Featured Post

I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Friday, June 29, 2012

More on Doctrines (some deep-ish) of My Church

Susanne asked some really GREAT questions on a blog belonging to a friendly aquaintance of mine.  I loved the questions so much, especially after the challenge and joy of responding to some questions my friendly aquaintance posed as queries others might have (on her blog), that I decided I just needed to answer Susanne!  I hope you don't mind, Suzanne, assuming you ever read them.  ^_^
Your questions are in italics, unaltered.  I'm totally happy with any comments or questions you may have, too.

"Aren’t we good enough to be in heaven without having to adopt extra gods?"
I'm not really sure why you think we have to adopt extra gods.  Certainly Mormons believe in only God the Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost which three constitute our One God.

"or being sealed forever?"
Being sealed to one's spouse for eternity is not a matter of being good enough.  The sealing ordinance performs the unification of two into one for longer than life.  Marriage under man's law makes the union for life, sealing carries it through death.  So, the sealing ordinance has really nothing to do with being "good enough," except that both parts of the union must be striving to be "good enough" to be exhalted.

"or having to accept Joseph Smith as a prophet?"
I would ask a question in return: Aren't we good enough to not need Moses as a prophet?  Or, weren't the Israelites good enough that they didn't need Moses for a prophet.  I think the answer is both yes and no.  Yes, certainly they could return to Father's presence without Moses.  But no because they could not escape the captivity of their generation.  And for generations afterward (and Jews still today) who practiced the ordinances of the Mosaic Law.  These are performances that are meant to sanctify and bring those who do them unto the Lord.  So too, for the contemporaries of Joseph Smith through the generations to the present day.

"or having to do good works?"
So, would you refute the Bible?  Faith without works is dead, it says in the Holy book.  But you would argue that we are 'good enough' without good works to get into Heaven.  1+1=2 whether we like it that way or not.  :)

"What if we simply want to accept Jesus’ work on the cross as the only thing necessary for salvation and realize our good works stem from abiding in Him not as a means to earn a higher level of heaven?"
Such a desire is perfection.  Our good works DO stem from abiding in Him.  They do not "earn" us a higher degree of heaven.  By abiding in Him (doing good works), we are sanctified and purified and perfected (not made perfect in this life, but moved ever nearer to perfection).  This sanctification and purification and movement toward perfection enable us to endure a potential eternity nearer His presence.  No unclean thing can enter His presence, so surely no unclean thing can abide His presence for eternity.  No one of us will ever attain perfection in this life.  So we must rely upon Grace.  However, let's say there are two people who profess Jesus as their Savior on the same day.  Then one of them spends the rest of life abiding in Christ, performing good works under inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and loves to and years to abide in His presence always, then dies.  While the other falls into lustfull living, doing all manner of evil in the sight of the Lord, and lives in a manner so that this person feels GREAT discomfort at the thought of being among believers and cannot even contemplate entering God's presence for the shame of the life this person led....  Would it be justice for our Father in Heaven to force this second person into the same place as the first?  Would it be justice in God to force the first to endure eternity in the environs that second would feel comfortable in?  This is where the Degrees of Glory come in, you see.

"'Without me you can do nothing,' Jesus tells us. He tells us to abide in Him and He would bring forth good fruit in us. Why do we need to accept LDS doctrines?"
We believe... I believe that the Doctrines of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are the fully restored Doctrines Jesus Christ taught when He was in His ministry on earth among the Jews.  We/I believe many plain and simple truths were lost through the Great Apostacy, which Jesus and Paul (I think) prophesied.

"I’m curious why the need for LDS missionaries – is this not a waste of time and resources that could be used to feed the poor or fight sex traffickers or provide clean water or mosquito nets that would save thousands of lives?"
We believe it is the duty of every person who learns truth to share it with their spirit siblings.  We believe we have the most complete truth about the nature of God and His Way for His Children, and desire to share these truths.  Missionaries are full-time sharers of these truths.

"Maybe you believe you are encouraging people to marry and be sealed for all time and that idea is worth going into all the world and preaching to every creature? Is this why Mormons are all over the world?"
Missionaries teach about those things, it is true.  And yes, this is part of the message we are striving to share all over the world.  But it is only a part.  We also teach about the true nature of God, the truth of our Father speaking to and visiting His lost sheep, and more.

"My mom’s family has several missionaries so I try to understand the missionary mindset, but it makes more sense to me when I feel like they want to tell people about Jesus so HE can save them from hell. But if there were no hell (by the way, I’d love for y’all to be right about this!! truly!) then I wouldn’t bother. If most everyone is OK just as they are, why leave family, go to another land and tell people their faith isn’t good enough (which can be insulting if you think about it)? Maybe “going to hell” is a bad reason to share your faith and yours is better? But what is it? You have to be LDS in order to have the BEST heaven? I’d join LDS just because their hell is so small, but what if you are wrong about that and hell is bigger than we think?"
We do teach that Jesus Christ saves us from evil and the result of sin.  If we sin with knowledge, we are exiled from God's presence.  As "nice" as the Tilestial (lowest degree of heaven) is, it's NOT eternity in God's presence.  And I'm pretty sure there is reference in the Bible to the idea that living out of God's presence is no treat, regardless of how nice it is.  The only way to attain eternity in God's presence is in and through and by Jesus Christ.  For, as you know, He is the way, the truth and the light.  And only in and through Him can we be saved.

Being able to attain the Celestial Kingdom (the BEST heaven, as you put it) is determined more by sanctification and whether all of the necessary ordinances to obtain the presence of God have been performed.  Since The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the physical manifestation of the RESTORED fullness of Christ's Gospel, we have the most truth and part of that truth is the ordinances necessary to obtain the Father's presence.

Whether we (Mormons) are right or wrong about the number of folks who may be exiled to outerdarkness (hell) or not should really not be a concern for any good Christian.  For if we, Christians, are leading lives Led of the Lord we don't have to worry about hell... and focusing our attention there avails us less ability to focus where we should be focused.  If we only do good to avoid hell, then we're running away from something, rather than focusing on Christ and being sanctified.

"I always heard Lucifer wanted to be like God and this was what caused his fall. You have to understand why it’s difficult for someone like me to accept the notion that Mormons *want to be like God.* Or be gods…how is that different from Lucifer?"
This is different from the devil because we Mormons do not desire to take our Father's Glory.  We strive and work and live and love (just as all Christians do) to Glorify our Father.  The deceiver wanted to perform a form of the saving work Jesus Christ actually did, but instead of doing it the Lord's way (which Christ did do), the devil wanted to do it his own way AND obtain God's Glory for his own.  Jesus Christ was our exemplar when He said by His life and death, "Thy Will be done, not mine."  I believe that by becoming a god with my eternal mate I will always be a child of my Heavenly Father's and that any Glory I may attain will also be His... so, in the way that my earthly parents are always older than me, God the Father will always be "ahead" of me.

"Or maybe you believe Lucifer isn’t so bad and we have wrongly pegged him when he, too, will really be in that big wonderful heaven. Do you?"
Lucifer is the pre-existence name of him who is now known as the devil.  He is the father of lies.  He is the evil one.  He is the great deceiver.  He is miserable and desires all of us to be miserable as he.  We, Mormons, know these truths, as do you.

"By the way, do you believe Jesus and Paul were married?"
No way.  I've heard a lot of out-there stuff, but that's the most out-there to date.

"Also, how do gay couples figure into Mormon theology?"
Gay marriage, in our belief, is not recognized by God.  He did not organize or intend for a homosexual couple to copulate, much less consider themselves 'married.'

"And divorced people?"
I'm not completely sure.  I believe (that we believe) there will be a great deal of Grace for those divorced during our day.  Perhaps an even greater measure of Grace, given the world in which we live.  I definitely believe (and Mormons do) that divorce is not the goal; whether you are married by man or in the temple.  We DO believe the Bible to be the Word of God, so long as it is translated correctly.  So, Paul had a few words about marriage and the use of it.  I know, at one point, he said that if one were married to an unbeliever the believer should never leave, but if the unbelieving spouse left, to let them go.  Also, I believe he also said that it was important that the believer NOT leave because s/he never could tell if they would be the way and means by which their spouse would be saved.

"And couples unable to conceive?"
They are able to enter the Celestial Kingdom if all else is in accordance to God's Commands and Expectations.  He is the ultimate judge of all, anyway!

"or couples like me and my husband who never wanted children?"
Living childless for selfish reasons is, I believe, not pleasing to the Lord (given His first Commandment in the Garden) and could potentially cause those who make such a choice to suffer more than necessary if they had kept that Commandment.  If they were able, and chose NOT to keep the Commandment (just like any Commanment)... well, there is a blessing and punishment predicated on all obedience or disobedience (respectively).

I did strive to declare what I believe, but I do believe what I believe is according to correct Doctrines of my Church.  :)


Susanne said...

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your taking time to answer my questions. :) Unfortunately I have to do a bit of work this morning so I cannot read through your answers now, but I will definitely be back. I just wanted to acknowledge the fact that you did this and thank you for your thoughtfulness in doing it!

Susanne said...

OK,I read it! Thanks a ton. By the way, I didn't mean Jesus and Paul were married to each other. Sarah had been talking about marriage to such a degree that I thought it might be necessary for the highest heaven in LDS thought, and I was wondering if Jesus was married according to them. Same with Paul. But NOT to each other. :)

Thanks for taking the time to share all this. I enjoyed it! :)

Tori said...

You're welcome. I really enjoyed the questions!

We do believe that it is necessary to be married to attain the highest degree of Glory in the Celestial Kingdom. However, Paul and Jesus Christ may yet marry. I believe there is no absolute doctrine that either is already married. But, I believe they will be before the end of the Millenium.

copyright notice

© 2008-2016 Tori Gollihugh All Rights Reserved