The Words of the Strait Family
Dae Mo Nim and the Mormons
June 1, 1999
I had (for me) an unusual experience a few days after Dae Mo Nim's visit. As background, I need to say that most of my husband Glenn's ancestors were non-religious or atheistic. His aunt became a Mormon convert and was persecuted. Before the ceremony, I observed that Aunt Julia would have already baptized these people as Mormons.
Just before I woke up one day I had a very vivid dream of an older woman visiting our house. She announced that she was a Mormon and asked to take my hand. When she did that, I felt so much love and saw a great light around us. Usually in dreams I feel fear, not love. I woke up consternated, thinking. I don't want to invest a lot of time checking out Mormons. Plus, formerly conventional Christian that I am, I would have preferred to have seen Jesus. But I sensed that there was a broad message there for me. Glenn, of course, was figuring that his aunt merely wanted to show her love for me. But the woman was definitely not Aunt Julia.
At about the same time I read a library book claiming to be dictated from the spirit world, which called itself a guide to the afterlife. Many aspects match our understanding -- that we live forever, that we go to a similar place in Spirit World. But this place as described was incredibly bleak. No libraries, big cities, etc. Only gray looking people walking on a dusty trail. There was no money, and without it no one was willing to build a house for anyone else, so there were no habitations. Many of them created a religion, the religion of "crossing over," waiting for something miraculous to happen, the spectacular transformation that they thought heaven would be but was evidently denied to them. They were like the Christians in Dr. Lee's book who are still awaiting the coming on the clouds.
Then it occurred to me that this must be a description of a very low level, like form spirit level, that the individuals involved took to be the whole of SW. It really affected me. I never thought I could be stuck in a gray, boring place. Then I began to think that in SW, many levels and experiences could be simultaneously existing. Maybe these people are living in a cell in my little finger, but see themselves as walking down a long dusty road.
After praying about this I have tentatively adopted and am trying out a new spiritual outlook. I have decided to accept all understandings of spiritual matters, the core of all religions including Mormonism as true. I will not burden myself with trying to figure out what kind of truth they reflect, or where they fall short. It may well be possible that many versions of reality are simultaneously correct, many different templates. Our Western way of thinking would have us believe that if A is true and the opposite of B, then B cannot be true. But maybe this is wrong.
I have adopted a minor corollary. I have decided to disregard all the exclusiveness claims of each religion. Since each religion thinks it is the true one, this acts to cancel them out in my mind. Everyone in the world is on someone else's A list for hell.
I know this sounds sort of crazy, but I'm becoming comfortable with it. Somehow it's easier to sort out what I believe *in* if I believe everything rather than believing in nothing.
This was nicely confirmed by a passage in my now-favorite book. As I said, the author had many spiritual experiences while pregnant. When she was in the midpoint, she developed separation of the placenta, perhaps the worst and most fatal complication. (I know, because I had that, too, with my second boy. I was eight months at the time, so it was dealt with by getting me to the hospital and delivering the baby ASAP.) But she didn't have that option. Previously she had had the experience of being propelled from a burning building by invisible beings. But this time she saw the beings around her, and she asked them to heal her, which they did. She still had a hard time believing because she had worked so hard at being a Harvard intellectual. But then she concluded:
I gradually revised my own conception of reality. I did not come to any firm conclusions. Instead, I decided on a major change in the way I would position my investigation. Until that point, I had followed the good old Baconian logic of refusing to believe anything until it was proven true. Now I decided that I was willing to believe anything, absolutely anything I heard, saw, or felt, until it was proven false. If this doesn't sound like a major life transition to you, it's because you've never done it. With this single decision, I expanded my reality from a string of solid fact, as narrow, strong, and cold as a razor's edge, to a wild chaos of possibility.
And today I believe this, too.
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