I fast as a Mormon, but that doesn’t mean I can’t take advantage of the period of Lent.
I pray as a Mormon, do the scripture reading and contemplative thinking that we class as meditation, but I also practice yoga for its meditative and mind-clearing effects as well as the physical benefits. I actively seek out good faith practices developed by other traditions and use them to strengthen my own lived faith.
“… Mormonism is truth, in other words the doctrine of the Latter-day Saints, is truth. … The first and fundamental principle of our holy religion is, that we believe that we have a right to embrace all, and every item of truth, without limitation or without being circumscribed or prohibited by the creeds or superstitious notions of men, or by the dominations of one another, when that truth is clearly demonstrated to our minds, and we have the highest degree of evidence of the same.” (Letter from Joseph Smith to Isaac Galland, Mar. 22, 1839, Liberty Jail, Liberty, Missouri, published in Times and Seasons, Feb. 1840, pp. 53–54; spelling and grammar modernized. )
This goes along with my favorite article of faith:
We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may.
The 11th article of faith creates room for us to respect others’ right to belief and practice. And Mormons do, in general, co-exist quite peacefully with other faiths. But surely we can allow that Mormons themselves may approach their worship of God in different ways, that the “dictates of our own conscience” can refer to each person, even to each Mormon. The collective consciousness of shared beliefs that unify us as Mormons is not the same as the individual conscience of each Mormon.
There is room in Mormonism for a variety of approaches to God. Some of us focus on the healing of the atonement, others find solace in seeking out Heavenly Mother. Some of us dedicate our energy to indexing and temple work, and others to home and visiting teaching and serving our physical neighbors. We read and pray and hold family home evening meetings. We go to church and sing and take the sacrament. We all live our lives by the light of the gospel, but none of our lives is the same. Our weaknesses are balanced by the strength of our fellow saints. We should not strive to be the same. Rather we should strive to be unified, to welcome other travelers into this broad vision of Mormonism in which we all have a place to be, a service to offer, and edification to receive.
I would never want to hold up my practice of faith as the model that all others must follow. Just because I love Lent, doesn’t mean that I think all others should as well. And I end each day having come up short of my personal ideals. I am not the archetype. There is only one who was without shortcomings. That was Christ. And for me, Lent is one way that I try to follow His example.