A few weeks back, I had asked our bishop (pastor) of our ward (congregation) if I could run the sacrament meeting (church service) and have it focused on missionary work. I’ve been working closely with the missionaries in our ward and also helping members of our ward with missionary work for the past 2 years as my calling (in the Mormon church everyone is asked to help out with callings under the inspiration of the bishop) and I had felt prompted by the Lord to share experiences with the congregation and also highlight all of the good they are doing in the community by bringing others to Christ.
As part of the service, I had invited some of the recent converts to share their testimonies and stories of how they became members of the church. All of them had to make great sacrifices and many have had to overcome addictions in order to become members and it has been truly inspiring working with them and helping them.
As one of the new members was sharing their story, they became emotional and overwhelmed with all of the good things they had experienced since becoming a member. I thought back over the last year with this certain individual and reflected on how when I first met them, this person was attending a different Christian church that preached a lot of negative things about Mormons and she was very critical towards our message. However, gradually she became more open to learning and allowing the Holy Spirit into her life and she had many miracles happen in her life as a result, including being baptized.
I became a bit emotional listening to her talk and I was up next. What made things even more emotional for me was that I thought of all of the people that I had met while out in the community who hadn’t ended up making as much progress as others and were still struggling with faith, drugs, emotional or physical health, and a number of other things…and feelings of compassion overcame me. Not a good sign if I wanted to “keep it together” during my talk.
Well, I didn’t keep it together. I stood up and said “There are people struggling out there…” and it was over. I was crying and it took at least a minute for me to compose myself and deliver the talk I had prepared.
Today in testimony meeting (this is a meeting Mormons have monthly where anyone is allowed to get up and share their testimony, or witness of the gospel), I noticed a lot of people crying as well. I’ve had people who visit a Mormon church for the first time make comments over the years about why we cry so much.
I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but for me, I’ve had a lot of times in my life where the Holy Spirit softens my heart and I’m filled with compassion, gratitude, and an overwhelming sense of love. This is something that happens sometimes when I reflect on the blessings I’ve had and as I share it, my emotions take over. I can understand how weird it must be for someone coming for the first time and seeing a bunch of people getting up and crying, but if you’ve experienced the blessing of being touched by God and having a change of heart, you can understand why it happens.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Mormons crying in church, I hope this sheds some insight into why it happens and I invite you to learn more. Maybe as you learn more and gain a testimony of some of the things we share our testimonies about, we’ll get to hear you share your experiences and we can all cry together!