Friday, August 23, 2013
Celestial Kingdom or bust
An acquaintance whom I greatly admire for his courage and activism recently commented that his deceased parent would probably not be happy in the Celestial Kingdom as typically described in Mormonism.
Likewise, I don't think I would be too happy in the commonly described Mormon heaven. Not because heaven, according to my thinking would not be nice, but because the descriptions of it are outdated.
The descriptions of heaven for many religions throughout the ages have tended to focus on resolving the problems faced by believers at the time the description was written, envisioning a paradise where current day troubles would not exist.
The Mormon heaven is typical. A majority of Mormon descriptions of heaven were written when polygamy was very important to Mormonism and deeply hated by their neighbors. It envisioned a place where polygamy was the law and where the more wives a man had the higher his exaltation. This has been downplayed by the church in recent years but there is still a heavy emphasis on heaven being only for married heterosexual couples, and the more children the better.
During a time a intense persecution (self induced or otherwise) heaven was envisioned by Mormons as a place where their enemies could not go regardless of their righteousness. If you were anti-Mormon you were not going to make it to heaven. This again has faded somewhat, but not entirely.
Anyway, my point is that heaven, like many things in religion, is described by religious leaders in a way that is appealing to believers to encourage further commitment to the religion. To be meaningful for believers heaven must solve their current problems and satisfy their wants and needs.
I have yet to hear an explanation of the Mormon Celestial Kingdom that satisfies my problems, wants and needs, as a gay 21st century man. I have a belief in the afterlife and I believe it will generally be a good life for me because I'm a good person. The Mormon version of heaven condemns me for no fault of my own so I have little use for it.