Richard Bushman: Embracing a 'radiant' Mormonism

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  • syp Gilbert, AZ
    Nov. 20, 2017 10:34 p.m.

    Where would the world of Mormonism and the world as a whole be without Richard and Claudia Bushman? I have known and loved them for decades, and they just keep getting better and better. May they live many more years!

  • Dale Wight Buena Park, CA
    Nov. 20, 2017 12:39 p.m.

    "What is the power that creates that kind of goodwill? [...] I am searching for the words."

    I believe that it's the pure love of Christ, as described in:

    "A man filled with the love of God, is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world, anxious to bless the whole human race."
    -- Joseph Smith, "TPJS", p. 174

    and in:
    "When filled with God's love, we can do and see and understand things that we could not otherwise do or see or understand. Filled with His love, we can endure pain, quell fear, forgive freely, avoid contention, renew strength, and bless and help others in ways surprising even to us."
    -- John H, Groberg, GenCon 10/2004

  • Marcelo ,
    Nov. 19, 2017 9:12 a.m.

    Thank you Dr. Bushman for this excellent article,

    I'd like to add that I can already feel this kind of radiant mormonism here in Brazil, where hundreds of LDS are making their impact for good in our communities.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2017 10:25 a.m.

    Bushman is mostly right. Mormondom is an extraordinarily accomplished and productive part of the population.

    Why then is that population's collective response to Donald Trump so inadequate? The LDS collective response to the Trump threat is somewhere between calculated and bumbling. I keep waiting for some direction and am getting none.

  • clearthink Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 18, 2017 8:54 a.m.

    This is an outstanding article on topics we don't hear much about. The difference between the critics and the radiant doers has never been more stark. Kudos to everyone who is doing their part to establish Zion.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Nov. 17, 2017 10:06 a.m.

    Thank you, Dr. Bushman, for a remarkable epistle on the influence of faithful LDS. It inspires me to do my small part in making the world better. We are blessed to know you.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    Nov. 17, 2017 9:44 a.m.

    Radiant art forms are often expressed in different venues. Some are realistic and others are delusional and unreal. But their effect or consequence may be the same like a placebo. Mormonism exhibits many radiant art forms in the manner of folklore and imagined histories. Like the Book of Mormon story is a radiant literary art form that is taught as true history. Today most people understand that it is an allegory of religious believe and not an actual history. But still many think they must accept it as their ancestors believed it to be real history. However, times have changed and much has been learned since the pioneer days when there was an excuse for misunderstandings due to lack of knowledge and science. But today people can see the truth in more radiant reality. Change comes hard sometimes, but it is required for progress.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 17, 2017 7:32 a.m.

    A few years ago, in a message on broadcast, "Music and the Spoken Word", another forum of Church believing in art, which broadcast will turn 100 next decade, the great author Henry James was quoted, "It is art that makes life, and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process." Alma 26:22, if you are living right, you can help thousands, and even reveal things yourself that have never been revealed. That is a verse on art. Art reveals new things. Morality and art need each other desperately. Consider all the hobbies out there the Lord has given us. All prophets seem to have had hobbies to bring peace to the mind.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 16, 2017 11:34 a.m.

    "Numbers are faltering, but there is ‘a surge of influence.’ In other words, the lds church is irrelevant . . . . "
    Mormonism has been under the microscope for so long that a leveling out is to be expected. It began as an early American phenomenon dismissed as a heresy. It was forged in the fires of ostracism. An isolationist nation had produced in microcosm an isolationist people.

    Mormonism endured by devising its own self-reliant infrastructure for survival. It was slowly but steadily transforming from a despised people into a curiosity. As it grew, it transcended its beginnings as a radical sect of apocalyptic millennialism and became a bastion of American conservatism. Joseph Smith might not even recognize it today.

    Mormonism is still coming to terms with the larger world of which it is part. It is becoming more realistic and less condescending. When a devastating catastrophe strikes wiping out homes and Mormons join other groups in sending aid and assistance, the hungry people being fed don’t ask if is a Mormon meal, or a Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish meal. We are discovering our common humanity.

  • LJohnson Los Angeles, CA
    Nov. 16, 2017 10:23 a.m.

    Numbers are faltering, but there is ‘a surge of influence.’ In other words, the lds church is irrelevant and no one in this world cares enough to get baptized, even with a record number of missionaries in the field that should be ripe and ready to harvest. Waste of time and money. TG- The end of lds oppressive influence is near.

  • fever30 Bountiful, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 9:11 a.m.

    Great article. Peter Pilling was my bishop at BYU. It's great to see his success at Columbia.

  • JRL in AZ Tucson, AZ
    Nov. 16, 2017 9:05 a.m.

    What an excellent article! The salvation of the world is not found in politics, but in individuals living their best beliefs. And as a faithful Mormon, I believe strongly that Mormons ought to be the prime examples of that truth.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    Nov. 16, 2017 8:40 a.m.

    "Mormon art is art made by artists who identify as Mormons. Though not all are active in the LDS Church, to some degree or another they exercise a Mormon influence in the world."
    That calls to mind what I’ve heard about the experiences of members of other religions. Some religious skeptics who had strict religious upbringings years later nonetheless acknowledge the impact beliefs instilled in them in their youth continues to play in their social conscience.

  • ddo141 Provo, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 8:21 a.m.

    Thank you Richard Bushman! This is an excellent, well though out article--one that I will certainly share. I deeply admire your perspective and wisdom.

  • Torrey Ellis Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 8:18 a.m.

    Thank you Dr. Bushman for exemplifying the "radiant Mormonism" that you spoke of in this article. Your projects and books have done a lot of good in helping the scholarly community to become more familiar with and accepting of the message of Mormonism.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Nov. 16, 2017 7:15 a.m.

    "We have grown steadily and sometimes quite dramatically through convert and member baptism until now we are about 16 million members of record. "

    This is disingenuous and harmful to the credibility of the author. Many people on the rolls were baptized and never went back to church. You stay on the rolls for 110 years years, even if you died at 50. Even senior officials estimate practicing mormons at about 5 million. Many people that have left the church don't go through the process of having their names removed. Conflating membership numbers ruins credibility of other, maybe factual points the author makes.