An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Goals or Limits

Mormonism is a step-by-step, goal-driven religion. We get baptized, go to church, serve a mission (if male), marry in the temple, raise a family, serve in callings, keep the commandments, and achieve exaltation. Sounds pure and simple, but this focus on goals has drawbacks for some members—disappointment and loss of broader opportunities.

First of all—not all goals are under our control. Good Mormons can keep the commandments, follow the prophet, and still end up unmarried at age 35. Good Mormons have also attained a temple marriage only to find themselves incompatible with or even deserted by their eternal companion. Magnifying callings doesn’t guarantee being called to a prestigious position. Keeping the Word of Wisdom doesn’t prevent all disease, and paying tithing doesn’t always protect against job loss.

Secondly—a narrow focus on LDS goals limits opportunities for broader experiences. Most, but not all, returned missionaries describe their mission experiences as personally rewarding. Yet, choosing to serve a mission means choosing not to spend time and resources on other educational, spiritual, or service possibilities. Focusing only on temple marriage can cause Mormons to overlook opportunities to meet and date outstanding non-Mormons with whom they might find happiness. Limiting scripture study to LDS scriptures restricts time for accessing the wisdom of other faiths and philosophers. Donating time and energy to LDS callings limits time for community service.

None of these Mormon goals is bad. But is it beneficial to focus on a script so narrow that we fail to recognize all of the good choices God has given us? Choosing to do one thing always means choosing not to do others, and we cannot predict with 100% accuracy the consequences of any of our decisions. Since human beings come with widely differing abilities, we can’t all follow the same pattern and expect identical results.

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Comments on: "Goals or Limits" (1)

  1. Sometims this very topic disturbs my slee! But I love having choices.

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