"Think as I think," said a man,
"Or you are abominably wicked;
You are a toad."
And after I had thought of it,
I said, "I will, then, be a toad."
An interesting piece of literature that I was required to read in
junior high (that is now nearly a banned book) was Mark Twain's
Huckleberry Finn. In a discussion with Becky about life in the
hereafter, he made statements that I found hilarious as a child,
insightful as a young man, and are now part of my basic spiritual
tenet as an adult.
I would have to dig the book out to quote it exactly, but this is the
essence of the lesson I received from Mark Twain, as I recall it today:
Becky was explaining to Huck how you need to lead a good life so that
after you die you go to a place of great delight and joy and
happiness and that if you did not live a good life, you would go to a
different place of constant pain and suffering for eternity. Huck's
pointed question was simple: would Becky and her disagreeable and
spiteful Aunt Polly be expected to go to this place of eternal bliss.
Becky chimed in of course, as they both lead good lives (parroting
the illusion of grace, not the true hypocrisy that Huck clearly
perceived). His simple response was that if the two of them were
going to be there and it was going to last for ever and ever, he
would just as soon take his chances on the other place. Becky was
aghast that Huck could not understand the fallacy, the naiveté,
the sheer audacity of calling down eternal damnation upon himself
just to avoid hanging out with two sniveling sniping backstabbing busybodies.
But Huck saw Becky pursuing the horizon. He saw the hypocrisy that
people that are petty and hurtful, exclusionary and derisive, are
more than willing to call down eternal damnation upon another but
will ridicule them for calling it on themselves. But personally, I'm
with Huck. If that's what it takes to get into "Heaven",
I'll take my chances on the other place, too. But more about the land
beyond the veil later on.
To Becky, Huck was a man that could not be controlled through fear
and emotional terrorism. He was supposed to cower and fear and beg to
be more to her liking that she might judge him to be acceptable in
God's eyes. Huck must have laughed his head off. Becky and her Aunt
and the single threaded broken record provided by preachers and
missionaries are the last place one should look to find out where you
are to spend eternity. I agree with Joseph Smith when he says that
the judgment of right and wrong is to be found within your own
conscience. (I only disagree with his method and his conclusion).
Actual Excerpt from "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn"
by Mark Twain
After supper she got out her book and learned me about Moses and the
Bulrushers, and I was in a sweat to find out all about him; but by
and by she let it out that Moses had been dead a considerable long
time; so then I didn't care no more about him, because I don't take
no stock in dead people. . . .
Then she told me all about the bad place, and I said I wished I was
there. She got mad then, but I didn't mean no harm. All I wanted was
to go somewheres; all I wanted was a change, I warn't particular. She
said it was wicked to say what I said; said she wouldn't say it for
the whole world; she was going to live so as to go to the good place.
Well, I couldn't see no advantage in going where she was going, so I
made up my mind I wouldn't try for it. But I never said so, because
it would only make trouble, and wouldn't do no good.
Now she had got a start, and she went on and
told me all about the good place. She said all a body would have to
do there was to go around all day long with a harp and sing, forever
and ever. So I didn't think much of it. But I never said so. I asked
her if she reckoned Tom Sawyer would go there, and she said not by a
considerable sight. I was glad about that, because I wanted him and
me to be together