Doctrine: The problem with every utopia ever theorized was that it presumed the existence of a certain, fixed kind of human being, which doesn’t currently exist. Utopia ideals always fail because they can create a society, but they can’t control human nature. The only way to create a successful utopia is to first create/form a certain type of individual who will be happy to live there, bound by specific laws and conditions, forever. This is God’s plan—to help us become like Him so that we can live like Him and dwell with Him.
A few years back I read a book I never would have read without a little encouragement. It was Louis Mumford’s Story of Utopia.
What’s this book about? It’s Louis Mumford summarizing all the different utopias that have been thought up, suggested, and some even poorly attempted. Louis talks about the ideals of each utopia, what ideals they are based on, and the flaws in their creation—in other words, why they didn’t work, couldn’t have worked, and/or were never actually attempted.
They all ultimately had many flaws that made them impossible to implement. However, the one unique flaw they all shared: they didn’t factor in human nature.
Each utopia—or perfect world—ever theorized has presumed the existence of a certain kind of human being which doesn’t currently exist. These dreamers drew up the framework of their “perfect worlds” and based them on types of “perfect individuals.” They presumed that these worlds would work but could never bridge the gap on how to arrive at the type of human being that would adhere to the utopia’s belief system—forever.
Even if a utopic society could be created and people induced, convinced, or converted to live there, eventually they would have offspring. And, if the offspring didn’t adhere to the utopic laws they would either be “cast out” or would leave of their own accord. Then, even if the original mortal utopians remained, they would either eventually leave themselves (based on the changeability of human nature) or eventually die off and the society would end. Utopia experiment—fail.
So, is the idea of a utopia completely ridiculous? No.
Is the idea of a utopia possible? Absolutely.
The way to achieve any kind of utopia is to first create/form the people you intend to live there.
Every individual brought into a utopia must first become the type of person who will be perfect, or best suited for the utopia created. Then, they must be totally converted (heart, mind, might, and spirit) to the utopia. Each individual must believe wholeheartedly in the laws of the utopia, have become—through trial, error, and learning—the kind of person who will like and be comfortable in the utopia, and be content to remain in that utopia within the bounds it has been given. In other words, based on their exposure to (and perhaps even attempts at) other utopia options, every time these individuals will choose the same utopia.
A person destined for any kind of utopia must know, inside and out and in every fiber of their being, what their type of utopia is and thus be content, happy, and joyful to live in it. That means that knowing other options exist (options that may or may not have different, lesser, or greater opportunities and responsibilities) does nothing to change their final desires and designs. They know what they want and that is what they have and where they are.
I suppose it is possible that an individual, once in a certain utopia, may realize that they might have, or could have, chosen a different utopia; but it’s the kind of momentary and shallow longing we all display when we see something another has and see real benefits in it. Yet, when presented with the work and effort designed to have those benefits, we count what we have sufficient (even preferable, smarter, or better) in comparison to the work and responsibility required to achieve what others have.
Once you have a certain type of fixed person you can place them in a utopia designed to meet the type of person they are, and whala! You have a utopia that will work, that will be peaceful, that will last—forever.
And, this process is exactly the process we are all in. We are, because of God’s plan, in the process of becoming what we will be forever, and which will determine our eternal utopia.
In Doctrine and Covenants 88:15-47 (excerpts, brackets, italics, and parenthesis added by me to make a point) we read:
And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.
And the resurrection from the dead is the redemption of the soul.
And the redemption of the soul is through him that quickeneth all things…
Therefore, it [the soul] must needs be sanctified from all unrighteousness, that it may be prepared for the celestial glory (Utopia #1);
For after it [the soul] hath filled the measure of its creation, it shall be crowned with glory, even with the presence of God the Father (Utopia #1);
That bodies who are of the celestial kingdom may possess it forever and ever; for, for this intent was it [the soul] made and created, and for this intent are they sanctified.
And they who are not sanctified through the law which I have given unto you, even the law of Christ, must inherit another kingdom (or utopia), even that of a terrestrial kingdom (Utopia #2), or that of a telestial kingdom (Utopia #3).
For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory (Utopia #1).
And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory (Utopia #2).
And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory (Utopia #3); therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory (or utopia). Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.
…For notwithstanding they [our bodies] die, they also shall rise again, a spiritual body.
They who are of a celestial spirit (who have become a celestial type of person) shall receive the same body which was a natural body; even ye shall receive your bodies, and your glory shall be that glory by which your bodies are quickened.
Ye who are quickened by a portion of the celestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness (or a body that is suited to Utopia #1).
And they who are quickened by a portion of the terrestrial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness (or a body that is suited to Utopia #2).
And also they who are quickened by a portion of the telestial glory shall then receive of the same, even a fullness (or a body that is suited to Utopia #3).
And they who remain (who don’t get a utopia) shall also be quickened; nevertheless, they shall return again to their own place, to enjoy that which they are willing to receive, because they were not willing to enjoy that which they might have received.
For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift. (Or, in other words, they wouldn’t have wanted to other utopias because they were not the type of person suited for any of them and they wouldn’t have had joy in the laws that governed those utopias.)
And again, verily I say unto you, that which is governed by law (e.g. a utopia, or a utopic person) is also preserved by law and perfected and sanctified by the same.
That which breaketh a law, and abideth not by law, but seeketh to become a law unto itself, and willeth to abide in sin, and altogether abideth in sin, cannot be sanctified by law, neither by mercy, justice, nor judgment. Therefore, they must remain filthy still.
All kingdoms (utopias) have a law given;
And there are many kingdoms (utopias); for there is no space in the which there is no kingdom; and there is no kingdom in which there is no space, either a greater or a lesser kingdom.
And unto every kingdom (utopia) is given a law; and unto every law there are certain bounds also and conditions.
All beings who abide not in those conditions are not justified (and so they don’t get one of those utopias).
For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light; mercy hath compassion on mercy and claimeth her own; justice continueth its course and claimeth its own; judgment goeth before the face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.
He comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.
Here we see, quite clearly what God’s plan is for His children. His goal is for all of us to have the kingdom of glory (utopia), the powers, the privileges, the binding covenants, the traits, and the eternal responsibilities that He has and that He enjoys. He enjoys the celestial kingdom (or Utopia #1).
However, if after making a go (in this life) at the laws, ordinances, responsibilities, etc. that turn us into a Utopia #1 person, we decide that while it sounds nice, we are far more comfortable with something less and that we have become something less, then He grants unto us as much as we will receive.
(You can get more information on the different types of people who live in these different utopias by reading, and studying, Doctrine and Covenants section 76, as well as other scriptural resources…if you’re up for the study challenge).
We also read in Doctrine and Covenants 131:1-4:
In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.
What does this mean? It means that even within Utopia #1 there are different levels of law, obedience, responsibility, and power. And, that once we’ve become a certain type of person and chosen/discovered where we are comfortable, that not only will we likely not want an increase, but God’s laws forbid it.
How can God be so sure where we belong? How can He consign us to a place for…eternity? Well, He knows everything perfectly and knew it long before we were ever born into His plan; but when the day of our resurrection comes, we will know what we want and what utopia will be ours without God telling us. We will have already been pitted against the requirements for each and our own lives, choices, and experiences will reveal to us exactly what we want and where we would like to spend our eternity. We are not going to be surprised.
In Alma 34:32-34 (and I suggest reading also some of the accompanying verses) we read:
For behold, this life is the time for men to prepare to meet God; yea, behold the day of this life is the day for men to perform their labors.
And now, as I said unto you before, as ye have had so many witnesses, therefore, I beseech of you that ye do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity, behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the night of darkness wherein there can be no labor performed.
Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.
What does this mean?
It means that when the time comes and our resurrection and judgment comes about, we will be who we have chosen (and made a sincere effort) to become. Standing before God isn’t going to suddenly change what we have become or what we want. As I mentioned near the beginning, we will have already been pitted against the requirements and laws for all the possible utopias (whether in mortality or the spirit world, if we didn’t get the opportunity in mortality, prior to our resurrection). We will have become certain type of person. Just dying or standing before God isn’t going to change that.
Whether in this life (mortality) or the spirit world (for those who didn’t get a chance to be taught regarding all their eternal utopia options in mortality) we will ALL have had more than ample opportunity to figure out for ourselves what we want. God is long-suffering and patient and He will ensure we have had the chance to come to know ourselves. We will have no excuse or complaint when we approach the throne of God. And, if we aren’t celestial beings we will not be comfortable in His presence, even for that short time while we reckon with Him prior to being given our chosen glory.
Either our works, thoughts, and words will save and exalt us (to Utopia #1) or they:
“will condemn us…and we would fain be glad if we could command the rocks and the mountains to fall upon us to hide us from [God’s] presence” (Alma 12:14). But, “we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge…that all his judgments [and plans] are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men… (Alma 12:15). For, “he granteth unto men according to their desire, whether it be unto death or unto life; yea, he allotteth unto men, yea, decreeth unto them decrees which are unalterable, according to their wills, whether they be unto salvation or unto destruction” (Alma 29:4).
So, is any utopia possible? Sure, and God has a perfect and sure plan to ensure we all receive the most wonderful, peaceful, and perfect place that we are willing to receive. Our only goal then is to decide what utopia we want and become that kind of person by keeping the laws set for that place.
And so on and so forth.
So, what utopia do you want? Who will you become and where will you dwell—for eternity?