A lot of people aren’t looking for a true church, they’re looking for a good church. They want to be part of an organization that is fundamentally sound and makes its members and the world around it better.
I’m not trying to say the Church is perfect. But we so often get stuck focusing on its minor faults and its truth claims that we often miss what an outstanding organization it simply is. Here are 21 reasons we are lucky to be members.
1) Takes Care of Their Own
The Church does good by those who are members. Through fast offerings, bishop’s storehouses, and job services, along with ward councils and home teachers to make sure no one slips through the cracks, the Church is wildly efficient at caring for its own members.
2) Does Good in the Community
The Church and its wards regularly serve at the community level. Whether it’s participating in local service projects, working at local food banks, or organizing with the new JustServe.org website, Latter-day Saints strive to make where they live a better place.
3) Does Good Around the World
But not only is the Church focused locally, they keep their perspective worldwide. They are regularly praised for their quick response to disasters. The Church’s clean-water initiative has helped over four million people in Africa alone. The Church itself is actually present in more than 137 countries doing good in its communities.
4) Has Long-term Security
If you’re looking at an organization to do good. You’re likely looking for one that’s going to be around for the long-haul.
Through its wise investments, The Church of Jesus Christ is among the most financially secure institutions on Earth. You can be certain that your efforts there will have a long-term ripple.
5) Is Highly Efficient Volunteerism
When I donate to most organizations, I like to know that little money goes to overhead. Because of the church’s unpaid ministry and bought-and-paid-for infrastructure, the Church is incredibly efficient with their resources, and provide a lot of volunteer bang for your buck. You can hardly do better.
6) Responds Well to Criticism
The Church asks every single member to sustain it’s leadership every six months. And anyone who disagrees is invited to speak to their leaders.
The Church also responds well to outside criticism. While the Church is frequently the subject of mockery, the response is almost always of good humor.
7) Is Open to Truth
If there is anything virtuous lovely or of good report or praiseworthy we seek after these things. The Church not only admits to but publishes documents and essays that open doubt about its truth claims. As Henry B. Eyring’s father told him, “In the Church, you don’t have to believe anything that isn’t true.”
8) Doesn’t Randomly Change to Keep Up With the Times
Many organizations are constantly worried about trying to keep up with the times and are often chasing whatever the trend du jour may be.
The Church, on the other hand, changes all at once and together. This provides both benefits of not chasing after every trend but also meeting the challenges of our time.
9) Has Moral Courage
It can be difficult to stand up for deeply unpopular positions simply because they are correct. But the Church regularly does so. On issues of chastity, alcohol, refugees, child and spousal abuse, and pornography the Church has led the moral charge while others debate and fight over what is right.
10) Physically Healthier
Members of the Church are physically healthier. Increased life expectancy, lower cancer rates, lower heart disease rates are simply some of the many health advantages that LDS teachings bring to its members.
11) Mentally Healthier
While some suggest otherwise, the research shows that Latter-day Saints also have advantages in mental health. Both Mormon men and women are less likely to be depressed than Americans in general.
Mormon teens are more optimistic and less likely to commit suicide. And overall the more active you are in the LDS church the more meaning you find in your life.
12) More Educated
Latter-day Saints have a rich theology around education, three world-class Universities, and many initiatives to increase education around the world.
And unlike virtually every other demographic Latter-day Saints who are more committed to the Church are more educated.
While the Church is fantastic at helping members who need it (see point 1), the Church’s teachings also help more members be self-reliant.
Mormons are less likely to be in lower income brackets, and much more likely to be middle class.
14) Prepared for Emergencies
Not only are members more self-reliant in the day to day, they are more prepared for when the worst comes. The institutional church does this with its financial stability, but individual members are also more likely to save for a rainy day, have emergency supplies, and food storage.
15) Connected to Their Heritage
Latter-day Saints are much more connected to their ancestors. While this is to perform religiously significant rituals, it has impressive secondary effects.
Knowing your family history helps children moderate the effects of stress and increases their self-confidence among other benefits.
16) Provides Awesome Stories
Stories are the bedrock of a culture. And Mormons have great stories. They continue to tell the Biblical stories and preserve the tradition of early Christian pioneers. Then add the stories of the Book of Mormon and 19th-century pioneers.
Plus each new generation of prophets brings a new batch of updated stories of righteous living.
17) Come from Many Backgrounds
The LDS Church is growing. While many religious groups come from a similar religious background, just about every Mormon congregation will have many converts who come from many different religions, races, abilities, and countries.
Both the number of Mormons and the number of Mormon congregations are growing rapidly, and just about every Latter-day Saint knows many converts in their local congregation.
18) Are Happy
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are happy. Latter-day Saints are the happiest people in the entire country, and this is not just self-reporting. The Gallup poll measured happiness across six well-being indexes.
19) Promotes Pro-Social Behaviors
When University of Pennsylvania psychologists wanted to find out why Mormons performed so well on well-being metrics, they discovered how connected we are to other people.
While many people are becoming more and more individualistic, the researchers found ten beliefs and practices of Latter-day Saints that make them more empathic and caring about those around them.
20) Creates Social Connection
This pairs well with point 18. The Church creates both a local and a worldwide community.
In local wards and branches, connections are made through socials and auxiliaries. Home and visiting teaching means even the most vulnerable are connected to the body of Christ.
21) Provides Family Support
Mormons are well known for their emphasis on family. But the Church puts its work where its theology is. Youth are taught from the time they are three.
Not only do they learn moral lessons, they develop their talents, writing, speaking, and planning skills. They are taught both during Sunday lessons and as they grow programs like Cub Scouts and Youth Activities.
As we discuss the Church and weigh its value, let’s keep in mind just how valuable it is as an organization.