When I was on my mission (as all good Mormon stories start), we were teaching a young woman whose mom had just been baptized. We were on the Plan of Salvation and had just finished explaining about the three degrees of glory and how our bodies will be perfect in the resurrection. It was a lot of info to take in, so we asked her if she had any questions. Now, as a missionary, I spent hours researching doctrinal and spiritual questions for investigators, and most questions people asked, I was prepared for. But her question about the resurrection left me speechless and dumbfounded. I had no answer to her sincere question, “So, can I still get a haircut?”
Since then I’ve sometimes wondered about the practical implications of day-to-day life after being resurrected, as well as the overall landscape based on the principles, doctrine, and folk-doctrine found in our religion. So without further ado, here is my list of thoughts and questions on living an eternal life.
How will we communicate?
I have heard some say we’ll speak the Adamic language, but won’t we have to, you know, learn it first? How do we communicate in the meantime? Or is it like Star Trek where there’s some unseen universal translator in the air so we hear everything in our own language? But what about words that have no translation from language to language? Is heaven a lot of elaborate hand-gestures for awhile?
Will we still poop?
Poop is the waste-matter from food. Now I was taught that our perfect bodies won’t need to eat, but that we’ll be able to if we want. But if our bodies are perfect, will they be able to completely synthesize all the matter in whatever we eat into something useful? Or will we still poop, but it will turn into stardust or something?
What does a perfected body look like?
When talking about perfected bodies, I’ve often heard people joke about how they’ll be thinner or have all their hair back. But those are values our current culture has about how a body should look. Since all people from all ages of time are to be resurrected, what does a perfect body for everyone look like? If we’re all living in the same society in the next life, are we going to keep our mortal standards of beauty or is there some new standard of beauty in heaven?
Do we get super-powers?
I’ll be honest, I’m hoping that in our perfect state, our bodies will be able to do things like walk through walls and fly. I tend to believe we haven’t unlocked a lot of our mortal body’s capabilities, so in a resurrected state, imagine how much we could do! Also, this would be a great motivator to get kids to do what’s right. “Remember, if you’re good, you’ll get to be an X-man in the resurrection.”
Will we see the full color and light spectrum? How will this affect our design choices?
Having recently learned how many colors the mantis shrimp sees, and considering how many different ways light can be perceived, I have to wonder how our fashion and design choices would differ if they were based on a greater pallet than we currently have. Will we start making works of art based on how they catch the ultra-violet light, or will our spring fashions feature colors we can’t currently conceive of?
Are insects going to be resurrected? Like all of them?
I don’t remember where this originated, but I’d heard it repeated several times by various missionaries and religion teachers that animals would be resurrected too, so we will all be vegetarians since you can’t exactly cut up and eat an immortal body (well, as far as I know). However, people usually seemed to be thinking of cool mammals and pets…but are insects included in this? Do you know how many insects there have been?!? Can we just give them their own planet, please?
What happens to viruses and germs that existed to kill us?
I mean, if insects and animals are resurrected, do micro-organisms also come back? And what will they do now that they can’t kill us anymore? Do they infect us with joy? And if they don’t come back, are they recycled into a pool of intelligence to be made into a higher being someday? On the plus side, no more shots.
Where do babies come from?
There’s just too many questions on this one. If immortal bodies have babies, are the babies also immortal? Do we have to form spirits out of intelligence first or are we still using our bodies as vessels for already existing spirits? Do we still have to bear children in our body or are they born in the sweet “twinkling of an eye”, like people who die and are changed during the millennium, without pain or terror?
This list is by no means exhaustive. The principle of a community made up of like-minded and like-hearted people from all times and places with immortal bodies is pretty awesome, but pretty mind-blowingly complicated when you think about it. I’d love to hear others’ “essential questions” in the comments. While I don’t expect any real answers on these for a long while, it does make me think “Well, at least the resurrection won’t be boring.”