What If Everyone Found Out the Mormon Plan of Salvation Was True?

Bruce Nielson christianity, Mormon, religion, thought 60 Comments

Let’s perform a thought experiment. Pretend like there is no Mormon Church at all. But one day Jesus Christ returns and the Millennium beings. Christians around the world rejoice! They were right all along about Jesus being the Son of God. But after Jesus has been here for a while, word gets out; it turns out that many of the doctrines of all Christian religions weren’t true after all. For example, substance theology turned out to not be true. Instead Jesus and the Father are separate people that share a common will. Their oneness is complete, but so is their physical separateness. The Trinity is a social Trinity. It is true that there is only one God made up of three persons, but in another sense, but only a lesser sense, it might be appropriate to say there are three Gods.

Then word comes again: there isn’t just a single heaven or hell as tradition held. There are actually three kingdoms or glories that people can attain to. And against the traditional beliefs of most Christians, it turns out that all good hearted people of all religions go to the second heaven which is called the Terrestrial Kingdom. Even an ethical atheist can go to that heaven if he accepts Christ now. The Atonement of Christ saves all good people of all religions. The Terrestrial Kingdom is everything Christians have hoped and dreamed for; they live with Christ forever as angels and servants of God!

Many weep over their lost children and loved ones that chosen a life of unrepentant sin and have been thrust to hell. But Jesus announces a new doctrine: those in hell can accept Him there, repent, and change. Though it may take a while, perhaps 1000 years, all but a few in hell will be eventually redeemed by the Grace of Christ and will go to the lowest of the heavens: the Telestial Kingdom. The hell experience itself is a work of justice, as all believed, but also a work of great love and mercy. The hell experience allows people to repent, change, accept Christ, and have joy. Hell itself is Eternal, but a person’s stay there doesn’t have to be! God’s love does not stop at the bounds of hell!

Then word comes back again: There is a heaven and glory above the Terrestrial. It is called the Celestial Kingdom. It’s impossible to imagine… it can’t be true… But yes, it is true! Some people will be able to accept certain ordinances and covenants that, if they live by them, they can go to this Celestial Kingdom. And there some will go on to become like God Himself! The greatest of all possible gifts is available by the Grace of Christ — humans can become Divine and can literally share in all of God’s work and have the same joy God Himself has. It is possible know God so completely (John 17:3) that we can be like He is!

So here are some questions to consider from this imaginary scenario. I am not necessarily looking for posted answers. Just think about these questions:

  • Would the Christians of the world feel disappointed that substance theology wasn’t true or would this be an insignificant matter to them?
  • Would Christians be disappointed that non-Christians are saved as well as them? Or would this be a good thing to them?
  • Would Christians rejoice over finding that their unrepentant loved ones, as well as others, don’t stay in hell forever? (But also no enemies will stay forever in hell.)
  • Would non-Christians be disappointed that they were saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that Jesus turned out to be the Son of God or would it not matter now?
  • Would finding out that a person can become like God be seen as a bad thing or a good thing?

And finally —

  • What religions, Christian or non-Christian, would be better off if the Mormon beliefs turned out to be true instead of their own beliefs being true? Which religions would be worse off?

Comments

comments

Comments 60

  1. I agree with john f. This is a really good post.

    Would non-Christians be disappointed that they were saved by the Atonement of Jesus Christ and that Jesus turned out to be the Son of God or would it not matter now?

    I honestly have to say that I think some would. When I was a missionary in Japan, I was surprised at the number of people who didn’t want to be resurrected and preferred to become nothing.

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    dpc,

    Become nothing or merge with the universe? (i.e. lose your self identity by becoming one with God in more western/Christian terms)

    Westerners tend to see Buddhism and Hinduism as ‘becoming nothing’ but it really isn’t that, per se. They are trying to lose their identity in the divine, which is not so different from the concept of At-one-ment.

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    Okay, I just have to throw one more thing out. I’ve been listening to the Gita and it helped me make sense of several hindu concepts that had seen contradictory before. Apparently they have a concept of “heaven” which is similar to our Terrestrial Kingdom, only with the caveat that you can only stay there as long as the merrit of your good works in life hasn’t run out yet. Then you have to return to earth and go through another life.

    The “real heaven” in Hinduism seems to be becoming part of God (it would seem that Hinduism is monotheistic, contrary to populary belief, btw) by losing your self identity so that you don’t have to be born in yet another life. It was easy to see a similarity to our concepts of Terrestrial and Exaltation, with the big difference that we believe one becomes one with God without losing one’s individuality.

  4. There will still be people who will not accept the Savior even with him coming down out of heaven in all his glory. I suspect that that number, however, will be quite few. I suspect that most people on earth will be quite excited and enthralled by the method of the return of the Savior and will have to say that maybe that really is the way to go.

  5. Bruce:

    There definitely is that element to Hinduism and Buddhism as you stated. In Japanese, however, people would tell us “Mu ni naritai” which literally translates to “I want to become nothing”. I think that some people, however, would see life in the terrestial kingdom as a type of punishment if they truly wanted to become nothing or lose their identity.

  6. The losing self to the divine thing is repulsive because it’s essentially the same as the Brigham Young grinder theory where we are ground down to our essential essence if we suffer a second death. It’s satanic, and you might as well be an atheist believing you cease to exist when you die.

  7. People can be rather amazing in their religious convictions. In your scenario, I predict that some would actually decide that Jesus 2.0 was an imposter sent by the devil to deceive christians. They would reject him, and continue to anticipate a return of the “Jesus” they were expecting.

  8. “What religions, Christian or non-Christian, would be better off if the Mormon beliefs turned out to be true instead of their own beliefs being true? Which religions would be worse off?”

    This is once again a completely subjective question because each religion feels that their view of salvation makes them better off than any other religion; hence the numerous world religions and churches.

    In a completely hypothetical situation, I think all non-Mormon religious believers would be adversely affected for the simple fact that they have dedicated their mortal existence to a specific worldview and radically different concepts of salvation. From a non-LDS Christian’s eschatological perspective, they have been striving for salvation and doing what they deem necessary for it. Then to all of a sudden realize you were on the wrong track and never knew it, even when diligently searching for the truth. For many non-Mormons, the LDS are deceived and attempt to place themselves on an equal playing field with God. That is blasphemous in their eyes; but to see that that perspective was mistaken the whole time and have been denied the blessing of having lived it in mortality would most likely seem unfair, even if they get to do it in the afterlife. Furthermore, what injustice to have been forced to live in ages when saving principles were unavailable, having to wait thousands of years to receive those ordinances. This is all exponentially worse for a non-Christian believer. They have been completely misled.

    To deviate, what about early humans? Do they have to spend tens of thousands of years waiting around for saving ordinances? Finally, how far down the evolutionary ladder is salvation offered?

    The problem I see with the questions is that you can ask those same questions from the point of view of a non-Christian (in particular many of the Asian religions). They each have “safety nets” in place (e.g. reincarnation) that will ultimately lead non-believers to true enlightenment. Furthermore, one could almost say that their ideas are more humane than those of Christianity’s concept of hell/prison/spiritual torment in payment for their shortcomings in that it is a learning experience rather than just a punishment.

    With theology being so subjective to the view of the believer, this creates the mire of “my religion is better than yours.”

  9. Uh. No Nick. I’m saying that this doctrine is of the devil in my beleif system. Doctrines don’t reflect upon the character of people teaching them. I’m saying that I believe its a doctrine inspired if the devil originally, and if Brigham Young picked up on it from his environment as he did the Curse of Cain doctrine, it isn’t really his fault.

  10. Great post. Thanks for sharing. I think that many people would accept the principles and doctrines of the gospel if God Himself handed it to them on a silver plate, because then it HAS to be true. It’s only when it has that disturbing “Mormon” term attached to it that it becomes weird and unchristian. And heaven forbid that God requires people to have faith in Him.

  11. RE #13:
    Yep. sure is fascinating. I also feel they are wrong, and it doesn’t bother me that they think I’m wrong.

    But its also nice to know that I don’t have to be the ultimate arbiter, the one to decide what is ultimately true or false as far as these way out doctrines go, and that my belief system really is just a set of ideas that I prefer, which I’m not committed to as I am a testimony of the core principles. This set of things that I prefer actually changes from time to time as more revelation is gotten, or better information is found.

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    >>> Isn’t it fascinating that those of other religions would find your theories just as repulsive, satanic, and heinous?

    NM Tony, I think you are assuming too much here. Would the majority of non-Mormons in the world *really* find the Mormon Plan of Salvation repulsive (as per this thought experiment – if they knew it to be true.)? I rather think not.

    Finding out you get to live forever in a happy place (Terrestrial Kingdomish) is not really a bad thing to most people, even if we assume there are a few exceptions as per dpc’s example. Even Hindus think highly of the idea despite that not being the highest possible reward. Living forever in a happy place is a pretty basic idea that anyone from the human experience can comprehend easily and have at least some idea of as a positive thing. I think the idea that most people would find it “repulsive” is a stretch.

    Update: perhaps you weren’t talking about the plan of salvation. Sorry I misunderstood if you were simply on a different subject.

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    Not to get off topic, but isn’t the grinder theory rather less repulisive than the alternative, i.e. living forever in hell? I always thought of it as a “tough love” alternative for beings (Satan and minions) that just couldn’t advance any other way. Not saying I believe in it. But I never saw it as “repulsive” either. It has a certain mercy to it in the case of Sons of Perdition.

  14. Bruce,

    “Living forever in a happy place”, for all it’s attractive Disneyland-like quality, also has its own share of logical conundrums. I understand it’s nice to think that everyone in this Plan is better off than they imagined in their alternative belief systems, but if those that live a celestial existence (top third of the celestial?) are the only ones who can learn and progress, and the other ones know this, how are terrestrial and telestial folks happy? At some point, wouldn’t they really get tired of it all and want to commit spiritual suicide?

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    >>> I understand it’s nice to think that everyone in this Plan is better off than they imagined in their alternative belief systems

    I’m not suggesting this. You just read this in. I’m asking the questions and seeing what people think. It certainly seems likely to me that in at least the case of Christians the Mormon plan is better than their own assumptions. But I’m less certain on some of the others.

    >>> At some point, wouldn’t they really get tired of it all and want to commit spiritual suicide?

    What’s your opinion?

    And I find it interesting, you are suggesting that Christians who have hoped and dreamed to live in “heaven” forever with God would — upon receiving that very reward — suddenly not be happy with it because there are others above them. (Suggesting that they wouldn’t feel that way if there weren’t others above them?)

    Do you believe that would be true? This might go along with the idea that all things below exaltation are in a sense hell.

    I should probably note here that the Terrestrial Kingdom and all versions of Christian heaven except the LDS version all sound rather dull to me, so I see what you are saying. Still, it’s hard to miss that the vast majority of religions (i.e. Christian, Jew, Muslim, and Hindu, to a degree, at a minimum) teach just that and feel pretty happy with the idea, so it’s obviously got some sort of appeal and is non-repulsive to them.

    Personally, I’m pretty sure I’d rather have the Hindus end up being correct so that I can eventually just join with God and cease to exist as an individual. 😛

    Besides, John, don’t forget that part of my thought experiment is that those that are interested can attain to the Celestial Kingdom. So I’m not assumimg that option isn’t available to all.

  16. Everyone is wrong about most of their beliefs and how they envision God and the afterlife. It is not because we are bad, just that God and his realm are not just beyond what we believe, but are more than we can conceive. We are truly looking through a glass darkly. So while an individual may have some beliefs that are more or less correct, most of them would have to be adjusted or abandoned as they find more of the truth. This applies to us in the church as well.

    IMO the individuals who diligently seek Jesus, would be glad to find him, and everything else would be secondary. Once they had their faith in Christ confirmed, accepting the details would be trivial. The charitable faithfull protestant, who loves Jesus with all of his heart mind and strength, would probably care less that they were not on the rolls of the mormon church. They would simply want to commune with and worship their Christ.

    This reminds me of a opus cartoon that was printed after Jerry Fallwell died. One of the characters (Lola Granola) tells their belief that everyone goes to heaven in the end. Opus asks her,
    “What about gays?”
    “Yes.”
    “Feminists?”
    “Yes.”
    “Liberals?”
    “Yes.”
    “Jerry Fallwell?”
    “Yes, even him.”
    Opus considers for a moment and says “He must be annoyed.”
    “Eternally.” Lola replies.

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    >>> So while an individual may have some beliefs that are more or less correct, most of them would have to be adjusted or abandoned as they find more of the truth. This applies to us in the church as well.

    Good point. And I agree.

  18. Bruce,

    I admit I don’t think much about the prize awaiting all of us, but when I do, I realize why the “lower kingdoms” don’t sound interesting. Of course, so little is to be found in the revelations about all of this. I wish there were just a bit more in the D and C to motivate me!

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    >>> I wish there were just a bit more in the D and C to motivate me!

    To the lower kingdoms? Is that were you plan to go? 😛

    No seriously, I’m confused. You just said the lower kingdoms don’t sound interesting. (I agree.) But then you said you wish you knew more about it to motivate you. Do you now mean to Exaltation?

  20. Sorry,

    I meant about all of the hereafter. Sometimes I understand why the Muslims are so motivated to get to heaven–it is spelled out so well in the Quran.

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  22. #5

    “(it would seem that Hinduism is monotheistic, contrary to populary belief, btw)”

    Actually, Hinduism might be better defined as “henotheistic” (a single deific power with multiple manifestations).

    FWIW.

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    >>> Actually, Hinduism might be better defined as “henotheistic” (a single deific power with multiple manifestations).

    I learned a new word. 🙂

  24. Actually, Hinduism might be better defined as “henotheistic” (a single deific power with multiple manifestations).

    Henotheism, and its synonyn, monalatry, mean that one believes in multiple gods, but that one god is supreme and that god is the one you should worship. After reading the Book of Abraham, one could very well assert that Mormons are henotheists.

    And Bruce, before you accuse me of being a closet evangelical or an ex-mormon, I am a card carrying Mormon, in good standing.

  25. “Would the Christians of the world feel disappointed that [their] substance theology wasn’t true”

    Dude, baptists will say that this is the ‘Mormon Jesus’ who is different to the ‘real Christian Jesus’ they will keep waiting for!

    And Nick has finally said something true here, in #9. Congrats 🙂

    But #27 Ten virgins for every man? Wow, I can’t wait for the millenium!!

  26. Frankly, this is all very interesting, but here’s the thing: when it all comes down to it, I’m gonna guess that 99% of all Mormons are going to pretty shocked at the way things go down when they die–myself included. Of course, our shock will likely be very mild compared to that of our friends in other faiths, but honestly, we are all just trying to get prepared.

    I really think that’s the point of the Temple. To me it’s not so much about the ordinances or the rituals or the things you learn. It isn’t anything like that. Those things are essential, yes, but the POINT of those things is to get you used to something different.

    We bob along in this life, experiencing one thing after the next, and everything is nice and linear. When we hit that veil, all that changes. When we cross the veil, all that changes. Time no longer means a thing, and that changes everything. Ask any physicist, and they will agree that if you take time out of the equation everything we know about the universe changes dramatically, and you get some really weird stuff. I remember reading some pretty wild speculation in an institute manual about God being made of light, and therefore being able to do some strange things with quantum physics. If you have that handy…it’s probably around section 130 or so.

    Here’s what’s going to happen. The Baptists, when they die, are going to be shocked. They’ll wait there, in the spirit world. Joseph Smith comes up and says, “Hi, I’m Joseph Smith, and I’m responsible for welcoming new spirits into the spirit world. I don’t always do it personally, but I try to make an exception for the people that really went out of their way to spread lies about me in their life. I just want to let you know that I forgive you. Oh, and by the way, Moroni is showing the Golden Plates to an audience right now, so in a bit I’ll come back and we’ll go have a look. In the mean time, your family would like to talk with you.”

    The Baptist is reeling, but JS leaves them to go meet with a faithful Mormon, whose expecting their reward and has their temple knowledge ready. They see JS and meet him with an outstretched hand. JS ignores it and hugs them. “Welcome dear sister. I’d like you to meet someone right now. This man has recently entered into his eternal exaltation and is working very hard to move the work forward. I know your husband hasn’t been faithful in the gospel–in fact, he’s left the church and publishes material against it regularly. But this good brother has accepted the gospel and I think that you might be sealed to him. His name is Genghis Khan.”

    JS leaves the shocked and speechless sister, who was expecting to meet her departed family, and moves to meet another member of the church who has recently arrived in the spirit world. “Welcome brother. I see you have met your family, but now it time for you to answer a few questions. Tell me something–how are you doing without your body? You’ve always said you hated your body, but now that you are just a spirit, how do you feel?” The man tries to cry, but as a spirit, he is unable to do more than look slightly sad.

    I imagine this is how a lot of people will feel–completely shocked by the details. Furthermore, the experience of being ripped from our bodies I think will be so painful that most of us will be insanely anxious for the resurrection. Of course, this is all wild speculation, so feel free to ignore, speculate further, or tear apart. I’d welcome GA quotes that support, obliterate or otherwise are relevant.

    Of course, my dad always said that if we have to sit around playing harps and singing all day he’s going to sneak a record player in under his robe! He couldn’t sing or carry a tune in a bucket. I’m not certain a perfect body will help.

    I do remember one of the prophets said he fully expected to see his horse in the Celestial Kingdom. I personally hope that one of my cats that is now diseased ends up in outer darkness–the miserable beast! (Please check your humor detector and re-read last statement if you found it offensive the first time through, you may need to have the hd repaired).

    I’m done speculating for now–sick man has work to do.

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    >>> And Bruce, before you accuse me of being a closet evangelical or an ex-mormon, I am a card carrying Mormon, in good standing.

    Yes, David, but apparently you have some unique beliefs that you prefer not to talk about or discuss in detail. Nothing wrong with that by itself, but then I don’t believe you have the right to attack others beliefs while hiding yours, which is what you did that lead to my making a guess at your religious affliation. And you certainly did come across far more Evangelical than Mormon, David. Strongly so.

    I admit I’m curious what you believe. You clearly have come up with something unique, but I couldn’t tell you what it is because you continue to hide it.

    >>> believes in multiple gods, but that one god is supreme and that god is the one you should worship. After reading the Book of Abraham, one could very well assert that Mormons are henotheists.

    A fair question is whether or not Mormons would qualify. Give us a real life religion that is believes in Henotheism (since apparently Hindus don’t qualify) and let’s do a real life comparison to Mormonism.

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    Ben,

    Excellent post. I loved it. Made me laugh.

    Carlos,

    >>> Dude, baptists will say that this is the ‘Mormon Jesus’ who is different to the ‘real Christian Jesus’ they will keep waiting for!

    Okay, back up Carlos. The thought experiment is if there is no Mormon Church. So our baptists have no frame of reference of a “Mormon Jesus” to compare to. So the question is literally “what would they think about being right about Jesus but wrong about substance theology.”

  29. Bruce,

    Its that this ‘thought experiment’ is simply just impossible because if one day Jesus returns they will just say ‘Nope, this isn’t the Jesus of the bible’ as they do today everytime they criticize our Jesus. In the spiritual sense (which actually changes people) Jesus has returned and everyone who wants to speak to him or see him can do so today. Seeing him in person won’t make all that much of a difference. So they wont ‘feel disappointed that substance theology wasn’t true’ but would stick to that theology and reject the returned Jesus, just as they do today with the returned spiritually influential Jesus. They won’t ‘rejoice over finding that their unrepentant loved ones don’t stay in hell forever?’ because they don’t feel that way today everytime they reject the true Jesus, the one Joseph Smith first told us about.

    You see, what I’m trying to say is that if the Christians of today reject the real Jesus just like the jews rejected the real Jehova when he showed up, then they are certain to still do that when he returns for the millennium. The Jews kept Moses’ law even though the law-giver was standing in front of them and I think that it will be the same with the Baptist/evangelicals who fanatically follow the biblical Jesus but reject him today when he’s available to all, and they’ll keep doing this at the start of the millennium -unless they repent and get baptized, change their ways and so on…off course.

    Heck, even many Mormons could reject a resurrected Jesus who shows up in a business suit and clean shaven, wouldn’t you think? They start going off that ‘No, since Primary He was in a robe and bearded so this can’t be Jesus in an Armani? 🙂

  30. Post
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    >>> You see, what I’m trying to say is that if the Christians of today reject the real Jesus just like the jews rejected the real Jehova when he showed up, then they are certain to still do that when he returns for the millennium

    Okay, fair enough.

    >>> Heck, even many Mormons could reject a resurrected Jesus who shows up in a business suit and clean shaven, wouldn’t you think?

    Have to admit that’d be pretty weird. 😛

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    >>> In a completely hypothetical situation, I think all non-Mormon religious believers would be adversely affected for the simple fact that they have dedicated their mortal existence to a specific worldview and radically different concepts of salvation

    NM Tony and Ben aren’t so far apart here. Both are saying the after life, if at all different than expectations (which presumably it will be for eveyone, even Mormons) will cause pain and distress.

  32. Bruce, Great post, good food for thought. Ben, (#33) excellent hypothetical. Loved it!

    First of all, all people would be much better off lighten up on the other guy. Not worry so much about what others do and concentrate on their own behavior.

    Secondly, we’d all be better off if we focused on serving others more and serving ourselves less.

    Thirdly, I believe that when we get to the judgment, the Savior is not going to do a recounting of our sins which we are all aware of, but rather, point out to us the things we could have done unto others but did not, for one reason or another. In other words, ignoring the promptings of the Holy Ghost, not serving as much as we were able. Not showing up when we should have. Stuff like that. We will be shown the consequences of NOT DOING something we should have.

    I think that these things will be more painful and cause more regret than being shown the time we were less valiant or said a bad word, acted inappropriately or stole the candy bar. We all know those things.

    I do think, that many will not recognize the Savior when he comes because they are expecting someone different just like before and will not trust the revelation of the Holy Ghost bearing witness of the Churst to them.

  33. Carlos,

    “You see, what I’m trying to say is that if the Christians of today reject the real Jesus just like the Jews rejected the real Jehovah when he showed up, then they are certain to still do that when he returns for the millennium.”

    Hate to tell you this, but most Jews during the time of Jesus never heard of Him, never saw Him and probably went on to die without ever knowing that He even existed.

    Today, we have CNN, but it will probably take them at least 6-8 hours to get the story right after it breaks!

  34. Post
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    >>> Today, we have CNN, but it will probably take them at least 6-8 hours to get the story right after it breaks!

    Whoa there Jeff! Now it’s one thing to have gross misrepresentations about the Church said on these forums… and it’s another to have faith in God…

    But holy cow! You actually believe CNN can get a story straight in a mere 6 to 8 hours!?!?!? 😛

  35. And you certainly did come across far more Evangelical than Mormon, David. Strongly so.

    Bruce, I am now convinced that you have no idea what an Evangelical is, since no one in their right mind would accuse me of being an Evangelical Christian. So, just for kicks, please explain to me what you think an Evangelical is. No fair looking it up first.

    fair question is whether or not Mormons would qualify. Give us a real life religion that is believes in Henotheism (since apparently Hindus don’t qualify) and let’s do a real life comparison to Mormonism. First, no one believes in henotheism, it’s a definition of a certain type of belief system. Second, since it is a definition, you simply have to look at Mormons and decide if the definition applies, you don’t need to compare us with another group of “real life henotheists.”

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    David,

    I think a Evangelical would take two Mormon scriptures and claim they are are contradictory and that there is no way to reconcile them and then would take a scripture in the Bible that states the same and then claim it’s not a problem through interpreting it’s context. Yes, I think that sounds very Protestant or Evangelical to me.

    Whether or not this example, which really does seem deeply Evangelical, is representative of your overall beliefs I can’t say because you’ve done little to explain your beliefs even when I ask you nicely to give your point of view on a subject. I would, of course, prefer that you took time to explain yourself, David, and I even tried in my last post to you to engage you a little in dialog, which you rebuffed. That’s fine. It’s your choice of course.

  37. “But holy cow! You actually believe CNN can get a story straight in a mere 6 to 8 hours!?!?!? ”

    Yes, because by that time Fox News will call them and set them straght. 🙂 🙂 🙂

  38. Bruce,

    Defining what someone is based on one particular behavior is dangerous. There are contradictions in scripture. If it makes you feel better if I point out a contradiction using just the Bible then try these two references: Deut 7:3-7 and Deut 21:10-14. Taken in context they are completely contradictory. In fact you can take them out of context and they are still contradictory. The scriptures are not the end-all-be-all sources of doctrine, I thought that’s why we have prophets.

    By the way, that last statement alone pretty much makes it impossible for me to be an Evangelical. I don’t think anyone would care about this but I would be willing to write a guest post on what an Evangelical is, most Mormons really don’t have a clue. I myself didn’t until recently. In any case saying something “sounds very Protestant or Evangelical” is completely meaningless because the relationship between Protestants and Evangelicals is much more complicated than simply lumping them together.

    As for my beliefs, what do you really want to know about? I believe lots of things, you need to give a particular subject. You really haven’t been too forthcoming about your beliefs either, you like to live in the realm of hypotheticals, as this post does. What does a hypothetical really tell me about what you believe, since it’s all hypothetical anyway?

  39. Post
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    David,

    If you are interested in a guest post on what is an Evangelical, I’d be happy to post it for you. I would be very interested, personally.

    You are right that saying “Protestant or Evangelical” is imprecise. I’m of course speaking from direct experience with discussing such things, usually with Evangelicals of the layman variety. There are certain patterns that emerge (as would be true of any group) and you accidently hit upon one of them. For what it’s worth, you have my convinced your Mormon or at least the best fake I’ve ever seen. 🙂

    As for my beliefs, I go to great lengths to try to explain them and I’m systematically doing so. I doubt many people have doubts as to what my basic beliefs are if for no other reason than I’m “orthodox” in my Mormon beliefs and everyone knows the basics of what Mormons believe. Could we assume the same about you? I don’t think we can. So I submit that my beliefs are considerably more transparent than yours at this point in time.

    I also submit that it is an unfair tactic (in my view anyhow) for you to ask me pointed questions (i.e. “Please, give me a full explanation of how the first quote leads to the second quote.”) or even make a personal attack based on a straw man of my beliefs (i.e. “saying that you know the Book of Mormon better than the guy that translated it is borderline silly at best, smug at worst” which is not even close to what I said) but ignoring my requests to undestand where you are coming from (i.e. “In any case, it’s hard to even know what you are getting at without really understanding what your position is. Do you believe in the Book of Mormon?”)

    If I might be bold (but hopefully not offending you in any way) I would like to know the answer to my original question. Since you stated that Jacob 2 and D&C 132 were contradictory (i.e. “When they use the same example in two different ways, you have a contradiction on your hands.”) I would like to know where you personally stand on Joseph Smith and revelation. Do you believe, as some here do, that he was inspired, but so are all religious leaders, and that he abused his position to practice polygamy? Do you believe D&C 132 is in fact a revelation? Do you believe Jacob 2 is the word of God too? Do you believe the Book of Mormon is historical or just inspired fiction or not inspired?

    I think it’s obvious that I have already answered all the above questions for myself. I’m only asking that you do the same.

    I have no intentions of attacking your beliefs — though I do reserve the right to point out why I might see them as contradictory as you did to mine — but I do feel you should have answered the questions I asked rather than ignoring them since you had so clearly challenged my (and others) beliefs on the topic of discussion.

    If you don’t feel comfortable answering basic questions about basic beliefs like this, that’s fine, but than can we honestly say you are engaging in dialog? I don’t think so.

    Regardless, I’d still be interested in posting your post. I have no hard feelings over this. I just don’t respond to certain tactics that at the time I felt you were using.

    If I offended you by saying I thought you might be an Evangelical, I am sorry. To be honest, I don’t find that offensive at all. I rather like Evangelicals and 99% of their religion I find Godly and uplifting.

  40. To answer your questions:

    Do you believe, as some here do, that he was inspired, but so are all religious leaders, and that he abused his position to practice polygamy? No, not all religious leaders are inspired, but some are. LDS leaders are not inspired 100% of the time. They try their best. Was polygamy a mistake in my opinion? Yes.

    Do you believe D&C 132 is in fact a revelation? No. Even if you do believe it is a revelation it is for all intents and purposes a dead letter. This is reflected in the fact that for the most part the entire section is ignored in the church today, except for maybe v 15-20. Would I be in favor of decanonizing it? Yes.
    Do you believe Jacob 2 is the word of God too? Yes.

    Do you believe the Book of Mormon is historical or just inspired fiction or not inspired? I believe that the Book of Mormon is inspired. I hope that it is historical, but that hope I am afraid does not rise to the level of belief. As for the Bible, large portions of it are provably unhistorical, some portions are historical.

    Am I “orthodox”? Theologically, I am probably best categorized as fairly liberal, at least for a Mormon. A liberal Mormon probably ranks as a moderate Protestant.

    I doubt many people have doubts as to what my basic beliefs are if for no other reason than I’m “orthodox” in my Mormon beliefs and everyone knows the basics of what Mormons believe. Yes, everyone is in agreement on what Mormons basically believe, the problem is that once you leave the basics even a term like “orthodox” becomes meaningless.

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    David,

    I have more questions for you, but they probably aren’t appropriate for the form at this point. I’m curious about how you reconcile various things, like D&C 132 not being a revelation but being the basis for our belief in deification and the plurality of gods. (Assuming you believe in those, which I’m curious if you do or don’t.)

    But anyhow, this line of questioning could go on forever, so don’t bother answering right now. If you still want me to post your article about Evangelicals I’d still be interested. Let me know and we’ll figure out a way to make contact. (And if that happens, maybe I can ask more questions privately.)

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    Oh, and btw, my answer to your question is “no, I do not understand Mormons as fitting your definition of henotheism.”

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    >>> Yes, because by that time Fox News will call them and set them straght

    Are you allowed to think highly of Fox News and still vote for Obamah. Won’t they revoke your vast right wing conspiracy card or something?

  44. So why stop at “Hell itself is Eternal, but a person’s stay there doesn’t have to be! God’s love does not stop at the bounds of hell!”? Let’s invite Satan with all his minions to repent and we can all be one happy family…oh, and we can all hold hands and sing, “I love you. You love me. We’re a happy family” with Barney as the leader. Hitler can give the motivating speeches that will hype everyone up to become a superrace and ET can always be near to point the way on how to become a superrace.

  45. Are you allowed to think highly of Fox News and still vote for Obamah. Won’t they revoke your vast right wing conspiracy card or something? 😉

    Sarah, while I appreciate that We’re a happy family” with Barney as the leader. is your idea of Heaven, it isn’t to many of us.

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    >>> So why stop at…

    Guess you answered yourself.

    On the other hand, why not just take everyone that didn’t hear about Christ and throw them into Eternal torment forever and ever and torture them for Eternity in a pit of fire and brimstone, boiling them alive? Where’s the love, or justice, or mercy, or hope, or goodness, or anything worthy whatsoever in that?

    Indeed, how could torturing people forever *ever* be reconciled to a loving God. Would we call any father that treated his wayward children that way loving? Would we call any person at all, father or otherwise, that treated *anyone* that way loving? Would we even call a judge that treated convicts that way just? Would we call such a person anything but evil?

    Sarah, maybe you have concerns with a God that loves so deeply and perfectly that he will take the worst of us and, though giving each their just punishment as His justice nature requires, eventually allow them to accept Christ’s merciful atonment and end their torment in hell through repentance and change. Though they shall never be the equal of the believer that believed on faith, a loving God would always search for an end to their torment. To deny otherwise is to misunderstand God’s very nature. Such perfect justice and mercy has no mortal dreamed of. Such perfect love can only God conceive; even now most people reject that God could be so loving. They want it otherwise. They demand it otherwise.

    But will we all not wish for God’s mercy? Will we all not wish for His love? Are we so different than even those you condemn? Are we not all beggars before the Lord? Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged.

  47. Hi, Carlos. My name is also Carlos.
    I’ve seen posts by other people also named Carlos (maybe you) in the blogosphere, so I started using an initial along with my name. May I invite you to do so, or use a last name? Wouldn’t want people to confuse us or our oppinions.

    Carlos (too)

  48. In reply to post #45

    There is no contradiction between Deuteronomy Deut 7:3-7 and Deut 21:10-14. Context is more than reading the entire chapter. As somebody who calls themselves a liberal you should be more familiar with history and realize that the chapter breaks we see in modern bibles are a far later innovation (although the attempt was clearly to correspond to logical breaks in the text).

    In the first passage the foreign peoples the Israelites are charged not to intermarry with are those in “the land wither thou goest to possess” ie, the promised land, not foreign enemies such as Egypt and Babylon and Syria that could be a threat to Israel but were generally outside of its boundaries. To make this point even more clear the text even lists out these ethnicities/tribal-nations. In verse 2 the command is to “utterly destroy them.” If you utterly destroy a people properly, you won’t be able to intermarry with them, and God, knowing the stubbornness of the Israelites gives just such a command in verse three.

    The command to wipe out the tribal-nations of Canaan is repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 20, verses 16-17. This command is reiterated here as a contrast to the instructions in verses 10-15 in which God lays out rules of engagement for “all the cities which are very far off from thee” (v15). Verse 14 makes it clear that women and children captives were to be taken. So, by the time we get to chapter 21, verses 10-14, we already have a rich context for interpreting the supplementary commands for dealing with female captives. These female captives could only be from far away cities because there should have been absolutely no captives taken from the nations Israel was meant to replace. Your confusion probably stems from the fact that the passage you cited in Deuteronomy 21 is also placed within the more immediate context of laws governing domestic behavior (ie, what to do when you find a dead body out in the field). How an Israelite man is to deal with a captive woman is a domestic issue. Whether he should take a captive in the first place is a foreign policy issue.

  49. What happened to having in faith in Christ? I didn’t know faith had been supplanted by “knowing with certainty”, and is God talking to you these days?

    Of course it it seems to end with, “and what if they realized that the Mormons were right all along?”, how would they feel. Maybe another question might be, and what if the Mormons discovered that Joseph Smith was a hoax and the Book of Mormon was a fabrication.

    While you can spend all the time you want saying “I know” with “every fiber of your being”, “as sure as you breath air”, the facts are no one is suppose to know for sure since that would mean a sure knowledge and where would faith be?

    I’m not an alcoholic, but I’ve read about some of the rants against the AA organization. One is that after years of saying, “I’m Fred, and I’m an alcoholic” that over time you’ve cause yourself to believe you are if only because you keep repeating it over and over. And to say “I’m an alcoholic” instead of “I’m a recovering alcoholic” is a life sentence. How can there be any getting over it?

    I see an almost group think conspiracy in the Church. I thought as Latter-day saints you were suppose to be seekers of truth. Interesting…religion decides what the truth is and stops there. Science decides…this is our best guess up to now, but we’ll keep looking. Growth requires…demands that we suspend our current view and consider other things.

    Certainly it’s your choice on how you spend you precious life…but what is to be gained by such a speculative effort?

    If I say I know…you say you know…we all say we know…add some sappy music…a few tears and we can really be convincing, but it still doesn’t make it so.

    So to speculate, “what if the Mormons are right”…with only 12-13 million Mormons (of which only 40-50% are active)….13-14 million Jews… there are 920 million Hindus…325 million Buddhists…almost a billion other Christians and another billion Muslims. Almost seems like comparing the earth to something the size of the sun.

    From a now, outsiders perspective…I think the world would be better off if we just focused on being human beings first rather than some made up religion. We have so much more in common that we don’t get to because we’re caught up in these types of discussions.

  50. When Jesus returns I think many will call him the antichrist and crucify him in some way. History always repeats itself and human nature doesn’t change.

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    James,

    That is an interesting perspective.

    Bear in mind, though, that all Christians (including Mormons) believe Jesus’ second coming will be in power and that the wicked will be destroyed at his coming. As C.S. Lewis put it (paraphrasing from memory), this time he’s coming to conquer.

    However, I can see that many, even amongst the “non-wicked” (those not destroyed) that there could be great disbelief and that this could be a form of crucifying.

    I didn’t intend this thought experiment to represent what is going to happen. I just setup a hypothetical scenario for the sake of exploring.

  52. I was replying only in spirit of this blog “what if”.

    Others in this blog have hypothesized about the resurrection and still others made statements on how some people would still wait for the “real” Christ etc. I was not trying to circumvent doctrine, theology, dogma or whatever you want to call it.

    Yes blogs kind of take on a will of their don’t they.

  53. “When Jesus returns I think many will call him the antichrist and crucify him in some way.” Of course, wasn’t that one of Charles Manson’s proofs that he was Jesus Christ? (The fact that he was persecuted, er prosecuted)?

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