The Exponent author, Jenny, penned a fantastic interpretation of the parable of the ten virgins relating to consciousness and Christianity in the post, “Growing Consciousness: Drops Of Oil.” Common Mormon interpretation (as per the General Conference talk referenced above) is that the Bridegroom is the Second Coming of Christ and that the Oil is a person’s testimony. Jenny’s take on the parable are based on Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now“…
He compared the oil in the lamps to consciousness and the bridegroom feast to enlightenment. I love that idea of the oil being consciousness, rather than testimony. The problem with the Mormon idea of testimony is that we want to make it into an unshakable certainty that we have the exact truth, yet we are so afraid of losing our testimonies in a moment of carelessness. This doesn’t feel like God’s way of giving light that grows “brighter and brighter until the perfect day.” Consciousness on the other hand is continual progress. It is the process of waking up, of receiving line upon line, of seeing beyond your own experience and understanding. Consciousness means that you are beginning to see things from the perspective of “the other.”
The Bridegroom is really our daily interactions with other individuals. Our Oil comes from how our interactions bring us closer to or alienate that consciousness.
Modern Mormon mentality would suggest the parable had a different tune:
1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their clamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3 They that were foolish had more than one ear piercing, tattoos, and their shoulders were naked:
4 But the wise wore long shorts, high necklines, and never spoke of sex.
5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; we are better than you, and you are not like us. Go away, for we are a peculiar people.
10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that lived the Young Women Values went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
If God’s purpose really is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (ref),” then I don’t believe He’s eager to shut the door on His children. Our consciousness is a direct reflection of the second great commandment to love one another. By focusing less on absolutes (Defending Mormonism as the one, true church), on opportunistic missionary work (Let’s be friends so I can convert you), and on intra-member shaming (Tattoos, piercings, and bears; oh, my!) we open ourselves to endless opportunities to practice Christian values beyond the limited score of correlated Mormonism.