Living as a Latter-day Saint is not exactly fair. It just isn’t and never has been. Just look around — the inequities are blatant and abundant:
We can’t drink.
We can’t swear.
We can’t smoke.
We can’t use drugs.
We can’t have casual sex.
We have to dress modestly.
We have to give to the poor.
We are politically incorrect.
We get made fun of by others.
We have to speak in public constantly.
We can’t use the internet without filters.
We don’t get to wear normal underwear.
We starve ourselves for a day every month.
We spend 50% of our weekends in worship.
We have to give ten percent of our income to our church.
We give up the two most prime years of our lives knocking doors.
We spend two full weekends a year sitting for hours watching old people talk.
We sacrifice numerous hours throughout the week to scripture study and service.
We not only have to worry about our own eternal salvation, we have to worry about dead people’s too.
We only just barely got the official go ahead to drink Diet Coke!
And that’s the short list!
Being a Latter-day Saint is just not fair. There are so many requirements. So many commandments to follow. So many sacrifices to make. We give up so much. We miss out on so many experiences others don’t. And we take a good amount of ridicule and persecution along the way. And with such restrictions and demands on us individually and as a people you’d think that’s why it’s so unfair, and yet it’s not. It’s not even close.
The reason it’s so unfair? Jesus.
That’s right, Jesus makes it unfair. “Say whaaaa?” you ask? How can that possibly be? How can you actually blame Jesus for the unfair imbalance? It’s simple really, and it explains everything. No matter how many weekends we give up, no matter how much money we contribute, no matter how many hedonistic pursuits we deny ourselves, Jesus gives us so much more in return that we are never able to come even with him. He always showers us with exponentially more than what we give. Living as a Latter-day Saint — a modern-day disciple of the true Lord and Savior, a recipient of the sacred and saving ordinances and edifying blessings of His restored Gospel — is unfair because we always end up with far more than we earn.
Being a Latter-day Saint is unfair not because of what we give up but because of what we are given. In Matthew the Savior teaches us that anyone who forsakes all the seemingly important worldly things for His name’s sake “shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life.” This is the way He deals with us. Where we mortals would say “one for you and two for me” Christ says “one for me and a hundred for you.”
Think of His atonement. Difficult to truly understand and impossible to fully appreciate, Christ individually paid the price for billions upon billions of people and trillions upon trillions of sins, voluntarily. Think of the worst of your sins you’ve struggled to find repentance for. Picture in your mind and heart the pain you experienced as a result of your errant choices. Just visualize that single one. How painful was it? How much do you wish you could scrub that horrible experience away from your past? And now multiply that a quintillion times. Now to make it even more real, think of all the people who have been mean, vicious, cruel, abusive, condescending, or violent to you in your life and then picture yourself paying for their sins even as they do them to you. That’s what He did for us. And all He asks in return from us is to live as He asks us to live. And why? Is it for His sake? No, because again in His infinitely unfair generosity toward us, He asks us to do it for our own sake.
Christ blesses us with more than we deserve. Sure, the world gets to do all those things we don’t, but think of what the world is giving up for it and suddenly you begin to realize just how wonderfully unfair it is to be a Latter-day Saint. Suddenly it becomes clear that sacrifice is not just giving up something good, it’s indeed giving up something good for something better. Suddenly it becomes personally true that “as I have been given much I too must give.” Suddenly, those long sacrament meetings, years on missions, dollars in the tithing envelope, and denials of appetites don’t seem like unfair burdens any longer but rather insufficient payments for the priceless rewards that come with them.
No, living as a Latter-day Saint is not exactly fair. It just isn’t and never has been. Just look around — the inequities are blatant and abundant:
We constantly feel His spirit within us.
We live with a greater measure of happiness.
We can live free from the captivity of sin and hell.
We get to connect intimately with our ancestors in a real and personal way.
We enjoy endless hours in the company of the Holy Ghost, feeling the love of the Savior.
We learn that money is a blessing from heaven and receive blessings so abundant that we don’t even have room to receive them.
We enjoy a refreshing day of rest every week.
We daily wear a quiet, private reminder that we are His children.
We get meaningful time with family (when did you hear someone say on their deathbed they wish they’d spent more time in the boardroom?).
We enjoy trusting relationships built around a covenant of goodness.
We get to be an integral part of His work.
We are granted His power.
We get the joy of serving others.
We avoid the burdens of addiction.
We live lives of purpose and meaning.
We know the answers to some of the biggest questions in history.
We not only have the Bible, but also the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price, and the words of living prophets to guide us.
We have the priceless assurance of knowing our families exist beyond the grave.
We feel abundant love from a Father in heaven and an older brother who offers to fight all our fights for us and carry all our burdens.
We receive forgiveness for our sins…over and over and over and over and over and over…
We get to rise from the dead in marvelous perfection, no matter how righteously we live.
We have the attention, care, and love of a heavenly God.
We have Christ’s grace always with us.
Through Him we are saved.
And that’s just the short list.
If you’re a Latter-day Saint, thank the Lord for the unfair blessings He showers you with, and then prayerfully consider how you can share those blessings with others.
And if you’re not a Latter-day Saint and you’d like some of the abundantly wonderful unfairness that truly awaits you through Christ’s grace and His gospel of happiness, ask a Latter-day Saint friend about it, go to lds.org to read about it, wave down those guys in white shirts and black name tags to talk about it, walk into any Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetinghouse on a Sunday to experience a worship service around it (they’re everywhere, and yes, visitors really are welcome), read the Bible and the Book of Mormon to personally explore it, and at the very least kneel and ask our good Lord for guidance and inspiration about it. He’s waiting to lovingly offer you your share of unfairness.