In the two-part episode “Rise of the Cyberman”/”The Age of Steel”, one of the Doctor’s foes from the Classic Doctor Who series is re-introduced. Simply put, Cybermen are robotic humans. Literally. They literally take a human body and put it in a suit of metal. In addition, all emotion is eradicated or inhibited because it is seen as a weakness.
While watching the Cybermen take over London, I couldn’t help but think that Cybermen and their world paradigm is EXACTLY how life would have been under Satan’s plan. That was always the hard question in Sunday school growing up; why was Satan’s plan a bad idea? Why would we reject it? No pain, no death, no sin, and no troubles. Sounds like paradise doesn’t it? Well, after watching the Cybermen… yeah, I can’t quite say that.
One of the goals of the Cybermen is to remove pain (physically, emotionally, etc.), eliminate death, and stop hardship. However, in doing that everyone becomes exactly the same. That’s how I imagine Satan’s plan. Uniform, emotionless, painless, and loveless. No differences in any regard. No variety. Nothing to stretch for. Nothing to strive for.
Something that bothers me about cultural Mormons is the idea that if someone is different in any way, they’re a sinner. This is totally bogus! Just a few weeks ago in General Conference, President Uchtdorf said this during Priesthood Session:
“But while the Atonement is meant to help us all become more like Christ, it is not meant to make us all the same. Sometimes we confuse differences in personality with sin. We can even make the mistake of thinking that because someone is different from us, it must mean they are not pleasing to God. This line of thinking leads some to believe that the Church wants to create every member from a single mold—that each one should look, feel, think, and behave like every other. This would contradict the genius of God, who created every man different from his brother, every son different from his father. Even identical twins are not identical in their personalities and spiritual identities.” (April 2013, “Four Titles”)
As much as I love BYU, sometimes the culture here can come across like this. We have to put on a face. We have to have no struggles. We have to be “perfect Mormons” because we’re at “the Lord’s university”. We have to date. We have to get married. We have to have families. Sadly, not everyone can fit that mold. Nor would I want everyone to fit that mold. We all have struggles. We all have things we’re working on, be it something as “small” as being thoughtless with our words or as “big” as a pornography addiction. We all feel pain. Pain is okay. Pain is good. Recently a friend of mine told me that he had a boyfriend. My heart broke. It seemed to be making him happy… but even he recognized there was an expiration date on that relationship, be in during life or at the end of life. Sure, it would have been easier as a Cyberman; the heart break hurt a lot. However, the pain told me how much I cared for my friend. Heart break is a sign that we have loved. If it didn’t hurt when someone we love goes off the gospel path, when a family member passes away, or when a dear friend moves far away, how much did we really care?
During another Season 2 episode of Doctor Who “School Reunion”, the Doctor’s former companion Sarah Jane Smith says this: “Pain and loss, they define us as much as happiness or love, whether it’s a world or a relationship.” I love that. Pain and loss define us as much as happiness or love. If I had not been teased, excluded, and hurt during middle school and high school, would I be able to appreciate my best friend Garrett? If I had never been hurt and teased, how could I be caring and sympathetic to those around me?
I’ve read a quote that I’ve been unable to find a source for, but I think it describes some of my feelings here: “The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do.”
The scriptures also teach this principle: “And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good.” (D&C 122:7)
Satan’s plan, like the Cybermen’s plans, would have removed pain, hurt, and sin, but it would have also removed love, happiness, and joy. It gives me a new sense of understanding of Lehi’s counsel to his son, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.” (2 Nephi 2:11)