Eternal Questions | Opinion | Salt Lake City Weekly

Eternal Questions 

What if Heaven is too perfect?

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Most everyone has at least some opinion on the place called heaven, where, it's claimed, the righteous will live after death. I'm sure my view is not one shared by the majority of Utahns—I'm agnostic and have no idea one way or the other if such a place exists. If it does, I need to know more before being able to provide anything approaching a rational opinion.

I suspect the opinion of my Mormon friends is based on more information than members of most other religions. Instead of mere scriptural generalities, they have grown up privy to extra details of what to expect when they pass through the pearly gates, thanks to latter-day revelation that offers additional insight above and beyond what is available elsewhere.

Mormon doctrine describes three degrees of glory with an explanation of who will inherit each, along with some inside information of what to expect when they get there. There are answers to hard questions about infants who die before the age of accountability and what those who didn't have an opportunity to be baptized on Earth can look forward to when they pass through the veil.

That's definitely more info with which to form an opinion, but still not enough to satisfy me. I question how anyone can judge a mysterious place called heaven with the current dearth of significant particulars. I need to know more.

For example, are we going to appear perfect in every way? Will we all look like movie stars in the prime of life forever? Will we even be able to recognize each other? I guess I wouldn't complain if I could end up with the same handsome features of a Richard Gere or Leonardo DiCaprio. It might prove exhilarating to be a babe magnet for a change—certainly a pleasant shift from what I've experienced so far.

How much freedom of choice will there be? Will eternal life be ruled by a strict theocracy? What happens if you don't agree with all the rules and regulations or you break them? Will you be allowed the privacy to do the things you want as long as you don't adversely affect others?

I hope heaven won't be like it was in the part in Pleasantville, one of my favorite movies, where there's no color. I would have a much higher opinion if it were like when the town rebelled against strict authoritarianism and the drab existence of conformity transformed from black & white to the rich colors of the rainbow.

I also need to know more about the final judgment that supposedly determines who qualifies for admittance. Obviously, it can't have anything to do with passing any kind of mortal test—no test that has been applied equally to everyone who has ever lived on earth. To be fair, everyone would have had to have been subjected to the same test criteria under the exact same circumstances. Otherwise, there's no way to know who passed the test.

For example, human A was born in the ghetto to a single mother in an atmosphere where drug lords called the shots. Human B grew up in the best circumstances possible. Maybe you'd give A a break and make it easier to get into heaven, but would that really be fair? What if A had been given the same opportunities as B, but blew it? You'll never know.

And is there going to be any reason to improve oneself if there's no longer any room for betterment? Personally, some of my greatest satisfaction has come from setting and achieving goals involving deficiencies of mind and body. Will such gratification be lacking in an environment where personal improvement of that kind is a nonissue because perfection has already been achieved?

What about skin color? Will it remain the way it is now or will we all end up white, black or brown? What about the other bodily functions that make up the human body? I wonder if perfection might at a minimum result in no longer being encumbered with the propensity to cough, sneeze, snore, sweat, blush, burp and pass gas. That might affect my opinion (in a positive way).

Back on a more serious note, I can't imagine heaven without golf—that's more like how I picture hell. But what fun would it be if everybody were perfect and all golfers were equally talented? What about other sports? Would heaven be the end of competition? What fun would it be to participate in a bowling league where everybody scored 300 all the time? If perfection means the end of competitive sports, that would definitely impact my opinion (in a negative way).

I'll quit now because it's time for dinner. I look forward to satisfying my appetite. If we're perfect, is hunger even going to be an issue? If we do eat, what are we going to consume? If there's no more death, I guess that might include cows. Are we all going to end up being vegetarians? I'll be disappointed if a tasty Texas Roadhouse sirloin steak is off the heavenly table. Better eat up now.

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