One place I see LDS and Evangelicals talking past one another is on the issue of eternal families. LDS longingly look forward to the day in which they can be together with their family for ever. Temple wedding versus chapel wedding — “don’t you want an eternal marriage?” When LDS missionaries ask Evangelicals “don’t you want to be with your family forever?” they often get a quizzical “What? No.” And with that Evangelicals seem to be tossing aside something that is precious to LDS.
It’s not that we Evangelicals don’t want to be with our families for all eternity, it’s just not any part of our focus when we think of heaven. We look forward to spending eternity with Christ (as I’m sure LDS do as well). We actually do believe that we will be with our families forever. But we don’t think our family will be limited to our immediate biological family. We believe that we will be in loving, intimate relationship with EVERYONE in heaven, not just our families. The closeness I share with my wife, I’ll have with everyone, and I’ll have eternity to get to know them. I look forward to catching up with Paul, Michaelangelo, St. Francis and a little boy in Kenya whose name I don’t even know, and listening to them all recount all that Christ did for them.
Interesting. Though I had a general idea, I didn’t know exactly what Evangelicals thought about eternal families.
The problem with the LDS position you post about is that it is part of the overall, actually overreaching doctrine of man becoming God. The man and woman married “for all eternity” look forward to creating a world and populating it with the spirit children that they will continue to have once in heaven.
“As man is, God once was and as God is. man may become” is a well know couplet to Mormons. Their God is an exalted man, and this colors everything.
Something that Kullervo and I have discussed (and that he can probably articulate way better than me!) is that the LDS doctrine of eternal families doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense. What is to stop families from being families in the afterlife? If you aren’t sealed in the Mormon temple… will you not know each other? Then, let’s face it (and I’m being pragmatic here)… who cares? You won’t remember each other, so it won’t matter.
If you know each other… will there be something to keep you from hanging out? If Kullervo and I weren’t sealed in the temple, but wanted to hang out all the time… would there be a brick wall that eternally separated us? What is to stop us from BEING an eternal family?
Also, many Mormons have the misguieded idea that an eternal family actually means being with your parents and your kids for all eternity… but, of course, upon reflection that doesn’t really make sense, unless we all live in one big mansion that includes everyone ever… and if that is the way that it is, then what is special about eternal families at all, and what makes it any different?
Hey, this is the first time that I have joined in with the WordPress community.
I was there for a summer.
Dando, there are many Kenyans that I will enjoy spending time with in heaven.
Blessings to you.
I was there last summer and I agree!
I wrote a lengthy blog-post on the Mormon doctrine of eternal families, and why I think it is completely incoherent, mostly echoing things my lovely katyjane already said.
Click that link.
Thanks for the endorsement. 😉
The “families forever” idea only works for those who are believing, practicing, faithful Mormons. What if you did your best to raise your children in the LDS faith, and sadly, one of them leaves the church? Say they marry someone of another faith, hoping to act as a missionary and bring them to the LDS faith, but it doesn’t happen that way? They never marry in the temple, their children are not brought up int he LDS faith, are not baptized,and the family is not sealed together forever. What happens then? Do I really want to embrace something that says that I can’t be with them forever? Do I really want a Heaven with no grandchildren? IS that a Heaven? And what if I do everything I can, but can’t get married because I don’t find anyone suitable to my needs and my morals? Then I can’t go to the topmost Heaven with the rest of my family? Or what if I get married in the temple, learn my new name, my husband knows it so he can call me upon the sound of the trumpet, but he hides something immoral from me and his bishop so that he doesn’t wake with the call? Then he can’t call me and I can’t ascend to Heaven for something I didn’t even do? It doesn’t really appear that families CAN be together forever, unless they are all 100% faithful and fulfill every commandment in the BoM.
I don’t know where anyone ever got the idea that Evangelicals do not believe in families forever. Maybe that answer of “no, I don’t want to be with them for all eternity” was said as a joke? The idea is absurd. Of course we believe we will be together. But the difference is that there is one Heaven, and one hell. You know Jesus and have a relationship with Him, and trust His word when He says that the way is through Him, then you will be in Heaven with Him. While He died on the cross, he was beside a thief who had not followed Him, had not been a righteous person his whole life, and yet, as he hung there dying, he was able to turn his life over to Christ and be saved. We are all sinners, and Christ saved the sinners. Through knowing Christ, you make it to Heaven. This way ensures that even if my husband did something immoral and hid it, I can still go to Heaven if I know Christ, and so can he if he does the same. This means that a child who has strayed, and their children who never knew the LDS doctrine, but all who have a relationship with Christ, can spend eternity with me. Christians believe that Heaven will be a joyous celebration, and even though LDS say similar, how can it be completely joyous without all my loved ones?
Actually you can go the celestial kingdom as a single. You can’t have full exaltation but you do go as a ministering angel. Moroni is a good example.
Careful there Olivia, that road swing back into the idea of collective salvation rather than individual salvation.
Do you believe all of your loved ones will be in heaven with you, even if they do not believe in Jesus?
And that is a problem because … ?