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Are We Supposed to Know about Life after Death?

Posted on 27 December 2011, 16:01

A Lesson from the Lewis and Clark Expedition

Sometimes I wonder if we are supposed to know what to expect after we die.  Maybe it’s part of the divine plan that we do not.  Are the spirits who tell us about their world through mediums flouting the plan?  Are they making it too easy on us?  And isn’t earth supposed to be that place where nothing comes easy?  Not even the truth about ourselves—and our destiny?

Spirits do not agree with this assessment.  On the contrary, they feel that life on earth in the best of circumstances is difficult enough.  Adding more to the ordeal than is necessary is more likely to retard our progress than advance it.  Remaining ignorant of the divine plan is just such an unwelcome addition.  Ignorance of the plan leaves us in the dark about why we struggle, why we suffer, why we fail, and why we die.  Without insight into these mysteries, we are setting ourselves up for despair and character disintegration.  The spirits know this, and that is why they try so hard to come through.  For them it is natural that we should know in a general way what lies beyond death; it is in the Creator’s plan that we should.  The fact that so few of us do is a breach of the divine will, not its fulfillment.

I agree with this assessment.  But allow me to warn against taking your favorite account of life after death too literally.  Words reaching us from the Afterworld are inevitably too clumsy and imprecise to convey with accuracy what the next world is exactly like.  And there is the additional problem of the medium’s biases sometimes getting in the way of the spirit’s intended message.  Nevertheless, spirit communications are of great value.  I compare them to maps, and maps are essential for getting to places we’ve never seen.  When Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean in 1804, they depended on a few extremely rough maps.  As they proceeded westward, helped along by their Shoshone Indian guide Sacagawea, and later by other native Americans, their maps got better and better.  But it wasn’t until they reached the Pacific that they really knew what they had been seeking.  At that point they didn’t need maps.
Now our earth-formed theologies are like those extremely rough maps Lewis and Clark started out with in St. Louis.  The much better maps drawn up with the help of natives who knew first-hand the country ahead are like the accounts given us by spirits.  And the Pacific Ocean itself is like the world we will all enter in a few short years—when at last all will become clear, and maps will become obsolete and be discarded.

Stafford Betty’s new novel The Imprisoned Splendor

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