For all that might be said about Mormon culture and any of its associated foibles and weaknesses, there is one thing that I will always love about “those Mormons.” The attribute of Mormon’s that I love so much is something that has gotten them, as a people, through some of the most troubling times any group of people has ever faced. It’s gotten them through a time in which they were the only people in the land to have an extermination order out against them. During the history of this world, we’ve seen horrible periods of slavery. We’ve seen people’s lands be taken from them. We’ve seen prejudice and discrimination. But it’s a rare occasion in which a group of people are sought after for complete annihilation. To extinguish them from the land. Because of a belief? Not quite. It was a little more than that. Persecutors of the church in the early days saw how loyal the members of the church were to each other. They saw how they moved as one, and how powerful they were as they did move as one. That was scary to many of the people in those frontier towns from an economic and political point of view. It was as if they were one giant family, one heart, and one mind… regardless of their individual differences.
Because of all this history, Mormons had to learn to stick together, take care of their own, and have each other’s back. That’s why when a person joins this church… they are literally gaining a family… and truly it is like a family. As I grew up in my own biological family, I had one sister. We loved each other… but there was no end to the things we’d do to annoy each other. I would find ways to irritate her, annoy her, and bug her. She would tell my mom or dad. Then she might scratch me, push me, whine, or cry. I’d get in trouble for “doing nothing” as I always explained… and possibly get sent to my room. But through it all… I always had her back, and I will always have her back. I know that she has my back, and if I was in dire need of something, she’d drop everything, put her life on hold, and come to the rescue. There’s a special bond that exists among family members. As my sister once told me: “Truly… you are the only one on this earth that knows why I am the way that I am.”
In the church… there might be some shoving, some bickering, some arguing and maybe even some fighting. But at the end of the day, I’d be there for any of my brothers and sisters. I know them… and I know what’s in their heart. That’s the thing I love most about Mormons… as a people. Regardless of what’s going on, when people need help… they help. They set aside their differences and come together to provide strength for each other at just the right time. I can imagine the children of Israel, living through miserable conditions at the hands of their captors, making mistakes, and arguing with each other as they made their way out of Egypt, through Sinai, and eventually into their “promised land.” I can see those early Christian church members under Nero and the ten pagan persecutions drawing fishes in the desert sand as they were driven from place to place, being left homeless and scared. I can see them arguing in the same way that Peter and Paul used to argue about this or that doctrine or historical event, but when the rubber met the road, they would come together in unity to support each other and support the cause.
Sometimes I think Mormons take what they have in each other for granted… in just the same way we take our own families for granted sometimes. That Christian fish that was drawn in the sand almost 2000 years ago by members of the Lord’s church was a desperate attempt to find and reunite with their brothers and sisters so that they could come together and draw strength from one another. We may not have ten Caesar’s coming after us with swords and armies at this time in our lives, but we have other threats that are just as dangerous to our progression in life. People may not like to go to meetings or give talks in church, but I know that if I go down with a sickness, or need someone to talk to, or need some help in any way… there will be soft hearts and smiling faces coming out of the woodwork. That is something I know. That is something I could testify of. Something I’ve experienced. And that is my favorite thing about “the Mormons.” 🙂