I recently had a discussion with a friend that got me thinking. We talked about how we gain gospel understanding, answers to prayer, and sacred experiences. As a people, we make much of the solitary nature of sacred experiences. We emphasize the importance of personal pondering and prayer, developing an intimacy with the Savior, and keeping things that are holy to oneself.
All these things are good. We are commanded to "pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness" (Alma 34:26), for there are answers to prayer that can only be gained in the silence of one's closet, in the prayer and meditation that are kept only between the Lord and His child. There are experiences so sacred that they cannot be shared.
But there are also experiences so sacred that they cannot be kept to oneself, nor had in isolation. There are answers to prayer that can only be gained in the union of community, in the holiness of friendship, in the special moments when two souls touch, when hearts are healed and relationships are exalted. There is a sacred light that flows into the lives of individuals only when they are together, when the barriers to intimacy are demolished, when they are united in purpose and desire, when, having opened their hearts to each other, they can together come to Christ, unitedly placing their wounded hearts in the wounded hands of their Redeemer.
Prayers in the closet are essential. And there is a time to leave the closet (in more than the colloquial sense), to engage with our fellow-men in building Zion. There are heights that can only be reached in the stillness of personal prayer. And there are other heights we will never see without another person by our side. When we sense that another imperfect mortal knows us intimately and loves us anyway, we gain confidence that the Lord, who is perfect, can still love us. When we return that love, when we learn to love imperfect people, imperfectly, we become more like the Savior we worship.
Christ prayed for His followers, "that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21). For "where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matthew 18:20).
Picture from http://i.dailymail.co.uk