The "Complete" Mormon Experience

My life has been significantly influcenced by my membership in the LDS church. A great portion of my life has been shaped by my mormon upbringing, and so far, I’ve participated in nearly everything the church has to offer. I have been a member my whole life – baptized at age 8. I’ve been active the entire time, as well. While a teenager, I attended Mutual pretty regularly. I am an Eagle Scout, and attended summer camps, winter camps, stake conferences, temple trips, youth conferences, Seminary Days. I graduated from early morning seminary after attending nearly every day for four years. Firesides….. then off to BYU and a full-time mission. I participated in an endowment ceremony at age 19. I was even married in the temple two months ago. So far, I’ve gotten what I call the “complete” mormon experience.

But this will not always be the case. There are many experiences the church has to offer in which I may not participate. For example, it’s possible that I won’t be called as “prophet, seer, and revelator.” Or one of the 15 Apostles, or a Seventy. Probably not a Stake President, Patriarch, or even part of a bishopric. A career in CES or as a church employee is not in my future. So there are undoubtedly things the church has to offer which I will never experience. Am I missing out on anything?

As most of you know, I extensively peruse the bloggernacle. As I read the posts, and especially the comments, it becomes very clear to me that there are a number of regulars who clearly have more “insider information” than i do. Individuals often share experiences from when they held a certain leadership position, or when they had occasion to meet with certain General Authorities, or what they learned while working int he Church Office Building. Sometimes I find myself a little envious that they appear to have additional information that is not available to me and I wonder if there is part of the mormon experience that is unavailable to me.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am not fit for church leadership, and I’m not saying that I want these callings. Surely, the insider info gained from being a stake president is eclipsed by the massive amount of time and dedication the calling requires.

I’m wondering how one’s view of the church is changed or modified by the additional information and understanding one gains through different experiences within the LDS church, particularly leadership or employment in the church. Is there something the rest of us are missing out on?

3 comments to The "Complete" Mormon Experience

  • I am grateful for the opportunity I had to serve as Ward Clerk. I came to understand how interested the Bishop is in the members of the ward. I am not sure if that was simply because I spent more time with the Bishop than I normally would have or because of the opportunity to be in on bishopric meetings, etc. I would venture a guess that if I spent as much time with him in consultation for other things I would have gotten the same impression. I'm not sure what insider information you would like to have, but some of it, about individuals, is more than you would want to know. I guess access to the Handbook was nice when I had a question about something, but I think if you have a leader you are comfortable going to, you can get the same answers.

  • Being the type of person that I am the first thought I had when reading this post was that all women in the church will never hold most of the positions that you mentioned. I don't know if that makes women's experiences in the church very different from the men's. I know that my mom learned a lot as the RS President (including many of the insights that Ben mentioned). I agree that I don't really want the callings that give one those extra insights, but I would really like access to the church handbook because I think that it is interesting to find out the church's official stance on different issues.

  • Good points, guys. You're right. Some of the info you DON'T want to know. Katie, it didn't occur to me that women wouldn't have these opportunities either.

    Yes, access to the church handbook would be nice. Finding illegally posted versions on the internet is easy enough, but it would be nice to not have to become a criminal to view it.