I am finally getting around to reading my copy of David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism. It has been excellent so far. Near the end of chapter 1 there was a quote from co-author Bob Wright that was startling to me so I thought I would post on it. Wright described a letter he once received from President McKay’s personal secretary (his aunt, Clare Middlemiss) discussing how President McKay went about seeking inspiration from the Lord:
He had told her that he would come over to the office very early in the morning, never much after 6:00 o’clock, and sometimes earlier than that. Five o’clock regularly. He would sit in his office and meditate. I think that is the word she used, “meditate.” I remember that, because I hadn’t really heard up until then — and still haven’t heard in the Church, in Sunday School or anything else, very often — the word “meditate.” I don’t think we know much about it. We talk about, maybe, pondering. That’s something I’d heard. But it really went to my soul. She said he thought it was best in the morning when he was not tired, but invigorated and quiet, and no phone ringing and no interruptions. He would contemplate and meditate the issues of the day. (26-27, italics mine)
What? How can this be? Am I that out of touch with Mormonism or is Bob Wright missing the boat? I have long been under the impression that meditation is a central aspect of Mormonism. It certainly is for me… How else does one receive any personal revelation? In fact, I hardly consider non-meditative prayers prayer at all. For instance a prayer over dinner with the kids is mostly a ritual, but a real prayer to me only happens during quiet meditative periods. That’s because it is in those meditations that dialogue with God (such as it is) happens.
What do think? Is meditation a central part of Mormonism as I have assumed or is Bob Wright correct in saying that generally we Mormons don’t know much about it?
[Associated radio.blog song: INXS – Meditate]