Hello Mormons!


Last night, between midnight and 8 am this morning, an online magazine called LDS Living drove several thousand visitors to my blog.  And they’re still coming!

I have so many emails from you guys I can’t respond to them all.  So far, they’ve all been very positive.  I want to say something.

So, thanks guys!  Thanks for the words of encouragement and the nice comments.

Edit:  Multiple edits for spelling, formatting, and posting before I am properly caffeinated.


32 thoughts on “Hello Mormons!

  1. Just wanted to add my thanks for a refreshing objective view of one of our wards’ services. If you want a ward that is child-free, come to the Lakeland, FL Ward on S. Crystal Lake Drive sometime. We are known unofficially as the Geriatric Ward (lol). We have one baby and his mother does take him out because everyone knows whose kid it is that is making the noise.

  2. I have to say I enjoyed reading about all your visits. I hope you will go visit another Mormon ward again. Ask them when the Primary (all the kids in the ward put on a program about what they have learned that year) program is. And want to know more about things we do as a church? Check out https://www.lds.org/topics/humanitarian-service/center Thank you and I enjoyed your sense of humor, writing style and your search for how to help the world become a better place!

  3. Yes:) We all came here from facebook, and the shares there keep popping up! It was a great blog entry by the way. I really enjoyed reading it and sharing it.

  4. Thank you for doing this project.
    I think your criteria for evaluating the teaching are very valuable and I plan on using them to help me wright better talks and teach better lessons. I’m not sure that you can address all four in one talk but trying will be a good challange 😀

    • There are a few other Mormons and some pastors from other Christian sects that have said something similar. I’m really touched that you would consider what I have written to be worth including in your lesson.

  5. Enjoy your writing. I am, like it seems all of the above, mormon, but I have almost always taken people up on their offers to visit other churches just cause its good to know what people believe, and always good to find common ground. Good luck with your visits!

  6. Hello again Mark 🙂 I have enjoyed reading many of your other entries. Your posts are interesting and well-written, thank you! I hope you are enjoying your experiences 🙂

  7. Very nice articles Mark and me being a born in JW can testify to how boring our sales meetings are, oops I meat meetings to worship Jehovah. When I read the reviews on the Mormons, it showed me a side of them that I did not know they had.

  8. I have enjoyed reading your posts about the various religious institutions you have visited. As a lifelong LDS member, I am always astonished when I see someone write something positive about my religion.

    I think our society is very fixated on the ‘negative’ and we spend a lot of media time on ‘scandals.’ We discount so much of the good things that people who are religious tend to do on a daily basis (most ‘Christians’ try to be kind to others and ask WWJD, that sort of thing). Our highly technological world seems to push away from religion. We don’t have time to sit and participate in traditions (worship services, family reunions, even family dinner). We are so busy doing other things – which are important, like having a job and feeding our families – that we don’t take the time to evaluate our personal endeavor to be better people, which is what most religions preach. I feel that a one-time visit is doing some of these churches a disservice. I know that first impressions are important, but they aren’t everything. What I have come to learn about religion is that “God” is the perfect one and all people are not perfect. It’s something I often have to remind myself – I am not perfect, my neighbor isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. I think most people would like to be better human beings and help others to also be better, we just can’t rip ourselves away from our jobs, tvs, or computers long enough to do anything more meaningful than make dinner. This is a societal trend of shallowness that I have seen sweeping our nation. We do very little introspection and a lot of surface feelings (Facebook posts). I think it would be interesting if you did several weeks worth of visits, to see if anything changes in these congregations.

    I hope that more people will go on a search for something that can help them to become better. I would be interested in hearing how this experiment has changed/is changing your perspective, views, pre-conceived notions, or personal beliefs about religion.

    • You know, there’s a lot of negativity in the world, and I’m sorry to say that I’m one of the people who’s added to that negativity from time to time.

      As I mature and grow as a human, I’m finding that negativity isn’t all that useful. I’m also finding that being positive is kind of hard. I guess that’s why so many people are negative.

      • So now I’m curious to know if you’ve received this outpouring of feedback from any other post you’ve put up? You seem to be quite the “celebrity” in the LDS community 😉

      • The vast majority of it was from LDS, but I did hear from other groups as well. Some of the Mars Hill folks were kind of angry.

  9. I got here by way of facebook as well, and have really enjoyed picking through your blog. Maybe it’s because we Mormons are all volunteers, but being complemented (as we must have all felt by reading your post) makes us all feel like we’re getting something right.

    Anyway, like I said before, it’s been fun picking through your blog, and I’m looking forward to reading more when my kids go to bed tonight! They’re two of the type that randomly let out banshee screams and run up to the pulpit without an invitation from the bishop. Have you had a chance to meet with any who are Baha’i? My husband was agnostic before we started dating, and as he was trying to choose a faith for himself, Baha’i was the only other that came close to Mormon in his studies. He chose Mormon because of a belief in the atonement, but that’s neither here nor there. I’d be interested in reading a post about a Baha’i meeting from this kind of standpoint.

    • The Baha’i community in Seattle is pretty small. There’s a place over across the lake, in Bellevue, that looks pretty active, but it’s kind of a hike for me. I’d really like to go out there and visit at some point, but they’re down a little ways on the list.

      For the time being, I’m focusing mostly on fairly mainstream churches. And by mainstream, I mean mainstream for Seattle. I will likely throw in a controversial or weird or interesting church along the way to keep people interested, but the majority my focus will be on larger churches.

  10. Another reader from Facebook. I too am enjoying this blog and seeing different religions through your eyes. I’ll also be sharing it with my children as I believe it’s important they learn about other faiths as well. There is truth in all religions and we love it when we can get together and share what we know with others.

    BTW, have you tried a single’s ward?

    I look forward to hearing about your journey. Thanks so much for your post!

  11. Hi. I came to visit your blog from a Facebook link on Mormons. Fair and accurate – loved your matter of factness and candor. So now I’m kind of a convert to your blog – I’ve spent almost an hour reading the rest of your posts and I’ve laughed out loud several times. I’m a little mad that it’s late and I should be making our our breakfast for tomorrow. But you’re forgiven. I’ll be back.

  12. us Mormons love to post everything on facebook! so glad someone I know posted this link though, because your blog is fascinating to me! I was born in the Mormon church, but always was interested in all religions. I have not attended them all though and only had the opportunity for a non denominational Christian and Catholic church. I am loving reading your blog and the insights. Since I am Mormon I know that you really attended our church at least and it seems a pretty truthfull insite of sacrament meeting ( you should attend the priesthood and sunday school meetings as well to get the full three hour experience)

  13. We Mormons are a very practical, pragmatic bunch. It was a little hard to get used to, actually, coming from a very ritual-based background (Episcopalian). Compared to other religions, we don’t even pray all that much in public (including church). You really SHOULD check out the doctrine, though. That’s the part I love so much. The culture, well, I see the appeal for some, but it’s the doctrine that sold me. You might be surprised to know (I was) that we have a very high percentage of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) types, especially in our church leadership.

    Anyway, loved your articles, and you’re welcome back anytime!

    • I’m starting to get more from twitter. A dozen or so hits this morning, and almost 100 views from twitter yesterday.

  14. In Seattle there are three YSA (young single adult) wards that meet at this location below. One meets at 9am, one at 11am, and one a 1pm. I attended a family ward all growing up. After my mission I attended a YSA ward until I got married. I currently attend a Married Student Ward which they only have at university campuses I believe.

    Love reading, your writing is very good!

    3925 15th Avenue Northeast
    SEATTLE, WASHINGTON 98105-6607

  15. Mark,
    Since the LDS community has officially endorsed your blog, I am pleased to unofficially pronounce you an honorary Mormon. Or, what some old-timer members refer to as “dry Mormon” (non-baptized).
    Milk those stats man, and feel the love! 🙂
    Another Mormon Sister,
    – MoSop

  16. Mark,
    I have to admit when I saw the title of the article on Facebook, I was skeptical in reading it. The majority of the things you find about the LDS faith on social media is negative and heart-breaking to the people of the Faith, but I clicked on it ready to put up my guard and get ready to cry. I was so happy to see what you wrote!
    Thank you for taking the time out to see us Mormons for what we truly are as well as other Faiths. You’re doing such a tremendous work with your research…I can’t wait to read more!

    PS – Yeah the kids can get a bit rowdy, but that’s how they get you to sit up on the front rows 😀

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