Wednesday, November 4, 2009
What is my point of view?
1. God is one of a number of superior intelligences who have learned-how we do not know exactly-to obtain glory and intelligence. They can create worlds and do much else.
2. These gods take us lesser intelligences, swimming about like fish in the sea, under their tutelage, saying they will teach us how to achieve intelligence and glory.
3. One of their great lessons is that we can do more acting together than we can standing (or swimming) alone. Thus, they bind us to them with multiple covenants.
4. We are not only to obey them; we are to join with our brothers and sisters in the order of the priesthood under God's direction. This priesthood goes back before the foundations of the earth and incldues all the gods who have gone before. They are bound into one God whose combined force and intelligence is the source of glory. We may even add to the glory by joining them-like computers strung in parallel, generating computing power. Hence the essential importance of unity.
5. In this sense, the priesthood is God. When joined together like the council of gods that organized the earth, it manifests its godly powers. At the same time, any one God can speak for the whole because they are unified. Adam can become the God of this earth under Christ's suzerainty.
6. We exist on the ragged edges of this holy order, but in subscribing to it we join the grand alliance that rules the godly universe.
7. Outside of this created order, only chaos reigns, but in the outer darkness are other intelligences such as Lucifer who have orders and priesthoods of their own, independent of and possibly in opposition to Elohim's.
8. Within the created order, the intelligences find their places, some as animals, some as stones perhaps, some as humans. The diversity of forms on the earth suggests the diversity of unorganized intelligences. Hence the detail in the temple account of creation of the many forms of life, each to fulfill the measure of its creation.
9. God is constantly recruiting intelligences to the godly path and the success of this operation depends on us. If we attract people to Christ, they get included; if someone doesn't reach them, these souls may slip to a lesser spot. God will not necessarily guarantee everyone the highest possible position for his or her intelligence. Some may fall to a lower rung because there was no one there to raise them up. It is scary, but it makes life real. What makes it less scary is that there are many way to grow in intelligence. The Mormons are not the only source of light. Christ radiates throughout the world, through many voices. We need only to listen to one to set our foot on the right path.
As I write, this doctrine tastes good to me. I believe it is the truth. All of it can be found in Joseph's teachings. But it is not being taught by the Church today. Jennifer Dobner, the AP reporter, told me that the Church chastised her for writing about doctrines of this kind, as if they felt they discredited the Church. President Hinckley has said he does not put much stock in such teachings. That may be the proper position for today when we are under attack from evangelical Christians. It would be a mistake, however, to discard them entirely. they are a precious cultural resource. It may be one function of my book [Rough Stone Rolling, a life of Joseph Smith] to sustain their life by explicating Joseph's thought as part of the campaign to preserve doctrine.
--Richard Bushman, On the Road with Joseph Smith
Posted by theo at 9:05 PM