Why am I here?
I sent you to Earth from my presence.
Why did you send me to Earth? Why couldn't I stay with you?
You had to gain a mortal body otherwise you'd never receive your fullness of joy.
So why didn't you just give me a body and let that be the end of it?
You needed to prove yourself in your second estate so that you can be found worthy to enter the Celestial Kingdom.
So I have to prove myself worthy of the simple privilege of residing with the father of my spirit?
But if it were up to Lucifer, you wouldn't be able to return and live with me forever. You should focus all of your fear, anxiety, paranoia and latent aggression on him instead.
Why? What did Lucifer want?
He wanted to force everyone to be obedient during their mortal lives.
What's so bad about that?
Because then you wouldn't be able to prove your worthiness.
I think I'd be totally fine with sacrificing seventy years or so of zero free will if it meant I was assured an eternity of happiness.
But you need to prove yourself. That's why I made sure you have no memory of your pre-mortal life--so you could make your own decisions and demonstrate your worthiness.
But what if I can't? Why design a test in which your students don't know they're being graded? That seems like a terrible way to generate positive results.
That's why I sent my son to die for your sins. You're not going to be perfect, but if you take advantage of the atonement, you can satisfy the demands of justice and be judged with greater mercy.
So now, since your students are going to slack off because they are unaware that they're being administered an impossible test, you've introduced a way for some of them to cheat their way to a passing grade? How do you pick which ones get to use the cheat?
Anyone can utilize the atonement.
But to utilize it, you have to know about it, right?
Of course. You can't just get by on good works and dumb luck.
I don't think very many people know about it.
Everyone in my church knows about it.
So that means that anyone born to members of your church has kind of an unfair advantage, doesn't it? I mean, they know how to cheat the system almost from birth. What about the rest of us? Why weren't we all born into an environment that taught us about the atonement?
That's why I have a missionary force of more than sixty thousand working tirelessly to share my gospel with the world.
You can't possibly expect sixty thousand missionaries to convince six billion people worshiping a bunch of other, sometimes similar gods to drop everything, join your church and take advantage of your master plan. What about the billions of people who fall through the cracks?
That's why my church performs baptisms for the dead in the temples. Anyone can have their baptism performed for them and all they need to do in the post-mortal life is accept the ordinance.
What if they don't accept the ordinance?
Then they will go to a lesser degree of eternal glory than those who do.
What if someone who was a really good person and spent a lifetime working tirelessly to improve the living conditions and the happiness of everyone in the world around him doesn't accept the ordinance?
Then he will go to a lesser degree of eternal glory than those who did.
What about all the people who didn't have temple work done for them?
Everyone will have temple work done for them. That is why I stress the importance of genealogical work among my followers.
But what about the people for whom there is no genealogical record?
That will all be sorted out in the Millennium, when the righteous will, through inspiration, complete the ordinance work for everyone who still needs it.
So let me get this straight--I'm here on earth because I need to prove myself worthy to be in your presence, and I just have to accept that simply because you said so, with no corroboration. And even though you love me unconditionally as your spirit offspring, you wiped my memory so that I would have no knowledge of being tested unless I was born in a Mormon family, which allows me to make my own choices. The choices I make determine my worthiness for exaltation, but it's impossible to make all the right choices. If I'm born Mormon or am lucky enough to believe a couple of twenty-year-old preachers who might knock on my door, then I'll be able to take advantage of a cheat code you've provided, which, if used properly and repeatedly, can allow me to pass the test even though I'm going to have a whole bunch of wrong answers. But if I never learn about the cheat code, then people who have the cheat code can perform the saving ordinances I need on my behalf and I can choose to either accept or reject those ordinances, effectively picking my own degree of glory. And if I lived a long time ago and there's no written record of my ever having existed, then I'll be lumped in at the end of the world when your devotees will spend a thousand years playing catch-up with their temple ordinances. Overall, my chances of reaching the Celestial Kingdom as an average guy are kind of slim. Did I get that all right?
Yes, that's correct.
Remind me again what Lucifer's plan was?
He wanted to institute forced obedience during your mortal life so that all of you could receive exaltation.
And how, exactly, is his plan so much worse than yours?
I...work in mysterious ways.