[Alternate titles: Things That Will Eventually Go Into My “About” Page, The Plot, The Substance]
To begin with, let me take a couple of posts to explain my book. That will segue into who I am as a Latter-day Saint, as an author, and as a storyteller. That, in turn, will segue into my first real post: why I don’t believe in sin—at least, not in how we often think about it. These will be the first four posts of this blog. All major entries are planned to be posted Tuesday and Thursday of every week. That should be regular, so you can anticipate that.
The Hero Doctrine: A Mirror, a Sword and Shield is intended as a rousing cry to the saints (the original, unmarketable title, as a matter of fact). President Uchtdorf asked a few years ago in conference, “Are we sleeping through the Restoration?” and I think many of us are, especially too much of my own generation (millennials). Ignoring our gifts or using them selfishly, wasting our time and talents, letting our tongues be bound by the adversary, etc., etc. This world is at war, spiritually, and only by putting on the armor of God and knowing our eternal identities and destinies can we accomplish the work we are actually put here to do. So in the book I seek to remind readers of who they are as children of a god (the mirror), what their duties and obligations are as bearers of that truth (the sword), and that through the gospel there is nothing to fear (the shield). Together these spiritual artifacts/truths make what I call the hero doctrine.
We find these same symbols in the temple. Mirrors are everywhere—in the halls, in the changing rooms, in the sealing rooms…all as a way of reminding us who we are, helping us to notice where we can improve ourselves (especially those loose ties!), and showing us the possibilities of eternity. In the ordinances we learn we are to be out in the world “wield[ing] the sword of justice in defense of truth and virtue.” And the garment we are authorized to wear is given to us as a shield and protection until we have finished our work upon the earth.
But the temple is only a small part of what the book is about. This blog is named as it is—A Mirror, a Sword and Shield—because I believe that those symbols are meant to apply to us as individuals as much as abstract theological concepts. We are to be a mirror, a sword and shield—of and for God, and He is the same for us. In my next post I will explain how exactly that is.