Posted by: Ascentury | Monday, 29 September 2008

The Gospel of Circumference

It’s often amazing to me how simple connexions, made in a moment, can last a lifetime.  One individual’s influence for good is immeasurable.  The longer a lever that individual has, the broader good may be achieved; according to this lemma, I suggest that one should be maximizing one’s positioning in order to achieve the greatest influence for good in one’s orbit.

The roots of this concept are found primarily in my reading of Neal A. Maxwell and Henry Eyring (the scientist):

“In the geometry of restored theology, hope has a greater circumference than faith. If faith increases, the perimeter of hope stretches correspondingly.”
–Neal A. Maxwell, “Brightness of Hope,” Ensign, Nov. 1994, 34

“As you and I develop additional love, patience, and meekness, the more we have to give God and humanity. Moreover, no one else is placed exactly as we are in our opportune human orbits.”
–Neal A. Maxwell, “Consecrate Thy Performance,” Ensign, May 2002, 36

“Recall the new star that announced the birth at Bethlehem? It was in its precise orbit long before it so shone. We are likewise placed in human orbits to illuminate. Divine correlation functions not only in the cosmos but on this planet, too.”
–Neal A. Maxwell, “Encircled in the Arms of His Love,” Ensign, Nov. 2002, 16

“Whatever the circumference of our tether is, we ought to be content with that and live within ‘the tether and pang of the particular’ (‘The Brook,’ The Pilgrim’s Regress [1974], 198).”
–Neal A. Maxwell, “Insights from My Life,” Ensign, Aug. 2000, 7

Henry Eyring firmly believed in giving more than he took, continuously. While I am hardly in a position to recount all of the anecdotes regarding his charity, the following statement sums up the roots of the gospel of circumference:

Long ago I learned how to win freedom…:  by fulfilling those duties over and beyond what is required (Reflections of a Scientist, http://mormonscientist.org/, 29).

Partly this answers the question of having a church. Why have a church at all, and not just a private devotional religion? Because the gospel is essentially communitarian, and it cannot be realized in vacuo.

A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. … ∙Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Matt. 5:14,16

The most general statement I’ve been able to derive of this viewpoint is this: Act in such a way that your potential for future good is maximized. This requires living in the moment as well, as the untouched opportunities all about you will increase your future capacity by creating new bridges and connexions with people. It doesn’t mean pursuing something you hate because you think it will create more good, because by doing something you love and have passion for, you will do more good in real terms than you imagine. It requires as well living by the Spirit, continually guided and sensitive.  And, in the vein of Elder Uchtdorf’s talk last night to the women of the Church, it requires immense creativity, born of love and compassion.  May we all be able to tap into our potential, and maximize it.

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  1. […] The gospel of circumference. Act in such a way that your potential for future good is maximized. […]


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