Some Quotes on Conformity

“It’s easy to see that you are one of us. Ain’t it funny how we all seem to look the same?” — Pete Townshend

“Obedience is the first law of heaven, the cornerstone upon which all righteousness and progression rest. It consists in compliance with divine law, in conformity to the mind and will of Deity, in complete subjection to God and his commands” — Bruce R. McConkie.

“It doesn’t matter how you feel inside, you know. It’s what shows up on the outside that counts. Take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down past your knees, until you’re almost walking on them. And then you’ll fit in, and you’ll be invited to parties, and boys will like you. And happiness will follow.” — Marge Simpson

“Individualism erases the importance of divine authority.” — Dallin Oaks

“Being like everybody is the same as being nobody.” — Rod Serling

“People think in a very critical way before they come into this Church. When they come into this Church they’re expected to conform. And they find happiness in that conformity.” — Gordon B. Hinckley

“If religion were true, its followers would not try to bludgeon their young into an artificial conformity; but would merely insist on their unbending quest for truth, irrespective of artificial backgrounds or practical consequences.” — H. P. Lovecraft

“There is the need now to be united with everyone facing the same way. Then the sunlight of truth, coming over our shoulders, will mark the path ahead. If we perchance turn the wrong way, we will shade our eyes from that light and we will fail in our ministries.” — Boyd K. Packer

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” –Martin Luther King, Jr.

7 Responses to Some Quotes on Conformity

  1. Great list of quotes. Interspersing contemporary Mormon leaders’ remarks with those of thoughtful intellectuals (including Marge Simpson) is most revealing.

    I especially loved the MLK Jr quote with which you ended. Being silent to fit in is not healthy to the individual nor ultimately to the organization.

  2. tisatruth says:

    I have this board in our eating area on which I write quotes. Some are inspirational, some are funny, some just resonate with me or someone else in the family. Tonight the sister missionaries are coming to dinner so I came online to look for a new quote and there, in my email, was this blog post – how perfect! If I had more guts I would use the Hinckley quote but I took the safe route and used the MLK quote. I’ll let you know if it draws any kind of notice from the sisters.

  3. GBSmith says:

    “It consists in compliance with divine law, in conformity to the mind and will of Deity, in complete subjection to God and his commands”

    The problem is that it isn’t God that’s telling you his mind and will and deciding if you’re in compliance and complete subjection, it’s someone in a suit. And somewhere along the line we’ve lost the ability to decide that for ourselves.

  4. melvinwalker says:

    I’ve loved the H. P. Lovecraft quote ever since I first heard it. It holds a particularly poignant resonance in regards to the Mormon church.

  5. Odell says:

    Those are great quotes.

    Being an identical twin, I craved individuality. Growing up in the LDS Church was difficult because I was expected to conform and that made it harder, but on my mission, I began to develop the ability to push it all down to my feet, as Marge Simpson so eloquently stated.

    The ultimate lesson in LDS conformity is taught within the LDS temple endowment ceremony where each is dressed the same (as far as gender). Every one says “yes” in unity, each person must recite temple information exactly, without deviation. Each person is represented at the altar as if it were them, even though it isn’t.

    Allowing myself to be an individual again since leaving the LDS Church has been both refreshing and challenging. It is hard to become an individual in your forties. Some transitions are liberating but awkward.

    Conformity sucks, unless it is in manufacturing!

    • Michael B says:

      Odell, very well said. Conformity and obedience are preached constantly in the church. Disturbing. I too am pursuing individualism from the church while in my forties. All the best to you!

  6. jewelfox says:

    Technically speaking, Oaks’ individualism quote comes from a talk about balancing individualism with obedience, and seems to be taken out of context here (the first part of the sentence changes the meaning somewhat).

    I agree with you that they’re preaching conformity, and that they don’t want “the personal line” to ever, ever override what they teach from the pulpit. I just think this particular quote — as great of a sound byte as it is — is misleading.

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