Today’s guest post is from Bishop Mike Young of the Spanish Ford 401st Ward. He writes: I was reading Mark Twain‘s, “Captain Stormfield’s Visit to Heaven,” the other day, and it brought up some questions about the afterlife that were thought-provoking. You can read this short story online here.
One of the questions covered in the story was the age that we’ll be in the here-after. Here’s an excerpt from the story after Captain Stormfield asked another man, who’d been in heaven awhile, about age:
“Laws, what asses we used to be, on earth, about these things! We said we’d be always young in heaven. We didn’t say HOW young – we didn’t think of that, perhaps – that is, we didn’t all think alike, anyway. When I was a boy of seven, I suppose I thought we’d all be twelve, in heaven; when I was twelve, I suppose I thought we’d all be eighteen or twenty in heaven; when I was forty, I begun to go back; I remember I hoped we’d all be about THIRTY years old in heaven. Neither a man nor a boy ever thinks the age he HAS is exactly the best one – he puts the right age a few years older or a few years younger than he is. Then he makes that ideal age the general age of the heavenly people. And he expects everybody TO STICK at that age – stand stock-still – and expects them to enjoy it! – Now just think of the idea of standing still in heaven! Think of a heaven made up entirely of hoop-rolling, marble-playing cubs of seven years! – or of awkward, diffident, sentimental immaturities of nineteen! – or of vigorous people of thirty, healthy-minded, brimming with ambition, but chained hand and foot to that one age and its limitations like so many helpless galley-slaves! Think of the dull sameness of a society made up of people all of one age and one set of looks, habits, tastes and feelings. Think how superior to it earth would be, with its variety of types and faces and ages, and the enlivening attrition of the myriad interests that come into pleasant collision in such a variegated society.”
This raised some interesting theological questions for me regarding our beliefs in the afterlife, which seem to have some holes in certain areas like age. Will we get to choose what age we are in heaven? As it was mentioned in this story, my ideal age for heaven has changed as I’ve aged, and I would imagine most everybody’s does. Will we all be the 35-40 years old that most pictures of the resurrected Jesus appear to have him pegged at?
Are children who pass away stuck at this early age for some time, even as we get older on Earth? Do they then start to age again after we die? Do they have any say in this matter (suppose they don’t want to be stuck as a child, but would rather move into their teens and start dating)?
I’m also assuming that we follow the Patriarchal Order in Heaven, and that men get to choose the ages of their wives. Is it common to mix it up some for age variety, with a few hundred wives at each age-grouping just to keep it interesting throughout the eons? Or, does everyone default to one eternal age?
Also, how fast do spirit babies age? Do they need to go through a hard baby-spirit age, crying at night, and learning how to walk with their new little spirit legs, or are the spirits just born directly into ?
On a separate-but-related note, do spirit children require any food? I’m guessing they don’t, since it’d take a lot of wet-nurses to keep the legions of spirit infants per planet fed, if the wives are having them at a break-neck rate. It’d be non-stop spirit-nursing throughout the eternities, which can’t be too enjoyable for the ever-birthing mothers.
Is there further light and knowledge on this topic that I’ve missed, or do we just categorize this as another, ‘it will work itself out, so don’t worry about it,’ item?