Mormon Life, Religious Commitment, and Life Satisfaction
Editor’s note: Two of our past topics (this reader’s question: Why do Mormons seem so happy? and the recent “Mormons in America” Pew Forum survey) come together in the following submission from Tami, who reflects on how the religious commitment involved in Mormon life could be part of what contributes to the satisfaction many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints feel. (Interestingly, the Pew Forum results support the notion that Mormons tend to be both committed to their religion and satisfied with their lives, so this seemed like a timely post to share.)
Are Mormons happier than others, even those of other faiths? It’s possible and here is one theory. It’s one thing to believe in a loving Heavenly Father who knows and cares about us. Many people of many faiths believe that and it makes them happier in life than those who don’t. It’s a whole other thing to actually be willing to give the time, energy, and commitment it takes to get to KNOW that loving Heavenly Father and love Him in return. Active Mormons commit their entire lives to this cause. We attend church for three hours each Sunday, sometimes more. Most of us spend some time during the week preparing for this Sunday worship. We spend Monday evenings [Family Home Evening] learning about the gospel and having fun with our families. Our youth go to a gospel activity night midweek each week, and seminary class every day, often in the early hours of the morning before school. Adults attend the temple and review covenants made their regularly. [Youth also participate in temple service.] We visit each other in our homes once a month. Our young men [where scouting is available] are encouraged to become Eagle Scouts, our young women complete a 100+ hour service and gospel-learning goal program. Young men, young women, and senior couples are encouraged to leave their regular lives for a time and at their own expense to serve missions. We have large families when possible because we believe there are many spirits waiting for their turn to come to earth, gain a body, and fulfill God’s plan to return to Him again in eternal family units. Twice a year we spend 8-10 hours on a weekend listening to those we believe are prophets and seers give us inspired direction for us to apply in our lives. We pray and read scriptures daily.
If there is a difference between Mormons and those of other faiths, I think perhaps this level of consecration of our lives is it. And I think our countenances reflect that. When we are baptized and confirmed into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost in a sacred ordinance. As we renew covenants from this ordinance every week in our sacrament meeting we are promised that His Spirit will always be with us as WE remember HIM always.
For me, as I spend my time immersed in all of these gospel oriented activities, I can remember Him more than I would otherwise. Having His Spirit with me, through the gift of the Holy Ghost, all of the time, IS happiness and peace. If you notice happiness in Mormons, I think this is why. This is the light you are seeing in our countenances.
Our founding prophet Joseph Smith said it this way:
“A religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life.”