Sunday, November 28, 2010

Like Emerson, Many Still Find Traditional Forms of Christianity Discouraging

So many people are so discouraged with historic, traditional religious models. Joseph Smith’s father was one of them. It’s interesting to put that in perspective. I remember that Emerson was one of them too—as were most of the “transcendentalists.” I am left to ask and to wonder why they didn’t find the LDS religion to be what it was and still is—so much more than the traditional Christian religious models. But they didn't seem willing to look into it in any depth--and that even though Emerson all but described the restoration blow by blow in his address to the Harvard School of Divinity in July, 1838.

And so the dissatisfaction among many sincere, well-meaning people has continued in the nearly two centuries since Emerson's questioning cry:

In how many churches, by how many prophets, tell me, is man made sensible that he is an infinite Soul; that the earth and heavens are passing into his mind; that he is drinking forever the soul of God? Where now sounds the persuasion, that by its very melody imparadises my heart, and so affirms its own origin in heaven? Where shall I hear words such as in elder ages drew men to leave all and follow, — father and mother, house and land, wife and child? Where shall I hear these august laws of moral being so pronounced, as to fill my ear, and I feel ennobled by the offer of my uttermost action and passion?

And so it is with most people, nowadays, who are willing to acknowledge the need for a spiritually oriented, spiritually-minded life. They want to only refer to truth, wisdom, sanity, serenity, honesty, peace and other such inner-life experiences in a very broad, generic, generalized, nonspecific way. It is just so “politically incorrect” to get too specific about who or what it is that one considers the highest object of our spiritual reality and quest for “the highest in us.” Most people, nowadays, think that the highest in us has nothing to do with a “Supreme Being,” or “Higher Power,” or Source of wisdom or intelligence outside our own.

And yet, it can’t be denied that it seems that any and every human being apparently has the equal ability to “conjure up” (as disbelievers would accuse believers of doing) and tap into an inner source of truth, wisdom, sanity, serenity, honesty, integrity, and peace, no matter what their religious persuasion or even if they have none at all. All they have to do, it seems are these three things: 1) desire it; 2) believe it is there to be accessed; and 3) take some action to connect with it. That can be kind of disconcerting for those who believe that their way of having a spiritual life is the only right way. It can also be frustrating to them to see others of other religious persuasions or of no persuasion at all being blessed with these gifts.

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