(Artist: Zachary Staines)
Something funny happened. Someone mistook me for a Mormon apologist, so I thought I’d clarify myself here. I’m not a Mormon apologist. I’m a Mormon enthusiast. A Mormon enthusiast is one who is highly interested in, motivated by, and invested in Mormonism. You might consider this the testimony of a Mormon enthusiast.
I believe in Christ as exemplified by Jesus. I take Jesus’ invitation to join the diverse Body of Christ seriously. I believe in an immersive interpretation that requires both faith and works.
I believe in atoning, forgiveness, redemption, and healing. I trust that through our participation in the Atonement nothing is beyond reconciliation.
I believe in miracles and understand they aren’t unknowable epiphanies from a supernatural source. I believe in miracles that are a product of extraordinary events which cannot be adequately explained. I believe technology and science are among the means to understanding and discover more sophisticated explanations and implementations of the miraculous.
I love. I agree the greatest commandment given by scripture is: thou shalt love. I believe in radical love—which is the kind of love which enables humanity to create, express, and manifest the tangible realities of divine desires.
I believe in prophets, seers, and revelators. I understand those roles are not simply designated to ordained patriarchs. Prophets are those who speak the words of Divinity, which is why we need discernment. Seers are those who have the capacity to envision the future, predicated on the past. Revelators are those who reveal new insights, information, and knowledge concerning humanity’s divine potential. We should all be prophets, seers, and revelators, and are when we act as such.
I am more orthodox than I appear.
I am more radical than I appear.
I believe in stories. I believe in the power of honest fiction.
I believe in immortality, restoration, and resurrection, not because these events will inevitably come to pass without effort on our part, or because I “know beyond a shadow of a doubt” that these promises are sure. I put trust in and work toward these goals, because I believe humanity is capable of discovering and harnessing powers that I can only describe as godly.
I raise my hand, speak honestly, and let my community know when there is room for improvement.
I understand the LDS Church, though its largest denomination, doesn’t own Mormonism.
I believe in priesthood power, the power to act in the name of God, and the communities which give it power. There is nothing supernatural about it. We collectively invoke and embody priesthood power when we perform godly acts to bless the lives of each other. I trust priesthood power operates by persuasion, long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, love unfeigned, kindness, and pure knowledge.
I know Mormonism is more than patriarchy even when others or policy suggest otherwise. I believe people and their communities are more than their worst moments. In Mormonism, anything is subject to change through restoration and continuing revelation, even though things don’t change as quickly as I would like.
I am peculiar and queer—a descendent of a peculiar people. I won’t pretend to be something I am not to appease the masses or coddle insecurities. I know that despite many attempts by others to reject Mormonism’s queerness, I too am queer and I belong with my peculiar people.
I believe the scriptures to be the word of God so far as they are translated, interpreted, and implemented correctly.
I claim the privilege of worshiping according to the dictates of my conscience and allow others the same privilege.
I worship, though I may not be found in a church pew every Sunday. I often worship in the mountains, and even more often in the library. I worship in service. I worship with my words. I worship with my body. I prefer the safety of private worship, but also understand the value of public and/or communal rituals. I understand worship takes many forms and don’t limit myself or others to only one modality of worship.
I am a Mormon Transhumanist, a radiant Mormon. I seek to elevate and improve the world through the authentic practice of my religion. I am authentic and engage in my religion authentically. I am creative and engage in my religion creatively. I am practical and engage in my religion practically.
I see my body as a temple, gift, and technology. My body is sacred and I’m unashamed.
I subscribe to eternal progression. I believe as we continue to evolve and increase in knowledge, complexity, intelligence, love, and compassion, the more godly we become.
I believe in theosis, because evolution demands it.
I believe in eternal sealings through a network of connections, because love demands it.
I believe in truth, let it come from whence it may. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, I seek after these things.
I know Mormonism is more than any single policy, ritual, or individual. I recognize the diversity of interpretations, and know not to privilege discursive, dogmatic, or harmful interpretations.
I believe in The Grand Fundamental Principles of Mormonism.
I believe in continuing revelation, which is not a task reserved for an elite group of individuals, but an ongoing process implemented by those seeking improvement. Continuing revelation is the percolation of powerful ideas through a robust network of individuals and influences. We embody continuing revelation.
I believe the earth can be renewed and receive paradisiacal glory. I recognize as agents and stewards that we have an integral and necessary part in its preservation and renewal.
I am a Mormon enthusiast.