*Special thanks for this Guest Post today from a Communications Professor. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights with us on religion in today’s world.*
As a college professor, I have observed the difference that religious faith seems to make in the lives of my students.
Although the most recent Pew Research Center report indicates that the fastest growing “religious” group in the United States is the “nones” (those who do not identify with any organized religious faith), in the area of the country where I live, one’s spiritual life is very important to 20-somethings.
In fact, at least three of my students are headed off to theological seminaries to prepare themselves for full time service in the ministry.
I compare their zeal to the selfless service that is given by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons do not have paid ministers or pastors. While the position of “Bishop” in some denominations means a steady income, a Mormon Bishop is a man who serves his congregation, volunteering hours each week to oversee members’ needs but whose pay is only the knowledge that he is serving in the way Jesus Christ taught in the New Testament. A Mormon Bishop has a full time job, as well as family life, to balance with his daily service for the Church. There are no paid youth ministers; no paid music directors, no salaried education directors.
That is not to say that Mormons are not students of the scriptures. Again, if you check out the findings in the Pew Research Center’s reports, in the 2010 study, it was reported:
Overall, the three groups that perform best in this survey are atheists and agnostics (who get an average of 20.9 out of 32 questions right), Jews (20.5 questions right on average) and Mormons (20.3 questions right). Looked at another way, 27% of Jews, 22% of atheists and agnostics, and 20% of Mormons score in the top 10% of all respondents in overall number of correct answers to religious knowledge questions, getting at least 26 questions right (http://www.pewforum.org/2010/09/28/u-s-religious-knowledge-survey-who-knows-what-about-religion/)
So, to those who are curious, to those who have questions about what Mormons believe, I invite them as the Savior did in the New Testament, “to come and see.”
I was one of those curious people. I did not meet a Mormon until I was a freshman in college. But the three years that I spent searching for answers ended with my baptism when I was twenty-three. This was not a decision I made lightly because my spiritual life, my religious faith meant everything to me. That decision changed my life and I can trace every good thing that has happened to me since that time to accepting that simple invitation to “come and see.”