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Friday, January 10, 2014

Children of Gods

I've been a parent for a year and a half now, and I've noticed something about the way my daughter regards me. She treats my wife and me like gods.
Think about our stature, our power, our knowledge. Think of the way my year-and-a-half-old daughter perceives this.
Out and about, she finds a granola bar or a cheese single, or even a simple plastic snack bag with pretzels inside it. She knows by now that food brings happiness and fullness, so she does the only thing she can do in order to eat them: she gives it to one of us to open.
No matter how hard my little girl would try to open a granola bar, she could not open it on her own. Her fingers are tiny, her coordination is insufficient, and she simply doesn't know how to open it. So she trusts in one of us, her gods, to do it for her so that she can eat.
Imagine the other things she sees us do. We tower over her at more than twice her height. We are giants who can somehow catch her no matter how fast she runs away; we can carry her at quick speeds; we are the ones who put her in a carseat, and when she wakes up she is inexplicably somewhere new; we can reach the incomprehensible heights of the kitchen counters to find good things to eat and play with. We can do anything.
When her diaper is full, there is nothing she can do about it but cry. Eventually one of us will come and take care of the problem, and she will feel comfortable again.
When she falls down and bangs her knee, she can't understand why pain is throbbing in her body. She just wants it to stop. How unbelievable it must be when one of us, her parent gods, comes immediately to her side, rubs her knee, kisses and hugs her, and the pain goes away. How do we know? No matter what she could have done in that moment, the pain would have stayed for a lot longer of a time. We are her sources of sustenance, healing, protection, comfort, wisdom, direction, and teaching.
Eventually, she becomes more independent. She figures out how to open packages on her own. She grows in size and reaches new heights of exploration. She's already proficient at climbing and reaching locations.
She may argue and complain about the limits we put on this newfound independence. When we take her off of the stool, she may cry in her own primitive language "Dad! I wanted to be tall like you! I can handle it! I just want to reach new heights!" She cannot understand at this point in her life that with tall heights comes long falls, and that we are only trying to protect her by limiting her independence. Instead, we teach her smaller steps to reach her goals. She may strain to break through these boundaries, but we are in full control of her. And when she does sneakily do something she shouldn't, she receives due punishment.
"Why?!" she may cry. "Why won't you just leave me alone and let me run out into the world? Why do I have to sit in this horrible, tight carseat? You don't have to!" And yet she gratefully accepts our consolation, our feeding her favorite foods (How do we know which food she likes best?), our taking care of problems for her. It is incomprehensible how we seem to know what she needs, so she trusts us.

I believe that we are all literally children of God.
He created us; He placed us here; He set boundaries in the form of commandments; He gave us guidance in the form of scriptures and prophets; and He is the source of all sustenance, healing, protection, comfort, wisdom, direction, and teaching.
Our divine Father loves each of us as much as I love my daughter. He makes the crops grow so we have food. He crafted bodies with powerful immune systems for us, and created herbs and medicines to help them heal. He is more vast and wise and powerful than we can possible imagine, and for this we trust him.
And yet, why do so many of us stray from this trust? What makes us change our childlike view of our Father? Sure, as humans we try to become more independent. God wants us to be. He wants us to solve as much as we can, to learn from our mistakes, to get up when we fall down; to invent, to construct, to manufacture, to help and heal each other, and to grow. But it seems that many people reach a point where they no longer think they need a Father, or to even believe in one anymore.
Imagine if my daughter reached a point like this. Imagine if, during her development in which I am so excited for her to grow and reach new heights that I have reached so she can enjoy them too, she thinks she's had enough of me. Imagine if she thought "I can open packages on my own. I can reach countertops now. I'm done with you guys," and runs away from home.
This would simply not happen. A child would not forget the love her parents showed to her in the past. She would not forget that we are in the position of power and know infinitely more than she can comprehend at that time.
So why do we? Why is it that God's influence seems to have an end with us? Why do we sell ourselves short by saying we have "enough" of God's knowledge to strike off on our own?
God is our Father. He has gone through what we have gone through. He knows the best way, as I know the best for my little daughter. 
I think that the reason humanity has so many problems today is the simple fact that we forget to treat God like the Father he is. Imagine if we treated everyone like our own siblings. Imagine if we trusted in the Lord even though we have no idea what He has in mind. As children cannot see the beginning from the end, neither can we, in the eternal scheme of things. It is selfish and downright stupid of us to think we know more. Haven't we had our whole childhood to learn that? Do we hold grudges for decades about being grounded when we were kids? Of course not. Eventually we learn why we were punished, and we will do the same to our own children to teach them.
Besides being our Father, God is the Creator, the great Architect of the universe. Not only does He teach us and inspire us, but He created it all. He is the Lord of all science, creation, substance, matter, and energy. He knows what subatomic particles are made of. He knows the dimensions of the infinite universe. He knows everything and he can do anything.
We understood this as children—this wonder we could not comprehend—and we were okay with it. Why are we not okay with it now? Why do we eventually want to be parents ourselves while we are still infants? Just because we don't understand, we regard it as falsehood. Is there a more arrogant thought imaginable?
I firmly believe that, just as I grew up to be a father, and my daughter will grow up to be a mother, we will someday grow up to be gods, just as our Father is. Transcendence and apotheosis are our destinies. It is logical, it is the wisest of all plans, and it is the greatest joy I could ever look forward to.

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