Some Recent Thoughts about Mormonism
Posted by nebula0 on October 28, 2009
Well folks, in case you haven’t guessed I haven’t thought a whole lot about Mormonism for a while now. It has been over 2 years since I have been to a Mormon church, and I nearly thought we’d fall off the radar when we moved (someone, however, tattled us out). Nonetheless, as I have been reviewing some of my comparative religion literature along with Christian history I thought about Mormonism vis-a-vis other religious traditions and I came to realize a couple of things through comparison.
In Hinduism there are 4 main yogas, or paths, by which one can become enlightened. The most popular path is called bhakti yoga, the way of love or adoration of God. By many Hindus, Christianity is regarded as an exemplar of this way. Through total love of God adherents are able to turn from ego and progress spiritually. Likewise, one way to approach God is Sufism is through a similar all out adoration of God. Out of this tradition love poetry has been created. I probably needn’t tell you about the emphasis on love and personal relationship with Christ (whom the Hindus would regard as an avatar of God) in Christianity, and how establishing the relationship is the way to salvation in evangelical thought.
How does this compare with Mormonism? Mormonism doesn’t include a concept of the truly infinite, and therefore doesn’t include a notion of utter dependence. It is the latter, I argue, which inspires the way of devotion which I describe above. The idea that it is God who is the source of existence itself creates a relationship to God in which the finite worshipper finds himself swallowed up into God as the essence of Being itself. In Mormonism, every individual is immortal, apart from God, at the core of his being. God, in Mormonism, is to be loved, of course, but it does not inspire the sort of total love devotion that religions of the infinite God can command. Whether this is good or bad is not the point of my argument at all, that is for you to decide. What Mormonism has instead is a religion of covenant. God is a sort of way shower, to show the individual how to succeed, helping him to do so at every step as humans need help and guidance. In Mormonism, God is a literal and figurative Father figure, and the love and devotion shown by God most approximates the love and guidance shown by good human fathers than any other religion I am aware of. As good human fathers, Heavenly Father is patient, knowing that we are but little children, and sacrificing.
I believe that this distinction can explain much about the differences between Mormonism and many other world religions, particularly orthodox Christianity.