A Difficult Concept to Grasp
One of the most difficult doctrines, in my opinion, is that of perspective. As mortal beings we are born with the disadvantage of the mortal mind; we are not able to comprehend things on a Celestial level as God does. To make matters worse, we often believe ourselves to be comprehending and intelligent when it comes to morality (especially) and the logic behind the question why?
For example, why should we not fornicate before marriage? There is a seemingly endless list of hot-button topics in today’s society that could fit that why question. However, I do not wish to focus on any of those questions in particular. Instead, I believe that we can answer all of those questions at once by finding the right perspective.
The String Example
To begin, think of a string that goes on forever, so far that you can’t see either end. Now, imagine putting a single dot with a marker on any part of the string. You probably already guessed it; that dot represents our mortality.
We existed long before that dot and we will continue to exist forever after that dot. Even this simple illustration is impossible to truly grasp in its entirety because we cannot understand eternity with a mortal mind. Sure, we may understand some basic principles of it (forever, no death, eternal life, etc). But we have no idea how it will be. However it ends up being, though, we know why. We have been given the gospel of Jesus Christ, above all else, to lead us to eternal life with our families in the Celestial Kingdom with our Heavenly Parents.
The Question “Why”
Now, how is perspective so important here? And how does it answer ‘all of those questions’ as I mentioned above? It answers the question “why.”
This became a little clearer to me as I read a scripture from The Book of Mormon in Mosiah 3:19,
“For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.”
Let’s dissect just the beginning of this scripture.
The natural man is and has been an enemy to God since the fall of Adam. Not too difficult. Adam’s transgression brought sin and temptation into the world. Not only sin and temptation but also natural, physical temptations. These are things like lust, gluttony, greed, and all those things that our bodies naturally are inclined to like and grow addictions towards like drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, etc. These are all natural things that our bodies will like, want, and even crave, without our consent.
How To Gain Perspective
So, what are we supposed to do? This is the tough question today because so many believe that we should give in to these things, that they don’t hurt us or anyone else, or that they are fine since they are socially acceptable or just who we are. Many ask the wrong why question, “why is it bad if this is how I am?”
The right why question is “why should I put off this natural part of myself?” The answer is more easily understood when we think of the perspective illustration before. Life is so fleetingly short – smaller and shorter than the smallest dot on a string (time) that goes on forever – that we can’t afford to not put off the natural man to receive those eternal blessings promised by God.
Mortality is but a test, a short time to prove ourselves; it wasn’t designed to appease or reach a sense of fulfillment of the natural man. It doesn’t feel that way because we don’t feel eternity, it’s more an idea or a belief because we aren’t capable of truly understanding what is to come.
Now, I would not downplay any temptation or feeling, especially those that I don’t personally experience but which many do experience. For most, it is more difficult than I understand but keeping a perspective that focuses on an eternity after our short stay on Earth can help us tremendously with the question “why should I put off, resist, correct, etc., this natural part of myself?” For eternity.
A Short Test
We should always try to keep in the forefront of our mind that this life is short and fleeting and that anything we suffer through here will last but a short while and we will be rewarded more than we can understand if we ‘endure it well’. It makes challenges just a little bit easier by remembering that this is all going to end; the temptations, the suffering, the trials, the sorrow, the sin. We will reach that next life; that is the why.
It is easier, at times, to follow when we realize that we aren’t going to be able to understand certain principles and doctrines. That is where faith comes in, more than likely after much prayer, scripture study, fasting, and above all else trying. There is no such thing as blind faith; it is either faith, which we receive primarily through the Holy Ghost, or fools faith, which is not faith at all but simply a following of something without spiritual confirmation of why they are following.
The eternal perspective will help us overcome anything that is of the natural man that we need to put off because it gives us the why. Hopefully it makes it a little easier in knowing that we all have the same why. We all have parts of the natural man in us, we just need to keep our perspective on the eternal and not on the temporary.