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PLAN OF SALVATION
Mormons teach what they call the "Plan Of Salvation". Essentially the plan is that human beings were spiritual children to God and his multiple wives. Eventually through God's Plan Of Salvation, human beings will become Gods themselves. Those that do not obey will be placed in prisons called "Degrees of Glory".
| The Plan of Salvation - The Pre-Existence |
November 28, 2005
By Moroni Marten
Beyond the outer reaches of space near the planet Kolob, the great Throne of God floats peacefully upon a magnificent cloud. There, the great God, Eloheim, and his harem of wives spend their eternity birthing spirit children.
Eloheim became a God billions of years ago. He started as but a man living an existence upon an earth. There he learned of the gospel of His God and was obedient to His teachings and found the secret codes. As he grew he married many women within the priesthood and made them his eternal wives. After his death and resurrection, he progressed to Godhood and was awarded by His God His own universe. There He organized matter into planets and stars and begat billions of spirit children with His thousands of wives.
But Eloheim soon found that not all was well in His household of billions. His spirit children all had different personalities. Some were quickly obedient to His teachings, while others reluctantly followed with disregard. A few had the spirit of contention and disobedience. As his family grew, so did the number of discontents. Although he punished them as he saw fit, an uprising was brewing, and He knew it.
During a particular family council meeting, Eloheim announced a new directive that met with steep opposition. He told His multitude of spirit children that they will all be forced to live on a world He had created to be tested to see if they can find the secret codes in order to make it back to the Celestial Realm and into His presence again. But He told them that they must have their memories erased and be tormented by hoards of evil spirits trying to deceive them. They must somehow find the secret codes through all the confusing and maddening turmoil in order to make it back. Eloheim told the spirits that only a very few would make it back and that most would be damned from his presence forever.
Of course, many of His spirit children were upset and began to murmur against their father. One of the oldest children of Elohiem, Lucifer, was respected by many of the other children as a leader. He proposed a different plan that would assure that all of his brothers and sisters would make it back to the Celestial Realm. He convinced many of his siblings to support his plan.
Lucifer's proposal was quickly dismissed by Eloheim. In a state of anger and wrath, Eloheim decided to make an example of Lucifer by having him thrown from the Throne of God and into outer darkness where he would live in spiritual hell for the rest of eternity.
But Eloheim miscalculated Lucifer's influence. Soon great multitudes of His children began to speak against Him – billions of them. Eloheim had no choice but to track down the dissenters and subject them to the same fate as their older brother, Lucifer. One by one he found the supporters of Lucifer and had them spiritually executed.
In the end, Eloheim spiritually executed over 30 billion of His spirit children. He gathered his remaining 60 billion children to another family council meeting and explained to them the seriousness of disobeying Him.
Eloheim divided his remaining children into different classes based upon their loyalty and obedience to Him. Some of His children who didn't follow Lucifer but wavered for a time in their devotion to their father were punished by being sent to a disadvantaged area of an earth where finding the secret codes would be very difficult. He also gave them afflictions such as diseases, poverty, hunger, and retardation. He gave them titles such as Chinese and Africans.
Those of His children who were unwaveringly loyal and true to their father were rewarded with being sent to an area of a planet that was blessed with comforts and plenty. There, the secret codes would be easier to find. He blessed them with better health, abundance, and intelligence. He gave them title of Caucasian Americans. But he also warned them that even with the advantages, only a few of them would find the necessary secret codes to be able to return back to Him.
Although many of the Mothers in Heaven objected to Eloheim's tough plan, He told them it was necessary to weed out the weak and to toughen the strong. Only the few who make it back will be able to be worthy to progress to Godhood and become what He Himself has become.
If you think this is just a story, think again. This is the Mormon Plan of Salvation.
| This is the lynchpin; the glue that holds Mormonism together. In short, it is the one concept that (on the surface) has the most emotional appeal. |
The 'Eternal Family ™' concept plays the heartstrings of so many people on so many levels. I remember, as a missionary, showing the films 'Together Forever' and 'On The Way Home' to potential converts and watching the tears flow freely. I would sit back and marvel at the power of 'The Spirit ™' as it touched so many peoples lives.
I look back and consider my complete naiveté with wondering awe. The emotional manipulation perpetuated by those two videos alone is absolutely criminal in my opinion. How many times have people's fears been cruelly and torturously exploited by the church to win converts? How many grown men and women are held hostage by the church with the threat of losing their 'Eternal Family ™' if they "…do not walk up to every covenant they make at [those] alters in [those] temples…"? How many spouses in 'Part Member Families ™' cry themselves to sleep because they will not be with their spouse for eternity?
Why would any organization perpetrate such a cruel and divisive concept upon its adherents? Greed? Power? Tribal identity preservation? In the end the reason is irrelevant. The concept, when critically examined is absolutely meaningless.
In coming to this conclusion I asked myself some critical questions regarding family relations in the afterlife (if there is one):
What does having an 'Eternal Family ™' really mean?
How do the 'living' arrangements work out logistically?
Do I live with my parents forever?
Do my kids live with me forever?
Do we all live with god forever?
Do I want to have my kids around me forever?
Do I want to live with my parents forever?
Do I want to live with god forever?
Think about that one for a minute… Do you really always want to be cooped up with your Mormon heavenly father and mother(s) forever? Does any parent raise and nurture a child just so they can stay home forever?
I would dare to venture (logistically speaking) that anyone who honestly answers the questions I posed above will realize that the concept of 'Eternal Families ™', when carefully considered can only mean one thing: prison.
If these questions were to be posed to a Mormon, most likely the answer would be: "We don't know all of the details but we know it will be wonderful to be with our families forever… etc… etc…"
If that is the case and Mormons cannot provide any real meaningful boundaries around the concept, then they are left with what the majority of western Christians already believe: We all live together in the presence of god forever.
If, in fact, the 'Eternal Families ™' concept does not include spending every waking moment of eternity with my kids (which I would not wish on my children anyway); if it does not mean that my parents will spend every waking moment of eternity with me (I really don't want to pester them for eternity), then the whole concept is absolutely meaningless.
The fear evaporates…
The confusion abates…
The need to cling to the church disintegrates…
But I want to take this one step further. Using the Mormon 'Eternal Progression ™' paradigm as a frame of reference: When god created us as spirit children (and by so doing, created his 'Eternal Family ™') in the pre-existence, What did he forget to do at that point that necessitated all of his children to be 'Sealed ™' together as a family for 'Time and all Eternity ™'?
Remember, Joseph Smith said, in effect, that there must be a welding link of some kind to link all of the generations of man back to Adam…
I would dare to venture that since we were all sired by the same heavenly parent that this fact alone would be enough of a welding link. I created my kids… I don't need a formal ceremony with costumes and handshakes to link them to me. I know how they got here. I know that they are my kids.
Since, in the Mormon framework, we are all god's children already; what difference does it make what our living arrangements will be in the next life? Who cares how we're related or organized in the next life anyway? Since we're all going to be together in the next life (those that qualify at least) what difference does it make?
Even if we take this to its basest form and justify the whole concept solely on a need to be assigned an eternal sex partner to propagate endless progeny, the same questions and conclusions will be applicable…
I don't want to spend every waking minute of ETERNITY with my wife… I need some ME TIME!
So in the end, the only reason to entertain this whole notion of 'Eternal Families ™' would be the need to secure an eternal sex partner. After all, meaningful eternal relationships (in the Mormon theological framework) can and will be cultivated outside of the marital relationship.
'Eternal Families ™' as a concept is completely meaningless.
| One of the main reasons I left the LDS faith is one of the reasons Dan Peterson thinks it is "true." I'm talking about the so called plan of salvation and the idea of free agency. I want to present a careful analysis of the plan Jesus supposedly designed for us. Someone in the other thread stated:
So true - freedom to choose is really important. But one doesn't need a gun pointed at them to feel forced
And this is precisely the point that escapes so many deluded Mormons who think the Church invented the concept of free agency, and also think it makes Mormon theology perfectly compatible with free market capitalism.
The doctrine of free agency in Mormonism derives from the so-called plan developed in the preexistence whereby Satan supposedly suggested that God the father force the people on earth to do good, instead of letting them choose. That way he would be sure to have them all return to him as obedient children. He said this plan would give himself the glory (whatever this means). Then Jesus stood up and said to let them have free agency, that way they could determine which of the children actually choose God over sin. He said this plan would give the Father the glory (as if that makes sense). This supposedly makes things more "just" because those who choose to have nothing to do with the gospel are punished accordingly, and those who choose the gospel are rewarded, according to their works.
This story might be appealing to children being taught during primary, but it is hard to believe serious adult thinkers, when applying a critical analysis, could believe this nonsense is in any way coherent. I suspect the only reason they believe it is because it was engrained into their psyche at a younger age. Dan Peterson still refers to it as the only plan that really makes sense, but will probably explain the probelms as little more than "details."
I eventually realized it sounded more like some fairy tale that might have been developed in the mind of a young, ignorant farmboy than anything a sensible God would likely conjure up or sign off on. I mean is Satan really so stupid as to propose such a plan and expect God the father to agree to it? "Sure, just take all the glory for yourself. That's cool." Free choice was apparently a given during the preexistence (i.e. angels were free to choose who they would follow, the disobedient spirits who ultimately became the Negro race obviously had the freedom to be disobedient). And it just doesn't make any sense how a system of forcing everyone to be obedient could be expected to work, and in what way that could give "glory" to anyone at all.
I find this theological tenet, which is one of the uniquely Mormon tenets, to be a little ironic since everything we know about the Mormon faith tells us that there is more coercion involved than in most other faiths. To think married men would just totally give up their wives and hand them over to the Prophet, just because Brigham Young told them to, and then to say this person had perfect agency and no pressure whatsoever, insults everyone's intelligence. While living under a theocratic dictatorship, you do what you need to do to survive. Being an apostate in the newly colonized Utah territory was a very dangerous thing to be.
The fact is the Mormon faith is one that is interested in one thing: control. Whenever the Church is in a position to legally regulate the behavior of the people, whether members or nonmembers, it will do so. We know this is true. The Church wants to control your finances, your behavior and even your thinking. Their scriptures are replete with criticism of "reasoning of men" because it wants the people to understand true reasoning and obedience to the Church, as synonymous. It doesn't want anyone to reason, independent of ecclesiastical oversight.
Just as a quick example, if you are an LDS college professor and have been recruited to work at BYU, and then at some subsequent point, come to the belief that the Church is not true... Well, you are in quite a pickle. Why? Because if you reveal the fact that you have been converted to a new belief system, the Church will fire you (illustrating their intolerance for your free agency to deconvert). Why? Because it doesn't employ apostates. But if you hide your apostasy until you are able to financially plan your departure, then the vultures at FARMS will use this as evidence that you were nothing more than a lying wolf in sheep's clothing from the very start, as evidenced by the fact that you continued to live off the backs of tithe payers. But the point here is the Church doesn't allow free agency when it can legally forbid it. It only pretends to cherish the concept when it has no control either way. The Church in fact, doesn't want the people to make their own decisions in much of anything. The Church, in fact, wants to make everyone's decisions for them, which is why it is easy for LDS members in authority positions to lure the membership into financial scams. The people generally look to the Church for answers in just about everything you can think of. This is because strict obedience is emphasized on a regular basis, and it is why the slightest divergence from the so-called "path of righteousness" carries with is such harsh penalties, as to make the idea of divergence unthinkable. This is how they control the people.
I'm not talking about punishment in the afterlife, I am talking about punishment in this life. Many Mormons struggle to live the life they grew up with and have little choice but to do so. Folks stay in Church because their wives would leave them, their children would hate them, their extended family members would resent them, their LDS employers would fire them, etc. People like bcspace would say they have the freedom to leave, and technically this is true, but my point is this is hardly the kind of "free agency" we were promised by the Church as it explained it in the "divine plan." In the plan developed during the preexistence, the spirits would have their entire memories erased from their minds and start from scratch without any awareness of repercussions in the hereafter. They will be thrown into a world with less than a 1% chance of having an opportunity to learn about the "Restored Gospel." This in and of itself throws a huge question mark over the significance of the plan. It makes no sense to say we'll let less than 1% actually come in contact with the "truth" and the rest will have to come in contact with it in the "spirit world" after they die. At which point they can choose between God or Satan. Hell, we could have done that in the preexistence, no?
To me, this defeats the whole purpose of erasing everyone's memories and giving everyone an "equal" chance to choose, doesn't it? It would seem more desirable to be introduced to the Gospel, not by terrestrial missionaries, but rather by celestial beings and possibly Jesus himself. But you don't get that chance if you deny the missionaries in this life. I remember one ward mission leader tell us that he actually apologized to a prospective convert for teaching him. He said that because he wasn't able to convert the guy, that he would no longer have a chance in the spirit world to accept it. This raises another question. Is it really fair to have the salvation of some hang on the inexperience or effictiveness of some terrestrial missionaries, and then to have the vast majority be taught by celestial beings of light, after they die??? I mean it is simply unfathomable that anyone in the hereafter would be rejecting such instruction. If I die and then experience some form of consciousness, I'd be ecstatic about it and would naturally welcome anything in the form of theological teaching, since that will be exactly the thing I'd want first. Wouldn't you? Does it make any sense to say people being taught the Gospel in the spirit world are just as likely to reject it as those being taught by 19 year-old kids who are essentially reading a script prepared by a corporation's marketing dept? In this life we're all conditioned to be critical of such sales pitches, but in the hereafter?
This story is very much like the Santa Clause story that seems nice up until the time you're asked to explain how such a fat man can slide down a narrow chimney, or how he can appear in every home in an entire hemisphere, in one night. The older kids get, the more it seems unreasonable and so the more questions they have that begged to be answered. Such is the case with the LDS plan of salvation, except the Church doesn't really bother to deal with the evolution of questions for which such a silly plan begs. The same is true for virtually all of the soteriological ideas developed by LDS leaders, especially the case for temple marriages, the eternal family, etc. For instance, temple marriages are supposed to be for time and eternity. The guy who baptized me had five other brothers and sisters. Their father died when they were all very young. He was hit by a drunk driver while jogging. The mother remarried. After several years of marriage, they decided they wanted to be sealed in the temple. But she was alreadysealed to the deceased father. When they explained to me how this would work, it ended up being one of the toughest things I had to struggle with as a new convert. None of it made sense to me, and never did. Apparently, someone in the Church decided that the original husband would be perfectly fine with the idea of breaking the sealing to his wife. On the surface it seems very heartless to make such an assumption about a person who did his duty, lived faithfully according to the Church's commandments, only to have it all taken away from him simply because he had the misfortune of being killed by a drunk. Talk about adding insult to injury. This is how I understood it at the time because I really believed this guy was in heaven waiting to be reunited with his family. But I was told he would find another wife in the spirit world. How could anyone be so certain? Well, the Church didn't seem to care much about that because the guy was dead, and couldn't really complain. What they had to deal with were the numerous cases in which sealed widows wanted to be resealed to second husbands. So I saw the Church as essentially crapping on one of the most beautiful doctrines of the Church, simply to make terrestrial matters run more smoothly for them. Is there really any other way to see it? I mean did then all get on their knees, pray to the dead to find out if the father agreed to the breaking of the sealing he had struggled to achieve during his life on earth? All we know is that they received "permission" to go through with it from the powers that be. I guess the rest is just "details."
But it gets worse. The children still get to be sealed to the father, as well as the wife, but the family unit as conceptualized in the minds of those learning about "eternal families" is thrown into a complete tailspin. The step father doesn't get to be sealed to the kids, only the wife.
So what the hell does it mean to be "sealed" in the first place if we're all supposed to become gods who rule our own kingdoms (universes?), produce our own spirit children, etc? Does the future stepfather "god" not get to have relations with the children who become gods? And how would those relations differ from the relations the biological father gets to have? I mean what's the idea here? In what sense are they really "sealed"?
I eventually realized that this seemed to be nothing more than a clever way to work off the emotions of those who had lost loved ones in this life, by promising them a "way" to be together with them again in the hereafter. As missionaries, we loved teaching people who had lost loved ones, especially recently! As if ths idea that deceased family members get to see each other in heaven was somehow unique to Mormonism. No. What is unique to Mormonism is this abstract and incoherent concept of being "sealed" to one another. Of course, when a grieving mother is mourning the loss of her child, and is approached by the missionaries and introduced to this plan, she is only told enough to get her sucked into the idea of being reunited as "mother and child." Later on during her "development" as a seasoned LDS member, she will learn that they will not remain as mother and child in any way that resembles their terrestrial relationship. They will both move on to be together forever with their own celestial spouses.
But the Church wants control and it will get it by using tactics that would, in any other context, be considered deceptive sales pitches. It controlled the members in Nauvoo, Kirtland, Salt Lake, etc. Wherever the Church is established and can indoctrinate the people, it tries to control them at every socio-economic level imaginable. "Free agency" is technically there, but the constraints placed upon it by the Church are so strict that trying to tie it in to the political concept of "freedom" is absolutely ridiculous. This is why I take issue with idiots like Cleon Skousen, Glenn Beck, and a number of Right Wing Mormons who think that the Church is all about Free-Market capitalism, as evidenced by the doctrine of "free agency." Is it any wonder droopy and others refer to anything that isn't free-market Capitalism, "Satanic" or "Evil"? This is why. It all derives from an incoherent worldview that begs explanation, and yet receives very little.
| I love the mormon version of Free Agency (capitalized because that is how it is said in the mormon church).
"You are free to choose, but you cannot choose the consequences." Can't you just hear the smarmy, condescending tone when you read that quote?
The statement is true, but "consequences" in mormon speak are different from RL. For instance, if I choose to walk out in front of a bus moving a 50 miles an hour, the consequence is, I die, fairly straightforward and simple.
If I choose to look rationally at all the information and facts that are out there about the church, and I decide it is not for me, or even if I am "offended" and decide it is not for me, my "consequences" are all arbitrary, and use guilt, shame, and fear to get me to "choose" to do exactly what I am told without question.
My wife has been pulling this on me a lot. I tell her I am sorry she is being treated different at church because I am willing to tell the truth, and that is a "consequence" I cannot control. When a 19 yr old. decides not to serve a mission, and his parents cut him off and take his college fund to remodel their kitchen, that is a "consequence".
These are not uncontrolled consequences like me being stupid enough to walk in front of a bus, these are deliberate actions by a manipulator to force a certain behavior and achieve a desired outcome.
There is no agency when correlation and obedience are rules 1 and 2. There is just tyranny.
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