Monday, June 8, 2015

The Mormon Celestial Kingdom Is Not the Protestant Heaven but with Families

When (the collective) we think of eternal families, and we tend to envision the perfect ideal of our imagination. In practical terms, that means we have adopted, in our own uniquely Mormon way, the Protestant idea of rest and peace and grapes and harps – only with our children gathered around us in an ideal Family Home Evening that lasts forever.

The problem is, that’s not life – either in the here and now or how we read of God’s life. Jacob 5 tells of the Lord of the vineyard getting into the muck and the dung in order to try to save the trees – and not succeeding a lot of the time. Moses 6-7 shows a God who weeps for the iniquity he sees among his children – and eternity shakes while the devil laughs. That image can be shattering emotionally, without a belief that charity really is LONG-suffering and God really does have “all eternity” at their disposal to accomplish their work and glory – but it is the most complete picture we have of what it will be like to be Heavenly Parents. It won’t be rosy in the short term; in fact, it will be painful – but it will be worth it in the end.

In our vision of eternity, my mortal children won’t be sitting around me listening to a lesson; they will be somewhere overseeing, in some way, the growth and development of other spirit children engaged in their own eternal progression. I am a bit heterodox in the sense that I believe in a Council of the Gods arrangement that models how I read the first chapters of Genesis and the PofGP (and that, as part of that creative council, I will work with my mortal children, their spouses and other gods in the eternal Plan of Salvation), but, with or without that paradigm, I will NOT live with my mortal children forever as their actively involved parent, but it is the most common view in the LDS Church, I think. At least, that is the way it is presented most often.

This is deep stuff, but the key for me is quite simple:

Families are important and, in some vital way, eternal.

I believe that with all my heart.


Turin Turambar said...

I think this is an important thing to think about. We seem to have a fear that considering the implications of our doctrines is somehow "speculative". I'd love to see a similar post about "hell", or "damnation", and what not getting into the highest heaven of the celestial kingdom really means. How have we adopted a Protestant Hell into our lived religion rather than what our doctrine says?

Papa D said...

That is a great question, TT. I probably will address it in a post at some point.