Permanence is scary. The idea that you’ll be trapped in this town, or in this marriage. Or that if you take that job you’ll probably be stuck in that field for the rest of your life. Or that things won’t change and you’ll never find a life partner. If things suck, we don’t want them to stay sucking.
Death is an especially terrifying event. Once a friend is gone, she’s gone. Guns are bad because they can make someone permanently disappear with the pull of a trigger.
Unless of course you believe in heaven, and especially in forever families. Mormons believe that eventually we will all die and be reunited with all our loved ones in heaven. So really, any mortal separation is only temporary, and while that’s sad, it’s all okay because it’s not permanent. A child could die by a freak accident and if his parents are Mormon, while I’m sure they will be absolutely devastated, they will also feel a sense of peace about the event because, hey, they’ll see him again one day and get their second chance to raise him in heaven.
With beliefs like this, what’s there to fear in life or death?
For those who don’t share those beliefs, life events carry a lot more weight. Our decisions and actions and misfortunes can determine the rest of our existence, and the existence of others. There is no second chance and there is no do over. If you mess up, you mess up. The fear of the theoretical consequences can be stifling for some, and the paralysis of fear is all too real.
There’s a stereotype with Mormons that they do a lot of things. Accomplish a lot of things. Succeed in said things. I think to succeed requires a certain degree of risk taking. People with fear paralysis tend to be bad at risk taking. People who believe they will always have a second chance have nothing to worry about.
At what point does it matter how the universe actually works, when a belief system continuously produces confident people who are successful? Which is more important: truth or taking action? As we lay on our death beds (believing we will soon go to heaven or not) what will we prioritize in the life we just lived? The things we did or the things we believed?