When Brad Wilcox was a missionary in Chile, a man whose teenage son was thinking about converting to Mormonism, asked “What do you get for becoming a Mormon?” Wilcox answered, “Oh, just a little thing—salvation.”
Of course, salvation isn’t a little thing at all, but it is the most important thing Mormonism offers. That wasn’t really of much interest to the father, though. He wanted to know what good it would do his son while he was still alive. Even from a temporal (your life on earth) standpoint, Mormon teens get a lot for being Mormon. You don’t get handed a door prize when you convert, but you will find yourself part of a religion that offers you a lot of rewards. Brad Wilcox outlined some of these to teenagers at Education Week, a religious conference, recently. Let’s look at some of the things he told Mormon teens they got just for being Mormon:
- Mormons live ten to eleven years longer than the average person. There could be a lot of reasons for this. Mormons live by a health code and don’t drink, smoke, or use drugs. They avoid a lot of risky behavior that leads to health problems. He joked that it might just be that the church keeps us pretty busy and we don’t have time to die.
- Mormons are more likely to finish college than most people. They are thirty percent more likely to graduate, in fact. And they get educated in other ways, too. Mormons have more books and more musical instruments than most people and they are more likely to take music lessons. Mormons believe they get to take what they learn into Heaven with them, so it’s a good investment in our time—we can’t take the material things we get. Also, Mormons believe they should be able to take care of themselves, and being educated makes that easier to do.
- Mormons have a lot of friends, even when they are brand new. We move a lot in my family, and my kids always walked in to an instant group of new friends, even if we moved mid-summer or while we were homeschooling. It made moving so much easier.
- Your marriage has a better chance of surviving. Did you know that one in every two marriages in the United States ends in a divorce? If both people are the same religion, the odds improve. One in every four of those marriages end in divorce. But when Mormons marry and choose not to get married in the temple, only one in every six of those marriages will end in divorce. Not perfect, but a lot better than half. But it gets even better. Mormons are supposed to marry in the Mormon temple. Mormons believe marriage and family should last forever, even after death, so they tend to work really hard at their marriages and at being good parents. Those marriages are done in the temple and demonstrate that the couple is really living their religion to a high level and are committed to being married forever. Guess how many of those marriages end in divorce? One in twenty. You have so much better a chance of staying married if you choose a Mormon temple.
Brad Wilcox told the teens they aren’t missing out on anything by being Mormon. The things they choose not to do because of their beliefs are things that harm and devalue them in the long run. Instead they are gaining. Their moral choices allow them to have better and more faithful marriages, good health, a great brain and a rewarding life. He said, ““Yeah, it’s hard being a Mormon, but it’s a lot easier than being without it.”
For the complete article on this talk, see What Do You Get For Being a Mormon?”