Shalawam and much Siloam family!
During these past weeks, I was curious as to what the soul was. I read the following precept and thought that it made sense for a while. Something felt off about it, but I wasn't quite sure what it was.
Doctrines and Covenants 88:15
I prayed to the Most High and He answered my question in two ways. The spirit of reason came on me one day while I was thinking about these things. They said,
When you are asleep and in the spirit world, you bear witness that you are in a spiritual body. When you are awake and in the fleshly world, you bear witness that you are in a fleshly body. The soul is neither spirit or flesh. If it were flesh, it could not observe the spirit. If it were spirit it would act like a spirit even in the flesh. The soul adapts to the world that it dwells in. The soul is the individual of a man or woman that is a witness to their own existence and life.
After they had finished speaking I thought about these things. It made sense, but it left me uneasy. It was a large pill to swallow and I didn't fully comprehend it. The Holy Spirit saw my turmoil and explained it a bit more in-depth over a period of days. Eventually She gave a parable that helped explain things plainly. She said,
The soul and its purpose is like unto a family in a house. The family consists of two grandparents, two parents, and three kids. The father calls his youngest child who is still a little child. He grabs an orange and gives the child two pieces. He instructs the child to take these to their grandparents, or else he shall not receive his piece of fruit. The child does so and returns to the father. The father gives the child another two pieces of fruit. He instructs the child to give the slices to their parents and threatens the child again. The child obeys and gives one slice back to their father and gives the other to their mother. The father gives the child two more orange slices and instructs them to give them to their older siblings. He also threatens the child that if the child eats a slice that they shall not receive theirs. The child obeys and returns to their father a final time. The father praises the child and says, "You have been diligent in doing what I have asked you. Here is your slice." The child takes their portion and eats it.
Know that the youngest child is the soul. Like the child, the soul does not have the capacity to protect, feed, or care for itself on its own. We rely upon our elders, angels, and many other entities that ultimately carry out the father's purpose in raising and nourishing our soul. This is no different than how a young child relies upon its family and parents to nourish and raise it. We have nothing more to offer than our hearts and minds. We have nothing because everything we think we own belongs to our heavenly father and mother. The clothes on our back, the pets we "own", the knowledge we gain, the friends we make, the families we share, every last detail of the molecules in our bodies and life in our being can be ripped away in a second. Even the gifts of the Most High can be taken away, and our names could be blotted out of the Book of Life in a moment. Everything we think we have is just like the fruit that the father gave to his youngest child. The father had different slices for different members of the family. The Father of Light has given us many gifts for the many aspects of our lives. The father called his youngest child to do his will. The Father of Light chooses the meek and humble, the child-like, to do His will.
The father commanded that the oldest were to receive the slices first. The Father of Light commanded that we give honor and respect to the people we come across every day, especially our elders. The father commanded that the parents receive fruit next. The Father of Light commanded that we give Him, as well as the Earthly Mother, who is Wisdom and the Holy Spirit, their dues. It may have seemed silly for the father to give the child an orange slice and then say give it to your parents. He did this to prove his child's obedience. The Father of Light gives us gifts so that we may do more than be proved in obedience though. He knows the earnest of our hearts and that we wish to give him good gifts. We cannot give him anything that He does not already have. Though we rejoice in this, we also sorrow in the fact that we cannot really show our appreciation by giving Him something. He sees our hearts and gives us something so tha we can give it back to Him. He is a kind and charitable Father.
The father in the parable commanded the child to give fruit to their siblings. The Father of Light commands us to give our brethren their due of honor, respect, and help. The father lastly allowed the child to partake of the fruit and gave them praise for their obedience. The Father of Light has promised us exceedingly great and precious promises. Many of which will not be fulfilled until the Days of Light return. Many others are only given after we do something that the Father of Light wills for us to do. Ultimately, we will cause the heart of our Father to rejoice if we endure until the end.
If the child in the parable had eaten even a single slice before it was their turn, they would not have received a slice. This is because they took a slice that was not their own. Since they took what did not belong to them, what was theirs would have been given to another. This is what the soul is like. Whoever has ears should hear.