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Breaking 2 Analogies for More Accepting Mormonism

November 24, 2014

Over at Clean Cut, Spencer showcased Scott Hales’ strip of the Garden of Enid that expounded on a more accepting Mormonism as being more like an expanding grid than a big tent.

Expanding Grid Mormonism

Per the comic, the big problem with “big tent Mormonism” is that eventually, you do have walls. (I don’t necessarily think this is a problem — many folks criticize liberal Mormons by saying that if the definition of Mormonism isn’t limited, then it is meaningless. But my feeling is that liberal Mormons aren’t saying that Mormonism means anything, but that the current barriers so often perceived or enforced are the incorrect barriers.)

In a similar vein, Spencer addressed in an earlier post an analogy from Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin likening the church to an orchestra:

“Some are lost because they are different. They feel as though they don’t belong. They may look, act, think, and speak differently than those around them and that sometimes causes them to assume they don’t fit in. They conclude that they are not needed.

“The Lord did not people the earth with a vibrant orchestra of personalities only to value the piccolos of the world. Every instrument is precious and adds to the complex beauty of the symphony. All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole.”

I don’t want to be so cynical on Clean Cut’s blog, so I’ll be cynical here…even if the big tent analogy can be broken, these other two analogies can be broken just the same.

Expanding Grids

A big tent may have walls, but an expanding grid will build in its exclusivities within the grid via zoning. More informally, the neighborhoods within an expanding grid can and will set up homeowners’ associations to protect the perception (and property values) of their neighborhood.

The Symphony

As many of you may know, I play saxophone. When I  was in junior high, I was in the high school band. Sometimes, the band and orchestra teachers would team up for a combined concert piece. They would add, in addition to the violins and violas and cellos and bass that the orchestra already had, some flutes, clarinets, oboes, a bassoon, maybe a trumpet, but more likely a french horn or something more dignified.

Yes, dignified instruments only.

Certainly, there are symphony orchestras now that include saxophones, but these are not essential. These are not considered precious.

And perhaps that’s fine. Perhaps there comes a point at which someone is producing music that is too dissonant in the context of one genre but which is completely ok in the context of another.

It’s just a limitation on the metaphor.

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