Things To Act
Tuesday, August 03, 2004
Age and Spiritual Dynamism
Grasshopper has an interesting post on the meaning of death. In his comments, I note that Mormon often seems to take the view that death is a valuable reminder to us to be prepared to face final judgment at any time. But is this how we approach death today?

After all, society has a fairly low death rate. At least in the 'BYU student' demographic, deaths are rare enough that each one is news, though actually knowing the person is so rare that it isn't personal news. If death is supposed to be a reminder, it doesn't seem to happen often enough to be as effective as for the Nephites (who had low technology and constant war to contend with). [Of course, the logical solution, raising the death rate, is frowned upon.]

It occurs to me to wonder if this has practical consequences for the way we view sin and repentance. I find that it's easy for me to think of some spiritually admirable figure (bishop, stake president, GA, etc), 'of course, he's had decades to work on becoming that spiritually strong.' The corollary is, when viewing my own faults, is to think 'well, hopefully I'll get that resolved by the time I'm President Hinckley's age.'

Is taking such a long view a problem. Does our tendency to emphasize conversion as a long process go too far (generally, I think it far healthier to emphasize process over dramatic moment)? Or are our days prolonged to give us this time?

Other possible corollaries to this line of thought: Is one disadvantage of having primarily older church leaders that it makes it harder for us to see models of dynamic conversion in younger examples? Does the fact that so many people died relatively young in earlier eras imply that our course is fairly set when we are fairly young?

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