It could use some mechanical cleaning up, but here’s an excellent short piece from a couple of years back, written by my brilliant and thoughtful former student Nate Oman:
Thanks to Walker Wright for bringing it to my attention.
I’ve always found indignation at the very concept of this mall — which, in my experience at least, has come overwhelmingly from people on or beyond the fringes of Mormondom, and, without any exception that I can recall, from people on the political Left — curiously wrong-headed.
It’s also occurred to me that many of these same people, who mock, deride, and voice outrage at the idea that a proclaimed apostle or prophet would attend the opening of a shopping mall, or that an apostle (who happens to be an attorney and a former law professor, law school dean, and state supreme court justice) would dedicate a Church law firm’s new building, would most likely find merely quaint and charming a medieval (or modern) priest’s blessing of the village fishing fleet and nets. And, apart from the general disdain that some of them feel for religious belief itself, and/or for Mormonism itself, they would probably not bat an eye at such scriptural passages as this:
Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to callupon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your heartsbe full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for yourwelfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you. (Alma 34:17-27)
For some, religious practices and attitudes are just fine when they’re relegated to harmlessly backwards rural villages or quaint folk practices of yesteryear, or to traditional ways of earning a living like deep-sea fishing, but they just don’t belong in the modern world of commerce and factories.