Thursday, September 26, 2013

Iconic Mormon scriptures on God

Scriptural Speculations on Transhumanist Gods

God's work and glory

In LDS scripture, God tells us what his object is:
For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
We have a fairly standard interpretation of this, although many Mormons don't think it through fully. The immortality is probably just what you might think it means--God wants us to live forever. Maybe sometime I'll explain why I think this problem is already solved, and why I don't give greater importance to studying the how of making humans immortal over the how of several other aspects of Godhood, but basically, most Latter-day Saints believe the resurrection of Christ took care of this. The eternal life part is what is of more interest to me and many other LDSs, (and if we are right about the resurrection, maybe you can understand why). Eternal life is living with, and like, God. Unfortunately, many LDSs have a concept of eternal life that is so vague as to be indistinguishable, to my point of view, from mainstream Christian perspectives of worshiping God forever in a state of eternal bliss. And it's not just "mainstream" LDSs, it's some thoughtful, unorthodox Mormons, too.

I'm about to be critical of two of my favorite Mormon personalities, but consider this an advertisement for them and for my current favorite LDS themed podcast, Mormon Matters. Go pick some episodes on topics that look interesting to you. You won't be disappointed. On an episode about the pros and cons of keeping Mormonism weird, Dan Wotherspoon and Joanna Brooks, along with two other panelists, talk about the idea of "having our own planets." They start out great by saying the Mormon conception of godhood is more complex than simply making and ruling a planet, but the complexity they suggest is a rather nebulous, participating in the creative process. Come on! After all the thoughtful things you all have said and written, I guess you haven't thought deeply about every Mormon topic, after all, Dan and Joanna. You've fallen from your pedestals. You can breathe sighs of relief. I think you are right, that creation will be participatory (we'll go into the ample evidence for that sometime, probably), but it's not that nebulous. We will make worlds. We will make universes. We will make gods. So we haven't figured out (or remembered, or learned) all of the how to's, but what else can life like God mean? That's a serious question. I'll consider any suggestions anyone wants to give me, as well as criticisms of the details of my speculations. I hold most of the details quite tentatively, but what is so hard about accepting that becoming gods is what it means to become like God? I haven't seen anywhere where we are commanded to become mostly like God, or as much as possible like God. God's goal is to give us lives like His. And what do we know about what God does, day to day? Not much, really, but if He's there, He created this and many other worlds--without end.

Joy

That's more than I thought I would write about Moses 1:39, but I still want to bring up another iconic Mormon scripture from the Book of Mormon prophet, Jacob:
Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.
This one is causing me a little trouble to understand. I think a full treatment will require defining, or at least describing, joy. Then one can hypothesize how joy might be evolutionarily advantageous for gods. I'm not sure where to start, but the dictionary and psychological and neuroscientific research into happiness might be good starts. If this world is designed to help us on our way to godhood, then maybe there is a correspondence between joy in this life and joy in the eternities. It's an assumption I can't prove, but if it isn't true--at least to a degree--then this whole process of speculation isn't worth much. Some correspondence between heaven and earth underlies my whole exploration. I guess this gives me something else to study. Anyone want to recommend some good books on joy?

2 comments:

  1. I think an amazing book for you to read on this the subject of joy (via vulnerability), is "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown.

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  2. Thank you, Tracy. I will take a look.

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