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Stages of grief

I've published a bit and written a lot more on reactions to truth.

A more concise (albeit less powerful) representation for some of those ideas is found in the seven stages of grief, which is how experts say people react to aspects of reality that are not what they "hoped for, wanted, or expected."

These stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

It is interesting to think through any of the many recent examples of aspects of reality that differ from what people hope for, want, or expect.

It's interesting to see people say "that could never happen," then call you names, then accept the truth in some delusionally reduced slice or resolution (that's a more accurate description of bargaining than you'll find in the literature), then suffer FAR MORE in final admission of the truth after fighting it than they every would have if they had just accepted what was justified from the start, and then acceptance.

I think a more accurate description of this last step, in most cases, is to come full circle in delusion, pretending nothing ever happened, nothing ever changed, and everything is awesome when you're part of a team. For example, those who go through this cycle when a loved one dies almost never come to the point where they are more prepared for the next loss of a loved one. They just end a lot emptier inside, a lot less shallow in their passion for life and their willingness to love others. Like those who are ever-learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, they are ever-suffering, and yet never improving.

And thus we see that the best time to respond to a trial is when it first starts, and second best time is right now, no matter where you are in the cycle.

The only people who win in this game are those who get out of it.

On the topic of denial, it is so strange to see so many people insist on the impossibility of what they really hope doesn't happen. The recent quake in Turkey should surprise exactly no one. Or the ongoing global famine from which the first world is predictably cushioned, at least somewhat. We KNOW these things happen. And they happen, even if the world is strangely ignoring them. The same could be said for everything that has happened within any of our lifetimes, in the macro or the micro. 

I tell you, of a truth, things will happen in our time that have never happened before. But we aren't there yet. We haven't even repeated much of what has happened in the past in the scriptures. But we will.

Can your belief system withstand even what we know about? If not, the time is now to draw closer to God. The inescapable first step is to align your life completely with what God would do in your place, as far as you understand. This is the key to any lasting peace, and is absolutely essential to come to the point where you are mentally and emotionally prepared for what has already begun, and will only grow in time.

I'm left to admit the wisdom in the approach of learning everything you possibly can about reality, not only to most accurately anticipate the future (and thus reduce the need for going through this most unpleasant process), and in hopes of transcending the need to do so at all, having gained sufficient trust in God that you actually begin to appreciate and value and desire learning of what you don't yet know about reality, no matter how much it might hurt a less peculiar person [1] to be exposed to the same.

God will not push light and truth on you. We are here to choose to seek, receive, and follow him. The reasons for why this is not just a good idea, not just the best idea, but the only reasonable thing to do are all around us, all the time. While it is still possible to squint really hard so you don't see them, the events that will continue to roll forth will act as instruments to pry your eyes open. Now is the time to develop the strength from God to obtain and maintain meaning in spite of everything that can happen in this world--a candle so bright that it shines even in the in the depth of darkness. What is that light? It is not a what, it is a who. 

Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, who created the heavens and the earth, a light which cannot be hid in darkness; (D&C 14:9)

Jesus is the light. You obtain the light as you learn of him and do as he would do in your place, in all things, growing brighter and brighter as he teaches you more and more about himself. 

We will all be plunged into darkness. This is the inheritance of living in the end times, and you are here, whether you like it or not. The question is whether you will do so willingly, while there is still time to benefit from it, or against your will, as the world falls apart around you. The later you do so, the less you will benefit from it, and the less you will be able to help others. 

Turn to God with all your heart, might, mind, and strength. Dedicate yourself to him in every aspect of your being and your life. Do it today. Do it completely. And don't turn back. 


[1] And they came forth to hear him, upon the high places, saying unto the tent-keepers: Tarry ye here and keep the tents, while we go yonder to behold the seer, for he prophesieth, and there is a strange thing in the land; a wild man hath come among us. (Moses 6:38)