Saturday, 13 February 2016

Stepping outside the Circle

We all live in circles.

Circles of friends. Circles of acquaintances. Family circles. Work circles. Religion circles. Circles of sports. Political circles.

Inside these circles we focus on the associated content of each. We share certain information only with people in specific circles. We find common ground, strong relationships and relatable experiences.

When circles collide, however, things can get a little awkward. Work and family circles often produce conflict, as can friends and religion circles. The degree of importance of circles determines how much time we spend in engaged in each.

And then we have the Mormon circle.

This is a circle of high interest to me as a Mormon. Most Mormons will stay in this circle and never stray outside it's boundaries.

Exact obedience.

Follow the prophet.

Read the scriptures.


Family Home Evening.

Things that have become cliches, textbook answers and traditional, typical hallmarks of the Mormon circle. Good things to do? Sure. For a Mormon. These are some of the basic principles of our system of belief and worship, which become integral cogs of our life. But there is so much more to each of these points than meets the eye.

My observation here is that we sometimes need to step out of the Mormon circle.

Outside of the Mormon circle exist millions of other circles containing billions of other people. A plethora of ideas, opinions and viewpoints both favourable and unfavourable towards the Mormon church are out there. 

Considering that amongst our religious claims lies a 14-year-old seeing God and Jesus, an angel showing him an ancient record hidden in the ground, the use of a seer stone to translate that record, and the ancient disciples Peter, James and John visiting the earth to restore priesthood authority, we should be an open-minded people.

We need to have an open mind so that we can step outside the Mormon circle and explore the many different points of view on our faith, take on board other opinions, and learn how to take personal responsibility for our spiritual inclination and growth.

I love the following words of Brigham Young, who was the 2nd president of the Mormon church:

"I am . . . afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security . . . Let every man and woman know, by the whispering of the Spirit of God to themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates."

We need to get out of the cliched Mormon circle and take a lot more responsibility for our spiritual conviction and condition, becoming spiritually self-reliant. 

And it's only possible when we step outside the circle.

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