In just a few hours, I have finished this book. It literally wrenched my heart. I cried in places, and I think I might get nightmares about one part in particular. But I need to clarify what I said in my last post about God and a Utopian society.
When I said that, I was thinking of Zion. Not Utopia. After completing this book, I realize that they are two very different things, though they have some of the same characteristics. Turner has helped me think this through a little.
In both societies there is peace.
Order is well established.
There is very little, if any, sin (rule breaking).
However, the differences far outweigh the similarities when it comes to importance.
In Utopia (as described in The Giver,) there is no understanding. It's like they're living in the Garden of Eden before Eve partook of the fruit. Like the Giver says, they just don't know. They don't understand that there is any more to life than the little they experience. They can't! They can't possibly understand!
And going along with understanding, is agency. In this community, there is very little choice. Sure you can choose to break a rule, but you'll be punished surely and swiftly, and if it happens more than three times, you're out (that is the most gruesome thing I have ever read, ever. Their 'being released' from the community).
However, in Zion, God's Utopia, if you will, there is complete understanding. The individuals know what happiness and pain are, they know what right and wrong are, and they choose right. They choose happiness. I know that this is possible, because I have had times of Zion in my own life!
And agency is paramount. We MUST be able to choose, to have Zion! We choose to be of one heart and one mind. To care for each other freely as needs arise. To never, EVER turn someone away who is a little weaker, or a little less perfect, but to love them all the more! God's Utopia, Zion, is a place of love. And trust me when I say that God's love for us, His children, is greater and stronger than anything you've ever felt. Just a portion put into your heart would take your breath away. We as mortals cannot begin to comprehend the depth of His perfect, divine, overwhelming love for us. Zion is, and always has been, infused with that love.
I have been taught that when Christ comes again, He will reign in Zion. As I said above, people in Zion are of one heart, and of one mind, and dwell in righteousness. When we choose righteousness continually, we are indisposed to sin. Christ will reign, but the people will govern themselves. I'm sure a system of righteous government will be set up, but it will rarely be used, I'm sure, because it will rarely be needed. Turner gave this example. If you are a law-abiding citizen, and have no crimes committed against you, how often do you see policemen? My response was never. They're still there, for those who don't follow the laws, or who make mistakes, but they only perform those duties when needed. That made sense to me.
Lastly, and most importantly, to whom do we owe our eternal freedom?
To Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
If He asks me to do something, I will do it. Will He ask us to do things in Zion? Maybe... I don't know. But when He reigns, and asks that I live my life righteously to the best of my ability, I will do it. I owe everything to Him. And when we know that, keeping a few commandments seems small compensation for all He's done for us.
In summary, when Utopia is attempted by mankind, it doesn't work. When the Lord reigns in Zion, it will.
Thanks for reading.
The Page Traveler