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The creation. These chapters that we’re reading for this week are regarding the creation of the earth as well as everything that dwells on it. Though all these things existed spiritually first, they now exist physically. We know the basic story. Light was given to break up the darkness, land and sea divided, plants were brought forth, animals began to roam, and the crowning creation was that of man. Man came last.
One thing that we don’t know is how much of the creation story is allegorical and how much is historical. People like to argue this sometimes, but the Lord hasn’t chosen to clear it up. Despite our lack of knowledge concerning the historicity of the creation story, we can always pull allegorical lessons from the stories given to us by the Lord.
So let’s tell a specific part of the creation story, and then we’ll pull out the symbols.
And they were naked
The Lord, under the direction of His Father, has created the earth. It is all prepared for man to enter the scene. Everything is perfect, literally perfect. No sin. No death. No pain. Everyone and everything gets along. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ create man and then woman and introduce them into the garden. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ command them to have children and to take care of their home they were given. After a while, Satan comes and tempts them to partake of the forbidden fruit. Eve does so first, and Adam follows. Knowledge, sin, guilt, and shame enter into the world. Here is the verse that I want to center my allegory on.
Moses 3:25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.
They were both naked, and it didn’t bother them. What could this mean in a symbolic sense?
Well there are a couple of clues that can help us understand. Being naked means you’re not covered in clothes. There is nothing hidden. All is shown. When we also look at the context, Adam and Eve had nothing to be ashamed of. They were perfect and innocent, and it didn’t matter if “everything” was being shown.
After they had sinned, they wanted to cover themselves and hide.
13 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they had been naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons.
14 And they heard the voice of the Lord God, as they were walking in the garden, in the cool of the day; and Adam and his wife went to hide themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.
Now this has more than one implication for us. The first implication is quite simple. It is human nature to want to hide when we’ve made mistakes. It is uncomfortable to have everything shown when it’s less than perfect.
There is also another implication here, one that is far more important. Here are a couple of verses to help you know where I’m going with this. The first verse is actually a footnote for verse 13 that I just wrote from Moses 4.
2 Nephi 9:14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.
And another one from Luke.
2 For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither ahid, that shall not be known.
3 Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Our futures all hold a time in which we will be “naked.” Everything will be shown. Not only will works of darkness be revealed, but who we truly are will be made manifest. We will see ourselves clearly, and others will see us clearly.
Now the logistics of this we will not understand. I don’t know that we’ll be able to read each other’s thoughts, but we will understand the people around us in ways that we have not known previously.
So why does this matter that much?
This is incredibly important because it helps us understand what our lives will be like on the other side, and that will affect how we choose to live our lives here.
Let’s talk specifics.
So Joseph Smith taught us that the same sociality that exists here will exist there except it will be coupled with glory. Relationships, how we feel about people, how we feel about ourselves will remain.
Imagine yourself in a large room with your ward. Everyone is there, people you’ve served with, people you have served, and people who have served you. There are people who you adore and admire, and there are people that you’ve looked down on (consciously or subconsciously). Now imagine that all of you suddenly know each other’s deepest thoughts and feelings.
Does that make you uncomfortable? Are there any feelings that you would be ashamed of? That you would desperately seek to cover? Would you avoid a particular someone because your feelings toward that person are less than Christlike, and you don’t want them to know it?
Would you avoid someone because despite the fact that you served them, you scoffed at their seeming inability to get their life together?
Would you avoid someone because you didn’t truly sustain them?
Zion, the celestial kingdom. These are places that are far more similar to our world than we realize. Who do you think you’ll be surrounded by in Zion? Who do you think you’ll be surrounded by in heaven?
It will be the people who surround you in your sacrament meetings and Sunday school classes.
How to feel comfortable in this environment
The way to truly prepare for the celestial kingdom is to love the people around you. It is not enough to clean their house, take them a meal, or send them a Christmas card. You have to sincerely love them, or you will be uncomfortable in the celestial kingdom.
Love the member who grew up with a tough home life and is often seen as the “drain” on the ward. Open your eyes, and you will see that those tiny efforts have been mountains. You will be in awe of their tenacity, inspired by their divinity, and you will sincerely feel a deep love and respect.
Love the member who seems a little too excited to be a leader. Perhaps there is a little bit of self-righteousness there, but they will see themselves clearly on the other side and I bet you they’ll change rather rapidly.
Love the member who expresses their opinions a little too loudly or perhaps too abrasively. Love the member who refuses callings. Love the frazzled mother with wild children. Love the members of that clique who seem to never look up from their own friend group. Love that older member who criticises people for drinking caffeine.
There are a great many people with flaws in your ward, people with baggage and histories and victories. There are people who are ignorant of their own flaws and are a little hard to swallow.
Love them because one day you will stand before them, and they will know how you feel about them. Love them because you are them, with your own tendencies to not have it all together, to look down on others, and to forget about your own flaws.
It is human nature to recognize the flaws in others. It would be foolish of us to believe that we won’t or shouldn’t recognize the flaws of others. Loving others the way Christ loves them does not mean banishing any thoughts of flaws; it means loving them and having compassion for their flaws because you have your own.
Sincerely loving someone isn’t something that happens overnight. It comes as you serve them without speaking badly of them behind their backs. It comes as you pray for charity and as you pray to see the divinity within them. When Heavenly Father opens your eyes, you won’t be able to help but love them. When He helps you to see the experiences they were pushed into and the decisions they had to make, you will love them.
Love them and you will find yourself unashamed when everything is laid bare.