Saturday, October 1, 2011

Are Mormons like planets?

Mormon virtues are usually listed as thrift, industry, duty, self-reliance, risk aversion, pursuit of prosperity, and respect for authority. Detractors will often list these very same traits using less flattering words. I think this list misses the mark and describes many non-Mormons as well, such as myself. What then is the distinguishing feature of Mormon culture?

Perhaps Mormons are like a planet, moving as one in a larger revolution while remembering to generously and dutifully rotate to give all longitudes their chance to view the central sun, yet all the while aware that any more chaotic rotation to extend this warmth to the colder latitudes could destabilize the common orbit, trigger a collision, and reduce the cohesive whole to a sea of scattered lifeless asteroids. At some point, the good of the many means that a few arctic dwellers must resign themselves to making do with less. That is what planets do.

I too might not have disdained life on a planet, had I only the good sense to have been born at the equator. Instead, I lead the life of a comet. My path may be either elliptic or hyperbolic (I do not know), but I am willing to adjust my course with each passing encounter. And though currently enjoying my momentary basking in reflected warmth, I am destined to shoot out again soon on my cold and lonely path. That is what comets do.

Still, so long as planets and comets manage not to collide, the solar system is richer for having them both as members.

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