Grow where you are planted

Economics LDS History Mainstreaming Mission Field Utah

As difficult as it may be for some to believe, this is a statement I can agree with. It is/was an LDS statement originally said by David O. McKay**. From my understanding, it was meant to encourage Mormons not to feel as if they had to “move back to Utah”.

My own ancestors flouted this doctrine, but it was common prior to David O. McKay becoming President of the LDS church. A person might convert to the Mormon faith, and then attempt to move to Utah, Idaho or Alberta. It’s part of the reason many people came to Utah from the British isles and Scandinavian countries.

I think there is an element of choice and control over where one is employed, where one lives, what career one chooses. And yet, those elements are not always present, not completely. A person may want to live in a particular geographic location, like San Francisco or New York City – but there are all sorts of advantages and disadvantages to those communities. The cost of living in San Francisco is very high. Finding a job that can support you and/or your family can be challenging. I know people who would love to live in either place, if circumstances allowed. A person might want to work in a particular field, but there may not be the ability or demand for that skill set in that particular location.

I live in a mid-sized mid-western city. I have some ambivalence about where I live. My state is a more conservative state. At times, legislation is passed with which I vehemently disagree. It’s true, I could move to another state. That would involve a lot of logistics; selling my house, finding another job, moving expenses, finding another school for my kids. That’s not including all the nice to haves in my community: my friends here, a network of doctors and dentists, babysitters, neighbors and family.

All of this is to say, while there is some element of choice in location, there isn’t always the ability to easily move or change locations (and jobs or careers). My current location isn’t perfect, but it’s good, it is good enough. I can be a voice for change exactly where I am. I’m not sure another location wouldn’t have similar advantages and disadvantages. I don’t have to agree with legislation passed in the state legislature, I can protest against the legislation and freely campaign for the opposition.

I am drawn to the notion of making the most of any situation in which I find myself. I think it’s a worthwhile concept. I embrace the idea of living among people with whom I may disagree religiously or politically. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

This concept is not unique to Mormonism. Each religion seems to be made up of common sense philosophies that are shared that may or may not be unique to that religion or faith. Just because I no longer identify as an active Mormon, doesn’t mean that there aren’t philosophies that some Mormons believe that I agree with.

**Or, I was told David O. McKay said it, but I can’t find the exact quote. David O. McKay is rumored to have coined this phrase. It may be included in David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism but I can’t confirm that.

8 thoughts on “Grow where you are planted

  1. Is this like David McKay taking credit for Benjamin Disraeli’s quote? Disraeli is widely reported (always unsourced) to have said, “No success in public life can compensate for failure in the home.”

  2. We’re settled pretty permanently here in Zurich (for some of the same reasons you’ve settled down), and I like it here — yet, I’d like to try living in some other places before I die.

  3. I’ve lived in four different locations in the US since relocating overseas. People ask me where I prefer to live. I feel completely settled in Europe, but I realize that if I wasn’t happy with other aspects of my life (job, family, housing), then my location would never be satisfactory.
    I really like the concept of things being ‘good enough’. No place, person, job will ever be perfect but good enough is manageable and realistic. It makes one want to work at things rather than leaving or getting rid of something that might be improved, with some simple tweaking.

  4. *scratching head* …

    After three years of poring over Proposition 8 records, it strikes me that — at least compared to non-Mormons — very few Mormons heed the advice to stay “planted.” My impression is that Mormons must be among the most mobile groups in the U.S.; the younger marrieds, especially, always seem to be relocating cross-country every couple of years (yet always pining for Utah!).

    Is my impression skewed? Maybe it’s just a phenomenon among the more (politically- and church-) active TBMs…?

    (Another striking thing I’ve found is the number of Mormons who maintain a Utah home address in addition to the address where they’re actually residing at any given moment. I’m not sure if that indicates loyalty to Utah, or if they’re trying to throw off researchers like me, or if they really do maintain two or more residences at once. )

  5. My mission prez retired to Utah from Connecticut. And many in my family have relocated to Utah during my lifetime. It’s not just Mormons who tend to cluster, the whole country seems to be doing it. I tend to think the opposite approach is probably better.

  6. I wish I knew what it was like to settle down in a place. Sadly, I have it in my head that moving is the normal answer to life’s issues. It is great to grow roots and become part of a community.

    There are things I love about Utah, like extended family, LOTS kid-friendly activities, and a small town feel. I don’t want to live there though. Admittedly, I’ve been there twice in the last 15 years so maybe that isn’t fair to say. Most of the TBMs that I know love to visit, but leave it at that.

  7. St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622) :
    “Truly charity has no limit; for the love of God has been poured into our hearts by His Spirit dwelling in each one of us, calling us to a life of devotion and inviting us to bloom in the garden where He has planted and directing us to radiate the beauty and spread the fragrance of His Providence.”

    A little earlier than both David O. McKay and Mormonism.

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