a “big secret” –anybody can learn this, we don’t hide it! (Thus our missionary effort.)
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