It’s the 24th of July. I know, it doesn’t seem like anything but another day of the month, but here in Utah it’s a big deal. I’ve got friend from all over the world and I can confidently say that not a lot of people are aware of the fact that the early members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were severely prosecuted for being part of what is essentially a Christian sect different from Protestant, Presbyterian, or Baptist.
After being pushed from their homes repeatedly, having an extermination order put into place by the Missouri governor calling for all Mormons to be killed, and then having the first prophet of the Church brutally murdered the early Saints decided to head west. Out of the (then) borders of the United States. There’s your history in a nutshell.
July 24th is a big deal because after being persecuted over religion for so long, the early Mormons became pioneers and they came to the Salt Lake Valley where they settled. That’s what is celebrated in Utah on this day. Religious freedom and the ability to live without fear of someone signing an extermination order (although there was something similar to that with Buchanan’s Blunder in the 1850s).
If you’ve never seen it, in Salt Lake there is an amazing building called the Salt Lake Temple. A lot of people know it’s a tourist destination in Utah, but what they usually don’t know is the purpose of that building, so here it is: the temple is what members of the Church believe is literally the House of God. You know the tabernacle the Israelites had in the Old Testament? Yeah, pretty much a modern day version of that. We don’t have the Ark of the Covenant housed in the temple, but we have sacred ordinances that we take part of there.
When you go to the temple there is a feeling of peace and serenity, calmness and a feeling of unity with God. It’s amazing. It’s a sensation you want to follow you to your own home. And honestly, it can. You can make your home a comfortable place to live that invites the Spirit of God. There’s a verse in Mormon scripture that gives an awesome outline for what you need to do:
Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God;
Doctrine and Covenants 88:119
Organization can be hard. For me it’s nearly impossible with my five small children running around like crazy heathens. But it can happen. That scripture I just shared has an amazing hidden gem that tells you exactly what you need for organization and order: prepare every needful thing. Do you really need dozens of bottles of shampoo you may never use? Do you really need to buy your kids 12 new toys when they don’t play with the 48 toys they have at home? Do you really need a new book when you already have a bookcase at home filled with unread materials?
I’ve been on and off again practicing minimalism. I know there’s this general idea that it means you have so little that you can literally live out of a suitcase, but really minimalism is appreciating the material things you already have and not buying more than what you need. It’s almost an abstract way of thinking in our overly materialistic world. For a while people seemed to jump on the minimalism train when Marie Kondo published her book “the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. That book is actually what I use and recommend.
Minimalism, order, organization, decluttering, and learning to appreciate and use our material things to their full potential will help us in so many ways. I know it can help with “mental clutter”, it can help you feel less overwhelmed with your home, it can help prevent overusing materials that are limited in the world by reducing supply and demand. It’s kind of like an unexpected jack of all trades.
I’m going to be going through “the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” on this blog. You can check out posts related to minimalism and organization every Monday so you can see what I’m going to be doing every week and try it out yourself.