Monday, April 07, 2008

Out of the Mold

At some point in my past I joined the Woundup with a "ring" of LDS blogs as a way of participating in the broader discussion of all things Mormon. Since then the Woundup has become my political arm; a collection of essays with broader socio-political undertones that don't really fit with the doctrinal discussions found on what has now become the "Bloggernacle." My writings on The Inner Dad are much better suited to the Bloggernacle overall, but I have no idea how to effect a change. Who's in charge? Who decides who gets to be a member at large? It's probably more trouble than it's worth to find out and have them switch over.

On the other hand, the Woundup makes for an amusing juxtaposition of worldly snark on top of otherwise sincere attempts to find some spiritual common ground among the more active Bloggernaclers. One will see on any given day posts related to anything from fasting to gay Mormon issues to what Brigham Young really did to foment the whole Mountain Meadows thing. Suddenly, in jumps ol' Woody calling liberals something out of a Faustian nightmare and barking about how the United Nations is just a cover for the Illuminati (no, I didn't actually write that, but I've thought it many times). Not what you'd call "standard Bloggernacle fare," by any means. I chuckle a lot whenever I bother to look at the two or three LDS aggregators out there and see just how out of place the Woundup really is.

It was, in fact, a blog calling itself "Mormon Shadow" (seemingly defunct now) that called me "pretty much a dyed-in-the-wool upright, uptight Mormon who has little use for those who don't swallow either the mormon dogma or the republican party line." I laughed then, and I'm still laughing now. Mostly because it's true. I am a fairly dyed-in-the-wool kind of Latter-day Saint. I will say, however, that it's not so much that I have "little use" for those who disagree with me. I may lack patience, I suppose, but it's just because whatever else I am, I am also a dyed-in-the-wool curmudgeon. It's also a studied personality quirk of mine. I am an actor by nature, and a character actor by birth and breeding. I don't play leading men or heroes of any kind; I portray the weasels and snarks of society. I do it well. So if I appear brusque on occasion, it's only because I have rehearsed it long and hard over the past forty or so years.

This by way of stating that the Woundup is a lousy barometer of my spirituality. A tad over three years ago I started The Inner Dad as a family-oriented (and, by extension, a more spiritual) blog. It is there that I post my inner-most thoughts and feelings, as well as no small amount of bluster in regards to my oh-so-put-upon status as a father.

I am a little surprised, however, that the Bloggernacle at large seems to have overlooked something very significant that happened in this just-completed General Conference. The Sunday sessions were wonderful. Every talk seemed to resonate with me on a spiritual level, and I found myself wondering whether the next talk could possibly measure up to the one just ended. When President Monson stood up to speak at the end of the morning session, however, I found myself completely mesmerized. About midway through his talk I looked at Mrs. Woody and said something about just having witnessed the prophetic mantle on President Monson's shoulders. She agreed with me, and we watched the remainder of his talk in quiet awe.

We of course got busy between sessions with lunch and wiggle time for the Woodyettes (who, it must be noted, sat through all four sessions this time!). So we didn't get much time to discuss what we'd witnessed before the next session began. When Elder Holland stood and immediately voiced what we ourselves had felt during President Monson's talk, I knew we'd had a significant experience on par with any other spiritual manifestation of the restoration.

So I've been somewhat dismayed tonight to surf around the Bloggernacle a bit and find (so far) only one reference to the "prophetic mantle" by way of a summary of Elder Holland's remarks.

Did no one outside of Hacienda Woody feel what we felt? Or was I just first out of the box with my comments? Perhaps I'm just not looking hard enough.

I had assumed (here's my original post) that others must have felt it as well. Perhaps the very nature of the experience was personal enough that no one wants to post it on the Bloggernacle for all the world to see. I hope that's the case.

It may be possible that it's more an indicator of where my own spiritual journey has taken me over the past few years. I've always had a firm testimony of the gospel, even though I've been through my own ups and downs. Yet this entire conference was very easy for me to experience. In times past I may have harbored some small resistance to, say, President Packer talking about music in the Church, or anyone who reminds me — for the 329th time — that my family history is seriously lacking. But not this conference. There wasn't a single talk that made me at all uncomfortable. Most, in fact, lifted my soul in ways I'd forgotten were even possible. I appreciated the fact that several of the Twelve attempted to put a more human face on these Priesthood leaders. (Contrary to several Bloggernaclers out there, I loved Elder Ballard's talk about sitting with his kids in Sacrament meeting. Been there, done that!)

Whatever the case, I was spiritually fed, and fed well. If the Spirit were measured in calories, I'd be in serious need of some fiber along about now. But this kind of food needs to be digested over a long period of time. This is a time of examining my initial impressions and seeing where they take me.

I'm looking forward to the ride.

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