Monday, March 14, 2011

Isolation and the Gospel Plan

A Todd—In recent months, I have thought a lot about the idea of seclusion and its relationship to the gospel. I am pretty socially awkward and I really enjoy my alone time. In fact, my social awkwardness often makes me feel so uncomfortable around people I do not know very well that I have often considered how cathartic it would be to move to the middle of the desert where I could live by myself and read and write and bake. But there is a fundamental problem with this: to isolate myself from people at large is to isolate myself from the structure of the gospel. I do not think that God intends for us to be alone. We have weekly church meetings, and weekly church activities, and home teachers, and visiting teachers so that we can be plugged into a community. This is how the saints are perfected. This how individuals are brought to Christ. I thought about this idea a lot as I read A Todd’s script. I appreciated that Mr. Bellpond never says a word—who would he talk to? The use of the narrator alienates us from him. He is given his humanity back again when hope for his wife draws him out of the house. That is when he begins to live again.

Chloe—As Latter-day Saints, we are constantly returning to the idea of agency, which is a central part of the gospel plan. We revere it. And we should. Yet, I think we sometimes get a little over zealous to the point that we convince ourselves that if there is negativity in our life it is a direct result of our abusing agency and making bad choices. I think we have probably all had this thought about someone at some point. But there are some things that cannot be controlled. This is a frightening concept, it is no wonder that we try to obscure it. Illness, disability, disorder, disaster . . . many trials befall us that we cannot control. In the case of Chloe’s script, Grace’s hair is working against her and actually threatening her agency. Like in A Todd’s script, the protagonist does not talk at all. She is isolated, and because of that there is a strong question throughout as to whether, without help, she will be able to stay in control.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating points. I agree that in the church we have a tendency to blame every imperfection on ourselves. I can definitely raise my hand and acknowledge having done this. I feel that we sometimes, like Grace, succumb to these feelings of despair and lack of control and just allow what happens to happen. What intrigued me the most about your post was what you said about isolation. I hadn't considered that, but while succumbing to those feelings of despair, Grace essentially isolates herself from the other students. I think that makes it all the more beautiful when Grace is helped by the bird and able to cut her hair.