I was reminded of this phenomenon when I opened the Faith section of the Salt Lake Tribune this morning. It seems there is an author and speaker coming to town who died and went to heaven. Now, since she is Mormon, when she went to heaven she had the opportunity to hear Joseph Smith teaching. In the Charismatic circles I grew up in, the story involved a person who saw a building full of "healings" that had not been claimed in "Faith" by believers. When evangelicals tell these stories, there is usually a side trip to hell where the visitor gets to watch atheists and liberals burn.
On my initial reading, I rolled my eyes. Every group seems to have these folks, and every group has people who will pay money to listen.
As I thought about the article later in the day, I found myself considering: What if her story is true? What if she did see visions of a Mormon heaven? What if the Charismatic saw streets of gold and money everywhere? What if the evangelical got to see all of the nay-sayers finally get theirs.
What if all get what they want?
In a Christmas Carol, Jacob Marley carries the chains he forged in life. The chains were of his making.
In a deleted scene from the movie Dogma, the demon Azrael (played by Jason Lee) explains that the torments of Hell were created by man:
Evil is an abstract! It's a human construct. But true to his irresponsible nature, Man won't own up to being the engineer of evil, so he blames his dark deeds on my ilk. But his selfishness is limitless, and it's not enough for him to shadow his own existence. He turned Hell into a suffering Pit - fire, wailing, darkness - the kind of place anyone would do anything to get out of. And why? Because he lacks the ability to forgive himself. It is beyond your abilities to simply make recompense for and regret the sins you commit. No - you choose rather to create a psychodrama and dwell in a foundless belief that God could never forgive your 'grievous offenses'. So you bring your guilt and inner-decay with you to Hell - where the horrid imaginations of so many gluttons-for-punishment give birth to the sickness that has infected the abyss since the first one of your kind arrived there, begging to be 'punished'. And in doing so, they've transformed the cold and solitude to pain and misery."
I do not know what will become of us in the moments after we die. Perhaps there will be nothing. However, it would not surprise me to find we get the eternity we desired.
If that be the case, we should heed Aslan's final warning to the children:
"All get what they want; they do not always like it."