Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"Mormum" or Mormon - Are You Afraid to Share Your Faith?

I was impressed with and moved by a recent article in the New Era magazine for teenagers, "The Most Useful Piece of Knowledge" by Elder Clayton M. Christensen, an Area Seventy of the North America Northeast Area of the Church. Here Elder Christensen shares his experience as a young man of seeking to learn for himself if the Book of Mormon is true. His experience of the quest, the diligent study, and the answer in prayer is similar to my own - a few parts were almost like reading my journal from many years ago. How amazing it is that we dare tell people to go seek revelation from God to know for themselves, rather than expecting that other should simply believe us or be changed by the power of our arguments and logic. "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy" (and revelation) -- Rev. 19:10.

The author of this short but touching article may be Elder Christensen to many of you, but I'll never forget that he's Professor Christensen of the Harvard Business School. Before I had any idea that he was LDS, I became enthralled with his writings and was sharing them with many others in the corporation where I used to work. Professor Christensen is the man whose professional work on the theory and practice of disruptive innovation opened up some exciting dimensions in my own work on innovation and intellectual asset strategy, and that has continued in my current work with an amazing little consulting group led by another huge fan of Professor Christensen. If you haven't read his books such as the The Innovator's Dilemma, you're missing out on some of the most important recent works on innovation and business.

Now to the point. Professor Christensen is a consultant, in addition to being a professor, and has a fascinating business he has founded. His success depends on being taken seriously by the world, on maintaining professional respect. The prudent thing to do, of course, is to be rather mum about religion. Much safer to be a "Mormum" than to put your neck on the line and stand behind one's religion, especially a Christian religion that seems to be fair game these days. Much easier to be a cultural Mormon and stay distant from the core of that faith. But Clayton Christensen seems to have his priorities right. He's not afraid to be who he is and to let others know, in a non-threatening, courteous way for those who are interested. He doesn't just let glimpses of his faith leak out in obscure Church magazines for teenagers. On his own Website, ClaytonChristensen.com, he has a bio page with a link to "Why I Believe" (a PDF file).

That takes courage and faith. Thank you for that example, Elder/Professor Christensen!

14 comments:

bunker said...

Thanks Jeff, what an awesome testimony he has. I think some of us expect that THE answer should come the first time or even the second or third time we pray for an answer to that important question. Sometimes the Lord wants us to "work" for it by showing some faith and that we really want an answer.

Ryan said...

I think we often scare ourselves off when it comes to being open about our faith.

It's interesting how the wicked Nephites chose Mormon to be their commander, twice, even though he had tried -- unsuccessfully -- to call them to repentance.

Seems that they were able to put aside their hatred of the religion they had so recently rejected and choose the right man for the job, though I'm sure there were some folks who weren't happy to have a prophet leading them.

Nathan said...

Thanks Jeff for posting that. I am a big fan of Elder Christensen. Last summer I started a new job and he spoke at an annual summer meeting of state legislators and private-sector members. His topic: The innovator's dilemma. It was very interesting. He worked a few Gospel tidbits into his talk but nothing too over the top.

In December I had the opportunity to hear him again at a BYU Management luncheon on Capitol Hill in D.C. He gave a shortened version of his innovator's talk and then proceeded to instruct the audience, some of whom were NOT LDS, about what happens to society when the family fails and what we can do about it. His main reference for the second part of his talk was "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33). He told the people to learn to put God first in their lives and they will be blessed with success in everything else.

In 2004 Elder Christensen gave a great talk at BYU-Idaho on five decisions in his life he is grateful for. Some he discussed in his 'Why I Believe' PDF on his biography page, but it is a really great talk to read. I have pasted the link below.

http://tinyurl.com/dh347c

MikeC said...

Elder Christensen also contributes to Forbes Magazine. His articles tend to be the highlight of the issue, IMHO.

Anonymous said...

That PDF link was very inspiring. Its been almost a year since I've been baptized LDS and unfortunately I've been backsliding. It's just hard to believe that LDS is true when its so different than any other Christian Denomination.

I will continue to pray.
Thanks.

Bookslinger said...

God's official church _should_ be very different from other churches.

Michelle Wilson said...

Jeff, I am hoping you would visit my blog and consider adding to your blog links. http://mydateswithgod.blogspot.com/

I read your post on following Elder Ballards challenge to use the internet to bring the church and it's members into a better light. I've been blogging for nearly 2 years and have loved every moment and comment I've received. I'd be honored to get your opinion.
Thank you in advance!

Ethan said...

Hi Jeff! I check your blog often although I have never left a comment. I think this was a good time. I appreciate your efforts to bring enlightenment and knowledge to other members and nonmembers out there. His pdf file was an inspiring read. Thanks!

Tony said...

Awesome...you should do a post on Glenn Beck's conversion if you ever would fancy it!

Papa D said...

I also love his writing. It is so insightful.

As to the issue of speaking up, there is an element of relying on a silent example that very few people consider. I wrote a post about it last year entitled, "Righteousness: Being a Good Example Is Not Enough".

Ray

http://thingsofmysoul.blogspot.com/2008/04/righteousness-being-good-example-is-not.html

Halibut said...

Mormanity,

You mention that we are a Christian church that is fair game.

1. Are we "fair game"?
2. Are we "fair"?
3. Are we "Christian" in the eyes of others?
4. Are members of other Churches really "Christian" in our eyes and by our Standards?

jayleenb said...

Heard a great talk in Sacrament today. He spoke of how someone who had left the Church felt his relationship with Christ was became more meaningful because he felt the grace and instead of obligations... and then the speaker compared it to a person who didn't like the responsibilities of marriage and wanted to go back to dating. I thought it was a perfect analogy.


It's a commitment to live His commandments, where the faith alone crowd want something for nothing, or all the fuzzy feelings you have in the first stages of love when dating. When it's all about how 'you' feel.

What we have is a covenant marriage relationship with Christ that requires us to do our part, even when it may not always feel good. We have responsibilities that come with a deeper level of love that comes after you've had children and realize your life is about serving them and your spouse.

He said it better than I am, but I hope I'm conveying the message which really hit home for me.

When I joined the Church, that's how it felt, like I was growing up in my relationship with God. Maturing in Christ (still have a long way to go!!) and finding a strength from the Holy Ghost that wasn't there before even though I always felt I had a close relationship with Jesus. I can see in retrospect it was a very immature one. It was like a nice childhood, but now it was/is time to be an adult and accept adult responsibilities and in return, the love has deepened and is much more mature.

I must say, at times I am a Mormum when faced with people who seem to have that "What's in it for them?" attitude. I try to explain that obedience and service to others brings a joy that surpasses any feelings a person can have just doing it their way. I can only pray the Holy Ghost works in their hearts and helps them understand.

I'm typing too much.... Anyone still reading, congrats! Or... sorry... lol

Ryan said...

jayleenb:

That's a really interesting way to look at it... glad I decided to check back on this thread one last time!

Back on topic, that New Era article is potent. Now I have even fewer excuses to not read scriptures daily... somehow I doubt my school load is as heavy as his was.

"I use [my degree] maybe once a year, but I use my knowledge that the Book of Mormon is the word of God many times every day of my life. Of all the education I have ever pursued, that is the single most useful piece of knowledge I ever gained."

Touchée.

symphonyofdissent said...

What a truly fantastic testimony and an inspirational post :).