Monday, July 19, 2010

Alma - Chapter 40

This is quite a statement:
"....the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave the life." 
I had not thought of it that way.  It appears to mean that promptly upon death we will meet our Maker.  It is not the final judgement, but a partial one.  One in which we are consigned to Paradise or Prison which is also called Hell.  I have a notion about he nature of Hell that I'd like to share with you and get, if I may, some feedback.

One day I was counselling with a girl at the Detention Center.  She'd been accused of a heinous crime.  As we discussed her situation tears were shed by each of us.  At one point she asked in grief, "Am I going to Hell?"  To which I responded with a question of my own.  In a compassionate way I asked, "Aren't you already there?"  She answered in the affirmative and explained that she not only was, but had been since long before the present incident.

I've thought a lot about that and about the nature of Hell since then.  I don't think it contradictory to Alma's explanation to Corianton.  Hell may or may not be a geographic location.  But most certainly it is a state of being.  Many of us experience Hell on earth.  We suffer at the hands of others and we suffer at our own hands.  Wrong choices, whether inflicted upon ourselves or by others around us cause pain and suffering.  These are the end result of having taken the risk to choose agency and mortality.  We clearly knew the threat of pain and suffering that attended our choice to follow God's plan rather than Satan's.  Surely in his campaign to win our hearts Satan pointed out to us the enormous risk we were taking.  Surely, he asked us why we would choose the inevitability of pain and mistreatment.  Certainly, the Father didn't misrepresent the nature of mortality either.  But we chose God's danger and discomfort fraught plan over Satan's because while cushy and pain free, Satan's plan could never deliver us to our rightful inheritance.  The reason we could make such a choice was the promise that Christ would rescue us from that pain, sorrow, affliction and sin.

So here we are on earth and many of us are hurting.  Most of us, including many in the church, have yet to learn that Christ is the answer to that pain and suffering.  Most of us, not having discovered or chosen Christ to rescue us yet, have found other ways to deal with the pain.  We anesthetize it by various means.  Drinking and drugs are common methods.  So are chasing adrenalin highs, excessive eating, gambling, over spending, pornography, sexual deviation, endless games of solitaire, the list goes on and on.  All are abused to numb the pain or distract us from it.  It is called self medication and it is far more common that we think.  All are unnecessary because we can go to Christ and be forgiven  and healed of the brokenness and pain of our mistakes, sins and mistreatment.

The difference, I believe, between Hell here and Hell in the Spirit World is this:  Here we can self medicate and to a degree we can conceal our pain from ourselves.  Over there, stripped of a body, the pain will persist, for it is spiritual pain, but there will be no way to avoid fully experiencing it.  It will be raw, intense and agonizing.  Far better to have it healed and dealt with here than there I should think.  Still, I believe the same remedy is available there as here, to accept the Savior's invitation to "return unto me, and repent of your sins, and be converted, that I may heal you."  (3 Nephi 9:13)  The Temples seem to be adequate testimony to the possibility of doing that there as well as here.

An addict friend of mine put it very succinctly when he said, "I don't want to be over there with an itch I can't scratch!

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