Sunday, June 9, 2013

“Religion On Steroids"

As part of my personal learning to fulfill # 2 (non-fiction genre) and #3(write informally about my reading) outcomes, I read an article in BYU Studies Vol. 49, No. 2, 2010, by Thomas B. Griffith entitled Mere Mormonism.  This is an adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity and his classic exposition of the fundamentals of the Christian faith.  Humbly claiming to lack the skill to pull off such a fete, Griffith succeeded in identifying what is at the heart of the Mormon experience in an attempt to provide an introduction to the faith. 
I especially found his take on our relationship to others intriguing, as he begins this section with:  “For a people who believe that God is near and that he is not silent, Latter-day Saints place surprisingly little emphasis on the contemplative life.  Our primary focus, instead, is on relationships with other people.”  Claiming that LDS members like people and building communities is what they do best.”  Griffith uses the beehive as the closest thing LDS have as an icon.  He says, “Mormon life is profoundly social, and activity in the Church involves us deeply in the lives of others because in Mormonism God is served best—and perhaps only—by serving others.”  “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God” (Mosiah 2:17).
Griffith tells how Sunday is hardly a day of rest for committed Mormons.  Beyond the three hour service, Sunday is filled with activities that begin with early morning planning meetings for those with leadership responsibilities and includes choir practices, training meetings, visits to each other’s homes, and evening activities for the youth—and that is only the first day of the week! 

Griffith speaks of seeing a group of black and Latino Latter-day Saints from the Bronx baptized on behalf of Asians from the nineteenth century and how the ‘barriers of race, nationality, culture, geography, and time were transcended by a sense of unity, an achievement—if only momentary—of  at-one-ment.  At-one-ment through Christ is the idea that gives life to modern Mormonism.”

After my entire life as an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I can attest to Griffith’s assessment of our efforts, which he speaks of as “painfully fallible,” but my close association with the Church has indeed inspired me onward and hopefully, upward.  Hence, my attempts to gain educational training knowing full well I am beyond the age of using a degree for career purposes.  But, I can use whatever knowledge I gain to serve humanity.  As members, we view all things from an eternal perspective.

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