I have just started a new job today working at a bank. Today was the "company induction" where you get to learn about the company and meet a bunch of people working in different areas of your division. During lunch I grabbed some Japanese from a local takeaway shop and found a place in the lunchroom and sat with some people who were there for the same induction program as me. We talked about our backgrounds, previous jobs and the like and I mentioned that I spent a couple of years in Japan. Both of them are really interested in Japan so we talked about it for a while. One of the people I was talking with asked me if I had a girlfriend there and did I get around and have fun with the girls? I mentioned that part of my missionary service, I didn't have relationships or date while I was a missionary. This guys then asked if I am abstaining from sex before I am married and I said that I was. In a tone far from mocking, he said that he really respected that. He commended me that I could believe something and stick to it because not many people stick to what they believe in.
This got me thinking during my commute home. I could have stayed away from that question, put it away as too personal or just changed the subject. But I didn't and feel happy that I shared my experiences and put forward some fundamental beliefs about my faith. I remember a quote from Sister Ann Dibb from the most recent conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where she puts forward as a personal slogan:
I’m a Mormon. I know it. I live it. I love it.
Ann M Dibb (I know it. I live it. I love it. October 2012)
It may seem a little cheesy or utopian, but I really like the way she put it. It is a simple way of expressing how I feel about living the restored gospel of Christ. I really do love it. It brings be so much happiness that I am not ashamed to tell people about the standard that I keep, even though it may not be in line with what the world sees as acceptable. I had a very positive experience today, but it is not always easy. There have been many times where people have given me a hard time because of my faith. There have also been times where co-workers and friends not of my faith have stood up for me.
Part of this mantra also led me to think about the words of Peter the Apostle where he said:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you...
1 Peter 3:15
It can be hard to be prepared for any and every doctrine based question that can come before us, but we can prepare ourselves when people want to know about the hope that is in us. It doesn't matter whether we are Christian, Jewish or Muslim, it would benefit us if we could find ways to share that happiness that is with us. I know that if we do, people can see it. Those with open hearts, like my co-worker, will be able to respect the choices that we make in our lives and will be able to see the good.
I haven't written in a long time and I was thinking about this on the train home this evening and felt like I needed to start wiriting again. I hope to write on a more regular basis in the coming weeks. I do challenge you to find ways to share that hope that you have in you, whether that is actively finding those who will listen or providing a good example and talking to those people who are interested. Take every opportunity to uplift others and in turn, you will also be uplifted.