Every so often we have simple interactions that give us a new perspective on something we already knew. One such interaction occurred at a family picnic where we met my brother’s new spouse and her family. During the course of our conversation as we were gathered around a picnic table, my new sister-in-law brought up Prop 8 in California and wondered aloud what the Church had against gay marriage. She then proceeded to recount about her lesbian aunt, who was “the most Christlike person I’ve ever met” and rejoiced in her recent wedding. (An aside: can we just stop calling anyone Christlike, let alone someone who openly fights against His Church? Is saying they’re a good person not sufficient enough anymore?)
My mother offered a succinct and profound response: “We already believe that people will choose their happiness in the next life by the happiness they elect in this life.” She expounded, “your aunt is choosing a life where she won’t be able to have a family or biological increase – whether she does it for comfort, or following a trend, or for ‘happiness’ – it doesn’t matter. Why is it hateful to believe the Lord is not going to force her to have eternal increase as she has already chosen to live in this life?”
A former reporter for the Deseret News recently stated his desire for the Church to soon allow for homosexual sealings in temple. After considerable pushback by several people, including myself, he tweeted:
I immediately thought back to the conversation my mother had with my now former sister-in-law. Mr. Eborn either has a complete misunderstanding of the Plan of Salvation or he suffers from total disbelief in the doctrine and is using his position as a “believing member” to lead others astray. Let’s assume he doesn’t understand the Plan before offering other examples of the other theory.
I’ve written previously about some oft-misunderstood principles regarding the lower two degrees of glory and Latter-day Saint doctrine of hell. In the end, we need to stop referring to the Telestial Kingdom as hell. It is a glorious kingdom. It is a place where God’s children may have “joy and happiness” as Mr. Eborn states are His desire. These children of God will have a glorified, resurrected body. They will live in a glorious paradise of which we can’t even imagine. They will not have increase, as many in this probationary period have chosen already. Whether we like it or not, we’ve been informed, “they [are] as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;”
We are already criticized by some mainstream Christians as being “Universalists” – the concept that everyone is saved. And yes, to a degree we do believe that. Paul taught, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.“ (1 Cor 15:22; emphasis added) The Plan of Salvation as taught by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is already the most inclusive, tolerant, hopeful, and loving plan one could imagine. In many ways, we can’t even imagine it. It is a Plan only a truly loving Father and a perfect God could author.
President Russell M. Nelson taught these precepts clearly in his most recent Conference address. He also warned we are required much more should we desire exaltation with our families:
“In truth, the Savior Himself has made it abundantly clear that while His Resurrection assures that every person who ever lived will indeed be resurrected and live forever, much more is required if we want to have the high privilege of exaltation. Salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter.”“Come, Follow Me” – April 2019
The Prophet’s talk was met with much consternation from those who don’t even believe in our doctrine, including the peanut gallery at sites such as the Salt Lake Tribune and By Common Consent:
The comments in both the blogs and the replies on Social media echoed the tone of the columns:
Now we’ve reached peak irony. Latter-day Saints aren’t inclusive in a plan you don’t even believe in, is that right? Where is the hate, then? Why are you afraid of a fairy tale? “I’m not in your club, I think it’s stupid, you’re all wrong…and by the way, you’re haters for not including me.” They don’t really care, it doesn’t affect them directly, they don’t believe in it… but they must persecute and claim bigotry while spewing hatred. There is a term for this:
The question naturally is: Who is worse? The concern troll is easily dismissed. They never believed in the doctrine, they have no desire to reach Celestial heights, as least as far as they’ll admit publicly, and their hypocrisy is more easily identified, as they denounce hatred in the vilest and most despicable ways imaginable. The person who uses their platform as a “believing or active member” in order to undermine and subvert the Gospel message is far more damaging, such as the writer for BCC. They are not honest brokers and claim to be pushed over the fence by faithful members while the reality is they are those who reside in the Great and Spacious Building encouraging empathetic members to loosen their grip on the Rod of Iron. They needed to be pointed out for the vipers they are.
I sincerely hope that Mr. Eborn falls in a third group. A sympathetic and warm-hearted member who practices faithfully while suffering from a bad case of misunderstanding our Father’s Plan and dying on the shrine of equal outcomes for all. His view of changes he would make to the Church simply does not have any sense or reason within the Plan of Salvation taught by the Lord’s servants, both ancient and modern. It is this group I’m attempting to reach before they loosen their grip and are lost.
We don’t believe Joe Q. Catholic or Mary V. Protestant suffer in an eternal hell for not being practicing members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In fact, we believe they will receive exactly what they are working toward, should they follow the precepts of their religions. We don’t believe the open homosexual, even the one who seeks to take away our right to worship as we may, will burn in hell. In fact, we believe they will exist largely as they do now. Our Father in Heaven has prepared a place where they may experience their ultimate joy and happiness. Even the worst of the worst, Hitler if you will, or every #DezNat who you compare to Hitler, awaits eternal glory.
Jesus taught, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” The Gospel of Jesus Christ is already inclusive and tolerant. Either you truly believe that, or you’re a concern troll or worse.
“Come, Follow Me” – President Russell M. Nelson, April 2019
“Our Father’s Plan – Big Enough for All His Children” – Elder Quentin L. Cook, April 2009
“Have You Been Saved?” – Elder Dallin H. Oaks, April 1998
You can follow Dustin on Twitter at @dmturner1232.