Episode 10: On Esotericism and Exotericism: The Inner and the Outer Experience

Latter-day Contemplation
Latter-day Contemplation
Episode 10: On Esotericism and Exotericism: The Inner and the Outer Experience
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Christopher and Riley talk about the esoteric (inner) and exoteric (outer) experience of religion and finding a balance between the two. On the one hand, there’s holding so tightly to the letter of the word of God that’s the iron rod that we can’t let go long enough to take a step forward in the darkness in faith to walk the path the iron rod is meant to lead us down to the presence of God. On the other hand, there’s failing to hold to the rod at all and getting lost in the mists of darkness that are the temptations of the devil. How does the church support us in walking the path back to the presence of God? Much like the iron rod helps us stay on the path to God, the Church acts as scaffolding, as Stephen R. Covey put it in his book, The Divine Center, for the family where we learn how to and are supported in waking the path that ultimately we must walk alone in faith, trusting in God, according to our agency. Thus our church experience is an outer experience that is meant to support our inner experience of transformation. When we see the outer shell as the kernel itself, we may fail to do the inner necessary work to build the Kingdom of God Jesus Christ said is within us, satisfied with “working on the scaffolding” as Covey put it. At the same time, the path back to God, the Covenant Path, is paved with ordinances the Church serves to prepare us for and to provide us. But just going through the motions of the transactional “Checklist Gospel” (the exoteric) isn’t enough to get us back to God; we must do the inner (esoteric) work along the way. Our inner intention matters as much as, if not more than, the actions we take, for even the right outer practices not only avail us nothing, but even count against us if our hearts are not in them.

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Shiloh lives in Bakersfield, CA, with his wife and four children. He spent his formative years growing up in Memphis, TN, and graduated from Brigham Young University with dual degrees in philosophy and geography. Shiloh is currently a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University pursuing a PhD in religion (focusing on Mormon Studies). He is the founder of Latter-day Peace Studies and co-produces LDPS Come, Follow Me's weekly podcast.