A few years ago, I had the pleasure of being on my friend Vance Crowe’s podcast. We chatted about mental health, cattle, pharmacy, and raising a herd of kids during the pandemic. However, one topic he brought up really caught me off guard. He wanted to talk about my life as a member of the LDS church.
Although I have a deep understanding of my own faith, I felt like inadequately prepared to discuss this topic. Even though I felt inept, I did a pretty decent job explaining our church’s core belief system and our values. It felt extremely satisfying to have a person as intelligent and curious as Vance ask the questions he did and for him to come away with a better understanding of my church and belief system.
In addition to his long form podcasts released on mediums such as Apple, Google, and Spotify, Vance also releases his podcasts in full form and in short clips on YouTube.
After I watched this clip, I made the dumb decision to go to the comments section of the video. There was only one comment and it said “Mormons are a cult. I grew up around that shit. It’s incredibly toxic. ‘This guy’s just hype to get laid.'”
Simply incredible. Now I have been told many times that our church is a cult. After 12 years in the church, this comment bothers me absolutely zero. Whenever I hear this statement, I simply reply with “Christianity was considered a cult in the time of Jesus.”
The only part of this comment that I actually gave any thought was the last part… “This guy’s just hype to get laid.” Now it didn’t bother me in the slightest. It just was simply astounding to me that anyone could even think that was part of my consideration.
I love my church and my religion so much. I did have some questions and certain doubts early on in my conversion, but they were eased by time and by prayer. I also love my wife more than anything in the world… not just for Instagram. I just couldn’t believe that someone would have such blatant disrespect to make such a flippant comment about two of the most important and sacred things in my life.
To me, comedy is one of the greatest relivers of stress and tension. I chose to use it in this situation by saying “Believe me, there are easier ways.” Because, unfortunately in this ever growing secular world, sex is becoming increasingly more casual. If that were my main concern and objective in my conversion to the church and devotion to my wife, I would most definitely be considered a fool. If that were the case, I would instead choose to go to a bar somewhere close and try my luck there. I can promise you it would be considerably less work.
I think that’s possibly one of the least understood things about our church… it can be incredibly hard work. Our church has what we call a “lay ministry.” What that means is the people who lead our church on the local levels are not formally trained in theology. That stake presidents, bishops, and other leader callings within the church almost always have full time jobs and large, busy families. Even the middle manager positions of the church take up a considerable amount of a member’s time.
For instance, in July 2013 I was called as the Elder’s Quorum president in our ward (term for local congregations within our church). The EQ president is essentially a steward over all of the adult men in our ward. At the time I had 3 children, 2 of which were twin toddlers as well as a wife who was 8 months pregnant with our 4th son. I also had a full-time job as a pharmacist and a good size herd of cows. I had plenty to do besides this new, very demanding calling within our church. I was lucky to have very good counselors and secretary who I could lean on often. Still, I spent 2 years driving to Rolla for meetings at 715 on Sunday mornings separate from my wife and very busy children. All I can say is how thankful Keri I am for Levi during this VERY challenging 2 year period.
I tell you all of this to vividly illustrate how my conversion and advocacy for my religion is most definitely not to advance any sort of my sexual agenda. As you can see, if that were my angle I would’ve definitely given up a long time ago. My relationship with both my church and my family are so sacred that I cannot help but take offense when someone cheapens them. I talked about being offensive on this weeks podcast (see below) and that you run that risk in speaking your mind. You also have a right to speak up when someone offends you as well. People will always push it to the limits.
Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.Jeffrey R. Holland