I was cleaning through my office yesterday, and was about to throw away a notebook. I'm forever writing down thoughts that I have, or notes to an interesting book or interview, whatever, then I get these notes spread all over my house. Anyway, I was just about to toss this notebook when I decided to glance through it, needless to say it never hit the garbage can because I saw the following story in it:
The story is about a NDE, that I think was supposed to have really happened, but I could be wrong about that. Let me just say...I'm not sure about NDE's, I find some of them interesting, but I have no idea if they are real or not. This one seems to be tainted with Mormon ideology, so... you can take it as seriously as you want, but I think there is wisdom in it. From what I remember, this person, Allen R. Barlow, was a member of the church, who had become aware of it's false claims and left the church. He had a NDE, in which he sees his deceased grandmother, who was a Mormon. He asks her some pretty tough questions. In my notes I have written the words, "Main Points," so I guess these are the main points, as I saw them.
I'm just going to write them as they are in my notebook, sorry for not referencing this, or adding a link, I'm not sure where this came from, but a simple google search would probably provide more information. With that introduction, here we go, I believe it starts with a question from his grandmother:
"Why have you come before you are whole?"
(This is his response to his grandmother, Allen's words will be in blue, his grandmother's in red)
"Freedom is a miserable thing don't you think? So painful."
"Painful to be sure. To those who really know it, it gives moments more painful than death or birth. But don't say miserable, say breathtaking or better yet, exhilarating. There is no growth without it, and growth is life."
Freedom = Growth = Life
"But did it have to be so confusing? All I wanted was just to be shown a clear path. I could have managed the rest just fine."
"The rest is virtually nothing, making the path is mortality...hacking your way through the brush of temptation and persecution, stumbling up the hills of uncertainty and scaling the cliffs of ignorance, quenching your thirst at the springs of love. These are the very things that bring you The Goal."
"It's so easy isn't it? Make a path, and where should it go? Hey, no problem we'll send down a hundred prophets (all with suspect credentials) to clearly explain it to you, and they will point a hundred different directions and then you can take your pick. What? not enough help --tough break that's all there is, no maps on this trip. No compass either."
"I expected more of you, life's goal is plainly to draw near to God and become like him. That cannot be a novel concept to you. You must have heard it your whole life...which of the prophets didn't teach it to you? And how shall you accomplish it without learning and loving? No compass? Who can doubt the validity of His path when he feels that inner peace that can come in no other way? The goal and its direction have always been quite clear."
"Come on, people need a detailed plan. If they would have just made the steps plain and the leaders authority unquestionable, we good ones would have followed unfailingly."
"So there's the root of it...you think the answer is more valuable than the ability to work the problem. It's not true. Simple obedience is a necessary element in life, but its no virtue in and of itself. Only as a forerunner to understanding can it aid the purpose of life. Then God asks obedience of His children, its for their own protection as they begin to explore new and unfamiliar realms. But we must grow beyond it...
"Grandmother does God really answer the prayers of mortals?"
"Be grateful that God doesn't base His interactions with us on our often confused perception of our needs. He loves us too much for that and gives greater gifts. To those who truly seek Him. He grants not what we ask, but what we need. In your case, I don't know, let me speculate, He may have felt it time to dispel your confusion about the things in life that matter most. Let us suppose he had answered your questions in just the way you wanted. Would it have made you love your fellow man more? Increased your integrity? Enlarged your creativity? Improving your ability to discern truth? Or would you have become ever less empathic toward your fellow man's struggles with life perplexities? Small wonder then, that He seems to favor comforting, strengthening, and inspiring over clarifying factual curiosities."