I post, often, on a message board that I got involved with when I was pregnant with Tennyson. There are about 500 members, all women, and from all walks of life.
It's pretty much like having instant access to just about any survey I want. I can ask a question there, like, "How can I get the kids to come INSIDE to go to the bathroom during the summer?" and I get 30 + responses from those who have already passed that stage in life to those who are in the same dilemma. It's fantastic.
Anyway, someone from the board read this article. She is not of the LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) but she knew there were some of us that posted on the board. So she started asking our opinions about the article.
Then someone else had more questions and it snowballed. I spent the better part of my day, on and off because I do have children I must pay attention to at some point, talking about my beliefs and learning about what others believed. It was amazing.
How refreshing to have the topics of the Gospel swimming around your head for an entire day. And you know the saying, you learn more when you teach? I learned I could discuss what are considered "weird" topics (like us becoming gods and governing our own planet--I don't even know where they heard about that, but they wanted to talk about it.) and do it without apology or defensiveness.
We talked about the Plan of Salvation. I even posted a chart. That's right, I had my own little family night with 500 women in the middle of the afternoon. Doesn't get any better.
I was so grateful I knew the answers and if I didn't right off I knew where to find them. But I mostly knew them. I was grateful I was prepared. I was grateful to feel the Holy Ghost guiding my word choice. I was grateful the conversation was very friendly but very open and honest.
I learned we live similarly to a few other religions. Of course there are differences, but I'm not sure I knew that others were also living the word of wisdom, they just don't call it that.
I learned that music is a BIG deciding factor for a lot of people when they are looking for a new church. If the choir isn't good, they keep searching. Makes being in our choir all the more daunting doesn't it?
I learned that in some religions after you receive the Holy Ghost that is your one and only chance for Heaven. If you sin ONE time afterward you are condemned to Hell. I am grateful for the Atonement and the ability to always return to Heavenly Father no matter how far I stray.
Mostly I am grateful for the chance I had to "get the word out". It's nice to know that now, at least, 500 more people have a better understanding of what us Mormons believe in. 500 hearts are open just a little more.