I used to think being Mormon was difficult. As a young woman the rules for dress, dating, music, movies and entertainment seemed stifling. The popular ’80’s song with the line, ” You don’t smoke, you don’t drink, what do ya do?” was a very common question I had to answer at school. As I have matured, I have changed my mind. I have friends from lots of different religions that I think are much harder than being Mormon. Some examples are below:

1. Seventh-Day Adventists are strict vegetarians. They also don’t dance. (I love meat and dancing.)

2. Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate birthdays or any secular holidays. No Christmas, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, even Easter is at a different time of the year, with no egg hunts. (I love parties and holidays.)

3. Amish people have a whole list of things I find difficult, from not driving cars, no electricity, no central heat/air conditioning, no indoor toilets, having to wear Amish clothes, no music, no newspapers, no internet, etc. etc.

4. Mennonites are like Amish, only a bit more modern. The hardest thing for both Amish and Mennonites is that kids are only educated through 8th grade, then the boys are taught a trade, the girls work at home until marriage. There are no Amish or Mennonite dentists, doctors, chiropractors or any professional trades. Secular education beyond 8th grade is banned.

5. Roman Catholics do not practice birth control. They use natural family planning to increase fertility, not decrease it. It is not unusual for a RC family to have 7 children in 8 years of marriage. I know people who have 14 children. Roman Cathlic men have two responsibilities. The first is to persue a life as a Priest or Monk. They encourage all Catholic boys right out of high school to enter the Seminary to see if God has called them to be a celibate Priest/Monk. If they try that and don’t like it, they have a moral obligation to go home and get married as soon as possible. Being married is considered “weaker” than entering the Priesthood. Being a nun is acceptable for women, but doesn’t carry the same clout as being a Priest. Having a son become a Priest or Monk is a lot of social capital for a family. A college education is not expected. All that matters is finding a profession that can take care of a large family.

6. A Christian church that has no formal name (because Jesus didn’t give his Church a name in the New Testament) expects all young adult members to consider being a missionary. That means devoting your life as a missionary, being celibate, having a same -sex missionary companion, living in church members homes and relying solely on the local church members to take care of your health care, clothes, etc. If you get old, sick or cannot perform as a missionary, you are sent home to figure out how to survive without an education or job skills. The women members never cut their hair, don’t wear make-up and only wear dresses and skirts.

All of these religions are full of good people who are completely immersed in worshipping Heavenly Father, just as I am doing as a Mormon. In a million years I would never insult them by sending the Mormon Missionaries to the their homes. They are convicted of their beliefs and that is not going to change. I am just glad that the Mormon version of God doesn’t require the same level of self-denial as the above mentioned groups. Compared to all of them, we have it easy. Do you know any churches that you think are harder than ours?