Like everyone, I wear many hats and fall into many classifications. I am a human, specifically a male one. I am a husband and a father (which happen to be both my favourite hats and favourite classifications). I am a brother and a son. I am a Canadian (you'll probably notice the extra 'u's). I am a civil servant; specifically a foreign service officer, or diplomat. I am a tee-ball, soccer, and soon-to-be basketball coach (you know, with five-year olds you can pretty much coach anything because odds are you know more than they do). I am, or at least try to be, a friend. In brief (or not so brief), I am many things.
So why do I choose "I am a Mormon" as the title of this post?
The most obvious reason is because as I first stated this blog is intended to be about my thoughts about religion, mingled with random bits of other parts of my life. And since I am, in fact, a Mormon (specifically, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), it is a rather obvious title.
But 'Mormon' goes beyond simply a description of my denominational affiliation. 'Mormon' is very much a part of me - about my whole world-view, my self-identity, my relationships, even my work. Everyone who knows me well, most people who know me a little, and lots of people who have only met me in passing know that I am Mormon.
Plus, I like the sound of being Mormon. I like the word. I have to admit that I'm not too big on the apparent trend to de-emphasize the term 'Mormon' and emphasize either 'LDS' or the much more cumbersome 'member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' - especially because I always have to fill in "you know, the Mormons" or "sometimes we're called Mormons" or just "Mormon" afterwards anyway. But more than that, Mormonism is more that just the Church, at least to me. When I say I am a Mormon, I am saying I believe in Mormonism, as a philosophy - as a way of viewing and valuing the world.
I really like the hymn "If you could hie to Kolob". Not simply because it uses the word "hie" and that strange sounding Mormon word (though I do like it for those too), but because of what it talks about - an endlessly vast universe, creation, God, gods, improvement, progression, matter, spirit, virtue, truth.
Being a Mormon is to be positive, to be seeking after not just the good, but the better, to look at life as a glorious gift to be both enjoyed and improved upon. It is to look forward in faith to a better world, but not a better world to the exclusion of the current one. Rather, a better world that we create together out of this one. It is a vision of what God is like and a vision of what it means for us to follow in God's footsteps. It is a vision of Jesus as Saviour, but also of Jesus as prototype - as the image of what I should become. It is a commitment to seek after truth combined with a commitment to friendship, to charity, towards my fellowman.
I say I am a Mormon because 'Mormonism', as I understand it and believe in it, influences what type of male human, husband, father, son, brother, Canadian, diplomat, coach, friend I am or at the very least am trying to be. And the faith that I can become it.
And to return to what I said above, it also influences what type of member I am, or try to be, within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Being a Mormon is much, much more to me than simply being a description of what church I go to or what I drink (or don't drink) with my breakfast, lunch, and dinner.