It is apparent that many erroneous beliefs and practices throughout the world’s history evolved from true principles or teachings that were distorted as people fell away from the truth. It is easy to see that human sacrifice, which was prevalent in many ancient cultures, evolved from the Lord’s instruction to Adam to sacrifice the firstlings of his flock in similitude of the Savior sacrificing his life for all of mankind. The more we search, the more we can identify the particles of truth that were twisted to form many other false doctrines and erroneous practices.

If there is some truth at the root of many erroneous beliefs, what truth, if any, is there to the widely held belief of nirvana (a religious state in which the soul becomes at one with the universe and the Creator and individual existence is extinguished)? Needing unity with God to experience eternal bliss is not a new concept. Many ancient and current Eastern religions believe this. However, just as the Aztecs’ sacrifice of thousands of young women was a distortion of the law of sacrifice, Eastern religions’ teachings regarding nirvana are based on eternal truth that has been twisted over time. There is, however, more truth at the root of the concept of Nirvana than Christendom generally acknowledges. The initial concept of realizing supreme joy through unity with the Divine is true, but where the Eastern religions miss the mark is teaching that we lose our individual identities through this process of becoming unified with the Divine. In reality, our individuality is an essential element of our eternal glory.

Several years ago, when color printers first came out, a manufacturer ran a radio ad for its new color printers which started out with a catchy tune played by one instrument. Then, the same tune was played by an ensemble of four instruments, followed by it being performed by a full orchestra. The announcer then said, “Our printers have always been good, but now they are great!”

I like the way this little example illustrates how our individuality is vital to enhance each other and God. Our Heavenly Father glories in our growth and development, similar to the way a parent feels elated with their children’s achievements. When a parent holds out their arms to encourage their baby to walk to them, they’re not excited because they think their child will become part of them but because the parents are fulfilled seeing their child’s development. Our Father in Heaven likewise glories in our successes.

I emphasize the importance of our individuality because an increasing number of persons in our generation state that they do not believe in traditional Christian concepts, many indicating that they are “spiritual” but not “religious.” Often, these “spiritual” persons gravitate to concepts espoused by Eastern religions, including the idea that our identity will disintegrate when we reach a transcendent state of bliss.

The opposite is true. Our individuality is a fundamental element of God’s glory and our potential glory. The essence and glory of God is intelligence or, in other words, love, light, truth, and goodness. Intelligence is not created or made. It is instructive to note that we often refer to the identity of our spirit essence as intelligence, which is congruous with light and truth. God’s and our glory are intrinsically intertwined.

God’s creations have varying levels of intelligence. He created basic elements, plants, animals, and ultimately, the apex of his creation, mankind. We are exceptional because we are children of God, so we each contain the added potential to become like God and be unified with the fullness of his glory.

As children of God, we possess a level of intelligence that incorporates free will, the capacity to make individual choices. As we choose to pursue those attributes of God, more love, light, truth, and goodness exists in the eternities, which in turn glorifies God.

Love is the unifying element of the Trinity, uniting three separate beings. Likewise, we do not lose our individual identity as we progress, just as Christ and God, His Father, are separate distinct eternal beings.

Experiencing love is how we increase our sense of fulfillment and experience ultimate joy. Our eternal divine mission is simply to develop our capacity to love. However, love requires at least two separate beings with free will. Consequently, our personal individuality is essential to God’s eternal plan for each of us and His glory.

Life is amazing. I am in awe as I contemplate the human body and how all its numerous systems and minute functions work together to sustain life. It is phenomenal how the body heals itself. Indeed, throughout the ages, successful medicine’s effort was to maintain life and overcome obstacles so that a body’s life force could heal a sick or injured patient.

It is shocking that today, society is pushing medicine to do the opposite to support a lie, that an individual can change his or her gender.

The truth and value of one’s individuality are under attack by this recent concept of gender fluidity. I have tender and strong feelings about this subject owing to its impact on family members I deeply care about.

I recognize the pain of their troubled childhoods and their desire to feel valued and loved as individuals. I am upset with the woke ideology that has set these young people up for great disappointment and sorrow. At some point, all the accolades and encouragement from bystanders will fade, and the realization will set in that the love they desperately sought down this path is as elusive as the pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. That is because they have denied a precious part of their own identity.

Pursuing love and acceptance by trying to change one’s gender is a futile venture. Sure, there is an immediate sense of independence and the praise of others, but it is never enough. The quest is insatiable and never satisfied, so they typically blame others for not feeling accepted. But the real battle is within themselves and not with society. After all the surgeries and hormone treatments, every cell in their bodies continues to declare that they still are either male or female. One can spend a fortune excising, masking, and suppressing the effects of one’s chromosomes, but one can’t change them. As with all lies, disappointment is the unavoidable consequence at the end of this trail. I sincerely wish soften the blow.

I realize that this position is not popular, and many people will accuse me of being hurtful and full of hate. Nothing could be further from the truth, but truth will not deflect the attacks. The spirit that led my nephew to murder my little brother is the same hypocritical attitude that drives progressives to silence the truth about gender fluidity. Our family has experienced the devastating pain inflicted by people who want to silence those who do not embrace this lie. I cannot remain silent. I know where it leads. Regardless, I am hopeful that even though there will be many casualties along the way, the truth regarding the value of one’s eternal identity will eventually prevail.

A few years ago, my wife and I supported California’s traditional-marriage ballot proposition known as Proposition 8. The opponent’s mantra was “Stop the hate! No on Proposition 8!” We and all the other supporters I know spoke respectfully about our opponents. However, we were constantly sworn at, our house was egged, my wife’s car was keyed, crumpled yard signs were stuffed in our mailbox, and condoms were placed on our cars.

One day, we participated in a demonstration at a major intersection on the Pacific Coast Highway in Orange County. Counterprotesters showed up en masse and screamed their mantra at us. As the day progressed, the hot Southern California sun bore down on us. Seeing a ready market, two grade school girls who lived nearby set up a lemonade stand. The ice-cold drinks were very refreshing. I watched sweat running down the faces of several of the counterprotesters and felt compassion for them. So I bought them drinks. This led to a pleasant conversation with a high school girl who was shocked that I was not a hateful person and that I supported their right to demonstrate and express their position. She then proceeded to tell several of her fellow counterprotesters that we were not hate-mongers, but to little avail. However, I saw a heart touched and a mind opened by speaking the truth in love. That is how truth prevails.

Conflicts resolve, animosity dissipates and harmony prevails when we view and interact with others as individuals and not as faceless members of groups. I experienced this when a gay friend invited me to offer the invocational prayer at his partner’s funeral after he died of AIDS. He knew my position regarding traditional marriage, but he also knew that I cared deeply for him and the deceased and that I valued each of them as phenomenal individuals. Truly, as we get to know other persons, our understanding, respect and love for them grows. We should never underestimate the power of an individual’s worth, including our own.

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