Mormons are very interested in church history and their personal connection to that history. These connections are not abstract, but shape a sense of identity as a Latter-day Saint. When you take history, place yourself in it, and have it shape your identity, that is called heritage. LDS families take great pride in their heritage.
Heritage Is Extremely Important to Mormons.
Many LDS families have stories that connect them to a significant event or hero in LDS history. The farther back you go in time, the more important the connection and the more status you gain in LDS society. These stories reinforce a Mormon’s sense of who they are.
Heritage shapes everyone’s identity – not just Mormons. But as you leave Mormonism, you may lose your identification with the history of your ancestors who may have crossed the plains in a covered wagon, been persecuted in Missouri, or associated with the early prophets. As a transitioning Mormon, it can create problems if you reject your family’s history.
Christians Have a Rich Heritage That Strengthens Our Identity in Christ.
As you transition out of Mormonism, it can be encouraging to know that Christians have a rich historical and spiritual heritage. Understanding our Christian history helps us discover who we are in Christ and strengthens our walk with God.
As a former Mormon, you might not be aware of Christian history. However, it can be exciting to study how God has worked in the past, and to fill in the gaps of knowledge that Mormonism did not provide. It is amazing to see how God has always been moving, worldwide and throughout time. As Christians, we get to be a a part of this global story. We have a rich history and heritage as followers of Jesus.
God Is Always Moving Around the Globe.
As Americans, we can be very unaware of the history of Christianity in other parts of the world besides Europe and America. Yet Christianity is not just a European phenomenon. God has been at work in other cultures as well. For instance, during the “Dark Ages” in Europe, the people of Spain and the Middle East were thriving in faith. There has been a Christian presence in India possibly dating back to the time of the apostles. These are places that we might not think about. God’s work throughout history and around the globe is something we, as Christians, get to be a part of. This is our heritage, something that connects Christians all around the world.
We can be encouraged by the stories of others who have experienced what we may be going through. It is comforting to know that there are others who left their religion to pursue a relationship with God. It is enriching to know about the heroes of the Christian faith who were obedient and faithful to God, even at a cost. For example, the Moravians in Czechoslovakia in the seventeenth century were a group of faithful people who gave everything for the Gospel. They sent missionaries all over the world. There are also others, such as Hudson Taylor, who gave their lives and sacrificed everything to help further God’s Kingdom. As a transitioning Mormon, you may not have even heard about these things, but as Christians we get to be a part of this incredible history written by God.
We Have a Common Bond with Christians Worldwide.
Jesus did not start a denomination or a human institution. He launched a movement, a church of all the people who belong to him throughout all of time and space. It is a global movement that has taken shape in very powerful and interesting ways in different cultures throughout the world.
Even when you travel and worship with Christians in other countries, there is a common bond. Even though you cannot speak their language and may be a part of a completely different “stream” of Christianity, you have an instant, deep connection.
As you begin to study and understand Christian history, be encouraged to realize that you are part of something much larger than anything you left behind. Seal your identity in Christ in the wonderful truth that God has included you in this amazing worldwide movement.
Below are links to a few resources you can explore to find out more about this rich, diverse Christian history.
[Related: A New View of Church History]
[Related: The Perspectives Course]
[Related: The Christian History Institute]