clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Five Mormon-like quotes from folks who aren't Mormon

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) depicted in a portrait sculpture (ca. 1905) by Frank Duveneck (1848-1919).
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-82) depicted in a portrait sculpture (ca. 1905) by Frank Duveneck (1848-1919).

Back in 2002, Jeffrey Needle reviewed a little book I published. In the review he quoted Brigham Young, the second president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints:

“It is the business of the Elders of this Church (Jesus, their Elder Brother, being at their head), to gather up all the truths in the world pertaining to life and salvation, to the Gospel we preach — to the sciences and to philosophy, wherever it may be found in every nation, kindred, tongue and people and bring it to Zion” (see “Discourses of Brigham Young,” Deseret Book).

The quote has not only stayed with me, but has become my mission statement.

If truth can indeed be circumscribed into a whole, I'd like to help.

“My business is circumference,” Emily Dickinson wrote.

Mine, too.

The world is filled with millions of wise words waiting to be proved (tested) and embraced or rejected by the Saints. Today I offer five quotes from folks who are not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but whose comments, to my mind, strike close to the heart of what Mormons hold dear.

“Prove” them for yourself, embrace them, or send them packing.

• “You cannot think a spiritual muddle clear, you have to obey it clear. In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters, you will think yourself into cotton wool.” — Oswald Chambers (from “My Utmost for His Highest,” entry for date Sept. 14)

• “God, when he makes the prophet, does not unmake the man.” — John Locke (quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay, “Swedenborg; or, The Mystic”)

• “A more secret, sweet and overpowering beauty appears to man when his heart and mind open to the sentiment of virtue. Then he is instructed in what is above him. He learns that his being is without bound; that, to the good, to the perfect, he is born, low as he now lies in evil and weakness.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson (from “The Divinity School Address”)

• “Love is fusion of two souls in one in order to bring about mutual perfection.” — St. Teresa of the Andes (from “The Essential Wisdom of the Saints,” Fall River Press)

• “When are we going to graduate from the Middle Ages? The answer: when we reject once and for all the doctrine of original sin and replace it with the idea of original blessing. The former is about shame, helplessness and entrapment. The latter is about joy, connection to creation and personal responsibility.” — Robin R. Meyers (from “Saving Jesus from the Church,” Harper One)