Milestones are something we all have in common with one another. There are several milestones that are the exact same for all of us, like birthdays. Then there are milestones that are the same for the majority of us, such as: graduating from high school, falling in love for the first time, getting our heart broken for the first time, graduating college, getting our first real job, losing a close friend, getting married, buying our first home, becoming a parent for the first time, becoming an empty nester, retiring, etc. And then there are milestones that apply to smaller groups of us that carry particular significance, like religious related milestones. Tonight, it is that last group that is on my mind. Before I share why religious milestones are on my mind I first want to state that I don’t believe a person’s religion is what makes them a good or bad person. I believe the words of this quote:
“Being a good person does not depend on your religion, status in life, race, skin color, political views or culture. It depends on how you treat others.”
So please know that I believe that each person has the right to choose what religion they will follow or they can choose not to follow any religion at all. I believe that religion is a deeply personal decision that no one can make for us and I think we should respect everyone’s agency in this regard. That being said, I am incredibly grateful for religion in my life. I am incredibly grateful to have discovered a religion that I believe in with all my heart. It is my religious beliefs that have set my values in my life and those values have helped me to become the person I am today. My faith means everything to me. And as a part of my faith there are certain milestones that are exceptionally meaningful to me and my family and tomorrow we will achieve one of those milestones.
Examples of a few milestones in my faith are when we bless our newborn babies, another is when we are baptized as a member of our church (which happens at 8 years old if we are born into the religion, or at any age after that if someone converts to the faith). Another milestone, and one of the most significant milestones, is going to the LDS Temple for the first time to receive our endowment. The best way to explain this is to share the words on the www.lds.org website about it, “The word endowment means “gift” or “bestowal.” As part of this ordinance, we are taught about the purpose of life, the mission and Atonement of Jesus Christ, and Heavenly Father’s plan for His children. We gain a glimpse of what it will be like to live in His presence as we feel the peaceful atmosphere of the temple.” In order to enter the temple a person must be living their lives worthily by being true to the teaching of the church, which takes a serious commitment to do. Typically a member of the church will receive their endowment before they leave on a mission or right before they get married (if they didn’t go on a mission). As all of you know my daughter Ashley has been called to go and serve a mission for the LDS church and so in preparation for that she will be going through the temple tomorrow to receive her endowment and I get the privilege of being her escort. I cannot describe what an important milestone it was for me to receive my own endowment at the age of 20, but I have to say that being able to be present as my daughter achieves this incredible milestone in her life makes my life complete.
“In life there are milestones each rare and so sweet, sharing with loved ones makes them complete.”
I love that quote. And I feel exactly what it says. The milestones we get to share with our loved ones are the most special milestones of all. Tomorrow will be a special and sacred day for our family and I am so happy that both of my children have chosen to live their own lives in a way that allowed each of them to achieve such a meaningful religious milestone in their lives. Thank you for letting me share such a special milestone with all of you.
My challenge for everyone today is this: figure out what milestones matter most to you in your own life and then set the goal to achieve them. Then, figure out what milestones matter most to your family and set the goal as a family to achieve those to. Achieving them together will be the best feeling in the world! It all starts with deciding what those milestones are that you want to achieve.
Have a blessed day tomorrow everyone!