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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iz6 I Dialogue DIALOGUE WITH A MEDICAL SCIENTIST We are interested in talking about your religious experiences and feelings over the course of your academic pursuits. To begin with, would you describe the time in your life when you have been most involved in the Church. Was it in the mission field? Well, I suppose that the time that I was most involved was in the mission field. I went into the mission field somewhat poorly prepared. I had only a few months of seminary and not much doctrinal knowledge about the Church. My father was not an active member of the Church, never has been in my lifetime, and my mother was only semi-active during certain periods of my youth so that my home experience did not provide as much Church background as it might have. In the mission field, I found this to be rather traumatic. Some of the most important challenges that I have ever had to face were in the mission field. In fact, at one point in the mission field I strongly considered approaching the mission president about being released because I felt I did not have sufficient convictions as to what it was all about. This wise, patient man, to whom I later became an assistant, had been a stake president for many years and had considerable experience with young people and pretty well knew how to deal with my anxieties and my conflicts and doubts. The last year I was in the mission field was one of intense religious involvement. I felt a strong and peaceful feeling almost every day of that last year. In fact, it was such a singular event in my life that I almost equate it with what I consider to be the ideal. I have often used that period as a reference point. Coming back from the mission field, I made certain religious commitments— promises to myself—that I would read the scriptures daily, that I would accept any Church call which was given to me and that there would be nothing in the way of academic endeavours that I would allow to limit or conflict with my religious involvement. My grades prior to going into the mission field were only mediocre. When I came back, I had five or six quarters of straight A's and was able to get into medical school. In fact, I was accepted at all of the schools to which I had applied. Part of that time, almost every day, was spent in scripture reading and in different kinds of Church involvement, and I had a strong feeling that this was a necessary component of life. As I look at my performance during that time, the ability to stick to the commitment, to work as hard as I had to work to get those kind of grades, was partly sustained by what I felt to be the religious activity that I was involved in. When I got into medical school, I made the same commitment. In fact, when I got married, my wife and I were called by our bishop to stay in our ward rather than go into the student ward which was right on the campus. During medical school I taught Sunday School and was later an elder's quorum instructor and a ward teaching supervisor. I had some real difficulty adjusting academically to medical school and to the time commitment necessary, and did poorly in the beginning, but then I learned how to adjust and during my last two years, I was in