Monday, December 14, 2009

Emotional & Spiritual Disabilities and The Fall

We are taught that the Atonement saves us from Adam's transgression, but I think too often we fail to see that this must logically include the effects of the Fall - which include the random physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, etc. "disabilities" with which we each are born. Some people are born with emotional disabilities that, for them, are just as debilitating as any physical or mental disabilities are for others - but we have never said they were more righteous in the pre-existence. By making a special case of someone else's disability, we are, in effect, denying (not making allowances for) our own - and that is a scary, dangerous path.

In my opinion, we simply need to stop separating people based on biological attributes that are beyond their control (and that we are told are covered by the Atonement) and start seeing and treating them all as equals (because of the power of the Atonement). This means we stop elevating some and not elevating others - that we accept all as fundamentally flawed in some way, but possessing the same eternal potential. That is not a "natural" reaction, and it is not easy, but it's what I believe the Gospel teaches.


Julie said...

I loved this post. It reminded me of one of my favorite hymns...."in the quiet heart is hidden, sorrow that the eye can't see". We are all such unique individuals with our own set of strengths and weaknesses. And while I have come to understand that so many of us are differently abled in ways that are hard to perceive without external cues (such as a wheelchair or hearing aid), I never thought about it in terms of how we discuss the premortal righteousness aspect. Elevating some groups of "disabled" and not others is definitely problematic. Thanks for sharing!

Kathryn Soper said...

Fantastic. I've been asked why I prefer not to have people essentially deify my disabled child--isn't that a compliment to him, and to me?--and I try to explain that the pedestal only separates him from the rest of us even more.