Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Brigham Young on Joie de Vivre

August 03rd, 2011 by G.

Brigham Young had a lot of zest for life, but you wouldn’t know it from some of his preaching. He seemed to take the position that this life is the time to prepare to meet God and only valuable insomuch as it prepares us.

I take Brigham Young’s views seriously, even though they contradict my own, because I strongly believe that mortal experience and relationship are valuable in themselves. See specifically here

I have come to believe that exaltation partly means becoming a being who is in some sense *present* throughout time and therefore exaltation necessarily requires incorporating all the events of one’s life into a story and a direction.

and here

I believe partly that God has a foot outside time and we, when exalted, will also have a foot outside time–that all things past and present will be before our face–because I don’t see how joy would be possible otherwise.

Taken to their extreme, Brigham Young’s views sound like C.S. Lewis’ extreme views that we only have one choice that matters which is our singular choice for heaven and hell. This contradicts the Mormon belief in multiple degrees of glory, which Brigham Young certainly shared. Taken to their extreme, Brigham Young’s view also contradicts the value Mormons put on family relationships. The great promise of Mormonism is that the loves we have now will continue–they are not just a preparation for something yet to come. Since Brother Brigham certainly believed in those family relationships, and the more the merrier, I guess I have warrant not to take his views to the extreme. Brigham probably meant us to not squander away our time on earth by orienting us to the time that comes after.

Another way of putting this would be to recount the sequence of my own views. I first discovered that each mortal experience and moment was valuable in itself through experiencing them as good and valuable, though there are doctrinal reasons to believe it too (it helps explain why the Father has a body too, for instance). I then concluded that eternal life ought to include being present throughout time, so that no experience was ever lost to you. This then led me to a renewed horror for sin, since in the eternities I would have to experience it forever if I didn’t repent and put it away from me. I realized that the worse thing about having your sins shouted from the rooftops was hearing them yourself. So, paradoxically, a thought journey that started with a sense that the passing mortal moment was precious oriented me towards the future Day of Judgment. Brigham Young is right to urge us to prepare all we can now.

Comments (4)
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August 03rd, 2011 11:35:34

August 3, 2011

I’m tempted to put it a little differently: When you are exalted, you will retain a foot inside time, namely, the time of your mortal experience. Which will in some way help ground the rest.

Adam G.
August 3, 2011

Quite so. I only wonder if, as our embodiment continues, so does not our experience of time.

This would be a more sensible way of understanding the assertion that God continues to “progress.” Not that He figures stuff out he doesn’t already know, but that He accumulates more experience and more relationship.

Adam G.
August 4, 2011

Neurologists have identified what they call “the extended mind,” which is a phenomenon where you mind can treat tools you often use as parts of your body. Like everything else in neurology, this is taken as proof that consciousness is an illusion (who is being illuded, eh?), but it seems rather evidence of the way mortality and possessing bodies ourselves lets us expand our relationship with the material world.

See here for a discussion:
http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/print/273502 (scroll down)

August 4, 2011

The notion that the mind fools itself into believing it exists cuts donuts on the lawn in front of Plato’s Cave.

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