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Oct 7, 2022

This episode is a follow up to Latter-day Faith 137, “The Hero’s Return,” which was released this past August. That episode featured a discussion between Stephen Carter and LDF host Dan Wotherspoon about an aspect of the Hero’s Return model that is one of its lesser studied elements: the decision by the hero/heroine to return to their society of origin, bringing with them the insights and power they have gained from their journey. In this follow-up, Dan Wotherspoon adds a few additional insights about that pivotal decision that weren’t explored in the first podcast.

In order to help understand the cycle and the return better, Dan introduces and tells the story of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, penned by Richard Bach some fifty years ago. The fable is about a seagull who understands that there is more to a gull’s life than being in the large flock that follows fishing boats and feeds on its scraps. Jonathan gains the sense that the key to unlocking a higher form of life is through flight for flight’s sake, and through great effort, experimentation, risk, and practice he comes to new and rich understandings. After more and more training by other gulls on a similar journey, Jonathan differs from many of them by eventually choosing to return to the flock in order to serve other gulls who are interested in flight more than fighting for fish discarded by boats.

Dan then focuses on the struggle to return, which most heroes only do reluctantly and that requires them facing different inner and outer obstacles. And if and when they do return, he introduces Joseph Campbell’s notion of their ability to be a “master of both worlds.”  

There is much in this episode that relates closely to spiritual journeys in general, including Mormon ones. Listen in!