Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Sin of Narcissism

For a long time I've been pondering on one particular subject.  It might seem clear as day to everyone else, but it really puzzled me, and I felt like there was more to this concept.  It has concerned me for so long, I began praying and asking for understanding.  It is about this.  

In Mormonism, we tend to re-tell the story of the pre-mortal life.  The nutshell version goes like this.
God the Father presented a plan.  He wanted to offer us an experience where we go to Earth, get a body, and get tested to see if we can return to Him.  He needed a redeemer, and Satan steps forward and says, "Here I am, send me."  He presents an addition to God's plan, but the catch is, Satan won't lose one soul; all will return, but he will get the glory.  

Then Jesus steps forward, and says, "Father, thy will bedone, and the glory be thine forever." (Moses 4:2)  We teach that he prefers to offer us agency on earth, and 2/3 of the host of heaven follows Jesus' plan.  1/3 follow Satan.  Jesus wins!  And we all come to earth, get a body, and have to find the correct church.  Once we find his correct church, we just have to do all the right ordinances, endure the end, and all will be saved because we did all the works we could, and Jesus' grace and Atonement cover the rest.  Right? :)  This is the story a sister in my ward summed up this past Sunday.  

I'd like to present a new version, one which might align more with our scriptures.  In fact, it might align more with truth, although my mind is currently veiled from remembering any of this, so my own interpretation might be just as erroneous as the nutshell version.  

My question I have been asking for some time is this.  What was so wrong with Satan insisting that not one soul is lost?  I mean, we teach that if we follow the prophet, we will never be led astray.  What's wrong with that?  This is not far from Satan's plan, if we really think about it.  So why is this a bad thing?  Do we not want all the souls to return?  

Our explanation?  Well, by doing this, we remove agency, as all mortals would need to do exactly as was required.  We'd have to keep all the commandments, and perhaps it would be a grueling experience.  What would that look like?  To follow Satan's plan, where not one soul would be led astray?  That's probably a question I really don't care to look too closely at.  Seems kind of ugly.

This past Sunday, I came upon another question, when reading Moses 4:1-4 in Relief Society.  The verse that really stuck out was this one: 

1. And I, the Lord God, spake unto Moses, saying: That Satan, whom thou hast commanded in the name of mine Only Begotten, is the same which was from the beginning, and he came before me, saying—Behold, here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor.
2. But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
3. Wherefore, because that Satan rebelled against me, and sought to destroy the agency of man, which I, the Lord God, had given him, and also, that I should give unto him mine own power; by the power of mine Only Begotten, I caused that he should be cast down;
4. And he became Satan, yea, even the devil, the father of all lies, to deceive and to blind men, and to lead them captive at his will, even as many as would not hearken unto my voice.
I was going to create a really long post with this, and hopefully soon I will have more steam, but for tonight, I want to share this much.  Two points.  

One, this was not just a war over agency.  We already had it (vs.3).  It had already been given to us of the Father.  To belabor the war in heaven as a war completely over agency is not accurate.   

Two.  Satan wanted the Father's power.  Even more, he wanted to dethrone Him.  Yes, we may have heard this before, but let's take it a step farther.  I want to claim that the reason that Satan was so thoroughly thrown down was narcissism.  

Last week I went to an activity, in a sheer state of near depression.  It was a week of overwhelm, and I went to a ladies activity, almost seeking some sort of refuge.  I mean no offense to anyone who may read this, but after attending and pondering the evening, I experienced a wild amount of unveiling of this information.  I hope to lay it out clearly.  

The greatest sin is narcissism.  

Satan was thrown down for his insane amount of pompous, arrogant, proud narcissism.  

Our world is filled with, through and through, an ever increasing amount of narcissists.  

At the activity I went to, I arrived late (normal).  I sat in the back, and was then invited to sit next to a sister.  It felt remarkably comforting.  As the night went on, I admit I was feeling extremely introverted, almost wounded, out of sheer exhaustion from the labors of the week.  This was one time where I thought I might find some solace at a church activity.  There were several sisters who I got to talk to.  In talking with one, then one, then one, then one, I noticed a pattern: no one really cared about a single thing I was saying, at least not enough to let go of the activity and actually just converse more than 2 minutes.  

Yes, they cared, I'm sure.  Yet when the opportunity came up to continue on in the craft, or continuing talking to me, they chose to step away, mid-convo, and carry on with the craft.  

I came home seriously bummed.  I didn't even say goodbye to anyone.  I don't take it personally, because I know it wasn't me.  It was an activity to do an activity, and maybe I'm a poor sport for expecting it to be anything other than that.  But when I arrived home, it hit me.  

People like talking about themselves.  Email.  Facebook.  Twitter.  Social Media (like this awesome blog).  Look around.  Selfies, selfies, selfies.  Look at my kids.  Look at my job.  Look at my money.  Look at how awesome, awesome, AWESOME I am!  Heck, I am so awesome, I'm better than the next guy (pride).  I'm so awesome, I'm going to be the best ______ in my field, better than the person who taught me the ropes.  I'm worth so much more than I'm getting paid.  And everything is for sale.  

Doesn't that just make you feel creepy, just to read it?  It makes me shiver to write the words.  Satan got hewn down for his insane amount of narcissism.  And the best thing, in his world, that we can do is imitate him.  Not one soul will be lost, because they will be so flipping awesome, so perfect, so self serving.  And when we imitate him, and only care for ourselves, we have no love.  All we care about is ourselves.

Look at our country.  My husband has long said a certain man in power is quite the narcissist.  What does it mean, when the leader of the free world cares nothing for the ever increasing amount of poor and unemployed, yet takes entourages on endless -- and I mean ENDLESS -- vacations?  The man has played more rounds of golf than I have put on makeup this year.  Seriously.  No, seriously.  What kind of example is this to the people who put him there?  What is wrong with the people who put him there?  They were narcissists, seeking only the best for themselves, thinking this man would save them.  I remember the speeches, in front of white pillars, echoing speakers, as if he were some type of god.  Now, he gets to act like one.     

When we are the farthest from God, we have no love.  No concern for the beggar, no concern for the poor.  No concern for the sick.  No concern for the 21 Christians who lost their heads this week.  No concern for the sweatshops that give us cheap clothes.  No concern for the people in various lands who dumpster dive for trash to eat, or are so poor they do not even care to bury their dead.  No concern for any number of ills that we really can't solve, so we don't even try.  

My biggest concern this week was that my laptop crashed, after beginning this post.  It was as if Satan knew that I would have just a smidge of something to expose, and hijacked my laptop.  I am praying sincerely for something to be salvaged, but the man fixing it says it's highly unlikely I'll get anything off it it.  Four years of family pictures (b/c I'm too wrapped up in taking pics to actually take the time to get them developed), four years of work documents, important files... hopefully not gone, but quite possibly.  As I prepared to write a post about narcissism, all the things that make me think of myself could be inaccessible.  And to think I could have spent hours and hours printing them out.  But what does it serve humanity or my brother, to be self-inflicted with endless albums of photos, cropped and mounted just so?  Or endless stacks of "important documents"?  

I see the irony, and once again, realize I have so many flippin' idols.  I am yet SO SO far from putting God first.  I would pay $100, no $250 to get those pics back, but do you think I'd trust to put $250 into some effort to help Christians in Iraq?  Am I a narcissist?  I could say no, but I really don't think we have any comprehension of the nature of the people that exist in heaven, or will make up Zion.  So much of what we do is just nonsense.  What stops us from overcoming narcissism?  The only answer I have is love.  What else could there be?  

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