Today’s guest post is from Susan Brown.
Think back 30 years. A “little movie” was built with the following storyline: Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella hears a voice in his corn field tell him, “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this message to eventually build a baseball field on his farm upon which appear the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and Chicago White Sox players from the 1919 World Series. When the voices continue, Ray seeks help to understand the meaning of the messages and the purpose for his field.
Field of Dreams was that “little movie” that is still considered by many to be the best sports movie of all time. Subjective, of course, but nevertheless in most people’s top 5 of best sports movies. Mine, included.
Fast forward 30 years. Last week, many of us were privileged to watch the first Major League Baseball game to be played on a new field, built in the middle of an Iowa cornfield where the movie was filmed outside of Dyersville, Iowa. It was a game between the home-field Chicago White Sox and the New York Yankees. 7,832 fans watched from the stands. Millions watched on television or through social media….apparently the highest-watched MLB game since 2005. Clearly Field of Dreams is still a part of many people’s hearts.
The hype was off the charts. Kevin Costner himself was there as the master of ceremonies that began with Costner entering the field through (what else?) a corn field. He entered the field to the music of composer James Horner. Costner was in character as Ray Kinsetta. The 4-minute presentation showed Kinsetta as he walked slowly onto the field with a baseball in hand. The weather was perfect. He gazed around the field as he walked, slowly focusing his gaze to the scoreboard, White Sox vs. Yankees. Eventually his eyes turned to the small opening of the corn field at the far outfield fence line. And there, the players of the two teams slowly appeared, walking through the corn and onto the field. The crowd cheered and Costner eventually shook the players hands as they lined up for another night of baseball.
Costner gave a brief speech to welcome the teams, fans, and those watching the televised game. He ended his speech with the words, “Is This Heaven?” to which the crowd roared “Yes!”. It was one of those sports nights that was truly magical.
We all have things in our lives that end up being thought-provoking. This one did it for me. I started thinking about my Dad, who died 12 years ago. Where is he? What is he doing? He was an avid Dodgers fan and I remember laying on the floor (he had the couch, of course) to watch many a game. It seemed like that’s what you did on a Saturday afternoon. We spent Saturday morning doing chores, etc., (sing it: “Saturday, is a Special Day, it’s the day we get ready for Sunday”). And then we’d watch my Dad’s Dodgers (think Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax). That memory has never left me.
He was a wonderful man who enjoyed fishing, growing a beautiful garden, camping, and (of course) baseball. He was a simple man, not overly-religious by any means. Now that he’s gone, I just cannot see my Dad walking around in a long robe and playing a harp.
From the LDS Church website, I searched “What Happens When We Die?”
Answer: “What are spirits in the spirit world doing? For one thing, we know that the spirits of the faithful who have not yet been resurrected are doing missionary work among the spirits in prison. We also know that among those who were faithful, family structure and a Church organization exist.”
- What are your thoughts?
- What are the dead doing?
- Do they laugh?
- Are they happy?
- Is there baseball in heaven?
Baseball photo by cindydangerjones at Pixabay.com.
One of the things I loved about being a TBM was that I thought I knew what was next after this life. Maybe I didn’t have details (who does?) but I knew my family could be together and that’s all I cared about. As a post-TBM, I’ve lost any assurance I may have had about the next life. And that’s definitely the worst part of transitioning from TBM to something else. I admit it.
Having said that, I have four adult children who have all left the Church. They have not removed their names but they might as well. So even if I were still a TBM, I’d be facing President Nelson’s “sad heaven” scenario. So maybe I’m not really worse off for being post-TBM after all.
Let’s be honest, nobody in the Church really knows what life is like the next time around. It’s just philosophies of men mingled with scripture to even speculate. But I do hope it’s a little like “Defending Your Life” where you’re allowed to eat as much as you want and never gain weight.
Follow up question – IF there is baseball in heaven, do the Astro’s cheat? Or does everyone already have perfect knowledge and they know what pitch is going to be thrown ahead of time? If they do know, then do all the fans also know?
Well, in my version of heaven there won’t be any sports. I admit, having older brothers who wanted to play with boys their own age and NOT there little sister was a bad introduction to sports. Their first object in any game was to make the “little kids and girls” go home crying so they could have a good game without us poor players to muck it up for them, but not to get in trouble with the adults by refusing to allow the girls and little kids to play. They just made it miserable and dangerous to play. (I am talking broken bones, not just little bruises) So, Bob got “accidentally” hit with the ball, hard, and went home crying, then I got hit in the face with a bat and went home crying and very bloody. These all looked like accidents, but after repeated “accidents” in the very same pattern and “accidents” never happening to the older boys, as the only girl, I got very suspicious. So, I learned to hate all sports, except ones like swimming that were not competitive teams. So, Hell will have sports with my big brothers. Heaven will have books because books don’t injure you on purpose. And dolls. Because no doll ever broke my nose. So, prepare to play with dolls if you make it to my “heaven” by being one of the boys who hated to play with the girls and little kids. Punishment for my brothers will be playing with dolls with the girls for eternity.
Of course, my imperfect life might land me in Hell, where I will be forced to play baseball.
My mother is currently in her Heaven and knitting hats for the homeless, with unlimited supplies of yarn. She most certainly is not trying to convert anyone to Mormonism. For her that would be Hell.
Outside of Saõ Paulo in Brazil, it is possible to be buried in a cemetery owned by the Corinthian Soccer Club. 70,000 graves and the entire cemetery is done in that team’s theme.
So obviously, there is soccer in Heaven.
For me, I think we go on. There is more.
Are our souls recycled back into this world?
Is there an alternate location called heaven?
Are our earthly actions more important than our beliefs and devotion?
I have no real answers.
The only thing I was really certain about is that it is important to be kind and to take time to connect with others.
I’m pretty much in the same boat as Josh H.
My goal is to build the best relationships and experiences I can with people in this life, now. I’ll worry about Heaven or Hell when I get there.
If you like Baseball, I suggest you find many ways to enjoy it with the people you love in this life.
For some (like me), being with family works. For others, it’s not a big attraction. Additionally, for many, there will be significant gaps due to “unworthy” relatives. It all seems rather messy.
For me, I don’t like baseball. Too much standing and scratching. Not enough action. So baseball isn’t much an enticement.
For me, eternal progression works as an interesting draw. Toward what goal, I have no idea. Maybe planets, maybe great art, etc.
I loved Field of Dreams. And I was excited for the (re-enactment? ). My father and I didn’t get along, but he and my brothers played touch football or baseball most nights when he came home from work. So I would love another game of catch with my dad.
But I admit if baseball was once my favorite sport, its not anymore. Its too slow for me to watch full baseball games anymore, except championship games. But if there is a heaven and if that is a place of joy, I hope there are sports because I would like to have another crack at bat in a young body that doesn’t have the aches and pains of this current one.
And will the Astros being able to cheat in heaven? Of course not, since they won’t be there! (Acknowledging the complete hypocrisy of saying this as a Red Sox fan).
Not a fan of Field of Dreams (Bull Durham was more my style), but this post raises some great questions. Like Rockwell, I’m in the same boat as josh h. I don’t have any notion of the afterlife and since my two kids aren’t attending members anymore, and since my first marriage exploded once my partner’s numerous infidelities came to light, I really don’t have much investment in the whole “happy Mormon afterlifeTM”. And as has already been pointed out, no-one knows anything about what the afterlife is like. Leaders speak with great authority but with very little detail on the matter and the fact is that most people regardless of religious affiliation believe that they’ll see family and friends in the afterlife, so Mormon claims of exclusivity in that vein are absurd.
I don’t know what the afterlife will be like, but I do know what I don’t want in the afterlife: I don’t want to be around the smug, self-righteous folks in my ward; I don’t want to be where our church leaders are because I simply cannot relate to them; I don’t want to be in the presence of a bigoted or jealous or angry or vain God and I don’t want to have to spend the eternities genuflecting in front of deity and serially impregnating my (theoretically/potentially) endless number of plural wives to populate whatever world. I want to be able to have genuine, deep and meaningful relationships (I’ve had very few of those on this earth), lots of time to create and I need there to be music, lots of music. If I can’t play a telecaster in the afterlife at least as well as Danny Gatton, I don’t want to be there.
And I am with josh h about the eating thing. As I’ve said before, according to Mormonism, we’re all going to have perfect bodies and therefore perfect metabolism which will instantly burn off any calories. So it would be great if there’d be lots of pies and cakes and endless rivers of Coca-cola. But as I’ve also said before, one reason I’m not too keen on the Mormon afterlife is how easily it can be envisioned as startlingly similar to Caligula’s Rome: Endless food/drink, lots of perfected bodies, lots of (at least for the men) partners in, um, family creation, etc. With respect for others who have different ideas about the Mormon afterlife, a lot of it strikes me as at least potentially really creepy and awful, due mainly to the influence of a kind of untrammeled and unregulated patriarchy.
As many have mentioned, when Mormonism started to unravel, my first dreaded thought was about the afterlife. Because I thought I had all the answers and now I didn’t.
But several years later, I’m happy not to know. When this adventure is over, then onto the next one. Because if I’m honest with myself, Mormon heaven doesn’t particularly resonate or make much sense to me anyway. I sincerely hope that the sociality that exists in this life will be there in the next. But if not, then I’ll adapt. After all, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
In terms of baseball, I’m more of a league of their own type than a field of dreams type. Because there’s no crying in baseball!
It took me a long time to own up to it after my faith crisis, but I no longer believe in an afterlife.
And I actually find a lot of peace in that. I no longer believe we’re meant to be eternal; I’m ok with my story ending and my soul being a finite thing. I actually really like the way The Good Place presents it (spoiler warning for the last season)—that even something as perfect as heaven could become, after sufficient millennia, stale and unfulfilling and the natural desire of a soul at that point would be to simply conclude and be no more. I love the way Chidi says it:
“Picture a wave. In the ocean. You can see it, measure it, its height, the way the sunlight refracts when it passes through. And it’s there. And you can see it, you know what it is. It’s a wave.
“And then it crashes in the shore and it’s gone. But the water is still there. The wave was just a different way for the water to be for a little while. You know it’s one conception of death for Buddhists: the wave returns to the ocean, where it came from and where it’s supposed to be.”
In the interest of human diversity, I hope there are lots of different types of heaven. Personally, watching baseball has always seemed a foretaste of hell. But I hope those of you who enjoy baseball will have that pleasure in whatever lies ahead. Best wishes!
I was raised with the understanding that heaven will be kind of like earth, only much, much better. This was certainly reinforced by ecclesiastical leadership that was hierarchical and patriarchal. Now I realize that understanding as “seeing through a glass darkly.”
I’ve come to connect God and all things connected to the Divine as Mystery. Therefore, none of us really has any idea what comes next. But my best guess is that it will NOT be hierarchical, patriarchal, or any other semblance of what exists and operates here.
Still, the idea my KC Royals might have more than one or two winning seasons every 30 years in heaven does have a certain appeal.
Terry Gross interviewed Bart Ehrman last year on Fresh Air and he had this to say about death: “And I still think that Socrates is the one who probably put it best. When he was on trial, on capital charges – so it was a death sentence awaiting him – he was talking with his companions about what death would be, and his view is that it’s one of two things.
Either we live on and we see those we knew before and those we didn’t know before, and we spend all of our time being with them, which for him was absolute paradise because Socrates liked nothing better than conversing with people, and so now he could converse with Homer and with all the greats of the Greek past. So that would be great. And if it’s not that, he said it would be like a deep sleep. Everybody loves a deep, dreamless sleep. Nobody frets about it or gets upset by having it. And so that’s the alternative. And so it’s either a deep sleep, or it’s a good outcome, and either way it’s going to be fine. And that’s exactly what I think.”
It’s exactly what I think, too.
Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://www.npr.org/2020/03/31/824479587/heaven-and-hell-are-not-what-jesus-preached-religion-scholar-says
I’ve interpreted that scripture that says “and that same sociality that exists among us here will exist among us there” (D&C 130:2) to mean that we will still live in a society. I don’t believe it means 1830s frontier American society is heaven. I think ‘sociality’ is broad enough to simply mean that we continue to be social beings. It can’t all be missionary work. Instead, there will be some things we do just because we enjoy them. People who enjoy baseball can go play/watch baseball. People who don’t like baseball will have plenty of options. There will be work and hobbies and gatherings. I trust the crummy stuff from this world won’t be there. I define ‘crummy stuff’ to be things that make my life harder and contribute to the misery of others.
Anyway. I’m not headed for Mormon Heaven because I failed to Endure to the End. But as others have mentioned, the Celestial Kingdom as seen thru a glass darkly doesn’t seem like something I would want to do for eternity anyway.
And if the afterlife is a deep, dreamless sleep . . . then I guess I’ll do that.
Baseball is only really a thing in Japan, US, and maybe Canada. If you’ve got eternity why not cricket where a game can last 5 days.
If there is an afterlife, then first you have to build your mansion. With views of the ocean, and or rocky mountain like scenery.
My wife and I like natural and man made beauty so travel to see the most beautiful sites. Places like the sistine chapel in the vatican, kruger park, and banff or yellowstone, beaches and reef in australia.
Cruise with an outside cabin and with extended family along?
But can this be provided for all the good people who have lived? Sustainability?
Last week a friend went out for the day. Half way through the day she got a call from a delivery driver, saying he was delivering the thing she had ordered, but she had left the front door open, would she like him to close the door, and if she had a key he could lock it? This is not a mormon, or even a christian society. Most people are good and should be worthy of a reward.
After we have seen all there is to see and do?
Within the Mormon church, and likely several others, has the view of heaven surrounded by our families prompted many to have lots of children, whether or not the parents are able to provide decently for them? Provide in various ways, like financially, emotionally, opportunities, experiences, educationally, personally investing in each one, helping them learn meaningful values, etc.? Is there a high cost to this eternal expectation?
I stayed with my dad during his final weeks (pancreatic cancer). A friend brought him a book on the spirit world. Dad said – put on the counter with the other four. His friend said – but this is the one you really need to read! When the friend left I said, Dad you’ll know more in about the spirit world in the first half second you are there than in all those books.
Add dear god I miss my boys and want to see them again. That just might not be the way it works which pains me.
I’ll take a dirt bike over spectator sports, please.
Enjoyed a recent book by Dr. Bruce Greyson (not a superhero!) about NDEs with this gem of a quote from someone who came back from the other side:
“I was shown that religions are like jars of jelly on a shelf, only each jar had a different label put there by man. It is all jelly, it’s all sweet.”