Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Our Dysfunctional Father and the War in Heaven

As a disaffected Mormon, I've had to completely re-examine everything I was taught as a child.  Allowing for the possibility that the church may not be true has given me a completely different perspective, and many "truths" and teachings that I took for granted don't seem to make much sense anymore.

One thing that doesn't make sense to me is the "war in heaven" that is said to have taken place in our pre-mortal existence.  In a nutshell, we believe that our heavenly parents created us a spirits, and that we all lived together in "heaven."  However, our father had a plan for us to become like him, and part of that plan involved coming to earth to gain a body.

Apparently, to some extent, the rest of the details of the plan were open for debate. states:

The war was primarily over how and in what manner the plan of salvation would be administered to the forthcoming human family upon the earth. The issues involved such things as agency, how to gain salvation, and who should be the Redeemer.

Proposals were made.  Lucifer put forth one plan, and Jesus put forth another.  It is unclear if there were other proposals.  Jesus' proposal required us to use our agency to choose the right path, which gave us freedom to act on our own, at the cost of the possibility of losing our salvation if we didn't choose wisely.  Satan's plan would have ensured the salvation of all, at the cost of  our agency.  In the end God chose Jesus' plan, and cast out Lucifer and all those who chose his plan.

A few things about this narrative don't make sense to me.

First of all, why do we describe this event as a "war"?  At most it was a war of words.  A "debate" would be a more accurate term.  There was obviously no physical fighting; we didn't have bodies, and thus there was no way to die or be injured.

Secondly, God seems overly harsh if this was his way of doing things.  Think about it.  So he lets his children decide how the plan of salvation would work, or at least he tells them they get to decide.  Did they really have any say?  Or was it all just a show, but God had his mind made up all along?   If so, why was he allowing various proposals to be heard?  And why was the punishment so harsh if you chose the wrong proposal?

Both proposals had merits.  Lucifer's plan certainly has its perks-  EVERYONE gets salvation!  I can see how this seems attractive.  I don't understand how a world without agency would actually function- how would Lucifer or God "force" everyone to do the right thing all the time?  Nevertheless, I like the end result.  It is the safe plan, the "lets include everybody" plan.  It would be the Democratic Party plan if American political parties were involved.    Perhaps this is why so many Mormons associate Democrats with the powers of evil.


Allow me to step aside for a moment and describe one aspect of Mormonism that has always been comforting to me.  I am comforted by the version of Heavenly Father that we teach in primary.  It is the version that describes Him as a loving father who watches over his children carefully and lovingly, just as any earthly father would to his own children.  It describes a father who forgives his children for the mistakes they will inevitably make.  It describes a father who picks up his children after they have made mistakes, and helps them learn from them.

Apparently this was not the heavenly father who was present during the war in heaven.  There was a different father there that day, probably the same one who sent bears to kill 42 children who made fun of a Elisha for being bald.  Probably the same father who killed a man who reached up and touched the ark because he thought it was going to fall off some oxen.

This was the father who came to each of us in the pre-mortal existence and said "There are two plans before you.   You are free to choose whichever one you think best.  But you better pick the one I want you to pick because if you don't, it will be the last mistake you ever make!!  Literally!  Because I'm throwing you out of the house and you won't ever get a body or have any chance at eternal progression if you choose the wrong plan!  What's it going to be?

And he did just that to 1/3 of his children.  They are lost forever.  No chance of salvation.  I wonder if He let the 1/3 skulk around long enough to hear his peptalk to the righteous 2/3:

"Alright guys, you chose the right plan!  Now you get to go to earth.  You are going to make mistakes, I know you will, but I love you so I have arranged it so you can repent.  This is a learning process, so learn from your mistakes okay?   You guys are my spirit babies and I love you.  You are just in your spirit infancy, so I know you will all stray from the path at times.  Remember me and we'll work it all out and get you through whatever trials may come.  "  Looks over shoulder at the 1/3-- "What are you still doing here?!?  You made a MISTAKE and that is not acceptable!  The plan you chose would have given Lucifer glory, therefore I've officially disowned you!  Get out of heaven!!!

We teach that the work and glory of God is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of his children.  How odd that he would so easily pull the plug on the salvation of 1/3 of those children because of a single decision.