I tell people all the time, "I do what I want." I sometimes wonder if people find this hypocritical because when they see me or classify me as "Mormon" they think of all the things that I "can't" do, like drinking, getting high, and participating in intercourse outside the bounds of marriage. However, in actuality, if I wanted to, I would be doing those things, the fact is I don't want to. Maybe you think I'm brainwashed or naive, but I know the blessings I've recieved from keeping these commandments, and I know that I am at my happiest when I am living the commandments of the gospel. If I start slipping on even the smallest things, like daily prayer and reading scriptures, I can feel the huge impact it makes in my life and in my closeness to Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. What momentary satifcation could be worth living without that spirit for even a day? I can't think of even one.
To be perfectly honest though, even if all those blessings were taken out of the equasion, I am confident that I would still choose the lifestyle that I am living. Why? Well, to be perfectly honest my choices boil down to one man: my Savior, comforter, and redeemer.
I know that Jesus Christ suffered, died, and lives for all mankind, but also for me specifically. The atonement of Christ is infinite yet intimate. I have felt the blessings of the atonement in my life. There have been countless times when I have felt totally and utterly alone, gotten on my knees to pray, and immediately felt love, peace, and reassurance that I am never alone even if no one is standing by me. He gave everything for me, he lived and died for me, and all He and my Heavenly Father ask with all the love in the world are for me to make a few choices in my life to follow their teachings, which are all things we should do anyway and then on top of everything else, they bless us more for our choice to follow. With all the Savior has done for me, how can I not make the few small sacrifices He asks of me? When I put my Savior in the equasion, these choices hardly feel like sacrifices at all.
I live my life the way I do because I want to live the way my Heavenly Father and Savior have intructed me to. There is not an ounce of myself that regrets the way I've chosen to live my life, and something tells me there never will be. I know that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is true, because I have prayed about it and felt a confirming witness through the spirit. I feel that same spirit continually as I make righteous life choices, read the scriptures, pray, and attend church meetings and functions. I encourage anyone who has questions about the gospel to ask me or visit lds.org or mormon.org. Also, if you really don't understand why I love my life the way it is, I challenge you, no I triple dog dare you, to really live the way I do for even a week, and see the way it blesses your life. The best way to gain a testimony of a principle of the gospel is to apply it to your life. If you want to feel the joy that I feel, live the way that I do. Sometimes it is hard, but it is always worth it. Everything I do, I do because it brings me closer to returning to my Father in Heaven and there is not instant gratification or worldy pleasure that could ever outweigh the oppurtuinity of building and developing that relationship.
I know that Heavenly Father and our Savior love you and that you are a child of God. If you don't know that, pray until you do. I know that our Savior died for you, so you could return to live with the Father. If you don't know that, pray until you do. I know that God has a plan for you. If you don't know that, pray until you do. He will answer your prayers. I know this with assurity because He answers mine.
I love each of you and wish you all happiness in the coming New Year.