The Sorting Hat & Eternal Personality

Due to some conversations started by friends recently (Alison, Jenna, and Madeline), I was introduced to a fantastic method of Sorting (ya know, like Harry Potter) and it was insightful for some of my interactions with the Church and I think useful to explore a bit more in depth. You can find more info here (which I highly encourage you to do):

I am a Slytherin Primary and Ravenclaw Secondary, though I think I model a Ravenclaw-Gryffindor hybrid Primary when my Slytherin value system doesn’t have much to say. (I’d love to hear where you place yourself and if you think I mis-sorted myself, where I truly belong.)

Let’s break that down and why I think it matters.
The Primary is the “Why” for your behavior and the Secondary is the “How.” You can share the same house for a Primary and a Secondary, or have different houses, with loads of variations and nuances of behavior thrown in there, which make the system pretty robust and I think the best personality system I’ve seen (partially because I love Harry Potter, partially because it doesn’t use a test to assign you but forces you to be introspective and figure out for yourself where you belong).

So, what does it mean for me to be a Slytherin primary? The gist, as I understand it, is that I am primarily motivated by loyalty for a group of people and thus am particularly sensitive to betrayal and commitments to groups of people. I have a decently large group of people that I’m loyal to and feel the pull of these sometimes competing loyalties at various times in my life. For example, I have dinner with cousins, aunts, and uncles at my Grandma’s house every Sunday, and have only not attended probably a handful of times in all my years in Provo—and usually only if I’d been there earlier in the week and had committed to something else that required me to miss that (one of these was this past Sunday, when I had loads of Church stuff and was meeting with a group of fantastic and fascinating individuals to plan a project that hopefully develops enough to share soon). Part of the reason I remain invested in Mormonism is loyalty. This conflicted with my loyalty to some very close friends impacted by the November Policy (well, potentially, but likely impacted in the future). I stuck around and helped out with the Student Review for years because of loyalty and commitment to those involved then and previously. If I’ve committed to going to something, I go.

Yet, that only applies to so many scenarios. For me, I think there’s a mix of a Ravenclaw and Gryffindor strategy to creating a moral system for situations that aren’t really impact by loyalty. There are some things that I feel, but I also question and try to build and construct my own understanding. My Ravenclaw secondary comes into play here, where I collect information, strategize, and thirst after information purely for the sake of gathering information. That’s perhaps why I have such a vast amount of relatively useless knowledge stored. Sure, I think it may be useful one day, but mostly I just like knowing it.

Now, I think that makes it easier for me to adapt when I learn new things. Also, that my loyalties were more to family and individuals close to me than more distant Church leaders, I haven’t really been impacted by the same sense of betrayal that others have, even though that’s a potential danger, given how I value loyalty.

I had the thought this morning that perhaps more interesting than where I place myself and how that all works out, is how I view God and Christ. I think that you can perhaps reconcile vast disagreements between people about what God or Christ would do, by seeking to understand who God is to them. I don’t think that’ll magically cause those concerns and disagreements to disappear, but it strikes me that seeking to understand it will allow for more productive dialogue. So, in that spirit, here’s how I would sort God and Jesus.

I think God is a Hufflepuff Primary, and don’t really know about His/Her/Their secondary, though I lean towards Ravenclaw, but that’s probably projecting. For me, God’s fundamental attribute is Love for all humankind (and probably all creation). God loves all of us and is loyal to us, He/She/They strive to do what is best for us, work to bring about our eternal joy and happiness. When we break that bond or seem to disregard it, that causes God immense pain. This also provides some framing for the treatment of the Israelites. The loyalty there seems somewhat fiercer, even though they repeatedly disregarded God’s counsel. For me, that is God’s fundamental motivation—the why behind everything He/She/They does/do. I think this also provides an interesting perspective on the Atonement, where God’s love for the many is able to outweigh His/Her/Their love for the One.

Jesus is a little different. I think he’s a Gryffindor Primary, with a Ravenclaw Secondary, but a great Hufflepuff model. It seems that Christ feels what is right, that he has this gut instinct and acts on it. That he is bold and reckless and charismatic. He’ll do whatever it takes. This is tempered somewhat by the Ravenclaw secondary, the search and gathering of knowledge (illustrated for me in the idea that he learned line upon line and precept on precept). Christ’s fire in the temple is a perfect example of someone that feels intensely what is wrong and cannot abide it, no matter what words are used.

Some would probably argue that God and Christ both exemplify all the good from the Houses perfectly. And yeah, maybe that’s true. But, I think to suggest that there is not a difference in the “Why” and “How” for their decisions and actions is to erase their individuality. It blurs them into one super deity (and while there are some compelling aspects of that ideology), I love the idea of distinct personages, of a sort of council of Gods, of the desperate, eternal need for individuality. We all have distinct personalities and are meant to. They complement each other in this tapestry of life that we all weave. Understanding that we are different can help us bridge gaps on an individual level and, ideally, with the divine.


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