Tonight Radio Free Mormon explores the idea of exaltation in the LDS Church. RFM shows how this relatively simple concept becomes more and more complicated the more we examine it. Ultimately it is on the floor in tatters. This is . . . the Exaltation Complication!
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13 Replies to “Radio Free Mormon: 102: The Exaltation Complication”
Hello from the PNW! My husband and I are avid listeners to your podcast. Thank you for your candid, intelligent, and often hilarious analyzation of all things relating to Mormonism. In this last podcast you mentioned something along the lines of President Nelson never actually stating that God doesn’t love us unconditionally, but he certainly implies it in his talks. (Hopefully I got that right) I just wanted to say that he indeed explicitly stated that God does not love us unconditionally in a talk when he said, “While divine love can be called perfect, infinite, enduring, and universal, it cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional.” I believe the talk was 2003-ish, but I read it in an ensign article. I’ll never forget it because it was the first fissure in my shelf cracking. I was sooo disturbed by the article that I remember calling my mom to discuss it. She’s as orthodox as they come and her response was along the lines of “Well, what I think he means is…” In other words, he said it, he’s an apostle, so it must be true but I’m not seeing the meaning behind it. And so began the rise of the most narcissistic church leader to ever have walked the earth. Thank you, President Nelson, for giving me the assurance that I absolutely want nothing to do with the kind of God you describe. May you ever try to live “perfectly” so God’s “Perfect Love” can assure you that you are the most perfectly misleading and self-serving false prophet the world has ever known. (Except maybe J.S.) Carry on, Radio Free Mormon! And thank you for your service!
Amen! To Radio Free MORMON! And Angie’s comment. Surely Nelson is the most narcissistic leader solve Kimball, and the church needs to realize he is helping to tear it down faster than anything. Someone had to teach him to smile, and it’s so forced, and his ‘changes’ are meaningless distractions that do absolutely nothing but do give him the illusion for being a busy guy. Thanks for this podcast! Rfm you are exactly what I need!
When I left Mormondom, I too analyzed some complications I had with the story of Moses going to the mountain, allegedly talking with god (or was he just talking with his inner self). The complication I had was when Moses brought the first set of stone tablets with a set of commandments and perhaps out of frustration and perhaps angrily broke those first (or as taught by LDS, a higher-law set of commandments). Also, as LDS teach, the people were not ready for the initial, higher-law commandments. So he returned to the mountain and allegedly received a set of commandments that the people could abide by.
I often wondered if Moses really talked to an all knowing god, god would have known the people were not ready and would have given the appropriate set of commandments in the first place.
Also, after additional contemplation about Moses and his writings in Leviticus about highly vicious approaches to sin. e.g. cutting off ones hand if that hand offends. Many other grotesque resolutions of so called sin. That are/were alleged revelations from Moses’s god to Moses.
Now, seeing how most people are now able to, or have not been taught critical thinking skills and thus they just follow what ever they’ve been told. I also see this in peoples driving skills who have not learned basic physics 101 principles and current flow more often transition from one lane to another and just fall in line on a freeway to egress or even on major arterial roads, pull into the center (suicide) lane and rather than trust the physics by transitioning into traffic flow from and velocity nearly equal to the traffic flow, they come to a complete stop and then upset the entire traffic flow by trying to enter the traffic flow from a velocity of near zero.
Dear Mr. Radio Free Mormon Host, I believe you have the ability to articulate this complication more effectively than I am able to and would like to hear your take on perhaps Moses’s personal self deceptive belief that he was a prophet of god. Thanks, Jay
My Name is Jay and my experience with a typical response to the discrepancy described by RFM between apostle Orson F. Whitney and Prophet Nelson would be something along the line that Whitney only made it to apostle, yet Nelson made it to Prophet and so Nelson’s message has precedent over Whitney’s message. Or perhaps another argument the common LDS are taught is that the most recent prophetic words have precedence over has been prophets. Anyway, thanks for the podcast. Sincerely, Jay
OMG: Sylvia’s mother:
? LOVE THIS!! Here are some things I wrote a while ago along these same lines. Sorry this is kind of long, but as with all things LDS, there has to be a lot of ground work laid.
How about a thought exercise? I am a father, who was married to my wife in the temple. With this holy ceremony, I am now “sealed” to my wife and vice-versa. Any children that we have are now “Born in the covenant”, meaning that they are my eternal family, which, according to the feel-good lessons and talks at church will be my forever family. So far so good. But, it is also true that I was born in the covenant to my parents, so I am part of their forever family. The same with my wife, who is part of her eternal family. My own children, born in the covenant, are part of my forever family. This, eventually, according to the doctrine, means that pretty soon we have a very large “family” that is having familial relationships, but must look quite different than the ones that we are familiar with here on this planet.
My question is, “how do I live my ‘eternal’ life as a family forever??….. With my parents, as their son living in a very earthly familial setting, OR with my wife and children as a father living as we did when the children were small and we were all together?” OR, does my wife live as a daughter (without me, sort of) to her parents in the same kind of familial relationship that is so cheerily taught? OR, does she stay with me with our children? Of course, this gets very messy, very fast. What about my siblings here on earth? Same kinds of questions. Now factor in those others who are our family, grandparents and grandchildren and so on. I want those relationships, but each married couple in the afterlife is (hopefully, as taught that will potentially be) now their own “god” and they have their own progeny to think about wanting to be with in the here-and-now family picture that we currently have.
And so it goes, becoming less and less like a family that we’re familiar with and starts to make “families are forever” more of a feel-good marketing slogan than some sort of literal reality. So do your earthly siblings come over one night a week to have dinner and play some games, and another night you get with your earthly parents and take a hike to some wondrous galaxy, and then your children, who are married and doing the same thing you are, come over another day to watch old earthly re-runs? When one starts to pull on this thread the whole premise of “families are forever” quickly begins to make no sense. There does not seem to be a way to tie this all up in as neat a bow as is taught.
And another thought;
Looking both ways (forward and backward into time & eternity), there is no need for temple work today since all of those who have ever lived or will live on earth are already in god’s family. We were birthed to him in the Celestial Kingdom, so we are essentially “Born in the Covenant”. Of course, we need to do our developmental thing by coming to earth and getting the body we need, then die and are resurrected with a perfect body. But we are all already God’s children and sealed to him. HOW?
God was once a man, who lived on an earth, and obviously followed the “Eternal Gospel” on that earth, where he was baptized, obtained the priesthood, and was married in a temple. This allowed him to enter the Celestial Kingdom of his father. All of his children born (in heaven as sprit children)in the covenant, so that they are already his! Extending the logic, all children born to sealed parents (both physically and spiritually, since we also believe that we are spiritual children of HF) are “sealed” to them through all time and all eternity.
Therefore, “sealing” all the children of the earth together in order to have them all “sealed” back to God is unnecessary! They are already “sealed” to God!!! They were BIC, in heaven! Temple sealings of families are entirely unnecessary.
So true Paul, especially on your first point. The Church’s “Families are Forever” pitch is nonsensical. As such, it’s amazing to see TBMs complete lack of critical thought on this topic.
A couple of additional talking points:
– Since the only unit that makes any sense in the Mormon paradigm are couples, the next discussion is about those who made it to the Celestial Kingdom is their ability to visit those who didn’t and are in the telestial kingdom. It comes down the point that we’ll have to have the party at my house because I’m not able to come to yours. Although I was taught in seminary that the more righteous will have larger mansions.
– The reality is that the Church first became laser focused on Forever Families in the ’60’s when they realized they were able to capitalize on the bond between the parents and their children:
– To baptize your children you need to be temple worthy (i.e. be active and a tithe payer)
– To attend your children’s wedding you need to be temple worthy (remember when the Church came out strong against civil marriages?)
– You can have your children forever if you’re temple worthy
Church leaders are keenly aware that their “Families are Forever” doctrine (or pseudo doctrine) is the best leverage they have for manipulating their followers. They will hold on to it at all cost. Nelson’s discussion is primarily about manipulating TBMs to fall inline.
RFM, I suggest there is much more on this topic to discuss.
The Mormon sealing power was never intended to keep earthly nuclear families together for eternity. It was made up so Joseph Smith and other early church leaders could have sexual relations with already married women and to amass harems. Case in point: The Orson Whitney you mentioned in your podcast . His mother was Helen Mar Kimball who was sealed to Joseph Smith at age 14. After Smith’s death she was married to Horace Whitney for time only. So Horace’s children by Helen won’t be his children in super VIP heaven either. Most of Joseph Smith’s widows were married off to other men for time only and had children by them so Helen’s situation was not unique. It wasn’t until polygamy had to be disavowed that the teaching was changed from its original intent.
Does anyone know where the love of God goes when President Nelson speaks?
Well you got me. This was so good and timely I had to donate. Thanks RFM for tackling this.
This was the first time I faced that Nelson talk. Hard to hear. Mostly I avoid conferences these days so thanks for walking us through this.
The discounting of members concerns and heartaches is starkly documented here. kudos. And lastly, when they discount old quotes from the Softer exaltation gospel, ala JS, etc. you didn’t mention the fact that they totally trampled on the wonderful Pres. Faust. I don’t think they realize just how many thousands of members have clung to and shared that Faust talk! What family in the church doesn’t have SOME errant family members, and look for solace in any talk or article that can provide hope.
I guess I missed the window of time when the softer Christ doctrine was undone.
But wait! If it says in the D&C that endless punishment isn’t a time thing then how do you avoid the idea that at some point everyone gets another chance?
If I had been sealed to Humperdinck, and then learned that Westley was still alive, could I have that sealing cancelled, or would I have to be shared by them in the next life?
It’s a transparent attempt to get family members to put pressure on their doubting or “straying” family members in order to keep them IN the church. That’s what I saw in it. He doesn’t want the church to carry the ball on seeking the “lost lambs.” He wants that pressure coming from your family.
Please Humor the new kid on the block, I only recently discovered Radio Free Mormon and it is a great place to play connect the dots.
I have an observation and a question about exaltation according to RMN, not RFM but RMN. Using Bill Reel’s binary equation model, obviously only one of them is correct.
If exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom is the ultimate source of never ending joy and happiness according to RMN theology and doctdrine, how is it that God, according to RMN, is always sorrowful and weeping for the sins of mortals? Surely this omniscient God knows we are all flawed in some way, and that earth life is largely a place where only a few sort of get it right. The rest of we mere mortals, often genetically stricken from birth with narcissism, histrionics, psychopathy and all the other flawed conditions mortals are diagnosed with; these mortals are going to have a hard time loving their neighbors as them selves.
Is all this constant weeping and sorrow not a strange concept of an omniscient God, that God constantly weeps at the thought that some of his children have gone astray of Mormon theology and doctrine.
This concept seems more attributable to a someone who is so out of touch with their constituents in 2020, and has been out of touch since the Korean war for that matter, that they break down in tears similar as quickly and frequently as those that go up to bear a testimony and are bawling their eyes out before they even get near the microphone. It seems that RMN is in reality subconsciously projecting his own mortal emotions, and apparently the ability to weep, merely for effect, of HBE et al, onto a supreme being so inconceivable to them that they can only imagine that he weeps precisely, and in perfectly synchronicity with them when they loose emotional control and begin to weep. It seems they are more than likely just channeling Ezekiel, Isaiah or other Old testament writers, in imagining a God that has the human attribute where God has little if any control of his emotions and begins weeping at the slightest bad news, or the use of the name “Mormon” when referring to a member of this church.
If this concept of a weeping, sorrowful and sad God is the same God that dwells in exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom, what happened to the Celestial Kingdom as the ultimate source of eternal and continual joy and happiness? With all this imaginary sorrow and weeping, Is this concept of exaltation really much different from the mortal experience? For instance, if we sorrow when one of our friends or loved ones goes off the deep end so to speak, with substance abuse or some other vice taken to the extreme, (like excessive religious speculation put forth as revealed doctrine for instance)? The way RMN describes exaltation makes it seem not much different than our earthly experience.
On a lighter note, it is hard to believe RMN knows if and when God weeps in sorrow. It seems more likely that there is either a plumbing leak in the condo, directly above his bed, which is where and when it seems that revelation for him is occurring. Or, and this is even more plausible, maybe Wendy’s hair is still a bit wet from the shower, and RMN is once again awakened from the REM Sleep he has entered, by a few drops of water falling from the jet black mane of Wendy as she leans over to kiss RMN good night and wish him happy revelatory dreams. It seems from recent reports that this regularly occurs during his deep REM Sleep, the dream state where every persons imagination is almost the only thing active in our minds, and a few drops of water wake up RMN and the first thought that seems to come to his mind upon awakening is that God is once again weeping up in the celestial kingdom due to RFM’s latest rational yet slightly satirical analysis of Mormon doctrine and all its contradictions. Now I do not say this is exactly what is happening, it was brought to my attention by a friend of mine after listening to the Exaltation complication . Thanks to RFM for letting us take a step or two on his dance floor.