This post is from Shannon Ellsworth. A person with a great sense of humor, big heart, and beautiful smile!
Just an average Mormon. That describes me perfectly.
I live in northern Utah. I grew up in a suburb of Salt Lake. I have been attending church since I was weeks old. I have a mom and a dad and four siblings who are Mormons. I come from English and Danish ancestors. I am a seventh generation prayer-saying, church going, blanket sewing, fruit canning, book reading, baby loving Mormon.
Fulfilling? Beyond measure.
Authorized servants of God said that “happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.” So let me opine on two parts of this statement: happiness in family life and Christs teachings.
I think there is a myth that all Mormons have big and happy families. Its true that Mormons are generally happy. We love to help out and volunteer. We go camping together. We like to cook and bottle food. We have lots of social events and even more meetings. These things increase our happiness because we know we are following the Savior and His teachings.
Happiness denotes cheerfulness, peace and satisfaction. But as each family varies in size, so each varies in happiness. Within the church and all over the world there are unhappy families. Criticizing, comparing and complaining break down families in a gradual, often imperceptible way. Neglect, addiction, conflict and abuse are more visible symptoms we see on TV and in our own neighborhoods. These symptoms lead to broken hearts and broken homes. Symptoms of what? Where does the heartache begin? How can it be prevented or healed?
The symptoms come from the underlying “disease” of pride. The heartbreak begins with disobedience. It can be prevented and healed by the Gospel. This word Gospel is too often misunderstood. Gospel means the teachings of Christ. The word gospel comes from the Greek, meaning “good news”. So if we have the Gospel then we have good news. If we have good news then we should be happy... right? Our happiness is based on obedience to the Savior’s teachings. We have to live the “good news” to receive joy and true happiness. The remedy for the disease that is destroying families is to follow Jesus Christ.
I am a typical, unashamed Mormon woman. I love the Savior and His teachings. My family isn’t perfect and for a long time we weren’t happy. Over the course of many years my parents’ marriage dissolved, eventually culminating in their divorce three months ago. The youths of my siblings and I were sad, stressful and emotionally scarring. But I am happy. And I have joy in the Gospel. The good news is that we can change. We can heal. We can find peace in this life.
We can have our families forever.
We can live with God.
We can become like His son.
And for me that's not just good news, that's the best news.