Wednesday, January 21, 2015

"...Working With, For, and Through Other People."

Wharton professor Adam Grant has written on the importance of having a "giver" culture in companies.[1] "In giver cultures," he writes, "employees operate as the high-performing intelligence units do: helping others, sharing knowledge, offering mentoring, and making connections without expecting anything in return. Meanwhile, in taker cultures, the norm is to get as much as possible from others while contributing less in return. Employees help only when they expect the personal benefits to exceed the costs, as opposed to when the organizational benefits outweigh the personal costs. Most organizations fall somewhere in the middle. These are “matcher cultures,” where the norm is for employees to help those who help them, maintaining an equal balance of give and take. Although matcher cultures benefit from collaboration more than taker cultures do, they are inefficient vehicles for exchange, as employees trade favors in closed loops.

"The essence of the law of consecration is charity," explained Hugh Nibley, "without which, as Paul and Moroni tell us, all the other laws and observances become null and void. Love is not selective, and charity knows no bounds...How do you keep the most important commandments? the apostles asked, and in reply the Lord told them of a man who was neither a priest, nor a Levite nor even of Israel—a mere Samaritan, who did not wait for clearance before yielding to a generous impulse to help one in distress who was completely unknown to him: "Go, and do thou likewise!" (Luke 10:37) was the advice—you are on your own."



1. See Adam M. Grant, Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success (New York: Viking, 2013). 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Restoring the Mundane: Expanding Joseph's Project

I've been reading Terryl Givens' latest book Wrestling the Angel, in which he dedicates a chapter to Joseph Smith's meaning of Restoration:

Smith believed himself to be an oracle of God, subject to moments of heavenly encounter and the pure flow of inspiration. But he also was insatiably eclectic in his borrowings and adaptations, with an adventuresome mind, prone to speculation and fully comfortable with the trial and error of intellectual effort.[1]

But Smith's "task would involve neither simple innovation nor ex nihilo oracular pronouncements upon lost doctrines alone, but also the salvaging, collecting, and assimilating of much that was mislaid, obscured, or neglected."[2] Whenever Smith found value in an array of sources (such as Masonry), he

modified and recontextualized what he had found. His expressed theological rationale seems exactly modeled on Augustine's gloss of the Old Testament story of the spoiling of the Egyptians. On the night of their exodus, the children of Israel "appropriate to themselves" their enslavers' riches, "designing them for a better use." Just so, Augustine argued, the "heathen" have truths which, like gold and silver, they are "perversely and unlawfully prostituting to the worship of devils." It is the task of the Christians to "take them away from them, and to devote their proper use in preaching the gospel."[3]

This project could be expanded to incorporate everyday activities and resources. This is the concept of sacralizing the mundane: the gold and silver of the everyday are reoriented--consecrated--to their "proper use" in serving God and man. Perhaps "restoration" goes even further than mere Christianity.


1. Terryl L. Givens, Wrestling the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2015), 39.

2. Ibid., 37-38.

3. Ibid., 39-40.