You must unlearn what you have learned

For those who dont know, the title is a quote from the file “The Empire Strikes Back” when Yoda is trying to teach Luke Skywalker how to use the Force, a mystical telekenetic/telepathic power that exists in that universe. In it, Yoda is meaning that Luke will need to remove himself from the “truths” he had previously learned about how things work in order to learn the real Truth. This happens to us now, when we are learning new things that we have previously learned or gleaned as true are shown to not be true. Recently a particle has been found that travels faster than the speed of light. They’re still working on duplicating the findings, but its repercussions would be a change in an hundred years of past learning in physics that nothing can travel faster than light. People have known this “truth” their whole lives and will have to unlearn what they have derived from that to learn something new. In the more distant part, people knew the world was flat, and had to unlearn this to learn something new, that the world was round.

In LDS Theology, after we die we go to Paradise to wait until we are all ressurected and at some point later undergo a final judgement to determine our ultimate place. After we die, we’re going to be in a place quite unlike this one, where we will need to learn things that are completely different from how we think of them now.

For example, we could learn that the Priesthood is for both men and women. We could also learn that it is only for men, and the exact reasons for either. Powers that are completely beyond us now, such as casting out spirits, healing, tounges, could be as acceptable and definable as electricity. No matter what the realities in the afterlife, there are going to be a number of things we are going to have to unlearn. Its also not as simple as unlearning one thing to learn another, but also unlearning our own conceptions of what limitations some things have. In the scriptures, we are told of many things we would describe as impossible, such as moving mountains, raising the dead, casting out devils, walking on water, speaking in toungues, and healing the sick and maimed. I think part of the reason we dont see such miricales as often any more, especially not the more dramatic ones, is that we don’t really believe we can do those things any more. Even something as simple as the gift of tongues (which was fairly well accepted 200 years ago) has been reduced to the occasional help with understanding a study already in progress.

There will be so much to learn in the next life, but also quite a bit to unlearn. The question then will be – are you willing to let go of what you held as true? Could you accept a complete change in what you believe, when the truth becomes as concrete as electricity moving through a wire?

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