During sacrament meeting yesterday, I was reading to Caitlyn, our four-year-old, from New Testament Stories, an illustrated scripture-reader which the church first published over twenty years ago. She turned to the story of “The Ten Young Women,” and asked me to read it to her. Which I did: I read about the ten young women, waiting at the door with their lamps burning; I read about the bridegroom who would open the door, but no one knew when; I read about the five women who were wise, and had brought extra oil for their lamps, and the five women who were not wise, and had not. I read how the five wise women refilled their lamps while the other five left to buy more oil when all their lamps burned out; I read how the bridegroom came in the meantime, and invited the five wise women in to the wedding; I read how the other five women came back, found the door closed, and could not go to the wedding.
There was one last panel–a picture of Christ dividing the righteous from the wicked, with an explanation of the foregoing story–but before I could read it, Caitlyn said, “Let me finish.”
I said, “Okay.”
Then she said, “After the other women came back with their oil, the bridegroom came back and opened the door again. Then everybody went to the wedding, and everybody was happy. The end.”
Many Mormons would, of course, consider this a theologically unsound ending, but it is undisputedly an attractive one nonetheless. She said it with innocence, cuteness, but also an assured finality. Universalism never sounded so good.