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?