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HomeWorldPowerful Quotes from Latter-day Saint Scholar Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye

Powerful Quotes from Latter-day Saint Scholar Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye

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Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye was a Latter-day scholar, author, and speaker. On April 23, 2024, she passed away after a valiant battle against colon cancer. Known for her belief in a globally inclusive idea of Zion, she was beloved in both secular and spiritual communities. In honor of her rich life and teachings, we’ve gathered some of Melissa’s most powerful quotes and where you can read more. 

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“What I see the Church offering me is the opportunity to learn to follow Christ and participate in the redeeming processes of error, repentance, and growth, by engaging with my sisters and brothers in the gospel. It is the opportunity to think globally and act locally, to think locally and act globally. These networks of human bonds and collective action are as close at hand as my own home and neighborhood, and as far flung as the entire world. That is cool. We, the Latter-day Saints, are weird and small enough to really try to be sister and brother to each other, in our diverse and often contradictory circumstances around the world.” – Making Zion

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“Fixing the world” is a tenuous goal, because the law of entropy dictates that we are bound to fail. Something will always be broken, or breaking, or on the verge. Sometimes the broken thing is me, and sometimes it is you. 

And yet there is a Japanese proverb my Uncle Dillon once shared with me: If a person will spend her life in the pursuit of one good thing, then surely by the end of her life, she will have something to show for her efforts.

What is this “one good thing”? Is it to advance a political or social cause? Is it to leave the world’s people better than you found them, including, for instance, one’s family, friends, students, rivals, and enemies? Is it to suffer as Christ suffered, in order to lift and heal others? Is it to taste the fruit of the tree of life, which is the love of God? Is it to sit down with others on the side of the road of life and weep? 

I am not sure this “one good thing” can be reduced to a single noun, sentence, or proposition. I believe the point of the proverb is not to prescribe the “one good thing,” but to encourage humility. We do not have to “do it all.” We should not take it upon ourselves to fix all that’s broken.

But if you, and I, and all of us persist — in our variable, unreliable, and largely unremarkable lives — in seeking righteousness for ourselves and good for the children of God who cross our paths, in speaking honestly to people when they are close, and being generous to those who are far away, I believe we will have something to show for our efforts. – The Way of Openness

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The project of becoming as our Heavenly Parents involves negotiating the wide, empty spaces between us and our fellow beings in our many different circumstances. As we learn
to know and to understand and to receive each other, we are able to give each other gifts of wisdom and insight that bring us closer to that perfect, divine understanding. May we not squander the extravagant diversity—the fullness—with which God has blessed this earth and all the living souls upon it. – A Great Spiritual Biodiversity

From a scholarly perspective, most religious claims are by nature miraculous and indefensible from an empirical point of view. When good primary sources exist, religious founders all turn out to be real people, not perfect beings. Religious texts and systems of doctrine are all problematic in their own way, from the Bible to the Mahayana Buddhist sutras to the Koran. Maybe this is what Uncle Charles meant when he alluded to ways in which the Church might not be “true” according to my line of thinking at the time. Maybe when he said, “I will make it true,” he was simply speaking of the initiative required to nurture and exercise faith. “It’s not a spectator sport,” he said on a subsequent occasion, referring to religious life as a Mormon. I, too, have learned about the work of faith: that it is never-ending, sometimes arduous, and that it has great value. It is work worth doing.  – Make It True Testimony

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Aleah Ingram
Aleah Ingram
Aleah is a graduate of Southern Virginia University, where she studied English, Creative Writing, and Dance. She now works full time as a marketing and product manager, writer, and editor. Aleah served a mission in California and loves baking, Lang Leav poetry, Gaynor Minden pointe shoes, and Bollywood movies.

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