Sunday, November 25, 2012


"A strong community helps people develop a sense of true self, for only in community can the self exercise and fulfill its nature: giving and taking, listening and speaking, being and doing. But when community unravels and we lose touch with one another, the self atrophies and we lose touch with ourselves as well. Lacking opportunities to be ourselves in a web of relationships, our sense of self disappears, leading to behaviors that further fragment our relationships and spread the epidemic of inner emptiness." -Parker Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness

It's not uncommon for people to ask me why I still go to church (As though I even understand all the reasons. I like the question though because it causes me to revisit and rethink). I think this quote explains in part why I go. 

I realize that it's possible to find a "web of relationships" in a multitude if places that challenges me and causes me to grow and develop, but in the church I'm able to find a web that helps me wrestle with things that are important to me: my spiritual life, the growth and development of my soul, the connection between my mortal existence and whatever is out there that tells me what more there is to me than just a collection of skin and bones. 

Again, I could probably find those opportunities elsewhere but I suppose it all comes down to the fact that Mormonism has formed my foundation and so in spite of its annoying cultural eccentricities, it still feels like home.


  1. its always important to have that place that helps you grow :)

  2. Need your help, please. I have a Web site I'd like you to share with anyone planning on going on a mission, is on a mission, or knows someone who is going on a mission. In light of the new changes in missionary age, current youth at the same age as my former Youth Guides will be going on missions at 18 and 19. They need a place accessible to all on the Internet where they can go to get prepared, and I've provided it for them. The Brethren have made a decision to send them out earlier, let's give them some ammunition to be successful. Please visit my site and do what you can to share far and wide, please. Thanx! - Bro. P.

  3. The church provides something consistent throughout one's life. I don't feel challenged like you do, mostly annoyed or bored, but it is a place different from the rest of the world. I think it is good to have a separate place dedicated to the divine. I hope things change with the new curriculum so that we don't have the same lessons over and over again. But still, the consistency is nice sometimes too. I haven't had a recommend or a calling in a while, but that suits me just fine right now. I wish I had more friends in this ward, but still keep in touch with my friends from the old ward. No matter what, I know what to expect, have a social network and place to connect with others that I would not have without church.

  4. Totally agreed. I've always wondered what my life would look like if I made different choices, but one major commonality is that I'd want my life to still be Gospel-centered and involve the lessons and morals of the LDS community.

  5. Interesting ideas. I thought this quote interesting: "But when community unravels and we lose touch with one another, the self atrophies and we lose touch with ourselves as well."

    Through my world-view (tunnel vision?) I see the author's acknowledgement that the environment controls behavior (both visible (e.g. going to church, listening to talks, etc.) and private (e.g. thoughts, feelings, etc.)).

    He acts as though there is only one web and one community, which you yourself mentioned isn't the case. Preference is really just a reflection of consistent selections, given similar alternatives. Is there something wrong with preferences? I don't think so. You frequently (but probably not always) select the "going to church today" option in lieu of the "family activity," "brunch," or other competing options that may provide the same experience in a different way.

    Does this mean that somehow there is something about going to church that is different in an important way than the alternatives? I'm not certain, nor do I think there needs to be. Your consistent, perhaps continuing selection can be explained through something as simple as the momentum you have there (already established relationships, you've gone previously, familiar with social rules present there, etc.), which you described as "it still feels like home."

    But in the end your selection doesn't really need an explanation, does it? Preference isn't explanatory--it just describes patterns, it doesn't explain *why* you do something. I think that too often we try to find meaning in things that don't need explanation, that probably don't actually provide explanation. My preference is not to select the opportunity to go to church. Does that explain anything about me? Not really. It's a description of a pattern that I obviously have established preferential (consistent) choice for.

    I guess that's a really roundabout way of saying: more power to you, brosef.