In the business world, people are always talking about "best practices" that they glean from other businesses and can adopt in their own way. Today I thought I'd share a few aspects of the ideal LDS experience that others can adopt. While the real spiritual core of the LDS experience is faith in Christ and learning to follow Him, I've picked some best practices that can be adopted by those who don't accept Christianity. Otherwise the best practices would start with the basic principles of the Gospel such as (1) having faith in Christ, (2) repenting of your sins through the power of His Atonement and seek to follow Him, (3) being baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost through the laying on of hands (oops - you just became a Mormon!). To avoid too much discomfort for others, here's my list that I think most people can do in their own way. Several items are aimed at families or parents in particular - skip those if they don't apply. They aren't in any particular order - well, I guess they are in exactly one particular order, now that I think about it, but not prioritized.

Why would anyone want to do these things? Hey, they're best practices. If you choose to do any or all of these things, I think they will make your life better. So give it a try!

Please note that many of these are NOT uniquely LDS. Some people in other faiths, Christian and non-Christian, practice versions of these already. But there may be a tidbit or two you wish to adopt. And you may have best practices from your faith that LDS folks should start considering. Let me know!

Mormanity's Top Ten LDS Best Practices for People of Any Faith

  1. Family Home Evening (regularly scheduled weekly time - often Monday evening - for the family to spend time together learning, playing, etc.)

  2. Daily Prayer (or meditation) - seeking power beyond your own, focusing, reflecting, gaining inspiration, offering thanks as you recognize what blessings you have. Practice tip: Do this alone and also as a family or couple. "Family prayer" is a great way to bring people together and strengthen ties united by faith.

  3. Food Storage - very important in this era! Mormons are encouraged to be prepared for emergencies and difficult times. Storing basics of food, water, clothing, etc., but especially food can make a huge difference. Store up to a full-year of basics like grains, vegetable oil, etc. if possible.

  4. Parental Interviews - regular one-on-one time in which parents talk to children and see how they are progressing in their faith, in school, in relationships with others, in spiritual, mental, and physical health. Often the "Father Interview" in Mormon families, but can be mother or father - it's a fabulous concept.

  5. Family History and Journal Keeping - Learn about your roots and leave a written record for your own posterity. And remember, our vast genealogical resources are there for anyone!

  6. Tithing - Even if you don't have a religion, the discipline of giving 10% of your income to charity brings a variety of blessings, not just to those you help. It will teach you discipline in your finances and help you recognize how serving others or serving God is more important than money.

  7. Reading Together as Family - might be covered in part by the Home Evening item or the next item below, but it's so important that it deserves special mention. Doesn't have to be scriptures or religious material of any kind. This is especially wonderful when you have young children, but we've had great results all the way into high school with this.

  8. Daily Study of Scriptures / Sacred Writings - you need to be grounded in sources of wisdom such as whatever you treasure as scripture or, of you don't believe in scriptures, the best, wisest books you can find. Study and learn. But I recommend the Bible AND the Book of Mormon. (Ooops, there I go again....)

  9. Service through House Calls (Home and Visiting Teaching Analogs) - Get off your couch and go out and visit other people. Look after a few families in the area. Care, serve, help, teach, spread the wealth around in a voluntary way. Service driven by love is what makes us rise above the animal kingdom.

  10. Strive for High Personal Standards (Sexual Morality, Honesty and Integrity, Avoiding Harmful Drugs Including Liquor and Tobacco, No Cussing, Shun Pornography) - Ouch, some won't like this, but I think one of the best ways to have a happy and meaningful life is to have self-control and avoid the destructive influences of walking in the low and easy path of the world. The basic teachings of the Church about sexual morality (no sex outside of marriage) would save so many people from disease, divorce, and heartache if practiced (yeah, that applies to us Mormons too!). Ditto for the LDS health code with its prohibitions against tobacco and alcohol. And while you're at it, you'll find that you become a better communicator when you drop all those cusswords from your vocabulary. These things that supposedly constrain us actually bless us and make us more free and capable.

You don't have to do any of these, but them more you accept, the more you'll see that they really are best practices. Give them a try.

This is my list of the moment. Maybe you have a better list? What do you think some other LDS best practices are that non-LDS folks might want to try? (No tasteless jokes, please!! Unless they are mine.) Also let me know about best practices from other religions that Mormons might want to adopt for better lives or better worship.

I really hate doing Top Ten lists. I always fall into the same trap. I start by get thinking like this: "If we had six fingers on each hand, we'd be using base 12 in counting and this would be a Top Twelve List, which would seem very natural. So why should the DNA that specifies the number of fingers on my hand dictate how many items I write about? I'm going to be creative and make this a Top Thirteen list." But by the time I go through that mental process -- this is the highly abbreviated version of the mental path I follow -- I end up realizing that I've wasted so much time stewing over fingers, DNA, human culture, writing styles and free will, that now I only have time for ten things on my list after all.
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