Mormons seem to love the idea of waking up early. It’s in our history. Heck, it’s even in our scriptures:
Cease to be idle; cease to be unclean; cease to find fault one with another; cease to sleep longer than is needful; retire to thy bed early, that ye may not be weary; arise early, that your bodies and your minds may be invigorated. (D&C 88:124)
The story from President McKay in my last post illustrates this idea that is such a part of Mormon culture well:
[President McKay] had told [his secretary, Clare Middlemiss] 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… 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.
Now I don’t have any qualms with the ends that are being extolled here. I love the idea of meditating while not tired; of having an invigorated mind; of finding quiet places and times with no interruptions. I simply question a one-size-fits-all approach to the means to achieving those ends.
This subject always brings to mind that classic Nibley zinger:
We think it more commendable to get up at five A.M. to write a bad book than to get up at nine o’clock to write a good one (Essay: Zeal Without Knowledge)
Here is my problem. My mind is never alert or invigorated in the morning. I am groggy and often grouchy and foggy headed in the early hours. It takes me some time to clear the cobwebs and fully awake and clear my head. But once I’m going I am going and I don’t like to waste those quiet and peaceful hours after 10:00 PM on sleeping when I have a clear head and a quiet house in which to ponder and read and meditate. So I do all my best pondering and meditating between 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM. God doesn’t seem to mind at all.
So what do you think? Is the means (getting up really early) as important as the end (having a clear mind and a quiet place to commune with God)? It seems to me that means that worked really well for the saints prior to electricity could be adjusted now that we have electricity — especially when the same ends are being met.
And if that doesn’t cut it for you (and you are not a morning person), maybe you could just conclude that your internal clock is set to Hawaii time – that way you too can say you are going to bed and rising really early if anyone harasses you about the subject. 8)
[Associated radio.blog song: Dusty Springfield – Angel of the Morning]