Infinite Congruity

Monotheism, Mormonism included, seems to have always been about living one’s life in the correct way so that, one day, it will be possible to co-exist with your creator in a vast, unimaginable paradise. Christianity offers those who are faithful the wonders of heaven and a coexistence with an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent being. Islamic beliefs indicate that everyone will die, endure mild suffering in the grave for no more than forty days, then remain unconscious until judgment day, when God will allow the faithful to move on into al-janna, a paradisiacal garden.

Mormonism, in light of the more commonly ascribed religions, then, is fairly quaint in its provision of not one, but three different degrees of heaven, the lowest of which, it has been said, we would kill ourselves to reach could we see what lies in store for us there. The Celestial Kingdom, comparatively, must be fraught with unfathomable happiness, such that words cannot describe. The Mormon metaphysics, with which most of us are familiar, however, do describe the familial states in which we will exist; we will coexist with God the Father and Jesus Christ, have an eternal marriage to at least one spouse, and possess lordship over one’s own worlds as a god.

I bring this subject up because, all historical evidences and philosophical arguments aside, I suspect this described lifestyle is troubling to many struggling to stay within the Church. Surely, none are bothered by the idea of being a potential god or of living eternally with a cherished spouse and children. Rather, it is the notion, implicit in Mormon metaphysics, that we will essentially have stripped from us any and all personality that we possess in mortality. I will illustrate this through the following series of inquiries, which could apply just as thoroughly to the aforementioned beliefs of mainstream Christianity and Islam:

  • Think of your favorite band. Def Leppard, Green Day, Insane Clown Posse, Rascal Flats, whatever you like. Now think of their work as a whole. Are there any songs that swear among them? Any that evoke even remotely immoral thoughts?  Now think of your favorite film and ask yourself the same set of questions. Does it portray needless conflict and violence? Is there any sexually suggestive clothing worn by actors or extras in the film? Can you honestly say that God would approve of you watching it? These questions can apply to any form of media, from video games to novels. While standards such as these are already advocated by the Church, it seems to me that even films deemed wholly acceptable by Church members do not fit the presented standards. Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, Star Trek, Inception, The Dark Knight. These are all popular films among the Salt Lake City Mormon crowd, at least in my experience, but all, on some level, conflict with LDS standards. Here, it seems that the media question boils down to, not the standards as presented by the Church but rather: Can you honestly say that you would feel entirely comfortable reading, watching, or listening to your typical media with Jesus by your side?
  • A favorite hobby of mine is the game of chess. Obviously, this game will not be rejected as inappropriate by God. However, even if this game exists in heaven, it will essentially be obsolete. With whom would I compete after obtaining godhood? A similarly omniscient and omnipotent being? Or would obtaining godhood change me in ways that would remove my desire to play chess entirely? A similar line of reasoning can be applied to every hobby imaginable. Video games? Even if we assume that the content were rated “’G’ for Godly” , we again realize that an omniscient being would already know exactly what to do in game and would have only similar beings to compete with. Perhaps you enjoy hiking? As a god, there is really no way one could enjoy the beauty of nature; one could always create something more beautiful, something higher, faster, and more exotic.
  • Think of your career. Are you a computer programmer? Physicist, patent lawyer, doctor, custodian, manager? Now think of the skills and knowledge you acquired because of your interest in the subject. All this will be meaningless in heaven. Even though D&C 130: 18-19 suggests that our worldly academics will provide “so much the advantage in the world to come,” how could this be possible? To the contrary, omnipotent beings require no computers. All scientific truths will be revealed by an omniscient God. Everyone will agree on everything, so there will be no need for lawyers or a judicial system. Patents themselves will be unnecessary because everyone who obtains godhood will know everything. Doctors will be similarly obsolete due to the healing power of the Priesthood on top of there not being any disease or malady present in heaven. Thus, of my aforementioned list of occupations, it appears that only managers could conceivably have any advantage in heaven; one must be able to govern his worlds, after all.

The above set of questions is truly limitless, but boils down to this essential: Do you truly, honestly believe that, as a god, you would enjoy or find necessary and proper any of the strictly non-spiritual  attributes and materials found in this mortal existence?

The answer, I think, is a resounding, “no.”

God requires that we all hold the same values and believe essentially the same things in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom. Disagreement on, say, politics or film may be possible, but in heaven, these topics would be meaningless without a reality to apply them to. Here on Earth, the media you enjoy, the hobbies you possess, your professional interests and career skills are the visible factors in defining your personality. Would an environment in which these things become null and void be conducive to your happiness?

Our moral and intellectual character is defined by our mortality, by our physical, tangible experiences and interaction with the world.  If we were to become “celestial beings” and gods, as described in Mormonism, we would lose any semblance of who we are now. It is simply not possible for one to become the antithesis of the human condition while simultaneously retaining the personality and interests of a mortal, fallible, worldly human.  There is no room in the heart or mind of a god for that which is ungodly.

A community of beings who all hold the same beliefs, values, and interests, while also being inherently limited to participating in only prescribed activities, is the penultimate example of intellectual doldrums. It is irrelevant whether the beings are omnipotent or impotent, immortal or mortal, omniscient or ignorant. Yet this is what Mormonism proposes; an eternal state of infinite congruity.

Is this what you truly desire? Do you wish to exist in unending similitude, unable to appreciate the things you enjoy in your current state of being, with no reason to ever utilize your capacity to think critically? Is this the state of perfection you strive for? It may just be that this mortal life, with all its shortcomings, is actually preferable to life in the doldrums as a god.

To quote Ayn Rand, “ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be waiting for us in our graves – or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.”