Friday, August 1, 2008

Marinate Your Mind and Celebrate Your Ignorance

I recently read a fascinating post entitled "Robbery: To Be Equal With God". I've been wondering why we don't see more of this kind of discussion in LDS blogs. I've given a lot of thought to this "Becoming like God/becoming gods" debate lately, both within LDS circles and also in evangelical circles.

I enjoy reading the comments and hearing the opinions of people from all sides of the spectrum. I feel so much truth in the statement that whatever we become or attain only adds to God's glory, and that as we become one with Him, hierarchy becomes meaningless.

One helpful clarification about the idea that we can become like God was given by the Church in response to an interview by Fox News:

"We believe that the apostle Peter's biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul's reference to being 'joint heirs with Christ' reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes."

I remember hearing, as a kid, about "becoming a god of my own planet"--but not from official sources. This must have been one of those popular "folklore" ideas spread around for long enough that people started believing it. I wasn't appalled by that idea then, but I've also come to know that that is not "Mormon doctrine" and not something I really believe, but nor is it something I totally disbelieve. I'm not required to believe it, but I'm not ruling it out. But there is no way I'm ever going to think myself so important and great that I would ever cease praising and worshipping the Godhead for eternity. There is no way I could ever get over all that has been done for me. No matter what I become in eternity, I will will always (eternally) recognize I was completely and utterly dependent on God and the merits, mercy, and grace of His Son. God, my Heavenly Father, will always be my Father. God, the Son--Jesus Christ--will always be my Savior.

So I'm not going to spend much time or put any stock into things we just don't know beyond my current covenants. There are some "far out there" statements that some people have made, and some suckers both in and out of the church make the mistake of thinking that's what all Mormons must believe.

What I do believe is that we can and need to strive to become like God--not become Him or replace Him--but become like Him and one with Him. That, too me, is the plan. I don't have any greater ambition than that. So that's what I say when I go onto other blogs and try to clarify those common misperceptions--sometimes intentional misperceptions about us that are taught more in other churches about us than we ever even discuss among ourselves! But I realize that I can only speak for myself and not all Mormons as a whole since there isn't a well defined standard understanding. There's always bound to be some confusion.

On the other hand, I'm not going to rule something out if He has greater plans for us than we even realize. But I'm not one to dwell in speculation.

I tend to think that it would be better if more of us Latter-day Saints would more often celebrate our ignorance rather than pretend we have all the answers to the complexities of this life or eternal life.

I enjoy "marinating my mind" with questions a lot more than I enjoy feeling smug in thinking I have all the right answers. I take some gratification in all that I do know, but I think there should be a greater satisfaction, even an exhilaration, to realize how much potential we haven't even begun to tap into or understand waiting for us on the other side of the veil.


Clean Cut said...

My wife tells me I should explain what I mean by "celebrating" our ignorance. What I DON'T mean is that we should go around saying we're stupid. What I DO mean is that we can be happy and okay with the fact that we don't know EVERYTHING and have ALL the answers. What I think it means is being open-minded and constantly inquiring and asking questions so to learn more. I'm not saying we should remain in ignorance. But there are some things/mysteries that mortal men probably won't know on this side of the veil and we don't need to add to the folklore and do more damage by trying to create answers where maybe we have no sufficient answers. (see, for example, Teaching About Racism (Including the Priesthood Ban) in Sacrament Meeting)

It's okay to ask and think and "marinate you mind" without coming to perfect or completed opinions. To me, it's a lesson tolerance, among other things...

Rachel said...

This is my favorite post of yours to date, Spencer. I agree completely with everything said here. Thank you for sharing this.

There is just so much out there I DON'T know, and believe me, I don't ever claim to know everything. This post makes me feel that it's actually OK to not know it all when it comes to the Gospel. And now I celebrate! :) (Because there's so much more to come...)

Clean Cut said...

Thanks Rachel! I really appreciate that.

SusieQ said...

Interesting post. Gives me lots to think about. Thanks!

Lakes are Great said...

I love this post for many reasons. The first is because I've always felt a little strange about "becoming a god and having my own planet". My mind just can't quite go there. Not that it isn't going to happen, just that I can't comprehend that right now. Part of having faith is knowing that there is so much we don't know, that we are not capable of understanding right now and that's okay. We want to explain everything in life, justify it, make ourselves feel good...and the truth is sometimes we just don't know. I also love this post because it reminds ME that I don't need to know everything at this moment. Life is about growing, constantly learning and bettering ourselves...if we new it all right now there wouldn't be much opportunity for faith, growth, humility, ect. Not knowing allows us to exercise faith and appreciate God for all that HE knows. Love ya Spence and I love that you have become so openminded and interested in all faiths and views on life without compromising your own.