Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the LDS First Presidency, seems to understand the situation the Church is in better than most. In his 2014 April General Conference talk he makes reference to Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech “Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution.”
Rip Van Winkle [slept] for 20 years! And in the process, he had missed one of the most exciting periods in the history of his country—he had slept through the American Revolution.
In May 1966, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. used this story as an illustration for his speech “Don’t Sleep Through the Revolution.”
Today, I would like to take the same theme and propose a question to all of us who hold God’s priesthood: are you sleeping through the Restoration?
While many have noted the importance of the Mormon leader quoting King, fewer have notice the next part of his speech:
Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us. . . In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.
This is one of the most remarkable periods of the world’s history! Ancient prophets yearned to see our day.
It has frequently been my contention that LDS Church members could learn much from Process Theology; a belief that activities like the Creation are ongoing (they are processes and not events). That it shouldn’t be Creation (a noun), instead if should Creating (a verb). That everything is in a state of flux (think eternal progression). That nothing is stationary, including God.
President Uchtdorf takes this idea and extends it to the Restoration of the Gospel. Maybe we should change our language from Restoration to Restoring.
So why is it important for us to understand the relationship between Mormonism and Process Theology? Here are a few thoughts:
- By realizing that the Creation is ongoing, we become co-creators of the earth with God. This inspires us to have a greater respect for the earth.
- By understanding that everything is in a state of flux, we develop an in-depth respect for all forms of evolution, including Darwin’s theory of organic evolution.
- By comprehending that the LDS Church is continually in a state a flux, we are better able to deal with the changes that are continually being made in organization, policies, and doctrine.
- By acknowledging the reality of change, church members can better deal with the ever increasing rate of change in the world we live in.
President Uchtdorf understands the LDS Church’s journey into the 21st Century.