By Britta Hanson
It’s more a statement of fact than a question. If I had a dollar for every time I heard this particular statement, well, I could at least buy myself a really nice dinner. However, I never tire of the opportunity these moments afford me to pause and reflect on the life I have chosen as a disciple of Christ and as a Mormon.
As a grad student, time is an especially precious resource. Given my tight schedule, the amount of time I dedicate each week to “religious” activities may appear to be borderline insane. Allow me to illustrate: In addition to weekly Sunday worship services, which last three hours, I generally attend at least one meeting per week for my church assignment. Sometimes this assignment requires more time during the week, ranging from a few minutes to a few hours. There are also activities every Monday evening and the occasional additional activity during the week. Every Wednesday night there are classes which teach the scriptures, and I try to set aside time each day to study the Word of God. It is also my privilege and responsibility to visit two of the women in my congregation each month to see to their spiritual and emotional needs. Upon hearing this, most people, myself included, ask an important question: Why?
Each week is a complex balancing act between the religious, the social, and the scholarly. At times, I feel the pieces of my life are spinning out of control and falling down around me. Usually when I am brought to the brink of disaster, I realize that I have been neglecting some aspect of my “religious” life. Maybe it’s been a day or two since I opened the scriptures. Perhaps I haven’t been fulfilling my church assignment as fully as I could. In these moments of clarity, the why is always answered.
While some draw a line between spirituality and religiosity, I have found in my life there is a cyclical relationship between the two. As I attend to the various “religious” activities each week, they serve to constantly remind me of the things which matter most: Christ, my relationship with Him, and the people He has put in my life. Being vitally involved in my church feeds my soul, it provides a quiet strength in me as I go about my various activities. As I am consistently reminded of Christ and His love, my faith becomes the anchor of my life. The dozens of moving parts I scramble for each week begin to revolve around Him, and there is order.
The ultimate answer to the why is that by striving to do all of these things, I find an assurance and a joy in my life that I have not found by doing anything else. So yeah… I am pretty religious.