“It is estimated that 30-40 percent of baptized members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) worldwide are not currently active in the faith,” said an anonymous web user on WikiAnswers. Since the respondent left no sources and cannot form a grammatically-correct sentence, this percentage is far from a statistic. But there is a fact hidden behind the imaginary numbers: A lot of missionary work involves reactivation.
Reactivation is LDS jargon for helping someone who no longer attends church functions, like Sunday services, come back and participate. When thinking of why members may become inactive, I like to refer to Jesus’ parable of the sower:
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. (Matthew 13:3-8)
To me, the active member of the church is one who falls on good ground, a good foundation or understanding of the gospel, which encourages them to bring forth fruit, or encourage people they know who do not belong to the church to come and investigate it for themselves. What the fowls, stones, sun, and thorns represent for those who struggle to remain faithful within the church, I can only speculate. Perhaps one member gets offended by another. Perhaps a member struggles to accept a certain principle of the gospel. Maybe a member has committed a sin and now feels unworthy of the gospel. But no matter what the reason, everyone is welcome in Christ’s church. As my good friend Mitch Mayne once said to me, “You don’t need a temple recommend to sit in these pews.”
While I may not be spiritually struggling, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve become inactive in the blogosphere. I have “fell by the way side,” as Jesus would say, because I feel the need to make every post a masterpiece.
Let’s start over – this time without all the promises.
I may be a journalist, but as such, I need to eat. So those pieces I spend months on? I’m going to sell them. This isn’t going to be the home of New York Times-quality work. This is going to be a blog. I’m going to write about the things I care about and, looking back on previous posts, it looks like I care most about my faith. That isn’t to say that I won’t write about other things, but I’ll be honest: You’ll be hearing a lot about the Mormons. Call it a journal, call it garbage – whatever you need to sleep at night, but this is the start of…something else.