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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Roach

Joseph's Question

The story goes that when Joseph Smith was a young boy he asked God which of the churches he should join. And was told to join none of them. And thus the restoration was born.

I love this story because it starts with a question. But I also know that questions come out of context. We only ask about the things we have been made to wonder about. And a 14 year old Joseph was wondering about church membership. I know plenty of 14 year old kids, both inside and outside the church, but I doubt any of them are asking this question. Why? Because they don't have to. The matter is most likely settled for them at the family level - rather their family is in church every week, or has never been inside of a church, they probably dont have to think much about it. So why was Jospeh thinking about it?

I think it was because of his parents. His mom attended church. His dad did not. There were a lot of other reasons the question comes up for him, but this is in the mix. He is living in a kind of mixed-faith family and it makes him have to think. And I love this because when I look at my own family, mixed in faith in ways far beyond Joseph's, and I hope that it draws out good questions from all of us. My own son, especially.

It's so easy - especially as a convert - to look at all the happy Member families and be tricked into thinking that anything different than Mom, Dad, 5 kids and a supportive extended family who are all members is the norm. But the reality is not that. Every family, even the sweet and perfect ones, have members who struggle. We're all in this together.

On Sunday (yesterday) our ward sang, Families Can Be Together Forever, a hymn that brings me to tears every time because its so complicated from my point of view. And the dear members of my ward family who were sitting near me and showed me care and affection when they noticed by tears. I'm grateful for them. And somehow its enough to sustain me through the complicated feelings and difficulties while me and my family try to move toward asking helpful questions and find a path forward. May we be like Jospeh and ask the needed questions.

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