“Sunday Sermon” and “Personal Experiences”
I grew up in the Church. Every personal success or achievement I may have had, I owe to the Lord and His restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
There are innumerable collateral “practical benefits” of membership in the Lord’s Church. Here are a few.
Public Speaking and Teaching Training and Experience
The Church gave me my first opportunities for public speaking and teaching.
As a child, I gave talks in Primary. As a youth, I gave “2 ½ Minute Talks” in Sunday School, and short talks in Sacrament Meetings. Our stake even sponsored youth speaking contests. The Church helped me overcome the widespread fear of public speaking. Because of that foundation, I have been invited to give hundreds of talks, both in and outside, the Church.
I have taught Gospel Doctrine, of and on, since the age of 18. I was called to teach early morning seminary. Because of that training and experience, I was hired to teach law school for over a decade.
I learned how to sing parts as part of the congregation and ward choirs. I also learned how to read music and lead singing. As a result of that beginning, I branched into instrumental music, where I later received awards and scholarships. In high school, I was asked to be the “Student Conductor” of the band and orchestra.
Though the Church sponsorship of scouting, I learned the following practical outdoor skills:
- first aid
- wilderness survival
- fire building
- outdoor cooking
- wood carving
Leadership and Administrative Management Skills
The Church gave me my first leadership opportunities, serving in Aaronic Priesthood Quorum presidencies. These skills were further honed when I served in adult leadership and clerical callings. This is one of the great advantages of a “lay” ministry. These skills have been an enormous help in my personal, church, and professional life. Through the Church I learned:
- conducting meetings
- organizing agendas
- follow through
- calendar management
Because of this background, as a new judge, my colleagues surprisingly elected me, to preside over our justice center, and I was also assigned to train a dozen newly appointed judges.
Reading Comprehension, Critical Thinking and Analysis
Through the Church, I spent countless hours learning how to read, comprehend, ponder, analyze, and interpret ancient scriptures written in Elizabethan English in the King James Version of the Bible. This rigorous intellectual training contributed greatly to my grades in high school, college, and law school. This foundation greatly contributed to my success as an attorney and judge.
Skills from Serving a Mission
Choosing to serve a full-time two-year mission was one of the most important decisions of my life. There were countless “practical” blessings.
I learned how to repair bicycles and clothing.
Getting doors slammed in my face 60 hours a week, taught me perseverance and how to deal with discouragement. I learned how to calm hostile anti-Mormons. (Canvassing precincts full time for two months as a judicial candidate was a “piece of cake” compared to tracting.”)
I learned companionship skills. If I could live, 24/7, with a “difficult” companion whom I did not choose, then I could successfully spend part of each day with my wife, whom I did choose and love.
I learned leadership as I served directly with the mission president that last year of my mission.
I also learned the “foreign language” of English-English. The helped me as an English Major in college.
Social Skills and Interpersonal Relationships
In the Church, we are “forced” to socialize with people from different backgrounds. These are often people I would not normally associate with. Through this interaction, I learned to be more tolerant, compassionate and less judgmental of others. I learned we are never in a position to judge another person’s heart.
Through my Church callings, I have learned counseling techniques. This has been a huge blessing at work, where employees, attorneys, litigants, other judges have shared problems and sought my advice.
Welfare “Safety Net“
The Church has an extensive welfare “safety net.” No member needs to be alone. No member needs to go hungry or homeless.
Self-discipline and Lifestyle Choices Development
Through the Church, I learned the importance of obedience and choosing the right. I learned dependability and promptness.
Because of the Church’s teachings, I have never smoked a cigarette, taken a drink of alcohol, had a cup of coffee or tea, or tried an illegal drug. A major UCLA study concluded that faithful LDS High Priests has an increased life span of 10 years.
I was taught to be less self-centered. I learned through tithing, fast offering, welfare projects, ministering, and meetings, I learned self-discipline and the importance of sacrificing my time, talents, and means for the benefit of others. I learned, “There are no real sacrifices — only blessings.“
Self-Reliance and Emergency Preparedness
Through the Church, I learn the “how’s” and “why’s” of emergency preparedness and food storage.
Parenting and Marriage Skills
The Church taught me how to be a better husband and father.
I had a binding covenant marriage that would last forever. The Church taught me the importance of chastity and fidelity, and being celibate before marriage and faithful afterward. The Church gave me valuable, countless tips on successful matrimony.
I learned the importance of uniting and strengthening my family through family dinner, family vacations, family prayer, family home evening, family scripture study, attending church together. The Church helped raise my children, by building their character, teaching them fundamental truths, and reinforcing our family values.
Ballroom Dancing Training
As a youth, I participate is Church “Dance Festivals.” I later learned ballroom dancing – waltz, fox trot, swing, and cha-cha at the LDS Institute at Cal-State Fullerton. During our engagement, my wife and I were asked to teach basic ballroom dancing to church youth groups. Our waltz at our wedding reception “dazzled” others. (LOL)
These are just some of the collateral “practical benefits” I received through my membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. There are others.
It is impossible to put a price on these benefits. It is impossible to calculate the enormous cost of the training and experience I received in music, public speaking, outdoor skills, organizational management, administration, counseling, parenting, emergency preparedness, lifestyle choices, reading comprehension, critical thinking, analytics, social skills, dancing, etc. In short, the “practical benefits” of LDS Church membership are priceless.
Of course, these collateral “practical benefits” do not compare with the knowledge that the true gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored. These “practical benefits” pale in comparison to the spiritual eternal blessings of the Lord’s Church and the covenant path to salvation, redemption, exaltation and eternal happiness through Jesus Christ our Lord.