Wednesday, March 11


Day of Faith: Personal Quests for a Purpose - 3. Rachel Esplin from Harvard Hillel on Vimeo.
Confession: I love to read blogs. Confession: I hate to cook or clean my house unless I’m able to listen to something interesting. While browsing a friend’s blog Monday, I came across this link which helped me clean my kitchen, bake Easton’s requested FHE treat of frosted sugar cookies, and cook up a horribly blah dinner no one really ate. (ARGH!!!) Ah well, it’s totally worth the listen!!!

Harvard Hillel, the Jewish student association at Harvard essentially, sponsored an event entitled, “Day of Faith: Personal Quests for Purpose.” A seasoned journalist, Sally Quinn of the Washington Post (an atheist), grilled five panelists about the deepest issues of their identity – their quest for meaning. The panel had students from five faiths: a Mormon, a Muslim, a Christian – Presbyterian, a Jew, and a Buddhist. The seven segments make up two hours I believe. Some panelists were better able to answer Quinn’s probing questions and others exhibited being in the throes of their “spiritual journey.” I kept thinking my good friend Holly should have been there to represent Catholics because she would have rocked it!

The conversation wanted to highlight the pivotal soul searching time each of us encounters in young adulthood as we take the religious traditions of our childhood and must decide for ourselves what we truly believe about God and the meaning of life. I find this a fascinating discussion and wish I took the opportunity more often to get to know my friends and family on this level.

Well, I had that opportunity today and completely bombed. While doing some self-evaluation later this afternoon, I was very aware of my failings in this area. Why do I clam up when asked to share the greatest part of my identity?! I really have lived in quite the happy little LDS bubble everywhere I’ve lived thus far in my life. While gaining a lot of strength in my formative years, it has not helped me necessarily hone my religious dialogue skills. I’m not looking to convert the world, I just hope I can become as articulate as Rachel in sharing what I know to be true because my knowledge of the restored gospel has brought me the greatest joy, comfort and peace through the ups and downs of my mortal experience thus far. Helping someone come to an understanding of these truths would be a complete bonus!

I am so grateful for the holy scriptures, prayer, and personal revelation that guide me. I have put my faith to the test many times and walked away strengthened. I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough for these blessings in my life. This past Sunday was personally challenging and I had to ask myself why I do the things I do. I do it all because I know Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ, know me and love me. I believe in the Plan of Salvation and Happiness. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the Lord’s true church upon the earth led by a modern day prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I believe the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was a true prophet.

I loved all the questions asked by Quinn, but if I were talking to you right now, this is what I’d love to discuss to understand who you are, Mormon or not. (In fact, feel free to email me at or in the comment section and consider your journaling done for today!)

- Where are you from and what was your early religious experience before you came to [this point in your life]?
- How did you practice your religion and how did it affect your every day life?
- How do you feel about equality of women in your church?
- Who is Joseph Smith and what does he mean to you?
- Who is Jesus Christ to you?
- Do you plan to marry a member of your faith or did you and why?

Once we discussed these topics, I'd love to chat about one of my favorite talks of all time -- Julie Beck's Fall 2008, Sunday morning General Conference talk, "Mothers Who Know." I can't get enough of this talk and listened to it three times tonight while making dinner. Short, inspiring and to the point! LOVE IT!!!

PS - My other recent fave to listen to is my alma mater, BYU's Kennedy School of International Studies Lecture Series.