Fran—I hear you’re a Mormon?
Me—Oh… Who told you that?
6—About being a gay Mormon Fundamentalist
1—That was not what I expected for New Year’s drinks. But it turned out to be a good conversation. As soon as I left I recorded a Voice Memo to write a pseudo-transcript.
Fran—I’m sorry, is that too personal?
Me—No, it’s fine! I didn’t expect it, that’s all. But yes—I am. People often have a preconceived idea of Mormons. I’m proud of my religion. It’s only the labels people often attach to it I’m not too crazy about.
Fran—Well, actually, I don’t know much. How are Mormons different?
Me—That’s a big question… I’ll say that most Mormons consider themselves Christians. But the first difference is that we believe in additional Scriptures and additional revelations from God. So, we don’t only use the Bible. Christians maintain that the Bible is the one book of God. But it’s a collection of books—some existed long before Christ and some were written long after his death. And we have other books we also consider sacred. ¹
I don’t see the Mormon concept of God as anthropomorphic—it’s the opposite: the Mormon concept of mankind is theomorphic.
Fran—What are those other sacred books Mormons believe in?
Me—Like the Bible is a collection of books, the Book of Mormon—where we got our name from—is a collection of ancient writings found deep in the ground in the 1820s in update New York. The man who allegedly found them claimed he translated them into English through the inspiration of God. ²
Did that man—our founder—make it all up or did it happen? ³ Since no one saw the original texts, it comes down to faith—as with all other religions, I suppose. Mormons believe God inspired that man to translate and gave him modern-day revelations too. So that’s one big difference!
Fran—But do you believe in the same God as Catholics do?
Me—We believe in the God of the Bible, the Father of Jesus Christ. The difference is that we believe God is one person and Jesus another. We believe the Holy Ghost is a distinct person too. For us there are three separate beings that are one in purpose. If we accept the God of the Bible exists—I think that when we put aside the teachings of all the churches and focus on the Bible—it becomes apparent that Jesus and his Father were separate beings with separate minds. Do you remember the words of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane?
Fran—When he said, “Not my will but your will”?
A—Yes! To me, that’s the most obvious proof that they’re not the same being. But they are one—like a CEO made up of top employees.
Fran—But isn’t God infinite?
Me—The Godhead has three finite beings holding an office that is infinite. We do have the same God and the same Saviour as other Christians. But we have a different understanding—or interpretation—of their identity.
We all believe Jesus is resurrected and went back to his Father. So where is that? To me, like the light fills the Earth, God fills the Universe, but He’s in one specific location like the Sun is in the centre of our Solar System.
Jesus is incarnated/resurrected. We also believe God the Father has a body too.
Fran—But isn’t God ‘Spirit’?
Me—He is. And we worship Him in spirit. I am physical, but I am more than just that. God is spirit but He’s more than that. I know this goes against all our western traditions but if God is at one location, and of we are in His image, God must have a body.
Fran—You believe God has a human body?
Me— I do. Like Christ does.
Fran—Isn’t that such an anthropomorphic view of God wishful thinking?
Me—Maybe entertaining any sorts of religious belief is wishful thinking. But do you remember how in the Old Testament God speaks face to face with Moses (who saw Him)? How God walked in the Garden? How Jesus went back to his Father after the resurrection to sit at His right hand?
Fran—Aren’t those parts of the Bible just meant to be poetic?
Me—Some parts, I agree: being under God’s wings and in His hands, for example. But it’s not always a figure of speech, I don’t think. And the part that states that we were created in God’s image is not a figure of speech to me. We are in God’s image—physical as well as spiritual. So, I don’t see the Mormon concept of God as anthropomorphic—it’s the opposite: the Mormon concept of mankind is theomorphic.
Fran—So, are Mormons Creationists?
Me—No, we’re not. Not like Evangelical Christians. And that’s the third—and last—big difference with other Christians. We additional Scriptures and revelations, our concept of God is different and we believe in ‘eternal progression’: It’s something mainstream Mormons don’t refer to as much, because the focus is now on following Christ and his teachings—which is essential—but there used to be more emphasis on the fact that God became God, that He qualified to Godhood. Before that, he was a man.
It horrifies Christians. But I think it’s a beautiful concept. We share God’s nature. It gives such a deeper meaning to the notion that we are His children. Of course God is all-knowing and all-powerful. He’s so much more advanced than we are.
There are no ‘miracles’—the ‘supernatural’ is the natural that we have not mastered or do not understand, but God has and does.
And if God qualified, so can we. There used to be a famous Mormon couplet: “As Man is, God once was. As God is, Man may become.” We will never catch up with Him and He will always be our God. But we can achieve Godhood ourselves by following the right steps.
If God was once a man, that means that matter and energy were there before He became God. So we do reject the idea of Creation out of nothing. We believe matter is eternal. The spirit is refined matter but matter nonetheless. So this is not Creationism. We do believe in some evolution.
Fran—I believe in Science!
Me—Oh, I do too. I believe we are quite in line with Science. God just knows and masters the laws of Science and of the Universe. There are no ‘miracles’—the ‘supernatural’ is the natural that we have not mastered or do not understand, but God has and does.
Fran—Don’t you think men invented God to explain things they didn’t understand?
Me—It is a possibility. Maybe there is nothing after this life. But I believe our spirits exist. And it is a fact that energy never disappears. I believe we all progress or regress. It is a fact that nothing remains the same. And I think there comes a point when our spirits reach a level that is Godhood. I don’t see that as weird or unscientific.
Fran—Well, that’s really refreshing to hear your take on all that. It’s quite different from what I’ve ever heard.
Me—Again, mainstream Mormons wouldn’t delve on that. They focus more on being good Christians. Something I could probably try and be!
Fran—Well, I suppose my next question is—if you don’t mind talking about this—How do you reconcile your faith to your sexual orientation?
To be Continued!