Some Soul Baring

Folk who have been following this blog for a while should have twigged to the idea that I’m pretty close to an open book here.  There are some things I keep to myself (doesn’t everyone?) but on the whole I’m pretty open.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in the LDS church.  Sometime around my late twenties I ended up drifting away from it.  I just found that I didn’t believe too many of the core doctrines any more.  It started with Young Earth Creationism and, well, once I started picking at that thread, things started unraveling.

About the time I was going through technical training in the Air Force, there was a musical produced by folk at Brigham Young University called “My Turn On Earth”. It was a schmaltzy little piece which, in the course of its story, gave a brief precis of a number of LDS doctrines (the pre-existence of spirits, the cause of Lucifers rebellion and fall, the eternal nature of family–more on that shortly–etc.)

Mind you, back then I’d never actually seen the musical.  What I had was a cassette recording of the soundtrack (I’ve since found a recording of a performance on Youtube–and it was as nice as I imageined; one doesn’t have to believe the story to enjoy it as a story).  And, frankly, I loved the music.  Okay, this was way before my “musical awakening” and getting introduced to Goth and Metal music.  It very much had a “show tune” vibe.  Of course, they were show tunes, so that just made sense.  But, in particular one of the songs–well, more a medley of two but it’s the second part that really did it for me and can still move me to tears. (Yeah, yeah, I’m just a sentimental softie.)

To explain that you have to understand that while I no longer believe the doctrine of the LDS religion, a lot of my early emotional conditioning/imprinting/whatever you want to call it came out of it.  And the big one there was the idea that marriage and family was supposed to continue not just “until death do you part” but “for time and all eternity.”  “Heaven” in a very real sense, was simply a continuation of a loving family…forever.

Mind you, I hadn’t personally experienced that perfect family, or even a sort-of-all-right-family.  I had, however, seen it in others.   And while I recognize that seeing others vs. experiencing ones own has been described (with considerable justice) as comparing someone else’s “highlight reel” with ones own “behind the scenes”, I could still see that a good (let alone perfect) family where the people love, care for, and support each other and having that continue forever is extremely attractive, and it’s more tangible than most conceptions of “heaven” that don’t really “sing” for me. (I may joke about “Viking Heaven” offering sex, booze, and meat, but the reality is this “continuation of a great family forever” IMO has that beat hands down.)

As a side note, this is why I roll my eyes when people tell me “you can believe what you want.” You see, I can’t think of anything more appealing than that:  family, loving and caring for each other, continuing for all eternity.  That would be my heaven.  If I could just throw a switch in my head and believe the doctrines of a church that offers that, I would.  And so, whatever happens after I die–oblivion, non-existence, or some form of afterlife–remains a great unknown.

And so, not having promise (that’s meaningful to me anyway) of an “ever after” I’m left with trying to do the best I can in this mortal condition.  Of course, like everyone else, I’m hampered by all the flaws and difficulties of human frailty–and the fleeting nature of human life is no help at all.  But it’s a goal, and a high one.

And in the meantime, one can listen to this beautiful little song:

It may be horribly un-goth for me to admit (Hey, I’ve got layers! 😉 ) but there are a handful of love songs that I consider among the most beautiful and moving ever made.  There’s the Righteous Brothers “Unchained Melody.” There’s Elvis Presley and “I can’t Help Falling in Love” and “Love me Tender.” “If” by Bread.  And the second part of this one ranks right right up there with them.

Here in our love, I feel something of Eternity. (Eternity)
Looking at you, I can see right through to Eternity (Eternity)
Millions of years like pearls before us wind away.
They wind away. (They wind away.)
Millions of years like pearls before us
Yours and mine
Today.

We will go on, building upon Eternity (Eternity)
Growing with you, flowing into Eternity (Eternity)
Suddenly hours and days are spinning
Suddenly Heaven is beginning
Suddenly now the veil is thinning
In a place or two.
Suddenly now I see Eternity is you.

Suddenly hours and days are spinning
Suddenly Heaven is beginning
Suddenly now the veil is thinning
In a place or two
Suddenly now I see Eternity is you.
Eternity is you.
Eternity is you.

 

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