Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mormon Theology: God's Paternal Love

[NOTE: This post is about theology, not about people. It is about what religions and denominations teach in their official creeds, not about what members believe and practice at the individual level.]

Ultimately, one of the reasons I love Mormon theology so much is that it is such a loving theology - FAR more loving than any other Christian denomination of which I am aware. (I don't count Unitarian Universalists, frankly, because, as much as I admire them, I see them as a non-denominational church with a denominational name only.) By a "loving theology", I mean:

1) God does what He does out of what I call "true parental love" - not some condescending "love" that is more like a master has for his pets. I mean that literally. Think of the ultimate end in mainstream Christian theology, and it's incredibly self-serving of God. I want to say this carefully, but it boils down essentially to:

"Adore me. Tell me how much you love me. Praise me. **Give me the glory.** After all, I deserve it; I'm God, and you aren't."

In Calvinism, it can be taken to the extreme that yields:

"Dance for me - all of you. DO your best to please me, and, at the end, I'll let you know which of you I have already chosen to bless and which of you danced your darnedest just so I could take pleasure in your dancing - before I roasted you forever in that fiery lake over there."

In Mormon theology, however, God's entire "work and glory" is to do all he can to make sure his children grow to become like him. His "glory" is the same "glory" I receive when my kids grow up to be good people - the pride and joy and accomplishment I feel when I know that my actions have helped produce something beautiful and good and uplifting and enlightening and wonderful and OF ME. That's true parental love and true grace (at-one-ment) - and it simply doesn't exist in most Christian theology.


Richard Alger said...

Agreed. This is one of a few teachings of the LDS church I don't see anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

And,as a loving parent,I need to love and accept my children when they make the choice to do differently than I would choose for them.We teach that our God does this ,even though he grieves that we have chosen not to be at one with Him.It makes me love Him more inasmuch as I can share a little in His grief,and so hope I do not grieve him in my turn any more than I can help.