Sunday, June 2, 2013

Problems With the Mormon God

God makes no sense.

I guess that's not an entirely fair statement.  I'm more educated on the subject of the Mormon version of God than I am on the bajillion other interpretations of the supreme being.  So I'll only really go as far as to say that the Mormon version of God makes no sense.

He doesn't act like a God.  His oft-lauded Plan of Happiness is laughably ineffective and the reasons for its necessity are questionable.  His expectations for his children are unreasonably high and his plan is designed to reward things that aren't necessarily desirable attributes.  He's a mess.  He's a failed god given one more world to run as a last chance before he's unceremoniously forced into retirement.  He sits brooding over the chaotic inelegance of Earth, sporting a stained wife beater and three-day stubble, chain smoking and muttering drunkenly to himself about how if given half the chance he'd show those other punk upstart gods the skills that made him one of the all time greatest deities.

Efficiency is Next to Godliness
God's Plan of Salvation is frequently referred to in testimonies and General Conferences addresses as "beautiful" or "wonderful."  But how many Mormons have actually taken the time to examine the Plan of Salvation closely?  They'll study the ins and outs of it without stepping back and looking at the big picture.  And the big picture is kind of a train wreck of eternal proportions.

God loves us, so he wants us to return to live with him.  For some reason, the requirements to return to live with him include being baptized into his church.  So God's plan entails wiping our memories completely, throwing us down onto a planet so that we're separated from him, and then taking the church we're supposed to be baptized into off of the planet for more than a thousand years.  183 years after bringing his church back, his divine power has allowed the church to amount to less than half a percent of the world's population.  Countless people around the world have never heard of God's true church, let alone had an opportunity to learn about the doctrines in any kind of detail.  Billions during the great apostasy lived and died without having any kind of opportunity to accept God's church and get baptized.

So what does God do?  Foresee this problem and redesign his plan?  Nope.  Instead, he sets his minuscule group of devotees to the task of gathering information on anyone and everyone who has ever lived so that they can be fake-baptized by a current member and accept or reject that ordinance in the spirit world.  Of course, complete written records of every human to have breathed don't exist, and many that did have been lost, which means that even by a generous estimate billions of God's children (whom he loves) will not have temple work done for them and will not have the opportunity to accept a proxy baptism into God's church.

So what does God do?  Foresee this problem and redesign his plan?  Nope.  Instead, he just redoubles his missionary and temple efforts in the present day.  That way, the quarter of a million convert baptisms per year will continue to hardly scratch the surface of the world's current population.  Even more extreme, the proxy baptisms move forward, a few more names are baptized, a few more names are redundantly baptized, and the inevitable failure to accommodate the billions that will fall through the cracks is never discussed.

This is one of the worst plans I have ever heard.  For anything.  Pickett's Charge was smarter.  Justin Bieber's hairstyle was smarter.  The lack of efficiency in a supposedly perfect deity's problem-solving method is appalling.

Why Do We Need to Prove Ourselves?
As the song goes, "This life is the test."  Okay, Janice Kapp Perry is not a prophet.  But the song does refer to the doctrine that we are to prove ourselves in our second estate (the first estate being our premortal existence).  But why, exactly, do we need to prove ourselves?

I understand the need for a savior and the whole balancing the law of justice with God's mercy and all that stuff.  But all those teachings take for granted the necessity for us to come to Earth and prove ourselves in the first place.  Sure, we needed physical bodies.  God couldn't think of a way to provide us with physical bodies without making us jump through hoops to demonstrate our loyalty to him?

God is supposed to be the loving father of our spirits.  I've never had to prove myself to my dad.  He disagrees with plenty of the stuff I've done, but he loves his children unconditionally.  I suppose maybe if I started murdering family members I could break that bond.  But I've never had to prove myself worthy of his love.  He likes being around his children.  He wants them to be with him.  He wants them to be happy.  I imagine God is supposed to be like that, only more perfect.  He loves us unconditionally.  We shouldn't have to prove ourselves worthy to be in his presence.

What kind of father kicks his kid out of the house if his kid hasn't done anything wrong?  Our earthly life is God's way of saying, "I'm giving you a chance to screw up.  But if you don't screw up too bad, I guess you can have your old bedroom back in a few decades."

Unreasonable Expectations
God needs to do an Undercover Boss thing with this planet.  I'm not sure he knows how stuff really works down here.  He expects all of us to, with no memory of him, locate and join his one true church--also having no memory of our directive to locate and join his one true church.  This expectation, is, of course, ridiculous.  Especially considering how statistically paltry the missionary effort is--worse than one missionary per every one hundred twenty thousand people planetwide.

Beyond that, it seems that he expects to reward characteristics in his children that aren't necessarily desirable.  The unflaggingly obedient are ushered to the front of the line while the thinkers and the questioners are marginalized--or cast out if their questions hit a raw nerve.

Those who are too trusting--abandoning other options and backup plans in favor of relying on the Lord--are also rewarded.  While that may pay off big time if the Mormon God is a reality, it's not exactly a trait you'd want to foster in your own children.

The unambitious ones who don't feel the need to try anything other than the culture they were brought up in--the ones who are born in the covenant and quietly go along with everything on up through the mission and the temple marriage and the dozens of callings--are considered to have faithfully endured to the end.  But you'd think a real god would reward the courage it takes to break out of the box and the open-mindedness required to examine other lifestyles and worldviews.

He expects obedience without offering much in the way of affirmation that your obedience is right.  He can give you a feeling, some kind of emotional reaction, but that feeling is unreliable and can come from other sources.

He expects love and devotion without returning the favor in any kind of direct, perceptible way.  We are told that God loves us, and there is plentiful nebulous evidence to support that claim, but there are just as many equally vague arguments that he hates us.

This life may be a test, but the questions are all multiple choice, the choices for each question number in the thousands and the Scan-tron paper only goes up to option F.  If the Mormon God were real, he would have come up with a much more efficient plan, without the unnecessary requirements and the absurd expectations.

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