Let us go on to perfection


Mormons are often faulted by some other Christians for being far too works-centric. A lot of this can be traced back to that scripture in 2 Nephi that teaches that grace is only a factor after all we can do (the true meaning, of course, requires an understanding that LDS salvation is far and away the most universal of any Christian sect, and therefore grace plays a large role). But surely quotes like the following from The Way to Perfection by Joseph Fielding Smith don’t help:

The words of the Savior in his sermon on the Mount, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” have served as a text for many a sermon. We have been informed that his meaning is that we, in this life, should try to perform every duty and keep every law and thus endeavor to be perfect in our sphere as the Father is in his. This is all good and true, but does it go far enough?

In all fairness, he goes on to suggest that perfecting will continue and be consummated post-death when we reach godhood. However, if you just pick up the book, you might not get past this alarming rhetorical question, which is very first paragraph. I’m cool with working really hard for salvation. Sure, I probably won’t make it, but at least it’s a challenge. Where’s the fun in sectarian heaven? Not only do not have to work for it (at least not substantively), but all you do is sit around and praise God and be happy. I’ll take a three-tiered, eternal progression/offspring worldview any day, even if it's only for others.


Anonymous said...

"I’ll take a three-tiered, eternal progression/offspring worldview any day, even if it's only for others."

The only reference I am familiar with regarding "eternal progression" comes from Talmadge's Articles of Faith. Have their been more definitive statements made that I'm missing, or is it simply accepting among intelligent Mormons that eternal progrssion is a given?

alea said...

The Encyclopedia of Mormonism article explains this. You can check it out here: http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/basic/afterlife/progression_eom.htm

It's ex-scriptural, but not necessarily in contradiction to scripture. It appears the phrasing is Brigham Young's, but the idea is pretty clearly outlined in the King Follett Discourse by Joseph Smith. It's the sort of thing, like Heavenly Mother, that is openly taught and believed but can't really be nailed down.

Ryan McIlvain said...

So failing the three-tiered heaven, and eschewing the sectarian one, why not come join me in the secular heaven? All our favorite writers will be there.

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