This article was originally published in Mormon Coffee on October 27, 2011.
Check out this episode of Viewpoint on Mormonism that originally aired August 16, 2019 Are Mormons Damned?
Mormons look forward to an eternity–a Heaven–characterized as a sort of divine extension of their lives on earth. Calling mortal marriage “a laboratory for godhood,” the LDS Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual states,
“In the relationship of husband and wife and parent and child we begin to approach the divine calling of godhood. Our Heavenly Father and mother live in an exalted state because they achieved a celestial marriage. As we achieve a like marriage we shall become as they are and begin the creation of worlds for our own spirit children.” (page 1; “laboratory for godhood” quote can be found on page 65.)
With such a “noble goal” in mind (page 1), Mormons envision Heaven as a very busy place of raising children and creating worlds. Latter-day Saints have no trouble recognizing that Mormonism’s concept of Heaven is very different from the Christian concept; but Mormons seem to only know a cartoon representation of the Christian Heaven–and delight to make fun of it. Consider a few statements from Mormons who have posted comments here at Mormon Coffee over the years:
“Aaron, what is your take on daily eternal fun or activities, of course you could come watch us LDS create stuff,… in fact [in the Christian Heaven] there would be no progression except deciding what cloud you would pick for that particular time and space. Interesting concept, nothing to do but sit, sing and praise…I would hard[ly] say that either I or [another LDS commenter] think being with God will be boring, but picking out clouds, remembering to bring you harp, and not forgetting the many verses you will be singing for time and eternity, hmmm, you say fun, I say boring.”
“If all you plan to do in heaven is worship God, won’t you get tired of that at some point? You must really like harp music to accept that particular role for eternity.”
“Evangelical doctrine, as I have come to understand it, does not teach anything beyond Grace, Heaven, and Hell. His grace and purpose means to bring about much more than what evangelical doctrine suggests, which so far I have learned that we float around on clouds after this life and just sing praises to God. To me, that’s bubble-gum.”
Biblically speaking, we don’t know a lot of details regarding the believers’ eternity in Heaven, but we do know this:
“The heavenly future all believers anticipate is the fulfillment of God’s purpose in creating the universe. It will include worship of the type revealed in the Book of Revelation (7:10; 11:16-18; 15:2-4). Worship will involve rehearsing God’s glorious acts (19:1-2). In addition to ascription of worth, worship will involve service – unspecified works done in obedience to God and for God (22:6)…In contrast to present suffering, God promises believers that they will reign with Christ in heavenly glory (2 Tim. 2:12; see Matt. 19:28; Rev. 20:4, 6). In heaven, believers will have fellowship with God and with each other in a perfect environment (Heb. 12:22-23).” (Bradford A. Mullen, “Heaven, Heavens, Heavenlies,” Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology)
The biblical depiction of Heaven is inadequate in Mormon circles. For whatever reason, Mormons seem to think the eternal worship and praise of God in song equates with boredom and bubble-gum. Isn’t this surprising in light of the Latter-day Saints’ own scripture, Mormon 7:7 in the Book of Mormon?
“And he [Jesus] have brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.” (Mormon 7:7)
Nevertheless, latter-day revelation of Mormon prophets teaches that Heaven, to be Heaven, must include a continuation of the family unit, the achievement of godhood, and the creation of worlds; sort of a “be all that you can be” mindset. As a Christian, my eternal focus is not on me, but on God. Even if Heaven was nothing but singing ceaseless praise to Him, that would be more than enough for me.