Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Same Sociality

Often questions about Mother in Heaven lead the someone saying "The question is, do we all have the same Mother in Heaven."

Obviously this harkens back to Mormonism foray into polygamy. Yet I was thinking how rarely is the opposite question asked; namely "Do we all have the same Father in Heaven?" (By rarely, I mean approaching 0. In my life I can only recall it coming up once.)

Why should we ask it? To me, because it is one potential outcome of Joseph's teaching.

First, that we can become gods and goddess, which is taught both in the scriptures and in Joseph's final major sermons.

Second, his profound teaching that the sociality we enjoy here will be enjoyed in heaven, coupled with eternal glory.

Third, that the Celestial Kingdom will be upon this Earth, glorified.

Finally, that there are kingdoms higher than the Celestial (hinted at in both section 130 and in his teaching that Christ's father would ascend higher when Christ completed his work (as well as the idea hinted at that Christ's father was also a Saviour).

Where might this point?

What if God the Father was not alone (with or without a Goddess the Mother)?

What if, instead, God was made up of "gods (and goddesses) many", or a "Council of the Gods" who appointed one God to be there representative for this world (as Joseph appears to me to have taught)?

Perhaps our God is the exalted community of a previous earth? That like us, they lived and died, were resurrected and exalted through the power of Christ's atonement, and then had us as spiritual children. We may have different actual fathers and mothers (a future post will examine what spirit creation/birth might entail) of our spirits. But as they are united - one - are one family - so we are and can be said to have One Father (and Mother).

This seems more what I would hope for - a true eternal family for my future. So why not for our Heavenly Parents?

It also has implications for Christ and the idea of Saviour(s). Joseph seems to me to teach that Christ only did what his father did. So, some ask, was his father a Saviour on his world? Are there Saviour Gods and non-saviour gods in the eternities? Some argue yes, or that there is an Eternal God (Father, and maybe Christ) who really are fundamentally different from us. Still others talk of multiple mortal probations, where we must perform our own atoning sacrifice on another world. Finally, so wonder how other worlds could have a Saviour - wasn't the atonement infinite and eternal?

But are we not all taking upon ourselves the name of Christ? Are not we called to be saviours on Mount Zion? Do we not participate in the atonement of Christ every time we bear each others burden? Each time we forgive offenses? When we are in the Celestial kingdom, will we not all be perfect and without sin? If each of us becomes Christ - a saved being - will not our future jointly created earth's Saviour be able to say, as Joseph has Christ say, "I do that which I saw my Father do", regardless of which one of us is his spiritual parent?

To put another way, Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, but not exclusively. Rather, he was the prime exemplar of the Christ to our world, in part of an eternal drama bringing about the eternal progression of lives.

Returning to the beginning, I do believe that the fundamental eternal unit with be the sealed couple. But I see no reason to imagine each of us will necessarily break away, two by two, to our own heavens to begin our own spiritual brood.

This earth will be our heaven. We will live together. Why not then live together and have children together? Why not create a future together, rather than apart? And if we do it, why wouldn't our fathers and mothers have done it? Wouldn't this be a likely identity for "the Gods", referred to in the Book of Abraham?


JLR said...

Very interesting. You know me, I've always wanted my own island where all of my Lee, Pittl, and Reil families could live (back to my grandparents and forward to my grandchildren, etc). I would love for all of us to live together eternally even more than on my island.
There are a few typos, so you need to proof read when you're at home and not on your blackberry. I don't have time to do it now =).
I love you!

JLR said...

I'm not sure if all of us earthlings have the same Heavenly parents or not, but I do like the thought of our Heavenly Father living in a place with his parents, siblings, children, and of course wife. I really would rather spend eternity with you and my parents, siblings, & children, etc. But then will we live with our spiritual parents too? Will our spiritual children return to live with us? What about those that don't live in the Celestial Kingdom? Lots of thoughts and ideas to think about.

You still need to proofread this though, tee hee!

The Ignorant Sage said...

Those are great questions. To reinforce what I was trying to say, it wouldn't be that our Heavenly Father lives with his parents, siblings, children, etc.; rather, our "Heavenly Father" is those parents, siblings, children, etc - all the exalted from their sphere. And thus, I won't be the Heavenly Father of a future world - rather, I along with you and everyone else exalted from this will be.

In this idea, we will not live with our spiritual parents, but our earthly ones. Likewise, our earthly children will live with us but our spiritual ones will live on our future creation with the spirit children of our siblings, parents and children.

As for those who don't live in the Celestial Kingdom - I'll save that for another post.

Steve said...

You are treading in deep waters here Lenny. I am not sure why the thought of being the father of a heavenly world cannot co-exist with other gods of their own heavenly worlds. IE - the same sociality you discuss but with a much bigger home town. And the gods referred to at creation can take on a lot of meanings, one of which, to me, can include those spirit children who were to come here and were basically gods in embryo. In addition, it could be, as you surmise, a group of exalted beings, but the creation could be much more expansive than just this world. I am still of the opinion that when we (those of us on this earth) are praying to a father in heaven, it happens to be the same one and he is literally the father of our spirits, but your idea is at least thought provoking. However, I wonder if you do not let your idea of sociality here bias your idea of sociality beyond. Something for you to think about now.

Anyway, back to work for me.

Grasshopper said...

This reminds me of an (ancient) post on my hopefully-soon-to-be-rejuventated blog, Orson Hyde on the Kingdom of God. The extension of our earthly family structure into the eternities seems to make people uncomfortable (and frankly, the inverse, where people claim that our earthly family structure was determined prior to this life makes me uncomfortable). It's quite interesting in a church that is so focused on earthly and eternal families.

The Ignorant Sage said...

Steve and Grasshopper, thank you both for your comments. The hope of actually having time to blog hasn't really worked yet, but I hope you'll be back from time to time.

Steve - I agree that my idea of sociality here biases by idea of it there. But then, if there isn't a strong correlation, the scripture doesn't make much sense (to me). I.E. if it's really different, wouldn't the verse say something like "the sociality that exists here will be unlike the one that exists there"?

But I do agree with your other point. It needn't be a one-to-one ratio of planets and heavens. And of course, I won't have any problems if we do all have the exact, single father in heaven (though even what that means is sometime unclear to me - post for another day). One or many persons, there is only One God after all.

Grasshopper - I agree that there is some irony there. Also, I'm not a big fan of the flip-side "our families were established before", though not firmly opposed to at least some friendshipping, partnering, agreements, etc. - Who knows what the pre-mortal realms were like? At least we have that one verse about the post-mortal one. Perhaps my wife being from a split family, having half-brothers and sisters, etc., is a constant reminder that mortal life is just messy. If every child's birth to which parent was pre-agreed upon, we'd have a lot of confusion with adoptions, split families, teen pregnancies, etc., to make it work. The philanderer who has 30 kids with different women across 3 continents - was that all part of an agreement. And if theoretical plans can be so easily broken by mortals, can we really believe they are there?

But I'm not much for pre-determination.

The Ignorant Sage said...

Grasshopper - I just re-read your post on your blog. Thanks for that.

I do think that the Fatherhood of Christ does add another interesting angle to look at. Food for further thought.