Sunday, January 11, 2009

Believing Too Much (Svithe)

I want to see truth in all its bearings and hug it to my bosom. I believe all that God ever revealed, and I never hear of a man being damned for believing too much; but they are damned for unbelief.

---Joseph Smith, History of the Church 6:477; also Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (2007), 265.

* * * *

Pondering this thought earlier today, I discovered my deepest fear: that the post-mortal life will be so completely different than life on Earth, that the things from which I derive my deepest satisfaction---especially mastering new truths---will dissolve in the transition. And then I remembered this, from Brigham Young, and took some comfort: "[W]hen we have lived millions of years in the presence of God and angels [...] shall we then cease learning? No, or eternity ceases" (Journal of Discourses 6:344).

Eternal progression, then, signifies, in Eugene England's words (from "Perfection and Progression: Two Ways to Talk About God" [in Making Peace: Personal Essays]), an "expansive vision of continued, unlimited learning and experience" (48)---an eternal engagement with and the eternal expansion of truth. This was, England concludes, for Brigham Young---and for me, as I grow older and realize how little I really know---"both the reason for and the means of continued existence, of eternal life" or life as God lives it (48).

And so, I've begun to exercise greater faith that my deep enjoyment of learning won't stop once I become a God (yes, I'm optimistic about that---have to be). Rather---and sue me for perhaps believing too much---it will continue and deepen for as long as I exist.

And that just excites me all the more.