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Identity Crises - My Secret Identity

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In the classic Superman movie series (Superman 3), starring Christopher Reeve, we find that Superman is contaminated by some Kryptonite.  In an interesting scene, the evil Superman lands in an auto junkyard, screams, and then has his alter-ego, Clark Kent, emerge.  The two duke it out, until the real Man of Steel, his true identity, wins.


Today, we find people struggling with their true identities.  Bruce Jenner is now Caitlyn.  Rachel Dolezal insists she is African American, though her white parents dispute it. Some have green hair, multiple piercings and tattooes. Others may find their identity in their sexuality, drug use, religion, education, wealth, possessions, ethnicity, etc.  Many are coming forth to distinguish themselves from everyone else Facebook, Twitter and other online services help people come forth to say, “Here I am! Look at ME!”


Sadly, such focus on certain temporal particulars of ourselves actually cause us to lose our fully authentic selves.  The Book of Mormon actually talks of a time when the people knew their true selves:



 
And it came to pass that there was no contention in the land, because of the love of God which did dwell in the hearts of the people. And there were no envyings, nor strifes, nor tumults, nor whoredoms, nor lyings, nor murders, nor any manner of lasciviousness; and surely there could not be a happierpeople among all the people who had been created by the hand of God..
 
There were no robbers, nor murderers, neither were there Lamanites, nor any manner of -ites; but they were inone, the children of Christ, and heirs to the kingdom of God. (4 Nephi 1:15-17)


We see that the people did not distinguish themselves. They were not Nephites nor Lamanites, but found their true, secret identity: “children of Christ and heirs to the kingdom of God”


Satan wins when he divides us.  The divisions come when he confuses us over what our true identity is.  The Book of Mormon continually notes fine clothing as a sign of division, as we later see in 4 Nephi:



And now, in this two hundred and first year there began to be among them those who were lifted up in pride, such as the wearing of costly apparel, and all manner of fine pearls, and of the fine things of the world. 
 
And from that time forth they did have their goods and their substance no more common among them. 
 
And they began to be divided into classes; and they began to build up churches unto themselves to get gain, and began to deny the true church of Christ. (4 Nephi 1:24-26).


No longer equals as children of God, they sought out their own ways.  As Elder L. Tom Perry noted in General Conference,



We want our voice to be heard against all of the counterfeit and alternative lifestyles that try to replace the family organization that God Himself established.


Elder Perry explained that the family organization is an eternal and important component of who we really are.  To look at just one small part of who we possibly may be and to make it the center of our devotion to self, is to listen to the soothing lies of Satan, who is glad to give us the philosophies of men with some scripture mingled in.


Because of our culture of wrong identity, we see an America that is shrinking in its belief in Christ and goodness.  Even as with the apostate Nephites in 4 Nephi, many of the sins of their day are now becoming commonplace and accepted, even preferred.



 
And it came to pass that they who rejected the gospel were called Lamanites, and Lemuelites, and Ishmaelites; and they did not dwindle in unbelief, but they did wilfully rebel against the gospel of Christ; and they did teach their children that they should not believe, even as their fathers, from the beginning, did dwindle….And it came to pass that two hundred and forty and four years had passed away, and thus were the affairs of the people. And the more wicked part of the people did wax strong, and became exceedingly more numerous than were the people of God….And it came to pass that the robbers of Gadianton did spread over all the face of the land; and there were none that were righteous save it were the disciples of Jesus. And gold and silver did they lay up in store in abundance, and did traffic in all manner of 

traffic. (4 Nephi 1:38-46)
Suddenly, we see that big business and wealth replaced charity and oneness. As they grew wicked, the law of God and the knowledge of being God’s children were replaced once again by envyings, strifes, tumults, whoredoms, lyings, murders, and any manner of lasciviousness (sexuality).


Marriage is diminished as people use no-fault divorce, live together, or change God’s pattern for something else. God’s plan of consecration and providing for the poor is offended by those who enrich themselves in false government programs that maintain a war on poverty that only grows the numbers of poor.  God’s love for his children and His desire for them to be like him are twisted by Satan’s counterfeit claims of radical freedom: justifying alternative lifestyles, dishonesty, and contention.


It isn’t something new.  Satan confused Cain into declaring himself unique:



 
And Cain said: Truly I am Mahan, the master of this great secret, that I may murder and get gain. Wherefore Cain was called Master Mahan, and he gloried in his wickedness. 
 
And Cain went into the field, and Cain talked with Abel, his brother. And it came to pass that while they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel, his brother, and slew him. And Cain gloried in that which he had done, saying: I am free; surely the flocks of my brother falleth into my hands. (Moses 5:31-33)

 


How many of us proclaim ourselves free of God, by taking up our own counterfeit identity?  And we see if increasing in America.  Satan is currently winning the battle of the hearts of men, so that “even the elect are deceived” in some cases.


Rather than encouraging alternative lifestyles, we should be encouraging all to reveal their true secret identity: children of God and heirs of his kingdom.


 

 

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We watched a movie yesterday and during the commercials (the section before the previews start where they show upcoming TV Shows or special promotions like the Coca Cola Film Festival, etc.), they showed Ryan Seacrest Productions "Becoming Us" - this is a TV show highlighting two teenagers whose dads are turning into women...

Sorry, I have no spiritual contribution, just this.

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Very thought provoking. Genealogy is one of my favortie passtimes and I often find myself identifying as 'this much Irish or this much German or this much N.A.' etc. It is good to read something like this.

It's good to know where you come from and I believe one can gain insight into their own nature by knowing their background (not saying you are dismissing heritage) but yeah, it's important to think on what you have posted. Thanks. :)

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Anatess, I've seen those commercials. My thought was: it is very tough growing up in today's world. Here we have two selfish men that are thinking about their own wants/needs, rather than being there for their kids.  One of the problems with counterfeit identities, is that we end up choosing them for selfish reasons.  As children of God, we look at others as equals and worth receiving all the blessings we hope to receive.

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I'm not sure I want to wade into this whole identity thing.  After all, I'm a Pentecostal who dresses like a Catholic, and moderates at an LDS site.  My best friend is Southern Baptist, and I stole my wife from the Presbyterians. 

 

 

... I'll just play it safe, and keep my eyes on Jesus.  :cool:

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PC, you clearly look at all God's children as His children. You do not identify yourself as anything else than a friend to those of other faiths or beliefs, even when beliefs differ.  You serve God in the prisons and in society.  I think you have found the correct identity for yourself and those around you.

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I'm not sure I want to wade into this whole identity thing.  After all, I'm a Pentecostal who dresses like a Catholic, and moderates at an LDS site.  My best friend is Southern Baptist, and I stole my wife from the Presbyterians. 

 

 

... I'll just play it safe, and keep my eyes on Jesus.  :cool:

After the first paragraph I was waiting for the punch line ......just joking. Glad your here PC and I have always felt that way.

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... I'll just play it safe, and keep my eyes on Jesus.  :cool:

 

Ahhh yes, keeping our eyes on Jesus sounds like a good idea, but which Jesus? Jesus of Bethlehem? Jesus of Egypt? Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus of Galilee? Jesus son of Mary and Joseph or Jesus, Son of God? Christ, king of the Jews, or Jesus, our Eternal King? Jesus, cousin of John, and perhaps brother of James, or Jesus, Elder Brother of us all? Soo many identities here 

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Ahhh yes, keeping our eyes on Jesus sounds like a good idea, but which Jesus? Jesus of Bethlehem? Jesus of Egypt? Jesus of Nazareth? Jesus of Galilee? Jesus son of Mary and Joseph or Jesus, Son of God? Christ, king of the Jews, or Jesus, our Eternal King? Jesus, cousin of John, and perhaps brother of James, or Jesus, Elder Brother of us all? Soo many identities here 

 

What the what?

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What the what?

 

The OP was about people who seem to have more than one identity. PC replied that he would try to avoid the problems associated with people having more than one identity by keeping his eyes on Christ. I raised the idea that this approach might not be a complete resolution to the problem because Christ is seen by some people in many different ways and could be seen as having multiple identities, so keeping ones eyes on Christ might as a way of resolving these problems still raises questions that need to be considered. Not intended as a serious comment, but now that I think about it a little further, as a personage with a mortal mother and an immortal Father, and as a god who walked the earth as a man, its not hard to see how some might see Christ as having more than one identity. Its not true of course, but in some ways, He does seem to fit the description. 

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Mosiah 1:1 And now there was no more contention in all the land of Zarahemla, among all the people who belonged to king Benjamin, so that king Benjamin had continual peace all the remainder of his days...

 

11...I shall give this people a name, that thereby they may be distinguished above all the people which the Lord God hath brought out of the land of Jerusalem; and this I do because they have been a diligent people in keeping the commandments of the Lord...

 

 

 

 

 

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Identity seems to be a seriously misunderstood topic, especially among those who profess a devout Christian theology. askandanswer's response about Jesus' identity is actually spot on.

 

Identity is not one single thing. It is a collection of thoughts, feelings, ideas, memories, and attributes all collated into one and given consciousness. Your arm is not your identity, but without your arm you would not be who you are. (Don't believe me? Try losing an arm and see if you come through unchanged.) Your arms, legs, torso, fingers, toes, gender, sex, chromosomes, sexual orientation, religion, politics, favorite color, first girlfriend/boyfriend, relationship with God are all intrinsic parts of your identity, and if you remove or change any one of them then it changes who you are.

 

These varying aspects of identity all have different levels of importance to different people. Generally, the aspect that meets the most resistance causes the most anxiety (the squeaky wheel gets the grease). A person with a non-traditional sexual orientation will suffer a lot of anxiety from people constantly telling them who they *should* be attracted to rather than accepting them as who they are. Likewise, a person with a non-binary gender identity will suffer a lot of anxiety trying to fit into a cis-gender stereotype. This anxiety inflates the importance of an attribute that might otherwise be a rather small part of their whole identity. A person with a non-binary gender identity could spend a lot more time thinking about themselves as a child of God if they didn't have the pressure to conform to someone else's idea of gender stereotypes.

 

(On my mission, I'd have had a much better and easier time understanding the kind of missionary that God wanted me to be if I wasn't constantly being told by my companions what kind of missionary they thought I should be. More than half the proselyting hours of my mission were wasted on arguments with my companions as they tried to bend me to fit into their cookie cutter missionary mold instead of following the Spirit. And I confess, I tried to bend myself to avoid the arguing, but that only led to me becoming a mishapen chimera of a missionary who was unable to hear the voice of God. When they started working with me as I was instead of trying to change me, the Spirit came in full force and miracles happened.)

 

But the most important thing about identity is that it is intrinsic to you. The only person who has any right to tell you who you are is GOD, and the only person who has any right to receive that revelation is the person whose identity is in question. So nobody here can tell Catelynn Jenner who she is.

All we can say is "Catelynn, as you come unto Christ, He will tell you who you really are and who you really should be. And if God tells you that you're supposed to be Catelynn, then we will embrace you as Catelynn and there is a place for you in this church. And if God tells you that you're supposed to be Bruce, then we will embrace you as Bruce and there is a place for you in this church. The details are between you and God alone. And if you don't know who you are, we'll embrace you anyway and there is a place for you in this church."

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Yes, we all have a variety of things that identify us; That was not the point of the OP. The point is we tend to over focus and determine who we are by identities of lesser importance. 

 

Will our mortal name be what we identify ourselves with in the next life? Or will we remember our name from the premortal existence, which we may have used for thousands or millions of years? 

 

As far as we understand, from the Proclamation on the Family, gender was known/assigned/understood in that premortal existence. 

 

Of all of our ways to identify ourselves, the most important one is as child of God. When we focus on any other, we lose our eternal perspective on identity. Satan does not want us to remember we are God's children, but instead wants us to find or invent new ones here. 

 

So, when Bruce Jenner or others focus on their gender identity, they are looking at something mortal and finite, rather than focusing on the eternal. His gender, male or female, is transigent in some ways. He will be one or the other (or neither?) in the next life, and he may not have the choice. He spends time focused on himself and his own vanity, rather than doing the things to learn what it is like to be a follower of Christ and child of God. Service. Prayer. Scripture Study. Meditation. Sacrifice.

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