Kierkegaard begins The Sickness unto Death: “The self is a relation which relates itself to its own self, or it is that in the relation that the relation relates itself to its own self; the self is not the relation but that the relation relates itself to its own self.”
I’m not well versed in Kierkegaard but this conundrum about the self speaks to the conflict I experience between love and faith as a Mormon and member of the LGBTQ community (principally as a parent of a trans man and a B/Q teen.).
These two identities are like north poles of magnets that cannot be forced together. I think Kierkegaard is saying the self is not in the repulsion between them but in the impulse to connect them. To desire this is suffering. The suffering is inextricably woven in with the principle that God, in Mormonism, is love. Both a nebulous, incomprehensible love of “neighbor”/Samaritan, and personal love: the love between parents and the love of children.
I believe we are given many similarly conflicting objectives and commandments in Mormonism. Not many people agree with me, but I think of the Abrahamic sacrifice (which Kierkegaard explores in Fear and Trembling).
I do believe that Jesus’ love is “stronger than the cords of death.” In that my spirit can rest.
Image: via wikipedia: rainbow