This classic sermon by former BYU history professor Richard D. Poll, read here for Matters of Perspective by Curt Bench, introduces the metaphors of “Iron Rod” and “Liahona” Latter-day Saint as helpful for understanding two different religious temperaments and the way each approaches life and, more particularly, scripture and the foundational truth claims of Mormonism. Poll’s thought is that if those of us of one temperament can come to understand and see better the ways of being in the world and church of the other, we would be more gracious and generous toward those who are not “like us.” Each temperament has its own gifts and vulnerabilities, but neither is “less than” the other. The ways these temperaments feed a person’s faith are to be respected by all and granted space for their own flourishing. This is a “must listen” for anyone struggling to connect with and affirm the religious lives and ways of putting together the world we meet in our families and wards.
Richard D. Poll, “What the Church Means to People Like Me,” Dialogue (Winter 1967)
Richard D. Poll, “Liahona and Iron Rod Revisited,” Dialogue (Summer 1983)