Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Richard Bushman

My copy of On the Road with Joseph Smith: An Author's Diary just arrived yesterday. I immediately opened to a random page and began to read and did not want to stop reading! There is already so much I would love to share, but alas, time and space. Here, however, (starting on p. 104) is an absolute gem:

Feb. 6, 2006

Elder Holland wrote a generous note last week. I was pleased to have him say “You knew (and I knew and everybody else knew) that you would have to deal with things as honestly and forthrightly as you could. Nevertheless, your faith and loyalty are apparent on every page.” That implies General Authorities appreciate the value of candor. I no longer worry about an effort to close down [Rough Stone Rolling]. There remains the problem of becoming a rival expert in the interpretation of doctrine, but I can avoid that by not talking doctrine when asked to speak. My mind is aswirl with doctrinal ideas which do not need to be vented, especially when I acknowledge their speculative nature myself…

…I wrote to Elder Holland about a rough patch ahead as animosity to religion keeps growing. I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ. Instead of speaking triumphantly of the gospel sweeping the earth, could we think of ourselves as the leaven in the lump, standing for righteousness and serving others? I wish we had a long record of kindness and friendship to fall back on, with less stress on proselyting. Then when the storms break around us, we would have friends to turn to.

Our covenant with God is to bless the people of the earth. That should be our motto. Establishing Zion does not mean sweeping vast masses of people onto our membership records but creating a people of God dedicated to blessing others. Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship, and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve.


Ms. Jack said...

I so need to read Rough Stone Rolling.

It's on my to-order list, after I finish my current stack of books.

Anonymous said...

This is really interesting. I've heard "on the road" was in many ways the superior book to RSR. Maybe it's true.