Have you ever wondered why we have a veil of forgetting placed over our minds when we come to earth? I have a few new ideas to present to you. But first I have to start with a story.
When I was growing up, my family moved around a lot. We followed my dad’s job and would change states almost every five years. It wasn’t a big deal until the time we had to move when I was 15-16.
It was a long and painful process because we found out we were moving nearly a year before we actually did. For a kid that age, and without the internet and cell phones, that was equivalent to being told you were dying but had a year to say your goodbyes.
I went into mourning. I knew I would have to leave these people I loved more than life itself, these people who had become my whole world. And I would never see them again and couldn’t talk to them again. And I knew my family would never be back for a visit because I had done this several times before.
Writing about it right now, more than 20 years later, I still physically hurt. My heart hurts, my appetite is gone, and I am reliving that depressing time. What started this, you ask? Something so simple! My mom found a video of the ward’s road show cast party from that year and sent me a link.
I watched because I wanted to see the faces of those dear friends and be reminded of our good times. But as I watched, I soon remembered how much it hurt, how it tore out a piece of me, really, to say goodbye. I remembered taking pictures of these friends and putting them in a photo album that became as precious as gold. I would sit and look at those pictures for hours after we moved and grieve for the lost friendships and the love we shared.
Back in those days, they used to charge extra when you made a phone call out of town. They called this “long distance” and it was like three times the cost of a regular call.
So after we moved, I think I called a few friends a few times, and then had to tell myself that I was fine and be content with making new friends.
I know now that it isn’t as easy as all that. You can’t just tell yourself that someone doesn’t matter to you anymore after they were your whole world. And when you are grieving dozens of people all at once, and the life you lived with them, you see the futility of even trying to do so.
Sometimes I marvel at how fresh those feelings are so many years later. It is like all these wonderful people died. They didn’t, but I was cut off from enjoying their company for a very long time. My memories, and this pain I am feeling, remind me of what it must have felt like when we left heaven to come to earth.
Now, when we talk about the pre-earth life and life after death, we know that we will see those we love again. That knowledge always comforts me. But I am saying goodbye to one person at a time and for some reason, when it’s a large number of people, the pain becomes exponential. And the comfort isn’t as easy to find. As I have thought about my feelings over that very old video, I can’t help but see the wisdom in the veil.
Blessings of the Veil
When we come to earth, God puts a veil of forgetting over our minds. I have read of many people who fight against that veil and spend their lives trying to see through it. But I am learning that it’s there as a blessing and not something we should fight against.
Someone once told me that if we could see where we came from and compare it to where we are here on earth, we would be deeply and incurably depressed. That veil helps us focus on this life, this earth, and the challenges we need to conquer here. Once that veil is lifted, all our efforts will make more sense.
The Veil is Saving
But in the meantime, the veil frees us from the distraction of the life we left behind. Imagine the difficulty of figuring out simple things like the law of gravity if we were focused on the gravity in our pre-earth home? I honestly don’t know if they are different. But if they are different, how many other things would be vastly different? I like to think we can fly in heaven. And toddlers are self-destructive enough without being sure they can fly if they just do it right.
The veil also gives us another gift. When you forget everything, then anything is possible. What I mean is that many of us define ourselves by our experiences.
When I moved to a new school as a teenager, I got the chance to reinvent myself. It’s the same with the veil. No mistakes follow us, no preconceived notions of who we are come through. We have a fresh start and a blank slate.
I can imagine what heaven is like. And I think it will be wonderful to one day stand in that beautiful place and look back on this earth life. We will have learned so much! I think we will have formed stronger friendships and relationships than we had before. And all the pain and struggles of this life will fade as we see clearly all that God has done to help us become our best selves.
P.S. As I was preparing this article, I found an amazing talk by Bruce C. Hafen called “The Value of the Veil.” I encourage you to read it because it taught me a lot.
Abby is capable and caring. She is learning more about Autism and parenthood every day. And even though she is the first to admit she makes a lot of mistakes, she is so grateful to be on this journey. She comes from a family with many autistic members. She invites us to join her, as she shares her adventures. She wishes to emphasize that Autism is a difference not a defect. If you or a family member have autism, Abby wants you to know that this isn't a bad thing. And you or your loved one are not sick or broken. Together we will teach the world this new language.