I am a Beatles fan. However, I hate hate John Lennon’s song “Imagine.”
I don’t want to waste time and space on lyrics here, but you can look them up. It’s just John Lennon telling us to Imagine – a world without heaven, hell, religion, countries, nothing to kill or die for, possessions, etc.
I get what he’s trying to say, but I think that the reason why I hate the song is because it actually sounds like hell to me. It’s a silly thing to sing and preach about. It is impossible, and imagining the kind of world he suggests sounds…meaningless.
I understand it though. I don’t like people fighting. I don’t like sadness, misery, death, or pain. I don’t. I don’t think anyone does.
However, I have come to appreciate all of these uncomfortable, difficult things because of 2 Nephi 2.
“For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away.” – 2 Nephi 2:11-13
John Lennon’s song seams so silly to me because opposition is what makes joy possible. Without opposition, nothing.
I mean, this is even true in the laws of physics. We can’t propel ourselves with out exerting some kind of oppositional force. A rocket can’t will itself to fly into space. A rocket’s booster actually pushes it along. We can’t will ourselves to move from one place to the next. Our muscles act in opposition with one another. We push against the ground away from where we want to go to move to where we want to go.
If we imagine a world without opposition, then we are left with nothing. Sure – there’s no pain. But there’s no joy.
John Lennon talks about “nothing to kill or die for.” I can’t imagine having such a lack-luster and meaningless life! Though I’m not a violent person, I know that I’d die for my children. I’m actually very comforted to know that I can’t imagine such a passionless life experience.
John Lennon, like so many of us, was simply deceived. This is Satan’s trick – to make us think that comfort=happiness; to make us think that a life without opposition, pain, misery, or sadness is worth the loss of the opposing emotions, too.
Honestly, I can’t believe I’ve been writing so much about this. Lennon’s imagination doesn’t matter because that’s what it is: imagination. We are in this real world a messy, difficult, beautiful world.
Lehi teaches us more:
“And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end.
And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin.
But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.” – 2 Nephi 2:22-25
- Adam Fell – Keep in mind – the fall of Adam is a fall from the presence of God. God’s nature is the nature of happiness. Adam fell from a blissful state. I’m sure it was a wrenching experience.
- Had Adam not Fallen
- Adam and Eve would have remained in the Garden forever. No progress. No knowledge. A blissful kind of ignorance, but not real autonomy or joy.
- They would have had no children.
- They would have had no joy because they knew no misery.
- They would be incapable of doing good because they were incapable of committing sin.
- Adam fell that men might be!
- We are here to have joy!
We have a purpose. There is meaning to life. Imagine that! Imagine a life where we do face struggle and opposition, and instead of giving into ego and pride, we extend love towards one another.
Imagine a world – rich with countries, religions, cultures, and beliefs – and we choose to accept them while still conforming to our preferred values! Imagine how much we’d learn. Imagine the abundance we could experience on our own lives!
Imagine a world – with possessions, and people who chose (and were not forced to choose) to share and bless one another with the possessions, time, and talents that they had.
Thankfully, this kind of world is possible. Not only that, but I see this kind of world in my own life every day.
Opposition is the way. Because of adversity, we can experience joy. While death may kiss one cheek, we need only remember that life is kissing the other.