28 March 2007

The Future

"[Some] people say, 'I would have willingly endured persecution and trials if I might have lived in the early years of the Church when there was such a flow of revelation published as scripture. Why is that not happening now?'... The opposition and trials are different now. If anything, they are more intense, more dangerous than in those early days, aimed not so much at the Church as at us as individuals." Boyd K. Packer
What would any of us sacrifice for our faith? A tough question to answer. I find the early members of the Church to be inspiring because they made ultimate sacrifices for what they were promised. They endured unspeakable horrors from anti-Mormon mobs that threatened them no matter where they went. They persevered long after the "sensible" would have surrendered. Needless to say, I admire individuals like Mary Elizabeth and Caroline Rollins from the early church; it would be difficult NOT to, in my opinion.

As I look to the future, I've had to question which sacrifices I will and won't make for my religion. Perfect example? Military. I've thought about being a Marine for years now. A great way to ensure my job as a journalist; the pay would be great, my college would be paid for, and I would be serving my country in a way I would be proud and honored to serve. However, boot camp would keep me from church for 13 weeks, nevermind what my actual work schedule would be like. I would be forced to travel for as long as I'm under contact, which would postpone my ability to start a family, or even establish a household. Could I sacrifice that for my country?

If I went into the military, I would go in as an Officer. In order to do that, I need ROTC for the Navy-- which BYU doesn't have. But the University of Arizona does. I've thought long and hard about which college I should go to. Both are out west, and get me out of the state of Maryland; something I've always wanted. And BYU, I've been told by many, is an experience like no other. To see for myself what Utah is like, to get the religious emphasis that BYU would offer, to have that experience is something I've been looking forward to. But now, considering the plans I've been concocting, BYU may not be the best option for me. Can I make that sacrifice for my future career?

I realize that I'm not required to go to BYU in order to be a faithful Mormon. But to go would be the safe plan; the one that doesn't compromise any of my standards. But then there's the path that could lead me where to what I've always envisioned from my life.

Which do I sacrifice? My career? Or my religion?

Fortunately, only I can make that decision, and I don't have to make it alone.

1 comment:

  1. As one who was in a similar position as you four years ago, I can sympathize - and I don't think it's an issue of future vs. religion at all. I chose BYU because I had grown up in a place where LDS were a very small minority, and people with my values were also in very short supply, and I wanted to experience the whole Utah thing, see what I thought of it. I really do love it! It's amazing and very comfortable to not be in the minority anymore. I share a LOT in common with all my friends now, I feel that my friendships are a lot tighter, and I know that there are boundaries that will not be crossed, and that's a great comfort. However, that's not religion - that's religious culture. One of my roommate's film professors made the off comment "as if there were any religion in a student ward," and while it's not totally true, it makes sense to me. It's much more a social thing than anything else. In some ways, BYU challenges my spirituality a lot more than anything out in Massachusetts. It's just so EASY to be LDS here...it's easy to make shortcuts, get comfortable, stop exercising real faith, and let yourself get into a routine where the Lord is not the highest priority - a priority, yes, but not the highest priority. That doesn't happen to everyone, but there is definitely the temptation. And it doesn't mean that BYU is NOT a religious place - it's very religious - it's just that the decision to go to BYU shouldn't be seen on strictly religious terms. I'm sure that they have religion in Arizona - in fact, they have quite a few Mormons in Arizona. Just because there are more Mormons in Utah doesn't make it more religious than other places.

    That being said, BYU is an AWESOME school, especially when you're not used to being in an LDS community, and I would highly recommend it! I would just advise against seeing it as "I need to go to BYU because I value my religion" - you can value your religion and spirituality just as much by going somewhere else. Good luck with the decision! Listen to the spirit - honestly, I did receive promptings to come to BYU, which factored into my decision. They came when I wasn't expecting them, so be sure to listen! Good luck!

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