Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Church Meetings, Libraries and Personal Enlightenment: It's Hard to Serve Both Explorers and Settlers

Communities of ANY kind survive ONLY when the majority (and a fairly large majority) are focused on building them - putting in the "labor hours" and capital to make them stable. The explorers don't want to be constrained by the rules of the community, but they almost always want the support of the community when they are injured, or can't find game to kill for their own food, or just want to hear someone else's voice - or dance and sing - etc. every once in a while.

Community leadership, therefore, simply must create a society in which the settlers stay and receive what they need (stability and order and security) - understanding that the wanderers will stay only if they are tied emotionally (spiritually) to the community in some way. They know they can't GIVE the explorers what they need inside the community; those explorers have to FIND it on their own - inside or outside the community.  That's just how explorers are wired. 

Explorers need to find their joy and not ask others to give it to them - and they shouldn't begrudge the organization and leaders who do "give" so many what they want and need just because what the settlers want and need is different than what they, as explorers, want and need.  The explorers need to be grateful that the settlers can and will build a community in which those explorers can participate (which can be the home base for their explorations, if you will) even thought they seek much of their understanding from outside sources, as well.

On the other hand, the settlers need to allow the explorers to explore.  Our own Doctrine & Covenants says, after all, that we are to seek learning out of the best books - without any specific qualifiers as to what those books are and where they can be found.  If someone can find all the sources they need and want in their own local library, that is wonderful - as it works for them; if someone else needs to travel far and wide to find books in other libraries, as well as the ones that are in their own local library, that is wonderful, as well.


Howard said...

When the Mormon community was led by explorers Joseph and Brigham it was much more vibrant and connected to God.

Papa D said...

and more schismatic and volatile - and, literally, dangerous for its members

Personally, I'll take the time in which I live. Rose-colored glasses just aren't my thing.

Howard said...

Rose-colored glasses? That assumes a lot, I'm not waring Rose-colored glasses or pining for them.

So you prefer a more static pharisaical and less dynamic spiritual organization that distills explorers out of it's hierarchy to one that incubates or tolerates them?

What's wrong with a mix? What's wrong with having a President administrator and separately a Prophet Seer and Revelator who actually magnifies the calling by doing those things far more often than every 50 years or so when the church finds itself under a lot of pressure?

Eric said...

Nice post Ray! It would be great if we all just learned to love each other for our differences and not just despite them.

Papa D said...

Howard, I thought you might redirect this post toward your favorite issue. Seriously, I saw it coming - but I've been in the hospital with my daughter and don't have the energy or desire to allow this thread to go in that direction. I will write a separate post soon addressing your comments, so this one doesn't get derailed.

Eric, I agree - and I love the fact that your comment is being echoed quite regularly lately in General Conference talks, especially by Pres. Uchtdorf but also by others.

wilt said...


While the 'Rose-colored glasses' comment was unfortunate, your suggestion of a 'mix' is a false dichotomy. It isn't one or the other.

Howard said...

I haven't departed from your it's hard to serve both explorers and settlers theme Ray.

Speaking in mild generalities here wilt to avoid long winded hair splitting explanations.