Needful Things

Last weekend I had a very stimulating conversation with a friend who is likewise LDS.  We were discussing inactivity among the single LDS, particularly those who are beyond the “young single” stage.  Last time I heard the appropriate statistics quoted, this group was 90% inactive.  Ninety percent.  Is it possible that half of the inactive members in a ward are single?  Or even higher?

From there, we began to speculate about the reasons.  One of the directions our conversation took led to the idea that those who have experienced the love of God for themselves generally need little or  no further urging or support for their activity.   I may differ from many of my fellow LDS in thinking that the mystical versions of this experience are less effective than the more mundane, but in the end it’s much the same.

(I’m probably far too scientifically oriented to respond to mysticism, I think, nor am I one of those who suggest that we stress adolescents so that they’ll confuse their emotional responses with the presence of the divine.)

No one can control God, not even to order up this very special experience.   But as we pooled our experience, two things suggested themselves.   First, we agreed that service seems to bring those sorts of experiences with it.   Second, we thought that people need to have a good relationship with someone.   In other words, of all the people we know, we need to know one person with whom we have a particularly close or special relationship of genuine trust.

Finally, I thought my friend’s last observation was particularly astute.  She suggested that we need to be acquainted with at least six people in order to have a reasonable chance that one of those relationships will provide the opening we need.  I guess what struck me about all this is just how much God has written us into his plans for redeeming his children.   We generally affirm that he could do it on his own, but that he has decided to include us.  And when you think about how poorly we tend to do, really, divine wisdom is quite mysterious.



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Mormon Archipelago

November 2009
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