I explored the serious writings on reincarnation which – so long as the rebirth is back into another human body – one has to admit is a concept is as plausible and reasonable as the notion of resurrection, both of which are connected to a living environment beyond this mortal one.
I pondered reincarnation in terms of
“Who am I?
Who was I?
Why and how were the circumstances of this life chosen and decided upon?”
In that sort of prayerful speculation I found myself within the same or very similar spirit mind-set that I had enjoyed as a sponge-like earnest member of the Church whose soul was touched by music and the likes of lyrics to “Oh, My Father,” “If You Could Hie to Kolob,” “Oh Say What Is Truth,” and “One Sweet Solemn Thought.”
That sense remains with me continually and I am no more willing to reject reincarnation in terms of understanding my sense of who I am than I am willing to reject resurrection in terms of where I came from and what awaits me when my mortal eyes viewing this life close for the last time.
The reason I express things this way to describe my sense of self, my “who I am” or as you expressed it, my self-identity, is because that self-identity is not something I view as separated from the culture and heritage. The choices of mortal culture and heritage are connected to who I was born to be. They were made with my agreement and harmony with my heavenly parents or the ground of my being or the higher spiritual plane … before I ever became mortal.
So the nature/nurture aspect of my life once commenced within this particular mortality includes the “training,” or perhaps better said the patterning of a chosen framework.
Put in less high-falutin terms, I am saying that for me the childhood training I received regarding formation of my personal spirituality IS my self-identity.
I do not see myself as a native Mormon, rather a human being born into a tribal society that trained me in a specific way about the multiplicity of existences and dimensions expressed in spiritual rather than religious terms.
But I – as do we all – had to do the personal graduate work of moving beyond the literal-mindedness of the shallow end of the pool where true-churchiness is the dominant and loudest drum to which Mormonism’s children learn to march and swim. That drum is for the most part a child-like religious strutting and splashing … until the time when every one of us needs to turn toward the reality of God in deeper water and learn to swim out there … so as to dwell where we belong … unfettered by programs and correlation, but living within the kingdom as fellow saints and mature citizens.