Words to Live and Write by

I am willing to fall Because I have learned how to rise.

I craft Love from heartbreak, Compassion from shame, Grace from disappointment, Courage from failure.

I am among the brave and brokenhearted, and I am rising strong.

(credit to Brene Brown)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

All dogs (and people) go to heaven

 Recently, I shared this video on Facebook. It is a simple explanation of what we - members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (nicknamed "Mormons") - consider to be sacred and holy clothing. Like symbolic robes or garments worn in many other religions, they serve to remind us of our covenants and commitments to God.

Note: the one thing they didn't include that I wish they had is that when we are in the Temple, we wear the Temple Robes OVER other white clothes - women white skirts or dresses and men white shirts, tie, and pants. We don't wear just the robe.

THEN I was asked this great question from an extended family member, born, raised, and proud of being Catholic. The question was: Hearing that the Mormons think they r the only ones to go to heaven is that true??

I tried to give a simple but full answer. It was later requested that I post my answer to my blog for future reference. So, here is my answer to her question - do Mormons believe only they go to heaven?

Not even close to true. But it is a good question, so here's my best attempt at a simple answer.
Our faith actually doesn't believe in hell in the traditional sense. We believe there are three "degrees" of heaven, like the difference between the stars, moon, and sun. Depending on our faithfulness and acceptance of Christ's gospel and atonement (which can also happen after death - everyone gets an equal opportunity to hear and accept or reject Christ's gospel), we will go to one of the three heavens. The highest degree of heaven is where Heavenly Father and Christ live - so that is our ultimate goal. But no matter what we do in this life or the next, we all get to go to a heaven that is better and more beautiful than the world we live in now.

It is true that we believe the "keys" we need to enter the highest degree of heaven are given in our temples, and we keep them sacred (not secret - we want everyone to have a chance to receive them, which is why we send out so many missionaries to share our faith). 

Because our temples are literally houses of God, we believe we can only enter when we are our best selves (not perfect), doing our best to keep God's commandments, and, yes, active and believing in the LDS faith. There would be no point in entering an LDS temple unless you believed in its purpose
, which is to give us those keys to heaven, and seal the bonds of family - husband, wife, parent, child - together eternally. No 'til death do us part - the promise is forever
Finally, because God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful, he allows every single person the opportunity to gain these keys and eternal family. That is why we perform the ordinances like baptism by proxy (in physical place for someone who's passed on) in the temples for ancestors and others who have lived and died before us. They do not have to accept these ordinances, God will never force anyone to do it, but we do our best to ensure everyone gets the chance to make their own choice.

Don't ever be afraid to ask me about my faith. I am so happy to answer questions, and I always try to do it respectfully and simply. And I will never put any pressure on you to change your own religious beliefs and practices. I just think it's always best when we know the truths about each other. 

Leave your thoughts and comments please!