Gospel Doctrine Old Testament Lesson #17; Deuteronomy 6:1–9; 11:18–21; Deuteronomy 6:10–12; 8:1–20; Deuteronomy 32:1–4, 15–18, 30–40, 45–47.
I have a friend, who is not LDS, with whom I enjoy having spiritual and doctrinal discussions. The other day, she was inquiring about some aspect or other of how I live my life as a Mormon when she stated, “Christianity has lost its way. It’s not Christianity when people go to church on Sunday and then cuss out people who disagree with them the rest of the week.” I couldn’t agree more!
I didn’t have to tell her that as Mormons we strive to live up to the covenants we make every Sunday as we partake of the sacrament and promise to “always remember him” and “always have his spirit to be with (us).” I didn’t have to tell her that in the temple one of the first promises we make is to live the law of the gospel, mindful of our baptismal covenant to take upon us the name of Christ. I didn’t have to say any of this because she already sees me as an example of how Mormon women live their faith. She knows what we believe because I am unique among her friends and also because of how much my conversation and lifestyle contradict her previous education on Mormon women (she did her post-graduate work at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley).
I’m not saying this to extol my virtues or set myself up as anything more than your average Mormon, doing her best to live what she has been taught. What I’d like to illustrate here is we have been instructed much like the Israelites in the book if Deuteronomy to love God, follow his commandments and teach these things to our children. What is, perhaps slightly different, is the way in which we remember his love for us and display our faith. We are not required to hang mezuzahs on the lintels of our doors or wear phylacteries on our hands and foreheads as the Hebrews were told to in Deuteronomy 6:8. Our adherence to our beliefs is not so obvious, unless, like my friend, you have the eyes to see (Deut 29:4).
Mormon women are unique, not because of any great conscious effort on our part to make ourselves different from the rest of the world, but rather it is the small and simple ways in which we chose to remember God each day that build a peculiar life (Alma 37:6). We prioritize our time differently when we choose to go to institute, have family home evening, attend church for three hours every Sunday and perform church service throughout the week. We budget our finances keeping in mind that 10% of what we earn doesn’t belong to us. Decisions about education and career are molded by the knowledge that family is an eternal institution central to our happiness and that we might be donating a year or two out of our lives to teach the gospel in another part of the world.
Similar to the ancient Israelites, we do wear reminders of our covenants with God, but unseen, underneath our clothing, and this determines which styles we wear and how we appear. Like our garments, it is often the unseen unnoteworthy efforts we make to remember him that most represent what it is to have the Lord’s word written in our hearts (Deut 6:6). While these acts of obedience may go unnoticed and unheralded, or even ridiculed, by the world, they produce such blessed fruits in our lives as to be not only noticeable but even desirable to those who seek God’s love (1Nephi 8:10). It is through these small and simple acts of remembrance that the Lord has and will bring about his great promised blessings to establish his kingdom and lead us safely to the promised land.