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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, December 10, 2010


Understand that the road to transformation travels both inward and outward. The road to transformation is the path of the disciple.
- Doctrine and Covenants 161:3d

Scripture, like other forms of literature, can often be read in many ways. Read it on one level and it works. Read it on a deeper plane, and it works again, often revealing new meanings. In such cases, we may think of the text as demonstrating a spiritual principle that works on multiple levels. On the other hand, our familiarity with a scripture can sometimes mean we forget to dig deeper, or no longer see what is right there in front of us.

Doctrine and Covenants 161:3d seems to me to be that kind of text. The principle is very simple, really; inward and outward. Read on one level, the text speaks to our spiritual formation, and it works. In this context, it is about personal transformation. On another level, the text can also refer to the transformation of the larger society. Again, it works. Probably we could think of many settings in which this scripture could be applied. (Perhaps you might want to click on the comments button and suggest some others.)

But this text also seems to suffer from the myopia of familiarity. Ten years ago, when Section 161 was new, this sentence seemed fresh and poetic. It was one of those statements that you just knew you had to dig deeper into when there was time. I think it still merits that kind of intention.

Inward and outward; is it possible that we have focused on the inward journey and neglected the outward? Could we have done that at a personal, spiritual level as well as in our interpersonal associations? How about in our congregational to community relationships? Over the past decade, is it possible that we have forgotten or neglected to take up the outward journey?

Perhaps it is a natural tendency toward shyness that causes us to want to go inward. Perhaps we have a national inclination towards introversion that makes the outward journey seem more fearful. Whatever the reason, I think it is time we gave this verse another look and remembered that the road to transformation travels both ways. No matter how you read this text, the call is to go inward and outward, not just go inside and stay there.

So what do you say; are you ready to go out to play?

Posted by Carman


  1. Great post. Time for transformation in may aspects of my life.

    Merry Christmas.

  2. Thanks Barb, Merry Christmas to you too.


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