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.