Monday, January 11, 2010

You're All Unique!

So, I decided to read over the lesson manual for my priesthood lesson next week.  I do a bit better as a teacher if I do that than I do if I just pick it up that morning...

This next lesson is all about "Our Heavenly Family".  It's basically about our life in the pre-existence.  An interesting part of it is that a big part of the lesson is all about how we developed as individuals even before our birth here on earth. 

Any parent knows that even though there are many similarities between their children, they are also very different, right from the start.  Parenting strategies that worked so well on the first child are total blow-up catastrophes on the second and third.  Things that were easy issues with one child are a constant struggle with another.

It all comes down to a big, nasty, dirty word:  FREEWILL.  That's right.  We all wanted it, we all chose it.  Now we have to deal with it.

And the actual problem with it is not so much that I have it, but that YOU have it, too.  I can deal with my own freewill, and the mistakes and successes that come from that.  But see, if EVERYONE goes out and starts exercising their own freewill, then suddenly we have to deal with (I'm sorry, I have to say it) DIVERSITY.  UNIQUENESS.  INDIVIDUALITY.

Ok, I hope you can see through my sarcasm.

I hate to admit it, but we Mormons have a history of "not playing well with others".  That's partly our fault, partly the fault of murdering mobs in Missouri and Illinois, and the result of a host of issues in between and since then.  For much of our history we tried to isolate ourselves.  We settled a land that nobody else wanted just so people would leave us alone.

Now we're in a world where isolation doesn't work any more.  We have to interact with others.  We have to be "in the world, but not of the world."  We have to live our standards, while respecting the rights of others to "worship how, where, or what they may."

That also applies internally.  We also have to face the ugly truth that freewill allows us to have diverse opinions even among ourselves, the members of the Church.  We weren't born alike, we don't think alike, and we've all had different lives that have led us to different personal places.

It turns out that all this individuality and diversity was a part of the plan from the beginning.  God wants us to work together.  Part of our task in achieving our godlike potential is in learning how to love and serve people who are different from us, people who reject us.  Our Heavenly Father has to deal with loving and caring about billions and billions of children, many of whom don't even believe He exists.  Many others fight among themselves, even to the point of killing each other, because they think He wants them to.

We have a long, long way to go.


Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including and his Dutch Oven blog.

Mark's Other Blog Posts: Use Google to Find Backlinks!, Dutch Oven Cocoa Bread

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