“The Plan of Salvation,” A Personal Critique

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.

A Simplified Version of the LDS "Plan of Salvation"

“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?

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6 Responses to “The Plan of Salvation,” A Personal Critique

  1. roger hansen says:

    lds.org has the following description of the “war in heaven”:

    War in Heaven. Although one-third of the spirits became devils, the remaining two-thirds were not all equally valiant, there being every degree of devotion to Christ and the Father among them. The most diligent were chosen to be rulers in the kingdom (Abr. 3:22–23). The nature of the conflict, however, is such that there could be no neutrals, then or now (Matt. 12:30; 1 Ne. 14:10; Alma 5:38–40).

  2. Aaron says:

    I used to be agnostic and had a hard time with all religions including Latter Day Saints. I even went so far as to tease them behind there backs. I have since had some very personal experiences with our Heavenly Father, our Savior, and the Holy Ghost and have become a Mormon. That’s really funny because anyone who knew me before would agree I was NEVER going to become a Mormon. Everyone must come into their own beliefs and witness on their own. No one can make one believe in one thing of another but I can testify that the plan of salvation is real… We do have a heavenly father who loves us and has established a plan for our eternal happiness. Some of the things you have listed above are slighty off key with the actuality of our beliefs but its not to bad. I hope you find a faith that is good for you and encourage you to read the Book of Mormon in full and pray if it is true with a sincere heart. Good day.

  3. Jele says:

    good one…..it allboils down to asking God himself since he cant lie

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