Mormonism and Progression
Some Mormon missionaries stopped by my house this week and we scheduled a time to talk. That time was this morning! They were two clear-headed, humble and kind young gents. I like them both immensely.
I met with them because, although I’m not interested in conversion, I assume they have some unique insights into God that my little modern western evangelical echo chamber of Christianity can learn from. And I think I just realized what one of those is.
This thought was not triggered by our talk, although there will probably be future blogs about things I learned during the talk, but it was when I was pondering why just about all the Mormons I’ve met are kind, clear thinking, level-headed folks that have tremendous families and communities that just seem to work well.
I wondered why quite often it seems we Protestant Christians have trouble holding it together? A large part is probably because I’ve grown up inside it and seen behind the inner curtain, but it seems like we’re often dealing with broken families, insurmountable personality disorders, and a lot of needy people. Seems like we’re just doing triage on each other much of the time. The point of most of our sermons seem to be helping us comfort our frayed emotions and about how to alleviate the pain in our lives. And the songs are usually about how God rescued us from our sins.
And one thing the Mormon fellas said triggered something that made sense. The Mormon tradition believes we are on a path to become just like Jesus, who is basically just like a younger version of God, I think. Like super, super humans that can become just like Jesus, and eventually like God. I don’t think I’m on board with that exactly but I realized this focus on progression could change a lot. They said the Mormon church always encourages more learning, more classes, more improvement, so you can give more to your community, and eventually become like God. And they said they don’t put a cross at the front of their sanctuaries because they don’t focus on the death (though they believe he fully died), but instead the super-powered life that started after the death.
And I think about what we talk about most in our churches. And even though I think forgiveness of sins is an absolutely crucial part of understanding our posture before God, I wonder if we don’t put our eyes on that more than we are casting a vision of what we can become. (maybe not little Gods, but I assume God has big dreams about how much more noble and mature each of us can become.)
It seems like most of our songs are about being grateful for our forgiveness, and Christ’s death, and finding peace in darkness and healing. But now, especially as we are summiting the peak of Easter, perhaps we can look over into the promised land. Perhaps we can consider even more what it means to focus on what new life looks like, looking forward to all the good things God wants to work into our lives instead of just running from the bad. Thinking more about constantly progressing into the most glory-worthy beings the human machine was meant to be. Peace-exhuders. Learners. Lovers. Crystal clear thinkers. Emotional uplifters. Thinking about what we can give to the world, instead of how we’re just struggling to get by.
Raw Spoon, 4-15-17