By Shelia Cosper
On Tuesday evening, Jason Lucas helps his daughter, Madalyn, age 10, work out a difficult math problem and then turns his attention to his two boys, Brock, 8, and Braden, 4, who are eager to spend some rough housing time with Dad. His wife, Angela, brings everyone’s scriptures into the family room, and they all gather to read and have family prayer.
“We spend a lot of time together,” says Jason, “We’re not just a family, but a family unit. We do everything together.”
While Jason works as a successful mortgage consultant, Angela is a stay-at-home mom who home schools all three children.
“The kids do well at their studies,” says Angela. “They are motivated and focused. Plus, there are always those little rewards for achieving another milestone of learning.”
Both Jason and Angela are great supporters of their children’s future and their future as a family.
“We work at being a family,” emphasizes Jason. “It’s a round-the-clock job, and it’s the most important thing we do.”
Jason’s family may sound atypical to most of us, but to the Latter-day Saint community Jason’s lifestyle is more common than not. Jason, his wife Angela, and their three children are part of a family-centered church that supports and encourages strong, close families. As Latter-day Saints (Mormons), they are encouraged to build strong family unity that their church teaches them lasts not just for this lifetime, but throughout eternity.
“If you’re going to be together forever, you want to like one another, not just love one another,” said Jason, “and we do.”
But this close family life hasn’t always been the norm for Jason. In the summer of the year 2000, like many 22-year-olds, Jason was in college and having missed the spring graduation by a few credit hours and needing summer classes to finish, found himself adrift in the normally bustling college town. Most of his friends were gone, as was his money, and he had no place to stay.
Luckily, he reconnected with an old friend who was taking summer classes while working on his master’s degree. He invited Jason to move in with him. Coming home from class one day, Jason found his friend watching a video about Jesus Christ. He sat down to watch with him and immediately felt a peaceful calming feeling come over him. “I told him I wanted to know more and that began my investigation of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” said Jason.
Plunging into a religious study was not his intent because he didn’t know that much about the Latter-day Saints, except for rumors and half-truths he had garnered from non-members. But he accepted an invitation to meet his roommate’s family one Sunday after church for lunch. “After meeting my friend’s sweet and loving family, I realized he had something special, and I wanted what he had,” said Jason.
“His family, although not wealthy, seemed so at peace and content. They seemed to have a genuine love and appreciation for each other that I felt was unconditional. They had so much respect and admiration for one another, and they accepted me like I was an old friend, and that summer I became very close with the family.”
As Jason studied the church more and attended services, he met many other families just like them: strong, close, loving, and Christ-centered, and practicing their faith seven days a week. Jason did not have that kind of family growing up, but he wanted his future family to be close and loving like the families he knew from the LDS church.
“Today, my family and I spend just about all of our time together. We play together, pray together and laugh and cry together. While my wife and I are constantly growing as parents, and with our own relationships with Jesus Christ, we try our best every day to set the right example for our children and provide them a family environment that will allow them to grow and have much happiness in this life.”
Jason has remained true to his commitment to maintain a wholesome, healthy, happy family.
One of our church leaders has said: “ ‘No success can compensate for failure in the home.’ I take that seriously.” Jason, Angela and their children are members of the Douglasville Ward that meets on Chapel Hill. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is divided geographically into “wards” or “branches.” There are about 1200 members in the Douglasville, Carrollton and Powder Springs area.