An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

More Everything Give Me

A popular Mormon hymn, More Holiness Give Me, begins each of 30 phrases with the word, “more.” Granted, most of the requests are for spiritual gifts such as more faith, patience, gratitude, and purity. Each desire correlates with Joseph Smith’s definition of the word “mormon” as meaning “more good.”*

The Doctrine of More is very much part of current LDS teaching: More life—an eternity. More family—for all eternity. More sex—eternal procreation. More work—creating worlds. More power—becoming as God.

These “mores,” directed towards the next life, give Mormons greater purpose in this life. None of these is a bad thing to want more of. In fact, all of these Desires-for-More correspond to human nature. Of course, contemporary American Mormons, like their gentile counterparts, extend “more” to coveting more material goodies in this life. That too is human nature.

With a philosophy nearly opposite that of 21st century American values, it seems odd that Buddhist practice is growing in the US. Buddhism emphasizes “less”—less attachment to material goods, less attachment to past and future, less attachment to body, to ego. The Buddhist philosophy of acceptance may be more realistic than the Mormon tradition of striving for perfection. It is certainly more peaceful. Still, I suspect it has less appeal to our human nature which is bent on acquiring and keeping.

Which belief system will flourish in a century that, so far, promises constant turmoil? Maybe neither.

*(See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 300 for this unusual etymology).

Comments on: "More Everything Give Me" (2)

  1. Dorothy J.D. Guinn said:

    I enjoyed this brief discussion of ‘more and less’. I first encountered this split in thought processes when reading a book, A Different Kind of Luxury by Andy Couturier, and finding the Buddhist ideas of ’empty’ as something to aspire to. I had always thought of empty as being a severe lack, aching hollowness, devoid of anything good. It never occurred to me that it was also open, receptive, willing, prepared, clear, and of all things, whole.

    Whenever I feel the constraints of the LDS culture beginning to interfere with the incredible depth of my faith (once I determined that ‘church’ and ‘religion/faith’ are not necessarily the same thing), I recognize that I am feeling a need for ‘more’–more light, more clarity, more depth, more truth, more honesty etc. and that this usually arrives connected to a need for ‘less’– less interference, less intrusion, less close-mindedness, less hard-heartedness, less dictation.

    Perhaps both have a marvelous place at the table. 🙂

    • Dorothy

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments on “more” and “less.” Isn’t it great to live at a time when we have access to Buddhist and other thinkers and no longer have to limit our spiritual growth and thinking to our local ward?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Tag Cloud