Mormons in America love Thanksgiving. (And Mormons in other parts of the world also celebrate any national holidays centered on gratitude.) Thanksgiving is a time where Mormons gather with friends and family to make pies and roast turkey and drink Martinellis. It’s a time where they unite with their country in giving thanks for all they have. Mormons are thankful for the usual good fortunes, and they also give thanks for some unique blessings that come only through The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (often inadvertently referred to as the Mormon Church).
1. Eternal Families
One of the most central doctrines to The Church of Jesus Christ is that families can be together forever. This possibility for families demonstrates much about Mormons and what they do and teach. Families can become eternal families through special ordinances performed in temples. Temples are houses of special worship open only to worthy members. This discretion is not because temple ceremonies are secret, but because they are sacred. In temples Mormon couples can be sealed for eternity, meaning that their marriage and family will be bound together even after physical death. This is such a great blessing to God’s children.
2. Living prophet
One of the unique aspects of The Church of Jesus Christ is that it has living prophets and apostles. The Church follows the pattern set forth when Jesus was upon the earth. Because of modern-day revelation, the world once again has a prophet to be God’s mouthpiece to direct and warn us. The current prophet is Thomas S. Monson, and he is the prophet not just for Mormons, but for the whole world. God gives us prophets and apostles because He loves us and wants us to be happy.
When The Church of Jesus Christ was first restored by Joseph Smith, the early Mormons (often referred to as the Saints) endured severe persecution and violence because of what they believed. The Saints had to pack up and move several times, the most notable of which was a massive exodus across the plains that involved several parties of both wagons and handcarts. The pioneers sacrificed everything they had for The Church of Jesus Christ, and without them, Mormons wouldn’t be where they are today. Mormons give thanks for the pioneers year-round, and especially during July, the month that marks the anniversary of the Saints arriving in Utah. Mormons today are so grateful that the pioneers of the 1800s found refuge and a place to settle and live their beliefs.
Mormons all over the world are grateful for missionaries. Many Mormon families send young men and women, and even older couples out into the world as full-time missionaries. These missionaries then proselyte and share the good news of the gospel with others. Missionaries teach the doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ and help newly baptized members transition into lives that are in harmony with the Church’s teachings. As of 2013, the Mormon missionary force was climbing past 80,000. Both Mormons and those not of the faith feel gratitude for Mormon missionaries.
5. Grace of Christ
Mormons’ gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice is shared with all those who embrace Christianity. Jesus Christ came to this world to atone for our pains and sins–there is no greater reason to be thankful. Because of Jesus Christ, we have the chance to repent from our mistakes and become better. Because of the Savior, we get the opportunity to be with our families and with Heavenly Father forever. The grace of our Redeemer is comprehensive and inclusive–of all the wonderful things to be grateful for this season, the gift of peace and redemption from Jesus Christ should top that list.
Charlotte graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in editing. During her education she interned with the Neal A.Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship, BYU Publications, and the New Era magazine. Charlotte currently lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son. She's a stay-at-home-mom and has been able to keep up her writing through maintaining a personal blog (smallandtrivial.blogspot.com).