An LDS friend of mine experienced some spiritual dissonance a few years ago when her non-member father died. At his funeral, all his non-Mormon friends were talking freely and confidently about seeing him again in Heaven. They talked with fondness about what they imagined him doing at that moment as he enjoyed Heaven with others who had gone on before. My LDS friend asked me how non-Mormons could say such things. As she understood what she had been taught in the LDS Church, Mormons were the only people who believed you could be together forever with those you loved. She had been told Christians believe that in Heaven everyone will be sitting on their own clouds playing harps eternally. She was serious. She thought non-Mormons looked forward to a Heaven where people will not recognize one another; they will not know those they had loved on earth; death will have separated them forever.
I remember reading something supporting this mistaken LDS belief a while back in a Mormon newspaper. I can’t remember the details (and I couldn’t find the article in a search for it online), but at a Mormon funeral following a tragedy that took a young person’s life, the officiator talked about temple blessings. He said it was because of those ordinances that Latter-day Saints do not mourn and grieve as others — even Christians – do; because the temple makes it possible to see their loved ones again.
These things came to mind this week as I learned of the death of a twelve-year-old boy (Noah) whose family attended my church before moving to another state. In an email sent to friends and family, Noah’s parents and sister wrote:
As some of you may know, our lives were tragically altered two days ago (on Saturday). While we were inside getting ready to leave following a visit with our friends at their mountain home in the Poconos (not quite 2 hours from our home), Noah and his buddy hopped on a utility-type golf cart for a little joy ride on the property. Noah’s friend was driving down a slight incline on the driveway and came to a curve where they lost control and the cart flipped on its side, landing on Noah. We found out that he died instantly and, seemingly, with that famous smile still on his face. Though we are heartsick and in pain beyond words, we are also at peace knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is with His Lord in heaven, climbing the pearly gates and eating all the warm chocolate chip cookies and mint chocolate Oreo blizzards he wants (okay, well, we’re not sure about the climbing and the eating, but it’s at least that great for him with no more food allergies!) – and he was so ready. Noah had had a great summer and had a fantastic last week, doing so many activities he loves and also lavishing his love on us as he was so good at doing. We are blessed to have little regret about our final moments with him. We are being bathed in prayer by so many and are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love we are experiencing. It is still a very surreal experience for us, knowing he is gone, but sometimes feeling like he’s just away somewhere and will be back soon….
Please don’t forget our “Little Mr. Exuberant,” who lived life to the fullest in his own very special way, but sprinted through way too fast – and be sure to hug your loved ones every day!
In Deep Sorrow (though swamped with fantastic memories),
This is the way Christians, with God’s grace, face the death of a loved one – filled with peace, comforted in the sure knowledge that God is good. Noah’s family knows where Noah is, and they know he is blessed beyond measure. Though they have not stated it in their letter, they know they will see him again, his famous smile firmly in place. They know they will hug him one day, and rejoice with him together in the presence of the Lord for all eternity.
Noah’s family will lay Noah to rest today (Friday), bidding him a temporary but sad farewell. Please pray for Noah’s family and friends who will miss him — until they meet again.
At the end of their email, Noah’s family included a Bible verse. They know it’s true, and it is in this, the promise of God, that they place their hope.
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love Him.”
1 Corinthians 2:9
Thank you so much for this wonderful post! Tears came to my eyes as I thought about how difficult it must have been for this family to lose their son, but also what a blessed assurance we have that those of us who believe in the Lord will be with each other again in His presence…even happier than the happiest family here in this life! My prayers are with this family for comfort as they go through the difficulty of saying, “Until we meet again” to Noah.
Years ago, friends of mine lost a son about the same age as the boy described in the post. These people are committed Christians, but the father told me “he had it out with God” about the boys tragic death. He said that as he was confronting God a vision came to his mind’s eye. He saw the boy walking with Jesus next to him. Jesus had His arm around the boy and (Jesus) turned his head to my friend and said, “Would you call him back?” My friend realized at that moment that despite his enormous love for his son, he couldn’t out love God. He said, “No Lord”.
This reminds me of a few conversations I’ve had with a Mormon in-law of mine. She accused me and my church / religion of sitting around in church making fun of other people’s faith and spreading lies about other religions (we don’t do either one), while of course her church never does such things. Later in another conversation she chided me for believing that in heaven we’d “sit around on clouds playing harps like cartoon characters” (which I don’t believe). It struck me as odd how her words always came back to bite her. What she would accuse me of, she and / or her church were guilty of. I’d hear her repeating the same false ideas about Christianity I’d heard from other Mormons, sometimes in the exact same verbiage, as in this article about the “clouds and harps.” Makes you go “hmmmm”.
In 23 years of marriage, I have had only one religious discussion with my mother-in-law who is quite opposed to Mormonism.
Her issue with Mormons is this:
Matt 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
Mormons like me tend to focus on the context “in the resurrection” meaning that we have up until resurrection day to find our perfect mate– after that date we will function as single or as families, as the case may be.
I asked my mother-in-law what she thought her releationship with her daughters would be then, in the next life. She said– “no different that my relationship with my neighbors down the street”.
As a missionary I was often surprised to find people of other faiths, mostly Catholic, already believed many of the princples we taught, like the pre-existance of men’s spirits. They would say– Oh I have believed that for years! Then they would tell me of a dream or experience they had years ago that introduced the belief into their life. I would tell them– you know that is not offical Catholic doctrine. They really didn’t care. What is truth is truth.
I think that is the same case here. The truth of the Mormon doctrine on eternal families is self evident.
I’m sorry to say that most mainstream Christian oganizations will disagree with you.
Bottom line? Join the LDS church, then you can believe in eternal families with a clean consience.
I think the “clouds and harps” comments comes from the different concept of heaven. Since Mormons like me believe in eternal progression, we believe we will be given major responsiblities in heaven to bring about God’s work.
The absence of that belief leaves a gap for us. If all you plan to do in heaven is worship God, won’t you get tired of that at some point? You must really like harp music to accept that particular role for eternity. You see the gap?
“If all you plan to do in heaven is worship God, won’t you get tired of that at some point?”
I am in disbelief. I will NEVER tire of worshiping my almighty God and Creator! If you would get bored doing that and need to become a god of your own, then you can stay with Mormonism.
by the way, Matt 22:30 is saying that there is no marriage in heaven, just as there is no marriage between angels. There is no need for marriage in heaven.
Cluff said “If all you plan to do in heaven is worship God, won’t you get tired of that at some point?”
While I certainly do not envision sitting on a cloud and playing a harp for all eternity and I most certainly do believe God will give major responsibilities and rewards to those who love Him and I am excited about spending eternity with all of my saved family and friends and all of the saints from ages past, I also do not believe I will ever tire of worshiping my AWESOME God and Savior Jesus Christ!!! How could I? Eternity could never exhaust the depths of the pleasures of knowing Him, loving Him, being with Him, kneeling before Him, and communing with Him. I can’t wait!
Of course, if my god was once a man who worked his way to becoming a god (just one of many out there that I can become equal to someday if I work hard enough), Yeah, I think I would get bored with worshiping him very quickly.
Since some have said we are over quoting Scripture I won’t reference all the passages in the Bible that talk about there being no one equal to God nor will there ever be … there never was a God formed prior to Him nor will there be after Him for He is God and there is none like Him…
Jesus said “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment” (Matt. 22:37)
Your scriptures promise that God will enable you to keep this commandment –
I Nephi 3:7: “for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them”
My question for my Mormon friends is – do you really love your God with all of your heart, soul, and mind? If you really do, then how can you picture growing tired of worshiping Him?
The LDS concept of worship is an extension of the concept of eternal progression. It has to do with the nature of God, just as you have suggested, but your conclusions are a little skewed.
God is all powerful, all knowing, etc, etc, but his work and his purpose is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
Why does he do this? Because he loves us as his children, of course, but also because his only means of increase at this point is the glory we give Him when we succeed in life.
It takes more that singing praises to actually add glory to his name, more than lip service.
Eternal life with God means eternal service to God, as we gain more stregnth through repentance (grace) and obedience, we gain the ability to add to God’s glory. The more like God we become, the more glory we can give Him.
Without eternal progression we give him nothing. God is about much more that singing praises. He has real work for us to do in heaven. Is that your concept of worhip?
I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to walk through the tragic and sudden death of a child. Knowing that because of the promises of God you would see your precious child again, and that God is in control (even though it would be hard to understand at that point), would be your hope and solace in sorrow. Jesus has promised that by faith in him, we will have eternal life with the Father. We will be joined with Jesus and our families and friends in a place and state we cannot even comprehend in it’s splendor as we worship the God of all eternity. The God who is caring for their son Noah right now. An awesome, all-powerful, all-knowing God who cares for the least. Who redeems sinners with the blood of his own son and has suffered the weight of the world. He understands Noah’s families grief – I pray they would rest in his comfort in this time.
Sharon Lindbloom writes:
“This is the way Christians, with God’s grace, face the death of a loved one – filled with peace, comforted in the sure knowledge that God is good.”
By all your previous posts and blogs I assume you mean that “comforted in the sure knowledge that God is good TO PEOPLE WHO BELIEVE EXACTLY AS WE DO.”
I don’t know how many times I’ve been told on this post that I am going some form of outer darkness, etc. for not believing in the “correct” Jesus. I assume you believe my sweet little children are too.
Hmmm…doesn’t sound like your definition of God is a very “good God” to me. He’s NOT saving most of humanity, in fact. We believe that a child who hasn’t had the opportunity to be baptized by proper authority will still have the opportunity after death. I haven’t been on this blog for very long, but it appears to me from what I’ve seen that Sharon and others are quick to rush to eternal judgment against Mormons and their children and everyone else who doesn’t think exactly like you. Doesn’t ring true with me for what I know of the infinite love and mercy of MY Savior.
Let’s see, Christians make up about 2.1 billion people on the earth (Mormons, being Christian, are included in that). People who don’t believe in Christ or God make up about 4.8 billion. Mormons, including me, believe that these people can be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ after they die because God in his infinite MERCY through the infinite and eternal atonement of his son doesn’t leave his children without hope.
Hebrews 4:15 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
I believe in a living Christ who is STILL touched TODY with the feeling of our infirmities, not ONLY on the cross or in the garden of gethsemanae.
Jesus Himself says that it matters what we believe. He said that no one can come unto the Father except by Him. Scripture also says it is appointed for man to die once and then the judgment. There is nothing in scripture about evangelism in the afterlife. We live, we believe, we die. If we believe and trust in the Christ revealed in the Bible for our salvation, Jesus says we will be with Him in heaven. He says that He is the only way. We know God is just and it is His infinite mercy that allows anyone to go to heaven as He has every reason to condemn every single person to hell. Man has no right to demand heaven or even expect it. I believe what Jesus said – universalists really have a complaint with Christ not with His believers.
Of course it matters what we believe. I just believe people will have a chance to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ after they die if they did not have the opportunity to hear it on the earth. I’m not a “universalist” who thinks everyone will be saved automatically by grace. (Obviously, usually we’re criticized the other way.)
However, I do believe in evangelism in the afterlife (as you call it).
There are scriptures about gospel preaching in the Bible.
John 5:25 “I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”
1 Peter 3: 18-19 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”
1 Corinthians 15:29 “Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?”
(because the dead WILL rise)
1 Peter 4:6 “For, for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.”
What about all the people who don’t have a Bible? I agree we are only saved through Christ, but not everyone on this earth has had the opportunity to know him. Don’t you think that’s a little harsh to send them to everlasting hell? What if you had been born into a situation where you had no access to the word of God? Wouldn’t you want the opportunity to accept or reject the Savior?
“Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion upon the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee. I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49: 15-16)
I don’t think there is any other way of looking at Mormon belief than to say it is generally universalist. Of course, as a Christian I think the lower two forms of “heaven” that Mormons teach are not really heaven – there is no heaven apart from God.
I think it is important to examine scripture in light of scripture – and in it’s surrounding context:
Notice in John 5:25 it says that those who hear the voice of the Son of God, Jesus, WILL live. They have already crossed over from death to life as was stated in verse 24. They have already been called. Who hears the voice of Jesus? – John 10:27 says that HIS sheep know his voice. The spiritually dead are brought to life and they know and hear the voice of their shepherd.
In 1 Cor 15:29 Paul talks about why do THEY baptize for the dead, not why do WE baptize for the dead. He is making the argument that even some non-believers understand that the dead are going to be resurrected.
1 Peter 4:6 – The gospel had been preached to those that are now dead. Today, this verse is still true, as many more people have died unto which the gospel was preached. This preaching is a past event (had been preached) – and those hearers of the gospel are now dead.
That leaves 1 Peter 3:18-19 – Reading commentaries there are many different ways of looking at this verse. Jesus proclaimed his victory to the dead after his crucifixion or after his resurrection. Another view is that the pre-incarnate Christ preached through Noah to the rebellious at Noah’s time. In light of Hebrews 9:27 – “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” and the importance that Jesus places on believing in Him for salvation we know that there are no missions and evangelistic crusades after death.
Here is another verse for you to consider: Matthew 7:13 – “Enter ye in at the strait gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat.”
I can understand your first scriptural interpretation as being figurative, and it very well may have figurative meaning as well as literal meaning.
2nd scripture – you say “some nonbelievers understand that the dead are going to be resurrected” Why would NONbelievers baptize anyway?
3rd scripture – nice try, but let’s use your standard of surrounding content. Verse 5 clearly differentiates between the “quick and the dead.” This is literal scripture. The gospel IS preached to the dead as seen in a vision by Joseph F. Smith in 1918. (D&C 138)
Also, I’m wondering why you didn’t answer my question regarding people who have no chance to hear about Jesus Christ in this life. What if you were one of them? Would that seem fair to you? What about children/babies who die in their infancy? Are they saved? I really have never talked with a member of another church about these concepts and I am asking what you believe. I honestly don’t know. (though I think I understand Catholic belief, pretty well, though it may have changed.)
“…from among the righteous he organized his forces and appointed messengers, clothed with power and authority, and commissioned them to go forth and carry the light of the gospel to them that were in darkness, even to all the spirits of men; and thus was the gospel preached to the dead.” (D&C 138:30)
GR Cluff You say: Eternal life with God means eternal service to God, as we gain more stregnth through repentance (grace) and obedience, we gain the ability to add to God’s glory. The more like God we become, the more glory we can give Him.
How do you explain that against what Jesus says in John 5:41-44 — 41I receive not honour from men. 42But I know you, that ye have not the love of God in you. 43I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. 44How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only? KJV Honour is translated as glory in the English Standard Version. So, God is saying he does not receive glory from men but men receive glory from God.
You said, “Since Mormons like me believe in eternal progression, we believe we will be given major responsiblities in heaven to bring about God’s work.”
I find this statement very confusing, even from using your own scriptures: “For behold, this is my work and my glory–to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39). It seems to me that God’s work, even according to your canon, will be finished once you’re in the celestial kingdom. Here’s my question to you: What responsibilities do you mean when you say we will be given more responsibilities in heaven to bring about God’s work, and in what work will you be engaged since God’s work of giving eternal life to those who believe will be accomplished?
Also, I just want to bring up an issue with regard to Mormons believing in eternal families. To me, it all smacks of possession. You are MY wife, now; therefore, you will be MY wife in heaven. You’re MY son, now; therefore, you’ll be MY son in heaven, etc. We can’t take possession of each other because we belong to God. The eternal relationship I have with my wife is that she is my sister in Christ, and will always be my sister in Christ because we belong to God.
I’m sorry, GRC, but your exegesis of the biblical text regarding marriage is a lot of eisegesis. One thing I respect you for is this: you never claim to believe as a Christian. You never try to create a Mormon/Christian hybrid as others on other sites do.
You have a good heart with a desire to preach a message that entails that everyone will be saved to some degree. Despite your accusations, we preach a God who is so good He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins, and all we have to do is believe that He did that for us, a gift that costs us nothing, but cost Jesus His life. And, because of that, Noah’s family will be with him in heaven, worshiping the God whose wisdom and ways are not ours. We cannot fathom what God has in store for us.
Susan, the 1 Corinthians 15:29 verse you quoted has been talked about multiple times on this blog. Usually it is used as a reference to justify baptisms for the dead in the temple. Until someone who does some study in that verse and shows that there was group of pagans north of the city of Corinth who did baptisms for the dead. If you care to do some research into it, just google that verse. Usually after a Christian on this site shows that, the Mormons on the site just brush it aside. Forget that it was practiced by pagans and not Christians (hence the term THEY, and not WE), there is latter-day revelation bringing that ritual back to life.
This custom was introduced in about AD 150 by Marcion, a man who created his own religion and established his own church in Rome in AD 144.
Also, if you do any study into greek, the word “for” used in the KJV in this verse is actually the word “huper”. It doesn’t mean “on behalf of” as LDS hope it states, it’s meaning is one of these “above,” “over,” “instead of,” “for the realization of,” or “for the hope of.” – just some food for thought.
I would say that Christ and God the Father are two different people. Christ gives the glory to his father, just like we are expected to do. That was one of the two major differences between Christ’s plan in the pre-existance, and the plan Satan.
1. Christ gave the glory to the Father, but Satan wanted the glory for himself.
2. Christ championed free agency while Satan’s plan would revoke free agency.
“Here’s my question to you: What responsibilities do you mean when you say we will be given more responsibilities in heaven to bring about God’s work, and in what work will you be engaged since God’s work of giving eternal life to those who believe will be accomplished?”
Gods work AND HIS GLORY is that of mankind’s immortality. As we succeed, he succeeds. For example, I have 5 children. My work now is vested in their success. When they choose right and govern themselves correctly, I am successful. As they succeed, I succeed.
I think that process will repeat itself in heaven. Our success is God’s glory because he is our father. When we find increase, like we do here in earth via our families, he finds increase. That is the only way he can grow.
” One thing I respect you for is this: you never claim to believe as a Christian. You never try to create a Mormon/Christian hybrid as others on other sites do.”
We will agree that merging Mormonism with mainstream Christianity is a failed premise. That is because truth is absolute. It makes no difference what you or I believe. When we have clear differences and understand them as such we can’t both be right. Truth is truth.
I will insist that Mormons are the only true Christians, but we will allow you to continue to use the name. We will just smile to ourselves and say: Isn’t that cute. They think they are Christian too.
The Helenization of Christianity is the major source of your “Trinity” god. That was solidifed with the Nicean Creed, so your version of Christianity should be called –hmmm what is a good name. Ahhh I got it “The Godmakers”!
Thanks for clarifying your position, but it still doesn’t make sense to me. Also, I’m going to assume you were displaying your humor with the allowing us to call ourselves Christians comment. Tell me what your problem with the Nicene Creed is. It’s biblically theological. I know it goes against JS. He might be your authority, but he’s not mine.
“I can only imagine when all I will do is forever worship You.” I am so looking forward to worshiping my God for eternity, to enter into His rest. But, there’s one thing about an eternity with God: one must have a relationship with Him, now, to have a relationship with Him, then. That’s what Matthew 7:21 is all about; that’s what commandments are all about. It’s not the doing that saves anyone, but the relationship with God that we show we have as evidence of anything we do. I used to think, when I was a Mormon, that obedience was relationship with Christ. I know, now, that it’s not. Relationship is all about love and trust, what Adam and Eve had in the Garden, and what they lost when they trusted Satan instead of God. Heaven is going to be the reconciliation of that broken relationship, and we will worship God in love, and we will trust Him in all His ways. All this because of the blood of Jesus Christ shed for my sins, and for yours, as well. This is the gospel, not what JS peddled and, therefore, not what Mormons peddle.
What is Biblical? The Nicean Creed certianly is not.
A God who prays to himself? Stands on his own right side? Acts 7:55
A God who is one in substance with his Son? Really?
John 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
So, if we are one with God, like he is one with is Father, then we should all join hands and be one in substance, right?
Christ and his Father are one in purpose, and we should be one in purpose with them. They are separate and distinct individuals, just like you and I. That is biblical.
JS just confirmed what everyone should have already known out of common sense.
“Our success is God’s glory because he is our father. When we find increase, like we do here in earth via our families, he finds increase. That is the only way he can grow.” (emphasis mine) That is a puny god.
Acts 7:55 is figurative not literal. Is it so hard to imagine a God who is so great and powerful that He can send a manifestation of Himself to Earth, that is of flesh and bones and yet 100% part of Himself? Think of it like this, Jesus is one aspect of a great ball of energy/spirit that is God. While that aspect is physically away from the mass of spirit and therefore somewhat distinct from it, it is still the same mass of spirit. The Father, or original mass, is still in Heaven and sent a part of itself to another place. It was begotten of the mass and can therefore be called its son, but it is not a totally different ball here. When I first accepted Christ I had trouble wrapping my head around the Trinity (after so many years of the Mormon version of it) but thinking of it in this regard really helped me to understand it.