25 October 2013

What if you were wrong about...?

A friend asked me over brunch one day some time ago, "What if, just imagining, what if after you die, you find that life continues--you continue--and you're led to someone who explains that he's the Savior? How would you react?" It was a question I already had asked and answered myself, checking in with myself periodically to see if the answer was still the same.  It was then, and it is now.

I explained that despite the guilt-inducing stories of my Mormon social upbringing in which some rebellious character gets to the other side and is too ashamed to look Christ in the face, I don't have the sense that that would be my experience. I acknowledge that could change, depending on what perspective might open up to me at some point, but actually living it has given me a different conception.  I've lived as honestly and sincerely as I know how, and I fought for years to hold on to what beliefs or "testimony" I could and give myself ample time to come back around before heading off in any direction other than the one that had, for years in the past, seemed so trustworthy.  I've acted and prayed carefully for years.  I don't feel "rebellion" in my path.

I will not always get it right, and I don't want to mislead anyone or miss opportunities to help someone in the best way when I could have done so. But when it comes right down to it, I hope I will always find a way to let go of my own pride about how right I've been or egocentric pride about what kind of "example" I'm being and will instead humbly, deliberately, and actively seek to embrace truth in front of me.

And for that reason, the short answer to that ultimate question is really just three words: I would kneel. I still get choked up saying that, but I don't see any other way. My friend said he somehow knew that would be my response. I took that as a compliment. Sure, I don't expect that is what will happen, but I don't think I have it in me to be totally dismissive about the possibility, it having meant so much to me for so long. And sure, if it does happen, I might wonder how I had lost sight of it or how many souls I could have brought to the greater truth during my time wandering.  And I might have questions to ask and critical thinking to incorporate into or balance with faith, but in the end, I believe what ultimately matters is that when truth presents itself, no matter how scary or unexpected, I embrace it and try to do the best I can with it.  After all, that's how I've found the peace and perspective I have today, and I'm not so proud as to assume I've got it all figured out now. For that reason, I believe I would kneel, and I would ask, "What now?"


blj1224 said...

I know that's how you'd react, and I love you for it.

Trevor said...

I don't know how I would react, as I have never really, truthfully thought about it. I suppose in general I don't think much of the after life at all. I totally believe in it, and love the Plan of Salvation, but I just am too busy in this life to think of what I would do in the next. Maybe that is something I need to change.

Daniel Embree said...

It seems like people only ask me this question when they want to say, "Aha, I told you so." Usually I return the question without answering it myself, but I can see here that answering the question can actually reveal a lot about a person. So thanks. Maybe next time I'll answer it even if I don't think I am wrong.