Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Harder to repent?

We believe in repentance in the spirit world, but, so as not to give people motivation to procrastinate their repentance, we teach that it's a lot harder to repent there than it is here. So you'd better take advantage of the easier opportunity now.

On the other hand, I often hear sentiments to the effect of “We'll be so different in the next life, so we won't struggle so much with envy or all the things that our fallen condition make so hard for us.”

So, which is it? Easier or harder to change now? Is there going to be a miraculous change wrought upon us that will erase our weakness, or are we going to have to keep working on our character, even after this life?

Twenty points for guessing which way I lean. ;-)

8 comments:

  1. Both are true, from ObiWan's certain point of view.

    I think it will be harder to change, both for good or ill, because we won't be able to engage in the active behavior that reinforces the will to change. I won't be stricken by envy over and above what I've already built into my character here on earth; on the other hand, it will be harder to repent of bad habits, because I won't be able to behave differently. (I think we can agree that not sinning because the opportunity isn't there doesn't demonstrate any great strength of character.)

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  2. Well, I believe the Mormon perspective is that in the next life we'll retain all our good and bad qualities, including susceptibility to temptation or progress in righteousness or self-mastery (the two are roughly synonymous in LDS doctrine).

    I think this is rather too simple, as we also believe that God grants spiritual gifts (including faith) to some, not others, and before that we are all given different endowments or "talents" at birth. So if there's justice in the next life, there must be some rebalancing or redistribution to compensate those who got the short end of the stick--maybe something as simple as bad genes--in this life.

    The Christian view sees us as "new creatures" at the resurrection which presumably would overcome or remove a variety of sinful states or temptations, but then Christians see humans as God's creatures to start with rather than eternally preexistent something-or-others with identity independent of God.

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  3. Christopher, I want to commend you on your use of an arbitrary points awards system. My dad frequently offered us points, usually 20, for answering a question right, and it was quite effective. I'm still waiting to redeem those points. I wonder if it will be harder or easier if I wait until the spirit world.

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  4. I guess it all depends on whether the points giver and points winner end up in the same place...

    (By the way, points at Let Us Reason cannot be converted into Whose Line is it Anyway? points.)

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  5. I think it gets into that BoM passage of Alma where he says that same spirit that possesses us now will possess us there. The problem some see is that without a body we can't progress and change. To assume this (and it is just that - an assumption) seems to make sense. If we could change so easily as a spirit, then doesn't that mean that a lot of the stated point of life doesn't make sense? Why get a body at all?

    So in some way (and how doesn't appear to be clarified much) a body is strongly tied to our habits, spirituality and so forth.

    The problem for speculating much on all this is that really little or almost next to nothing about the nature of spirits has been revealed. If you move to more speculative 19th century GAs then there is a bit more. But I'm not sure I trust much of that independent of knowing where they are getting their ideas.

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  6. For some reason this post conjures up the image of Vincent Schiavelli playing that odd subway-bound spirit in the movie Ghost. The particular scene that comes to mind is the one where he's pining after a cigarette, wishing he could get just ... one ... more ... drag.

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  7. For some reason this post conjures up the image of Vincent Schiavelli playing that odd subway-bound spirit in the movie Ghost. The particular scene that comes to mind is the one where he's pining after a cigarette, wishing he could get just ... one ... more ... drag.

    Danithew
    http://www.wump.info/wumpblog

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  8. Who actually said, with authority, or what scripture and verse is there that exists, that states that "it will be harder to repent in the Spirit world than in Mortality"?

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