Happy birthday, Mormon Jesus!

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Mardi gras cake with baby Jesus
You may not be aware of it, but today is the day that many Mormons believe to be Jesus Christ's actual birthday. (Happy birthday, Mormon Jesus!)

It also happens to be the 186th birthday of the LDS Church, which was officially founded on April 6, 1830. I'm old enough to remember the church's much-ballyhooed sesquicentennial year (1980), and I certainly hope to live long enough to see it turn 200 in 2030. (Not that I'll be celebrating. I just have no wish to die that soon.)

This got me thinking. Back when I was a lowly 12-year-old deacon, 150 years seemed like a long, long time, especially relative to my age. But now I'm 48, which means that I have lived through a full quarter of the church's history. A mere four 48-year spans will take you back to before Joseph Smith sprang the Book of Mormon on an unsuspecting world. That's a remarkably brief period of time, historically speaking, especially for the lifetime of a church that I was raised to believe was the be-all and end-all of human existence.

My mother, at 70, has lived through well over a third of that history. My grandmother, who passed away a couple of years ago at 95, live through more than half. That's how young the LDS Church really is. All of Mormon scripture, doctrine, history and culture arose during two of my grandmother's lifetimes.

One, this makes me realize again just how arrogant I was as a young man to think my faith had better answers than anyone else's. Two, it makes me marvel at what a robust culture can develop over such a short span.

And three, it makes the origins of the church seem less mysterious than ever. After all, as recently as two years ago I could hug someone who could possibly have been held by someone who'd been alive when the Book of Mormon was first published. It feels like I could almost reach out and touch that day.

As Keanu Reeves might say, whoa.

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William Shunn

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This page contains a single entry by William Shunn published on April 6, 2016 11:01 AM.

Happy Pi Day! was the previous entry in this blog.

LISTEN NOW: My interview on Montreal's CJAD 800 AM is the next entry in this blog.

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