Heaven shines whiter than marble and pearl. Its purity is more than my sullied soul can stand. This mortal world of uncleanness and death and decay is my birthright.
From the messiness of fleshly fluids I was conceived. My body grew inside the warm womb of my forebear. It grew and was quickened with life, and when the time was right, my body broke from its comfortable prison and went forth into the wide, open, free world. I was cleansed from the sully of my original prison when I entered the world. My body was stimulated and nurtured in order to survive in its new environment.
But I became a clean slate as I entered this new world, soon to be filled with the writings of my experiences. My new body learned to experience and interpret the objects around me. I could feel pain and I could feel pleasure. But I didn’t know what pain was until I felt it. Pleasure was simply getting what I wanted and needed.
Sometimes I would sacrifice pleasure or inadvertently subject myself to pain in order to learn or reach an objective. My growing mind yearned to know and experience. And I would search out knowledge even at the risk of pain, like the time I wanted to feel the smoothness of a sculpted bird on the side of the hot wood stove, and burnt my finger in the process.
Life taught me pain and pleasure. It taught me what was bad for my body and what was desirable or good for my body. People, through words, written and spoken, taught me morality, what was right or wrong. I am sure simple observation of people and how they reacted to each other also taught me this.
But when and how did I really learn that it was wrong to take something that wasn’t mine? Or how did I know that when I broke something that it was something to be ashamed of?
Memories of how I learned these things are not ones that I can clearly recall. But I do know that when I did such things that people who knew did not react positively when such things happened. I was physically punished by my parents for certain things, such as wetting the bed, saying a bad word even when I didn’t even know it was a bad word, and generally by not doing what I was told to do.
Whether my sense of rightness and wrongness was in me all along or whether it was taught to me entirely through the actions and words of others I cannot be certain. But I did gain a sense of the good and the bad and the just and the unjust, the right and the wrong. And I realize now that these were the rules of the game which every member of a society or community of souls must encounter and face.
In school, our school work was evaluated as being right or wrong, good or bad. In our learning, we were judged for our abilities.
In the church I was brought to as a child, I learned the stories of the scriptures, the Bible and the Book of Mormon. I was taught concepts of right and wrong and asked about what the right thing to do was in certain circumstances. I learned the precepts of my family’s creed. And, when I was eight years old, which is the age that is considered to be the age of accountability in my religion, I was taken to a font of water, the purifying liquid of H2O, and submerged in the rite of baptism.
Baptism was supposed to be the way that my sins were cleansed from me and I became a new member of the Church (or assembly) of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This made me a new person and made me a part of the group of the followers of Jesus Christ in this worldwide institution.
This rite was meant to be the way that I could one day return to the purity and sanctity of heaven after having sojourned in the messy, mortal world where my body had first been born. This baptism was a way of being born again, once born in the filthiness of the flesh, now born and confirmed in the sanctification of the Spirit.
But can I remain as pure as the day I was cleansed? Surely, it would seem unlikely. But the purifying blood of the Innocent, Holy Lamb of God, Jesus the Christ, would in some way, make my soiled garments clean again. Somehow, the bright, red blood of the Lord would take away the stains of my own filthiness. His right makes up for all of my wrongs.
This is the story and the myth that I was told and the one that I hold onto for hope as I grow older and face the degradations and struggles of life. So that some day I can return to the warm comfort of peace and purity that is Heaven, or the womb from which my Spirit came.