An Insider's Look at Mormon Culture

Heaven Can Wait

I love the Mormon idea of eternal progression. Everything we do in life is important if we believe our intact personalities and intellect—all the things we’ve learned, the characteristics we’ve achieved–will last beyond this life. Where it breaks down for me is that once a person becomes perfect, and like God, able to create worlds and people them, it sounds pretty depressing. If God is perfect, then this world must be the best He can do, and why would I want to replicate that and be responsible for the billions of people—most of them suffering—that inhabit it?

 Also, the idea of doing the same thing over and over again would eventually get old. Granted it would take many eons to reach perfection and then to get the hang of scrunching particles of matter into a sphere, setting it spinning, providing atmosphere, land and a water cycle. But once the essentials are mastered, monotony sets in—creating the same worlds and people over and over again without improving the methods doesn’t meet my definition of progression.

The traditional Christian view of Heaven as a place where we join the Heavenly choir and praise God forever would get boring even faster—unless it’s possible to return to earth and angelically assist  humans muddling their way through mortality.

I do relate to the Buddhist and Hindu notions of reincarnation. Retaining the virtues we gain in this life for the next go-around makes our actions in this life important. But I want to hang onto my memories of this life. In the B & H traditions, that kind of attachment would not rate me a better situation next time. No doubt I’d sink quite a few notches.

The Muslim idea of Paradise—an oasis of trees, grass, flowing water—and beautiful women to serve—appeals to men, but what motivates Muslim women to want a place there?

Atheists have no hope their good deeds will gain them admittance to a post-earth life nor do they have hope of retaining their virtues in another embodiment. Their only choice is to make the most of this life. Not the best bet for a procrastinator. I have a need to apologize to a number of people who have gone beyond.

The main problem with eternity, is—it lasts too long. No wonder nobody wants to die.

Comments on: "Heaven Can Wait" (6)

  1. Ann, I’m so with you on the existentialism of eternal being. I think it would be different if we simply. Could not take memories with us, but then what would be the point? Memories are what gives the sense of time and the desire to live after death. There must be incredible peace in forgetting … in finally relinquishing even our memories and returning to non-being.

  2. Not all Buddhist sects believe in the common definition of reincarnation. I’m not sure that I can fully explain it here but my own interpretation of reincarnation is that my earthly body will return to the earth and become part of it once again.

    I’m sure that within two or three generations most evidence of my existence will be gone. My grandchildren and great-grandchildren will hopefully have wonderful memories that we have created while together. It is possible that some stories will be passed down to succeeding generations (think pioneer stories). Trying to live “in the present” is very different than living to attain some unknown degree of glory. It forces me to realize that every moment is precious and every action has an affect on what happens next. Karma.

    Please forgive me if my comment doesn’t make a lot of sense. It can be difficult to put into words that which seems to make perfect sense in my mind… at least for right now!

    • Numi,

      You reply makes total sense. I agree that we will live on in the memories of our descendants–and maybe the effects of good we’ve done will last longer than our mortal remains.

      I also agree that living in the present makes every choice in this life more important. Expecting a chance to make up happiness in the next life doesn’t work for me.

  3. Well aren’t we smart! To think we can figure this out! Amazing that no one religion knows the answer to the “after life” question.

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