Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Do You Know Who You Are?

One reason I love being in Shanghai is that there are so many people here. It's the world's biggest city (based on the population within the official city limits) and I've been surprised at how much I enjoy that. Shopping tonight at E-Mart, just below our 18th-floor apartment with its beautiful view of the world's greatest skyline, I was surrounded with a sea of people it seemed as I waited in line to check out. I normally dislike lines and crowds, but my attitudes are different here, sometimes.

To comply with the rules we must keep in exchange for the privilege of running our own church services and religious assemblies, we don't proselyte and even quickly shift gears when Chinese citizens ask about our religion. But as I look over the sea of people here, including many noble souls who have experienced and overcome much, there's one thing I wish I could teach them: who they are. So often I look into their faces and find these words echoing in my mind: "Do you know who you are? Do you know that you are sons and daughters of God with a divine purpose here? Do you know that you vast potential now and unlimited potential after this life, through God's merciful plan of happiness?"

Do you know who you are?

That question, though, quickly leads to bigger questions: "Do you know who God is? Do you know how much He loves you? Do you know His Son and what He has done for you?" To know God truly is to know who you are and why you are here.

I wish they knew. I wish all of us knew.

9 comments:

Michaela Stephens said...

Amen. My husband and I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona today as part of our jaunt for Labor day. I was encouraged by the numbers of people who came in, sat down in the pews quietly, not just to take pictures, but to sit in silence. A lot of good can happen to a soul in silence.

As I sat there, I couldn't help but pray for the people who were making an effort to demonstrate reverence, that they could feel something that would lead them to search after God more.

Yes, the chapel was Catholic, but this Mormon could still appreciate those who worship God in other ways.

Paul 2 said...

Hi Jeff, This was a nice post about your care for the hospitable people you are meeting. What do you think a wise Chinese person knows about what it means to be human that a wise American might not?

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Many of the Chinese could teach us a thing or two about the importance of family ties and remind us that part of who we are is wrapped up in who our relatives are. Respect for parents, grandparents, etc., is a rich value here. Also who we are is tied to those we raise and future generations, and the Chinese are great at seeing the big multi-generational picture. That perspective also encourages thrift and saving for the future, a lesson the West needs to learn before they completely destroy themselves with debt.

Also, I think many of the Chinese can teach us that our life is more than the material wealth that we have. While too many here are striving to become caught up in materialistic ways, there is a core of wise people who recognize the deceitfulness of riches and remain content with more valuable pursuits.

Paul 2 said...

Hi Jeff, Thanks for your thoughtful answer. This is great!

Papa D said...

Amen, Jeff. Thanks for this.

Jeff Lindsay: said...

Michaela, I was there earlier this year on a brief dream vacation with my sweetheart. What a great place Sedona is, and how beautiful the Chapel of the Holy Cross is. Nice spot to meditate and pray, or take photos.

A2 said...

Hi, you don't know me but a friend directed me to your blog. My dad is on a business trip in Beijing right now and ended up in the hospital (we think he might need to have his appendix removed) and needs a blessing. Do you happen to know anyone in Beijing (I know you are not there) that could give him a blessing? I know it's a long shot but please contact me if you do...

Audrey Anderson
Audrey@whiteeyebrows.com

Jeff Lindsay: said...

So sorry about your Dad! I was just in Beijing, what a marvelous city! There are 3 branches in Beijing with some phone numbers listed under lds.org's meeting locator. I will send you the phone numbers by email. The "86" numbers are Chinese - use Skype or some other low-cost alternative to direct dialing. Beijing is 14 hours ahead of Utah.

If those don't work, let me know - I have another contact in Beijing that might be able to help otherwise.

Brother John said...

Your post reminds me of some of my most distant memories. When I was 2 years old in 1948 my father was a medical doctor stationed in Shanghai as part of the US Army Medical Corps. A two year old doesn't notice a lot of things that older people do, and I didn't join the church until 14 years later, so I certainly didn't know I was a child of God. But I do remember shopping with my parents, watching a parade outside our window and listening to my dad tell me the paper dragon was not a real dragon. Then of course we had to leave because Mao was coming. I had my third birthday on the ship coming back to the USA.