Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Gospel according to Beck...

Mormon Enigma's recent question: "Are we eternally gay?" has triggered this post. I wanted to respond there, but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to make a post of my own out of it. So here goes...

I do not profess any great knowledge or understanding and don't profess to speak for the Church and correct Gospel principles, but there is NO dilemma in my mind regarding scriptures and general authorities. Alma 34:33-34 refers to our being the same "spirit" in the eternal world. And yet the Oaks /Wickman interview states: "Same-gender attraction did not exist in the pre-earth life and neither will it exist in the next life."
Okay... this is why in my mind there is no dilemma... It's called that wonderful concept of the "Spirit World" that station of time between death and final judgment where we all go after this life. I find it humorous to realize so many members of the Church do not understand the afterlife! I am convinced that we do NOT have an immediate revelation of all truth and knowledge at the time of death. We ARE the same spirits that we always have been. We take with us our experience, our desires, our passions, our fears, our righteousness, our sins. We are who we are. We are not "changed" as we enter the Spirit World. We do NOT enter the presence of the Lord. We do not have that meeting with Jesus! It does NOT work that way. We are still being tried and tested and that trial and test is a trial of FAITH. Yes, we still live in the Spirit World for a period of time in FAITH.

Read D&C 138 and preaching of the Gospel to all who have lived on the earth. Why would there be so much missionary work and teaching going on if we were all changed and all of a sudden had equal knowledge and assurance of eternity! It's hog-wash!

It must be so, otherwise God is not fair. But he is fair. He knows best for us and there is a time for all of us to continue to grow and learn and repent and exercise our faith. If it were not so, then how can those who never had an opportunity to accept the Gospel, all of our ancestors that we work so hard to bring their names and perform their proxy ordinances to the temple if they didn't have to go through the exact same thing we go through the steps of the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel, by in living by FAITH, REPENTING, DESIRING BAPTISM and THE HOLY GHOST??? To be given a sure knowledge by seeing Christ and the Father immediately upon death and having instant judgment robs us all of that continued opportunity to learn and to show our faith.

Thus, we are the same individuals in the Spirit World that we are now. That same spirit that possesses our body now will be in the Spirit World. That is why it is said that it won't necessarily be easy to repent of habits, desires, passion. But we can be taught, we can repent, we can show the direction we want to go in. As we don't have a body anymore, it does not mean that we cannot feel desires and passions. Thus, Alma's belief that we are still the same is true. And it will be hard as it is now. But - there is a time and our probationary period of living by FAITH dwells beyond this life into the Spirit World.

Now, as we approach resurrection, be it soon after death or at the point of the Second Coming, or during the Millennium, an initial judgment is made and we are quickened to another state. I believe that that quickening will be based on the desires of our hearts, the repentant nature of our being, the faith and belief and acceptance of Christ as our Savior. We become "His". He claims us and makes us whole - whatever that means. This is why I feel Oaks/Wickman can say that we won't have these temptations in the we will become like HIM. Our passions, our desires, our purpose at that point will be HIS purpose as well. So, yes, we won't have these feelings in the end if our desires are to be like HIM.
So, both are correct! It just depends on the context - the Spirit World, or the Eternities...

Fortunately, I don't care if this is "right". I feel it to be right inside of my being! I know that we all have our test, our "package of talents" we've been given. The point isn't the fairness of one receiving 5, another 2, and another 1. The point is to measure what we did with what we were given! The reward of the one receiving 2 and increasing two-fold is the SAME as the one receiving 5 and increasing two-fold. There is no difference. It isn't the quantity. It is what we are doing with what we've been given. That is why we cannot and I hope I do not judge anyone... for I certainly hope no one judges me and the way I'm trying to handle and "increase" the talents given me - including my being a gay man!

I know I've been cynical lately (and I feel for the most part this is a good thing) and have been called on it by some readers about it. I apologize if anyone has doubted my testimony. I am not trying in this blog to convince anyone of leaving the Church. Sometimes my recent cynicism of the brethren, of the Church system and it's bureaucracy, get to me... and I sound at times "apostate". May I make it perfectly clear (since this is my blog and I have the right to say whatever I wish) that I am NOT cynical about my testimony of the Gospel. I have a firm belief and passion for my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I believe, and "know" that the Plan of Salvation, this beautiful plan - which includes that wonderful period of teaching and accepting and learning and growing in the Spirit World - gives each of us the fair opportunity to receive all that we are willing to accept from a loving Father. Do I have issues with other aspects of the Church's teachings? Yes! Absolutely! I do not profess a perfect knowledge and I don't have a firm belief in everything the Church stands for or professes... That having been said, I still believe in what I have said here in this post.
I'm sorry to be preachy. Again I claim no authority and I only speak for myself. I apologize and will now return back to the "cynical Beck" you are used to... Meanwhile, may you be assured where Beck stands!


-L- said...

I'm gonna print this and stick it between Matthew and Mark.

I appreciate your example of faith despite all the understandably "cynical" moments and questions (many of which I share).

Mormon Enigma said...

If you read the rest of Elder Wickman's comment, he says "... It is a circumstance that for whatever reason or reasons seems to apply right now in mortality, in this nano-second of our eternal existence." That implies to me that he is not differentiating between the spirit world and the resurrection. Once we die we are no longer mortal; and, according to Elder Wickman, we will no longer have our same sex attractions.

I hate to say it, but Elder Wickman's remark about SSA only existing in mortality doesn't give me comfort. Isn't sexual attraction the same regardless if you are heterosexual or homosexual? Isn't it just a matter of who the attraction is aimed at? Why do heterosexuals carry their attractions onto the next life but homosexuals don't? Or is he saying that sexual attraction doesn't exist beyond mortality (either homosexual or heterosexual)?

This starts to get into a topic I blogged about in my "Deep and Thoughtful" post: If you take away my homosexual attractions, what does that leave? Do I become asexual? Is asexual better than homosexual? Or do my homosexual attractions somehow magically get altered into heterosexual attractions after death? That latter statement seems to contradict other things we know about life after death (at least to my limited thinking).

Beck said...

L: Thanks for your comment. You are my champion!

Beck said...

M.E.: I agree with you that there is a puzzlement here. But I still feel we are playing with words and time sequences. There has to be a time to sort this out. It can't be instantaneous. E. Wickman's comments only make sense (to me)if we are talking about this in the long term. There is no purpose for the Spirit World if all changes instantly at death in my mind! I still see no inconsistency in my thinking. (Of course I'm stubborn and refuse to admit that I may be wrong.:))

Meanwhile, your comments on sex in the eternities triggers a moment in my SS class a few weeks ago when we were discussing (because a sincere investigator wanted to know) sexual relations of the Gods. I don't claim personal knowledge (believe it or not!) so I just said - "I don't know. Obviously there is a creative process of spiritual children. We are literal spirit children of our Heavenly Father and Mother. The exact mechanism to make that creative process happen is beyond my personal revelation capability." :)

But, that having been said, our family desires, our sense of love, our passion for each other, continues into eternity. Our creative process continues into eternity. So that having been said, there obviously is still a desire for such sexual ties... but what a different "sphere" adds to it, I don't know. I may never know and this whole thing is nothing but a great fantasy!

santorio said...

i have no concept of eternity--i'm worried that it's going to be boring, wherever i end up.

i have no desire to be the same 'kingdom' as the majority of stake presidents that i have known.

and i think a discussion about libido in the afterlife is, well, funny: hey honey, creating a billion worlds today has made me really horny--how about a roll in the celestial hay?

Beck said...

Santario: What? You don't want to live eternally walking around in white whispey robes, bare-footed on cold hard marble w/ sharp angular corners - not a blade of grass or anything "natural" in sight? What in Heaven's name is wrong with you? :)

I hear your point and share your misgivings, particularly the part about living for eternity with stake presidents!

Forester said...

I thought that when we go to the spirit world the veil is opened and we remember our premortal life. When do I get my memory back? If we do remember our premortal existence in the spirit world it doesn't mean that we know everything. You would still have to learn about what has happened since then with the gospel. How much do we get to know in the pre existence about what is happening on the earth before we are born? It stands to reason that we are not allowed to know anything about mortal existence until we learn it for ourselves as a mortal being.

So, yes, we are the same person in the spirit world when we die, but I believe that being that same person includes knowledge of our premortal life.

Beck said...

Forester: I believe the veil to be thinner, but if, as you state, we have a full remembrance of the pre-existence, then we would have a sure knowledge of living with heavenly parents, the war in heaven with Christ and Satan etc. and this would negate the need for faith in my mind. I don't know when memory comes back, but my point is - we all have our faith tested and having full recollection at death even of the premoral life seems to be counter-productive to the missionary work of the spirit world that requires one to accept things by faith.

Forester said...

There is no way we had a sure knowledge in the pre-existence. If this was the case, then way did a third follow Satan? They lived with God and still chose Satan's plan. Another example is Laman and Lemuel. They saw an angel, felt God's power, and they still chose not to follow.

You are right that faith is the key. Maybe if we have enough faith when we die, we get to remember. Those who are unsure, don't remember, or don't understand. Christ also visited the Spirit World. When he was there did everyone suddenly know he was the Christ. I'm sure there were many who still did not accept him, even with a greater knowledge.

I still want to believe that I get my memeory back when I die. If I had the choice, I would want to have it back now. When I blessed and gave my little girl a name two years ago, I blessed her with the possibility of remembering a slight portion, if not just a feeling, of the Spirit World.

Beck said...

FORESTER: I'm pretty sure that the War in Heaven was presented in a way that we were able to freely choose what we wanted to do, who we were going to follow. I don't mean to say that our knowledge was perfect - but the knowledge had to be great enough to freely choose responsibly.

But just as Laman and Lemuel, the 1/3 that chose against the plan freely didn't want to follow the plan. They willingly chose.

When Christ visited the Spirit World, he organized the preaching of the Gospel - he didn't physically meet with all inhabitants there (read D&C 138). I believe the veil will be thinner but I also believe we will have a period of time to sort things out extending into the Spirit World and that includes our homosexuality.

Thanks for the dialogue. I appreciate your comments and thoughts. They help me very much.