Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Dialogues on Science and Religion I ixi branch or ward of the Church and less concerned about the relationship between the Church as a whole and the society in which it was operating. These were periods in which I felt very responsible for day-to-day and week-to-week performance by others. It was a period of managerial and promotional activity, not of great reflection. During the time I was branch president, I gave talks representing the Church in other churches, largely Protestant churches, and I took a positive stance. I saw some of the achievements in the larger Church in a kindly fashion. These were exceptions, I should say, to my concern with the internal operations in my branch. I was released from the presidency when I left for a position at a university in the Midwest. I probably became more reflective as far as the larger Church is concerned and this reflectiveness may possibly have come through as more negative criticisms of the Church. We can come back later to this more reflective period. Would you see your family as having a great effect on your activity in the mission field and as a branch "president? I was the oldest member of a family of six boys and two girls, and it was my position as the oldest to be an example to the rest. We had daily family evening hours in which we systematically went through the scriptures. Sometimes these hours were devoted to the history of Mexico, Utah and of the Church, linking these together. I received the kind of orientation to the Church that would make it difficult for me to argue about whether or not my membership was voluntary. I cannot remember when I did not sense that my forebears had participated in an epic of great significance. Some of my earliest memories are of stories of the pioneers. My great-grandfather, Erastus Snow, with Orson Pratt, was one of the first to enter the Salt Lake valley. Another great-grandfather was a personal bodyguard of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, a U.S. marshal and a missionary to the Indians. As a member of my family, I considered myself one of the elite of the Church. I felt responsible early as a child for maintaining that sense of being among the chosen. And that elite included John A. Widstoe, who had been president of Utah State and president of the University of Utah; I knew him personally and saw him as one of my heroes. It also included Franklin Harris who was president of BYU and later Utah State. It included David O. McKay. There just was no avoiding an integration into this elite group chosen to lead the Church. My parents knew personally each of the presidents of the Church during their lives. Joseph F. Smith was the first; he married them. This continued with Heber J. Grant, who personally called me on my mission and told me he was putting through a call for me to go to France. David O. McKay set me apart for my mission, and later, he was the choice of my bride to marry us since she was also a member of the closely knit McKay family network. So for me to doubt or to deviate seriously was to deny a heritage important to me and hurt people important to me and significant in the Church. This is why I say that the high point in my participation in the Church on my own initiative was in the mission field and as a branch president. I literally had been brought into the world to a position where it was expected that I would fulfill patriarchal blessings and heritages, unearned but nevertheless mine. It was a heritage I have valued but have underutilized because I could perhaps have built