Salt Lake Tribune: New Resource Puts Mormon Afterlife Beliefs in Proper Context
Salt Lake Tribune reporter Matthew Piper points out that those who say Mormons “will rule their own worlds” in the afterlife do a “disservice to the doctrine” the Church teaches about the afterlife. His article — a review of a new Gospel Topics resource at LDS.org about the Latter-day Saint belief in becoming like God — is notable because it tackles deep Mormon theology with fairness and care.
Piper quotes from the LDS.org “Becoming Like God” essay and speaks with four Mormon scholars whose comments carry the weight of decades of historical research to help put Church teachings on this subject in proper context.
Quoting LDS.org, Piper says: “Latter-day Saints’ doctrine of exaltation is often ... reduced in media to a cartoonish image of people receiving their own planets. ... While few Latter-day Saints would identify with caricatures of having their own planet, most would agree that the awe inspired by creation hints at our creative potential in the eternities."
Piper speaks with Richard Bushman (an American historian and author of a renowned biography of Church founder Joseph Smith), Terryl and Fiona Givens (coauthors of The God Who Weeps, a book that defines how Mormons view God) and Jan Shipps (an American religion scholar specializing in Mormon history).
Bushman says the LDS.org resource “defines a boundary” of what Mormons believe. Terryl Givens says it describes the Mormon view of the afterlife as “more about infinite vulnerability than infinite power. And that’s a sobering idea, I think, rather than one that appeals to aggrandizement.” And Shipps says it is “very wise” because it explains “a difference between people who will become God and people who will become like God.”
Read the essay “Becoming Like God.”
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