Sunday, December 4, 2011
Overcoming the ...
Today's Sunday School lesson was on overcoming the world. I've never really much liked this topic. It's in the category of the other "everybody hates us and is out to corrupt us" lessons.
Besides teaching intolerance, homophobia, racism, elitism and the like, the idea that we can overcome the world is just the opposite of reality. To make any sense of this discussion one must first define "the world". Generally, in church "the world" means anything that is counter to what the church teaches, which is not a very useful definition unless you just want to talk in a circle - overcome the world (anything outside of the church teachings) by being totally immersed in the church's world. It's great for the church but may or may not be great for the individual. It's just the opposite of reality because we all are overcome by the world we choose to live in. The completely correlated Mormon is probably more likely to be overcome by her/his world than the outsider is overcome by his/her world. This is because of the complete package of life activities bundled into the Mormon world - you never need to leave the bubble.
So, for me, I need a better definition. I define and "the world" as the natural physical world and the human experience we live within. As a scientist and based on my life experience, I'd postulate that nature (or the world) always wins. No human has overcome the forces of nature, either in the physical world or in the human experience. We are all subject to the forces of nature, disease, pleasure/pain, death, etc., regardless of whether we are "good" or "evil". Hey wait, that's the same idea that the Church teaches in another lesson - yes, Virginia, they got that one right.
But the church seems to be unwilling to accept that nature always wins when it comes to our "human nature". Here the idea is that we are evil by nature (the natural man) and we need to overcome this evil nature to be like God. Wait again, the church has repudiated the idea of original sin ... or have they just renamed it "the natural man"?
Anyway, back to the point at hand. The church seem to be OK with your human nature as long as it has the characteristics they like. Living "in the world" but not "being of the world"...as the saying goes...is a whole different experience for gay Mormons.