Unicorns, Soul Mates, and Other Mythical Creatures
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“Unicorns, Soul Mates, and Other Mythical Creatures,” New Era, July 2017

Unicorns, Soul Mates, and Other Mythical Creatures

Here’s your field guide to fantastical fauna that, though unreal, can actually harm you.

Throughout history, humans have envisioned creatures that don’t actually exist in the natural world. Often, people come to actually believe in these inventions of human fantasy to some degree. This usually happens through a combination of misunderstanding, ignorance, and plain old imagination. Take the unicorn, for instance:

The Unicorn

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Illustrations by Marija Tiurina; background textures by Getty Images

A creature (usually a horse) with a single horn on its head. The horn was said to have magical, healing, or medicinal properties. The word unicorn is mentioned in the King James Bible, but that is a mistranslation; the animal referred to is actually some kind of wild ox or other form of Bovidae.

Where they live: Deep in the (enchanted) forest

What they feed on: Grass, oats, absorbed sunshine, or rainbows

Creatures like this may be fun and interesting to think about (and perhaps psychologically revealing), but they still have no basis in reality.

There are other mythical creatures that a lot of people nonetheless believe in nowadays. But these are not the kind that are fun and interesting to believe in. In fact, believing in them can be spiritually and emotionally harmful.

Some of them are things people believe exist out there somewhere; some of them are things people believe themselves to be. In either case, believing in them diminishes joy and growth. So, in a way, though they’re not real, they feed off of you. See if you’ve heard of any of them.

Creatures of Perfection

The Soul Mate

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Also known as the One-and-Only. A particular person of the opposite sex you are meant to be with.1

Where it lives: Out-There-Somewhere

What it feeds on: Deferred happiness, unrealistic expectations

The Flawless One

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Also known as the No-Need-to-Repent-er; a perfect person; one who never makes mistakes.2

Where it lives: The Kingdom of Aboveyall

What it feeds on: Ignorance, insecurity, pride

Creatures of Ease

The Pure Talent

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Also known as the Lazy Success. A person whose obvious and consistent success comes entirely from inborn qualities that they have never had to work hard at developing, maintaining, or improving.

Where it lives: The Plains of Effortlessness

What it feeds on: Lack of motivation to improve

The Life Cruiser

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

A person who never has to face any trials or failures. Special powers include the innate ability to avoid all pitfalls, calamities, tragedies, accidents, pain, and loss.

Where it lives: The Isle of Ease

What it feeds on: Avoiding reality; when we look at others and think it’s unfair that their lives are so much easier than ours, this creature feeds on self-pity, envy, and resentment

The Unscathed Limit-Pusher

Somebody who always walks to the edge of moral danger but never experiences any spiritual harm.

Where it lives: The Cliffs of Zero Consequence

What it feeds on: Moral risk

The Aimless Achiever

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Somebody who doesn’t make or pursue concrete goals but who nonetheless achieves all kinds of success. A cousin of the Life Cruiser.

Where it lives: The Invisible Sky-Castle of No-Goal

What it feeds on: Low achievement, wasted time

The Once-and-Done Scripture Genius

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

A person who has read the scriptures once and doesn’t need to go back and read or study them again, having obtained the full benefits of them in one go.

Where it lives: The So-Low Plateau

What it feeds on: Minimal effort, spiritual complacency, a “been there, done that” attitude

The No-Prayer-No-Scripture-Study Lifelong Testimony Holder

A person whose special gifts make it so that they don’t need to pray or read the scriptures in order to maintain a strong testimony.

Where it lives: The Dense Hollows

What it feeds on: Spiritual complacency

The Direct Conduit

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Somebody who always has crystal-clear answers to their prayers and never has to struggle because the Spirit always speaks to them and makes decisions for them.3

Where it lives: The Floating Island of Yield

What it feeds on: Misguided expectations, lack of spiritual self-reliance; can also feed on spiritual insecurity and despair when people believe they ought to possess these powers but don’t

Creatures of Impossibility

The Island

A person who never needs help from anyone for anything. Also known as a 100 Percent Do-It-Yourself-er or Do-It-All. Special powers include skills, intelligence, emotional equilibrium, and resourcefulness beyond any human.

Where it lives: The Ocean of Noman

What it feeds on: Social and emotional isolation, unrealistic expectations, pride

The Believer-Not

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

A person who is able to have great faith in basic gospel principles while at the same time having deep doubts about those same gospel principles.4

Where it lives: The Gray Area

What it feeds on: Doubt, insecurity, worldliness

The Ungifted

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

A person suffering from a curse that leaves them permanently without any talents or gifts.

Where it lives: No-Good Grotto or the Desert of Dull

What it feeds on: Lack of self-worth, insecurity, fear of failure

Creatures of Social Fantasy

The Beloved Meanie

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Someone, often popular, who does and says unkind things to others and who is also truly loved for doing so.

Where it lives: Statusville, in the Bog of Belittlement

What it feeds on: Social anxiety, putting down others

The Frempter (Friend/Tempter)

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

Someone capable of being a person’s “good friend” while also being the one who tempts them to break standards and commandments.

Where it lives: The Frenemy Territory

What it feeds on: Social anxiety

Creatures of Habit

The Exception

Unicorns, Soul Mates, AND Other Mythical Creatures

An extraordinary being whose unique circumstances make it so that commandments and standards do not apply to them as they do to other, less special people.

Where it lives: Special-Special Land

What it feeds on: Excuses, pride, unwillingness to change

The Just-the-Way-I-Am-er

Once this species reaches a certain age—usually in their teens—they will never be able to change any personal attributes (never get better grades, never be more kind, keep all bad habits, etc.).

Where it lives: The Swamp of Sameness

What it feeds on: Pride, unwillingness to change, insecurity, fear of failure

Conclusion

To reiterate: Not one of these creatures exists. But your belief in them can harm you. So, rule number one in vanquishing them is simple: Don’t believe in them.

Notes

  1. “I do not believe in a one and only soul mate for anyone. … Once you commit to being married, your spouse becomes your soul mate. And it is your duty and responsibility to work every day to keep it that way” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, “The Reflection in the Water” [Church Educational System fireside for young adults, Nov. 1, 2009], broadcasts.lds.org).

  2. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “God is … fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not” (President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “Forget Me Not,” Oct. 2011 general conference).

  3. “The Holy Ghost is not given to control us. Some of us unwisely seek the Holy Ghost’s direction on every minor decision in our lives. This trivializes His sacred role. The Holy Ghost honors the principle of agency” (Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Apr. 2016 general conference).

  4. “Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time” (President Thomas S. Monson, “Be an Example and a Light,” Oct. 2015 general conference).