A buddy of mine (we’ll call him Mike) and I were driving to the beautiful city of Heber, Utah for a conference last year. He shared a conversation with me that he’d had with a mutual friend of ours who made the decision with his family to leave the church.
It came as a surprise to me because I had no idea this man and his family had decided to stop attending.
Mike told me of the conversation he’d had with this family at a get together with some friends. They chatted a bit about the reasons for their faith transition, which are unique to each individual, and they had a good conversation.
Mike explained that one of the most bothersome things that this family experienced was that with every interaction they’d had with members since leaving the church, never once were they given any thanks or extended any gratitude for the things they did as members of the body of Christ. This wasn’t WHY they left church activity, but it was something that was a disappointment to them since leaving.
As I listened to Mike recount their disappointment, I felt sympathy for this family and their situation.
They deserved better.
It got me thinking of every single member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who has removed themselves from the Church. I thought of their offerings of their time, talents, and their means.
There are countless others just like this family that deserve better. I’m here today to say a sincere thank you to the Ex-Mormons.
This comes with no conditions, qualifications, or restrictions. This is a genuine and earnest thank you from someone who has a heart full of gratitude for everything good you have offered.
Thank you for the decision that you made to enter the waters of baptism and follow the example of Jesus Christ. Some of you did it as children, many others had powerful spiritual experiences that led you to make that choice as an adult.
Thank you for all of the hours of service you gave to your fellow men and church members. Many of you sacrificed jobs, scholarships, opportunities, relationships, and comforts to serve missions and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who were missing Him in their life.
For those who did serve missions, thank you for every day that you walked the streets, knocked the doors, prayed in faith, served with all of your heart, and loved with all you had. Thank you for the blistered feet, the bug-bitten ankles, the days filled with disappointment, the nights of prayer, and the occasional moments full of pure joy!
Thank you for your tithes and offerings that helped build church buildings, temples, provided materials and allowed the Church to care for the welfare and humanitarian needs of those throughout the world. The naked were clothed, the hungry were fed, and you had a huge part in that.
“Saying thank you is more than good manners, it is good spirituality.” —Alfred Painter
Most of you held callings in the church, and put your hearts and souls into it and did it for all the right reasons. You were such a strength to your wards and branches, stakes and districts. You gave up time with your families, sacrificed hobbies, and sought to benefit those around you. Chances are you did all this with only a few or perhaps no “Thank yous.”
In a recent Stake Conference, we had a visiting General Authority presiding who stated that in this church, it is a church of volunteers, and that”every effort is worthy of praise.”
Every offering and every deed is worthy of gratitude.
I really wish I could think of every offering, every service, every sacrifice that you laid at the altar of the Lord – but I can’t. I would love to thank you for every single one. If something comes to mind that I forget, please feel my intense gratitude for that deed.
If you happen to be reading this and someone comes to mind, please share this article with them. When you do so, feel free to thank them for that which they have done as well.
Again, thank you for your goodness. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you for your devotion. May you find happiness wherever you are.