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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n6 I Dialogue would like to be able to believe in an afterlife. I would like to be able to resolve that particular question in favor of the Church teachings. So that if wishing would do it, I would love to have some evidence that there is an afterlife. In a sense, lacking it, I find myself terribly conscious of time, the precious quality of time. I am increasingly conscious of the necessity of having others catch the excitement of the business that I am in to carry on the unfinished tasks that remain in completing my mission in life. It is one of the reasons that I don't look forward to retirement at all, because at retirement you are cut off from working with young people who can get some of that unfinished work done. Immortality, in the sense of seeing the things that you stand for and work for continue after you die, becomes something that cannot be taken for granted. My resolution of the problem that death will cut short my mission occurs by relating more and more to the promising leaders I am training, in supporting them and increasing their commitment, sharpening their identities, helping them to get started early, giving them some sense of the tasks ahead. That is the opposite of the "pie-in-the-sky-bye-and-bye" notion. It is a precious reward to see that some of this passing of the torch comes about. I am thankful that my own self-discovery of a professional identity came as early as it did and that I have been able to be as influential as I have in this respect. I fondly imagine that if I do this job well, then if there is an afterlife, I will find that it was well done, and if there is not, that the work will continue, for the benefit of mankind as it were. That is one of the most troublesome, irreconcilables that I face. I am not going to lose an awful lot of sleep over it because I can't do an awful lot about it. I have come to think that the larger issues of discrimination against blacks, women and children will work themselves out, not because the Church will get the requisite revelation to take care of them, but because the liberation will occur in the larger society in which we live whether the Church moves on the matter or not. So I am not inclined to fight on this particular front. I think it is a battle which is being won through the knowledge of evolution and the wider dissemination of social science concepts, ideas and values. So that I am not submitting my resignation from the Church over these issues as others have done. I think a recent Dialogue article on this issue by Lester Bush, Jr. is beautifully done. It demonstrates that the Church has been struggling with the issue of the blacks from the beginning, that there have been diverse statements from the Church under pressure by virtually every President since the Church was organized. Bending to the expediency of the moment, precedents have been set up, reactionary precedents. Even leaders who took a progressive stand when they were marginal to power, took a reactionary stand on becoming president. They were stuck with precedents that they dared not repudiate. The article was a case where a historian did a job of clarifying issues by providing the historical record. I have had a running battle with the people that I knew and trusted in the Church on this matter, but I have never had the clarification that was brought out in this particular article. I had not realized how long the Church authorities have been plagued with this problem! / can't help but personally evaluate the tenor of your comments in the last few minutes. I see you in your later maturity in Erikson's stage of generativity rather than one of despair; one nurturing an incipient leadership. I glanced through the