Thesis: not only God, but humans also, have the power to vastly effect, or “CREATE” the eternal destiny of human beings. Your contributions are significant, for good or ill. God’s plan includes, and perhaps is even based on, humans impacting each other. Complacency with the idea that “God will take care of everyone” is not only going to end up bad for you, but bad for others, and that eternally. The end of the document has brief dialogue of my answering questions from LDS people and a Protestant friend regarding this theory. This is the most plain writing I could conjure, and it is appropriately bold.
Your effect on others creates for them a different experience and opportunity than they would have had without you
Consider God. were it not for him, we would not have progressed to our current corporal status, and we would have no hope of resurrection, just to name a few things.
Now consider mankind. Can their effect be great upon others?
I’ve heard some men say they are afraid to preach the gospel because they fear that if their hearers reject their message, the hearers will be somehow eternally disadvantaged because of them.
I’ve heard some men say ‘why does it matter if I contribute a lot or a little to the preaching of the gospel (and other good causes), God will make sure everyone is taken care of, God would not put another person at risk because of me, a third party.
This is dangerous logic. God watches over us all, this is true. But he has already done so much for us, and though he continues to do lots for us, our interactions with each other can bring even further blessings.
Consider this: God values our autonomy (independence) so much, that he lets people make good choices and bad choices. the good leads to exponential growth. the bad leads to exponential decay. the repercussions or fruits of these actions are not inconsequential.
God gives the human race so much power, that they can influence each other powerfully unto the effect of saving or damning their fellow man.
Will God protect us from all evil? Will he force us toward all good? No and no. So much of the fate of the human race depends on their interactions with each other!
God is creating us into someday-Gods. We are children of God and have the seeds of divinity in us. Mortality isn’t our first rodeo, we learned much in premortality. Now here in mortality we are all given massive power to impact the lives of our fellows. This is part of what makes mortality such an effective test; some men have said “how can God pass eternal judgement upon us after grading our performance for a measly 80 or so years? Can that really determine the way I will spend eternity?” The answer is yes, it can, and it does. Let me explain: the impact we have for others in this life for better or worse is so monumental, that if it be an impact for good, it will merit our eternal salvation. And if it be an impact for bad, it will be so far reaching that it will be clear grounds for the eternal damnation of our souls. You see, mortality is the final battle, the last stand, the point of no return, the test of eternity, this is where God determines which of his children have chosen to become like him, and which will cut themselves off, not being willing to bear such an “eternal weight” of glory and joy.
Now granted, God in his goodness has prepared more than just a heaven and a hell, but varying degrees of each so the sort of good person doesn’t get stuck with either the valiant or with the devils, and so the sort of bad person doesn’t get stuck with either the valiant or with the devils. This plays into government theory, its why socialism and communism don’t work. If there is only a heaven or hell, then why should the good person bother being his best, or why should the bad person bother with not being his most deplorable self? You see, a free market is similar to how God judges his children: if they do much good, they get much reward. If they do a little good, they get a little reward. If they do much evil they get great punishment, if they do little evil they get little punishment. This doctrine shows us that God is completely fair with us.
Let it further be noted that God has loaded extra mercy into his government via the service of his divine son Jesus Christ. I and everyone else desperately needs Christ. Christ performs 2 functions: 1. pay for our debts (sins), and 2. help us learn to be independent (debt free, aka not sinning anymore, able to build our own great things rather than just begging others for help all the time; the person eventually becomes a helper instead of one to be helped)
So let me summarize a few key ideas: it does matter how much you participate in promoting goodness in this life. You do have power to lead others toward salvation which could result in souls saved which would have otherwise been lost. You do have power to lead others to damnation whom otherwise may not have been damned. God has given his children (the human race) epic amounts of power, and will measure their eternal assignment by the way they have used that power. Perhaps the fact that we don’t often realize how much we are impacting others (how much power we have) is part of the test we are going through. When we meet God the blinders will be removed from our eyes and we will understand all things, and we will confess that his judgments upon us are just!
No wonder Joseph Smith taught that a religion which does not require one’s all does not have sufficient power to save him!
Here are my responses to some issues LDS people have had with this theory:
When I say capitalism is like heaven this is what I mean: the fact that we have multiple levels of heavens suggests that the harder one works, the greater his reward will be. Such is not the case in communist governments which look much like Satan’s kingdom. Protestant religions have 1 heaven only, and that doctrine demotivates work ethic. One example, if being a doctor paid the same as being a nurse’s aid, I wouldn’t bother going to med school. In other words, if simple belief in Jesus was enough for heaven, I wouldn’t bother being a Mormon (it’s a lot of work!). I look forward to living the law of consecration where I will have no use of extra money, but I will have the blessing of the celestial kingdom which is better than terrestrial, better than money, etc.
Yes service is missing in capitalism, but governments are about protecting our rights, not about compelling us to be charitable! Even God doesn’t force us to have charity! About independence, it refers to a later stage where we become God’s having equal power over all things with God. At our current stage we certainly need to rely on Christ. We will forever praise and worship Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father for their role in our advancement to Godhood. We will then help our posterity become just like ourselves, like how our Heavenly Father helped us become just like Himself.
One more word on the analogy of business: God is the CEO. Is independent, possessing all power. We are currently beggars. Thank God for his mercy to provide for us (air, food, bodies, power, etc.). Eventually, as a child of God, he wants us to become his equal, helping us to start our own companies and be CEO of them, and have all power with him and his father’s (and yes, prophets have taught that Heavenly Father has a father). When we become CEO’s, we are no longer dependent. Satan wanted to be a CEO like God, but he wanted to replace God rather than starting his own business and all the work that would entail. This he is damned. He was more of a mutineer than a businessman. He rebelled against God instead of aligning himself with the ways of God.
Here is a brief conversation with a Protestant friend pertaining to the last segment here “When I say capitalism is like heaven this is what I mean…”
- COMMENT FROM PROTESTANT FRIEND: Thanks for sharing Nate! I love getting to understand other religions and beliefs as they test my own faith. As a Protestant, our ultimate motivation behind good deeds and works is the love of and for God- to bring Him glory. We believe that Christ is certainly enough and the only way to receive salvation. A true believer who has accepted Christ wouldn’t just want Him for their ticket to heaven. They would be motivated out of love and gratitude for what Christ did to be the most Christ-like person they can become. But we all fall short of the perfection of Christ. Thank God for grace! Lol- literally!
- RESPONSE BY NATE:
You’re welcome glad to see some of this jargle gets read So I’ll say this in response: Out of his love for us, Christ centers his involvement with us on making us better people. Christ isn’t obsessed with being worshiped, he is obsessed with helping others. I worship him because he helps me. If he did not help me, I would not worship him. So at face value Protestants are inherently more pure than Mormons because they worship out of love instead of out of gratitude, but I suggest that premise is incorrect. Loving God is one thing, but it’s why you love him that’s important. I don’t love someone just because they call themselves God. If Christ wasn’t my ticket to heaven, I would not worship him. My chief focus in this life is to get myself, my family, and whoever else I can to heaven. Anything less would be further from right on a scale of right and wrong. In one sentence, you said you don’t just worship God because he is a ticket to heaven, but in the next you said you worship him in gratitude for “what he did”. Well “what he did” is give us a ticket to heaven. So I think that your adoration of Christ is more centered on the ticket than you’re ready to admit. It was a nice thing of Christ to keep company with prostitutes, it was a nice thing of Christ to teach his disciples, it was a nice thing of Christ to heal lepers and raise dead people back to life. But none of those things are why I worship Christ; many prophets before and after Christ have done all of those things, yet I don’t worship them. The one and only reason I worship Christ is because he offers me salvation. Another word for salvation is “a ticket to heaven”. Also you’ve defined what it means to be a true believer in Christ, and you claim I don’t fit that definition. Belief is subjective and personal, so I won’t tell you what you believe, and you don’t tell me what I believe. The most classic in the book is bible reading persons arguing about what it means to have the correct idea about what it means to be a “true believer” (hence the many churches of different creed and title). You and I have 2 different and passionate views about what it means to be a believer, but for the sake of friendship, we will avoid calling each other non-believers. I’m glad that you recognize that I believe (and I’m even more glad that you agree with this) that Christ is the only way to salvation.
- RESPONSE FROM PROTESTANT FRIEND: “This is such a great response Nate. This is why I love conversations like this and I think that the more we discuss, the stronger our faiths become. I think that you are SO right when you say that my adoration of Christ is more centered on salvation than I am ready to admit! And for me, that is a sin, and something that I want to work every day on moving away from. Someone once asked me if I would worship Christ even if he did not die on the cross for us. If I’m honest with myself, that might be hard to do because of my inherent selfish human nature. But I would hope that I would. My chief focus in life is bringing my God glory for the amazing God that He is. I worship him for who He is, and I do good works (obedience, service, etc.) in gratitude for what He did. The fundamental difference between our two faiths is who the person of Christ is. Protestants believe that Jesus Christ is fully human, and fully God. I believe that Jesus Christ IS God in the flesh, and that is the most important reason why (or maybe rather why I SHOULD) worship Him. But that gets us into some pretty deep theology that might be better for another time You say at the end that we both agree that Christ is the only way to salvation, but you also say that in order to be saved, there is more work for you to do in addition to what Christ did. This is where we differ, though each of our acts of worship of Jesus remains genuine. What I will say is this- I absolutely do respect your faith and I love learning more about it. I think that Mormons are some of the most kind, most faithful, and most dedicated people to their faith. I wish that more Christians were like that. Thanks again for sharing”
- RESPONSE BY NATE: Thanks for the compliments. To keep it brief I’ll say this: LDS do believe Christ is God. Book of Mormon 3 Nephi 11:13 “I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.” so FYI Mormons do believe Christ is God. Old testament names God as “Jehovah”. Yes, JESUS CHRIST IS JEHOVAH, AND JEHOVAH IS GOD. Yes, we differ in that you don’t believe Jesus (Jehovah) has a Father. If we wanted to get into it, I could explain how God (Jesus) having a father is critical to having hope. Basically, it shows that we can become Gods just like Jesus became a God. It shows that the universe is ever expanding, and posterity “as the stars” is ever expanding, allowing us to have the full large-scale parental joy that Gods have. Further, God the Father is the standard that God the Son (Jesus Christ) lived up to become a God. God the Son came to earth to show us the prototype of how to become God. Thank goodness that we have access to mercy or we could never become the kind of just people that Gods are. Mercy hurts, and we are learning to not just receive it, but to give it. Being saved (having a happy afterlife) is about what Christ did for us. Being exalted (reaching your full potential, becoming a God like your father (we are the children of God)) is about what we do for others. The other issue you bring up is the need for works “beyond Jesus” for salvation. Well, Jesus said that not only those who say Lord Lord get into heaven but those who do good works. That is a theme throughout the bible and I won’t bother you with 50 references to support it. Heaven knows I have at least 10 essays doing just that on my website from prior conversations like this that I’ve had. I now focus these discussions on boldly declaring my beliefs rather than dancing around about how to interpret what the bible says (which I suggest Protestants aren’t as united on as you may think). Basically the argument that there is only Jesus and no personal effort to get salvation is ignoring the essence of Jesus as an example. The Book of Mormon brings to mind the idea that bible readers have forgotten, that Jesus says over and over “be like me”. Another key difference between our religions is The Book of Mormon. At the end of the day arguing about what the bible says isn’t that important to me, because it’s not the comprehensive dictionary of my faith. I believe in the Book of Mormon, which means I believe in a certain interpretation of the bible, and reject other interpretations of the bible. PS good job on discovering that the cross-less Jesus wouldn’t be someone to worship.
Don’t feel obligated to read any of this but if you’re ever really curious, these I have more essays which relate to topics we are discussing in the exaltation, eternity, & redemption sections of my books.