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

Another reprint from Mormon Matters. This is one of my favorite posts. It caught the eye of an Evangelical minister who seemed to appreciate the fact that it was a very straightforward explanation of Mormon beliefs. It seemed to make at least one Evangelical mad, this idea that if you have a loved one in hell they don’t have to burn there forever and ever. I’ve also considered doing the opposite of this post and asking “What would it mean if it wasn’t true?” But there was no point doing such a post on Mormon Matters because we got one of those posts twice a week. :)

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?

10 thoughts on “What If Everyone Found Out the Mormon Plan of Salvation Was True?

  1. Advocatus diaboli
    –I think sophisticated Christians would answer your first question and perhaps your last by saying not that they thought it was a good thing or a bad thing, but that they thought it was a logically *impossible* thing. Which gives one to wonder why they get so wrought up about it in this life.

  2. Very much by the way, but for some reason I can’t explain, your title caught my funny bone. I got an image of someone opening their newspaper horoscope and reading

    Gemini: be wary of grand schemes. Plot a steady course. Seek romance from an old flame. The Mormon Plan of Salvation is true.

    Which, incidentally, is how I think Jew and Greek, Mormon and Gentile, are going to react when we find out how things really are. Them, when they find out Mormonism is true. Us, when we find out that the Mormonism we thought was true was only a likeness of the real Mormonism. For the good-hearted, I think our reaction will be a big horse laugh. Real rolling around on the ground stuff.

  3. Mormonism won’t be called “Mormonism” when people find out it is true (and Mormons find out there is a lot more to it then they originally thought). It will be called “the Church of Christ” or simply “the way of God.” Thus, a lot of the opposition to what today people see as “Mormonism” will instead be acceptance of simply the way things are, which I think is part of Bruce N’s point.

    To answer your last point, I think it is obvious that most religions would be better off. This is one of the reasons I am a Mormon: I believe all people will be better off. People who believe in reincarnation will be pretty disappointed, however.

  4. “Us, when we find out that the Mormonism we thought was true was only a likeness of the real Mormonism.”

    LOL. Very good, Adam. I suspect you are spot on.

    “People who believe in reincarnation will be pretty disappointed, however.”

    I’ve wondered about this. But I am not sure that someone that believes in reincarnation would necessarily be disappointed to find out that it’s actually possible to reach nirvana (the real nirvana) after one life experience. So it may not be a disappointment there either.

    Also, I confess, I might be up for reincarnation if it’s a way to move between kingdoms or something like that. Not that it would make ‘reincarnation’ any more appealing to me. Just like hell has no appeal to me, but I’d rather have the Mormon hell then annihilation.

    Also, I’m not sure ‘reincarnation’ is the correct word any more if your ‘next life’ is on another world in a different reality. But that does seem to be where some of the 19th century Mormons were headed, at least with a way to save the Sons of Perdition. So I haven’t completely ruled it out yet for such a circumstance.

  5. At the very least there would be a lot of embarrassment and apologizing. But this gets to a more fundamental issue we have discussed before, e.g. why aren’t faithful Calvinists (for example) regularly inspired to know that certain aspects of their creed are not true? To me it seems the answer that is that pulling the rug out from a systematic theology can cause more harm than good unless the persons concerned are prepared and ready for a comprehensive substitute.

    So even in the Second Coming we might not get an announcement that a long list of LDS precepts are true, but rather a manifestation that certain fundamental ones are, and people will be able to accept them as they are ready. Brigham Young talked about this, noting his belief that Christian denominations would not simply vanish in the Millennium.

    The ideal way to convert is for the spirit to persuade an entire denomination or whole people of greater and higher truths, in the terms and in the language, and even in the theology that they understand. Wholesale abandonment on faith alone is a much harder proposition.

  6. “To me it seems the answer that is that pulling the rug out from a systematic theology can cause more harm than good unless the persons concerned are prepared and ready for a comprehensive substitute.”

    I agree this is the case. And I think your conclusions, based on that assumption, are logically valid.

  7. Reincarnation seems real in one sense, just not as they thought. You lived a previous “life”. Had friends, family, etc. That life consisted of growing and teaching apparently through various degrees. When you reached as far as you could go you were “born” into a new life and continued the learning progression experience. We then learn all that it is possible for us to learn and have good and bad experiences that are uniquely tailored to our good, and then are reborn into another life. Where in spirit, we learn a bit more and progress even further. Then we’re born back into an immortal body and go through a bit more learning process. Who knows what other “births” take place after that along the chain of become like God and inheriting his fulness.

    I’d almost suspect on finding out the truth of things, the reincarnationists would probably say something like, “Ah, we got the principles of it right, just not the details…”. Something we could say a lot of I bet in “Mormonism”.

  8. Mark D. – I agree. There is something along the lines of agency to be preserved in your thinking. In the Millennium there would have to be some kind of opposition in order to enable growth. Not necessary opposition in a satanic or even human physical frailty sense, but it makes sense to me that people would be able to line up and evaluate different belief systems. Otherwise we might as well all be born into a world with a single religion from the start. Although, I’m perfectly fine with the alternative too :)

  9. ““Ah, we got the principles of it right, just not the details…”. Something we could say a lot of I bet in “Mormonism”.”

    Yes, seems likely to me.

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