The LDS Church has a fairly complicated plan for what happens to the eternal man; it is referred to as “the Plan of Salvation.” From late in Joseph Smith’s life until the mid-twentieth century, it involved humans potentially becoming gods. I always appreciated this part of Mormon theology.
“The Plan of Salvation” is widely described elsewhere, so I won’t repeat the details here. While I like the general concepts, I have issues with the particulars:
- Mormons as part of their worldview believe in a pre-existence, and this belief has historically been used to explain a variety of worldly inequities. For example, those who were less valiant in the pre-existence were somehow cursed with a “lesser” position here on earth.
- The alleged “war in heaven” in the pre-existance seems very much like a metaphor.
- Those who aren’t valiant here on earth get a lesser position in the afterworld. For me, this brings up a serious issue of equality of opportunity. It’s one thing to have noble views about post-mortality; it’s another thing to try and understand how this works in a world where earthly opportunities are so unequal. Obviously, I have different opportunities than an individual living in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya, or Mexico City, or Mumbai, India.
- Mormons believe in a literal Satan. I do not. If there is a God, then Satan is defined as the lack of God. God is like “hot,” and Satan is like “cold,” the absence of heat. If you are a mass murder, it is not because Satan captured your soul, it is because you are a sociopath.
- Mormons don’t believe in a literal Hell (some Evangelicals are also evolving into a Hell-less, post-mortal experience). I find this comforting. But Mormons do believe in 3 degrees of glory. And once you are assigned to one of these “degrees”, based in part on your earthly performance, you are stuck there for eternity. Only those in the highest “degree” can be with their family and achieve anything remotely resembling godhood. I’m personally not a big believer in fixed walls. I think they are a human invention. If there is life after death, I can’t see being stuck anywhere.
If you are an agnostic, is it possible to admire the general plan but have issues with the details? Or, am I headed for a multiple personality disorder? Or, am I already there?