Saturday, January 5, 2013

"The Family" Part 3

"In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshipped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize their divine destiny as heirs of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally." (The Family: A Proclamation to the World)

This grand view of eternity is what helps me make sense of life. This life is hard. That's built into mortality. Even if there were no other evils, death would be an awful monster to face in uncertainty. Yet death is exactly what each of us must face--with great uncertainty. What possibly could be the purpose of placing us into such a state of existence? Clearly other options exist for such a powerful being as God? What can I learn from believing a loving god placed us in this position? From believing that I chose it? Then there is the idea that our earthly relationships continue in meaningful ways. It isn't only our continued relationship to God that matters, and that we don't lose our individuality into some nebulous being. We are developing relationships of eternal consequence, and it is explicitly part of LDS doctrine, not just something that we think should be true.

Death and all this family stuff makes a wonderful sort of sense once you decode the doctrines hidden to make the proclamation more approachable to the uninitiated. We are destined to be gods and goddesses if we make the choices that will allow us to become such. If you think this belief is too weird, or even evil, I'm sorry it bothers you. I think, "What more natural meaning to being God's children than growing up to be gods?"

We need temples and the ordinances performed in them. This is a problematic doctrine for my current universalist belief tendencies. My personal response is, everyone will have an opportunity for these ordinances, and while it is wonderful to experience the spirit of the ordinances in this life, it is not essential. I find temple work beautiful and inspiring to do much good. If anyone else wants to experience the beauty I have found in the temple, I'm happy to help you get there. If not, I'd love to be an observer, companion, or helper in your personal search for truth and beauty.

In summary: we chose life, physical bodies are wonderful, individuality and relationships are eternal, and we can become gods and goddesses. Quite the crazy metaphysical framework, but it really works for me. I think there is even more implied. If relationships are eternal, we lose something of eternal value every time we contribute to harming a relationship with a loved one. If I am not asking myself what I can do to improve my family relationships, I am failing to fully embrace the atonement in my life. If I am focused on how a family member or friend has lost his salvation, I may be forgetting the universalism of our temple doctrines, or be overemphasizing our belief in works and not giving grace its due weight.

No more questions I haven't already asked for this part. :)

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