A free ride to heaven?

In a facebook exchange related to my last post,  I stated that, in “The Gift of Grace” President Uchtdorf “teaches explicitly that we get a free ride to heaven.”

One LDS disagreed and responded:

“If by “free ride” you mean free of repentance, obedience, good works, or somehow contradictory to what other prophets and apostles have taught, you’ve clearly completely misunderstood his point.”

Another LDS agreed and stated:

That “free” gift of sanctification, however, is itself conditioned upon repentance, personal righteousness, and “enduring to the end.” Grace assists us in these tasks as well, but DOES NOT override our agency, free will, or the power of Satan to tempt and deceive.

It is after “all we can do” moment by moment, that we are purged and made “new creatures in Christ.”

I totally disagree with these very common mis-interpretations of Mormonism. When I was a Mormon I might have been an outlier in that I based my faith on what it said in the scriptures over any other teachings.  Based on the Doctrine and Covenants section 76, Joseph Smith’s revelation concerning the afterlife, these commentators have Mormonism fully bass-ackwards.

In their vision of heaven Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon affirm that Christ himself appeared to them defined the Gospel:

 40 And this is the gospel, the glad tidings, which the voice out of the heavens bore record unto us—

 41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucifiedfor the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and tosanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness;

 42 That through him all might be saved whom the Father had put into his power and made by him;

 43 Who glorifies the Father, and saves all the works of his hands, except those sons of perdition who deny the Son after the Father has revealed him.”

It sticks in my craw that Mormons continue to deny even their own scriptural account of the Gospel, to hold onto the dream that eternal joy is not the fate of all who accept the power of God in their lives.

I have always understood that authentic scripture-based Mormonism teaches that all are guaranteed eternal joy in Christ.  What the Church has been missing are witnesses to this reality.  Without the witnesses, and without the evidence in the countenances of the saved, Mormon children simply won’t get what Jesus — or Joseph Smith — was talking about.

Joseph Smith clearly believed he, and every man, woman and child that was created, was saved from hell and his life was an attempt to glorify God.  Only those who rejected God’s grace would not wind up in heaven.  What Latter-Day Saints should be teaching is that the ONLY free ride in this world is the ride to Heaven. Instead, they often teach that everything in this world is guaranteed if we obey, EXCEPT our place in heaven.

Careful how you answer- The theology exam to get you to heaven

Mormons often imagine that Evangelical belief implies some sort of theology exam to get into heaven. i.e. to prove you have faith in the “right” jesus. Now this may not be accurate, but its a darn popular Mormon conception once aquainted with the basic of Evangelicalism and the charge that Mormons aren’t Christians or believe in a different Jesus.

This quiz may be pretty close to what  they imagine.  It may be worth taking just to see what Jesus you actually believe in.

I took the exam and Here is how I scored- I guess its eternal hellfire for me:

You Scored as Pelagianism

You are a Pelagian. You reject ideas about man’s fallen human nature and believe that as a result we are able to fully obey God. You are the first Briton to contribute significantly to Christian thought, but you’re still excommunicated in 417.

Pelagianism
92%
Monophysitism
75%
Apollanarian
58%
Chalcedon compliant
58%
Nestorianism
50%
Socinianism
33%
Monarchianism
25%
Donatism
25%
Adoptionist
25%
Modalism
17%
Albigensianism
8%
Gnosticism
8%
Arianism
0%
Docetism
0%

What happens after we die?

This question is generally a fundamental question for believers and non-believers alike, often both groups are pretty certain about what its going to be like.  I am both unsure of a good answer to this question and very skeptical about those who have sure answers both Mormon and Evangelical.

Instead of going through all of the “orthodox” or “official” ideas on the subject, I think it would be profitable to understand what the readers of this blog believe on the subject and why.  I am primarily interested in the basis for the beliefs and the details behind it.

I think there is actually solid scientific evidence for life after death or the life of a spirit outside the body.

I also have solid belief and spiritual experience evidencing God in my life based on numerous experiences as a fully practicing LDS.

However, despite all this, I am very unclear of what is going to happen when we die.  As far as I can see, all we seem to have is a brief and uncertain view of the afterlife, and there are many interpretations.  I base my own concepts on two primary ideas.

  1. God loves us with a love that that is at least similar to what we can understand, e.g. good parental love.
  2. God is just according to a concept of justice similar to what we understand.

Frankly, these two concepts cause me to disbelieve a lot of what is said about the afterlife so I would also be interested to know who believes these principles and  how everybody squares their belief in the afterlife with them.

I am also interested in how primal your belief regarding the afterlife is in the foundation of your faith.  Some become Christians out of fear of hell, others become Christians because Jesus is good and touches them and they never develop any fear of hell. Some are strong LDS because they want to go to the Celestial Kingdom- i.e. the best place, and some want to go to the Celestial Kingdom simply as a by-product of their LDS experiences.

For me this could be a helpful exercise for LDS and Evangelicals, and anybody else, to examine their own personal feelings about this issue while getting new perspectives on this very important area of faith.  Or it could just be a good way to kill some time during the day.

I know I am not offering a lot of my own feelings but I am really at a loss to offer any confident opinions.  I appreciate your thoughts in advance, Thanks for sharing!