Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lost and Found

DOROTHY: Oh - will you help me? Can you help me?
GLINDA: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
SCARECROW: Then why didn't you tell her before?
GLINDA: Because she wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.

--The Wizard of Oz

I have always wondered about the "veil of forgetfulness," ever since I was taught about it as a child. Why would loving Heavenly parents purposely plunge us into a state of amnesia? Why would they want us to forget about them? Aren't the scriptures full of admonitions to "remember"? Why wouldn't loving Heavenly Parents want us to remember them, remember all the things they have done for us, remember all the promises we undoubtedly made to them in the pre-mortal existence, remember what is needed in order to come back to them?

Gradually, wrestling with the complex moral choices I have had to wrestle with in my life, including the choices surrounding my gayness/same-sex attraction, I have come to the conclusion that it was our Heavenly Parents' intention that the mortal probation be a test of character that involves seeing how we would act on our own, what choices we would make if we thought no one was looking over our shoulders. This is one reason I am not so concerned about making sure that everyone has the exact same beliefs I do. Is this mortal probation invalidated for Presbyterians or Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs, Baptists or Catholics or Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses or even Atheists? Far from it. The fact that we've each developed our own interpretations of the meaning of this existence, the fact that we've interpreted the guidance of the Spirit or divine revelation differently, the fact that we've received seemingly divergent revelations (or no revelation at all)... This is just part of the grand test. Every religion or philosophy seems to be moving us toward the same higher law Christ taught: Love. So there is unity even in our divergence, and I am certain that a key part of the test for all of us is to see how effectively we are able to find that true underlying unity that should unite us all as brothers and sisters.

But there's another aspect of this test that seems even more crucial to me. That is, to see if we are able to find the "divine spark" within each of us. So in fact, we have been plunged into a state of forgetfulness literally to see if we can begin to remember on our own. This is why I love the Latter-day Saint notion of progressive knowledge. As we hear and obey the Spirit, as we exercise faith, our capacity to hear the Spirit increases. It is like a seed that grows if we nurture it, and that dies if we deprive it of sun or water. The more we practice love, the more capable we become of loving. And the more loving we are, the more we will remember and know of the God the Evangelist calls Love.

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy has what she needed to find her way "back to Kansas" all along -- the ruby slippers she inherited from the moment she first entered Oz. We just saw The Golden Compass yesterday, in which Lyra, a Dorothy-like character, is given a golden compass that can teach her all truth if only she can learn to read it. We all have our own ruby slippers, our own golden compass.

We had to forget, I believe, partly in order to learn what is within us. Our Heavenly Parents could have told us what was within us. In fact they probably did. But how could we believe it, until we had experienced it for ourselves?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for the insight. In ways this blog has been a healing salve, and has helped spark new ideas for how I want to live.