Just to be clear, Mitt Romney is probably 5th or 6th on the list of candidates I would vote for in 2008. I offer him this advice only because I wish and hope people would realize the beauty of the restored gospel. Sure, all the mis-understood weird stuff is what the media are really going to throw at him. But as the race heats up, I offer our doctrine of the after-life as the most important doctrine Mitt Romney can share with the country.
My wife grew up in a predominantly baptist part of the country. She was told she was going to hell on a regular basis. I’d heard this before myself but am still shocked every time I hear it. They’re not saying simply, “you are not christians” or “we don’t agree with you”. No, instead its, “you’re going to burn for eternity regardless of what you did in your life because you claim mormonism”. What an insane doctrine!
As I thought about the major Abrahamic religions, the teachings about the after-life don’t vary much from the baptists. Its always the same heaven and hell and no chance for redemption after this life. How crazy is a religion that teaches that if you never had a chance to know Christ (or God), you are justly going to hell? How ludicrous is a religion that teaches that the non-christians who lived good lives are going to exist in the same place as the rapists and murderers? We teach that there are certain requirement to exist and dwell in the presence of God. But if you are not baptized you are still fairly placed according to the life you lived. Individuals who reject baptism but still live Christ-like lives = not going to hell.
Not only will we be judged based what we did with the information we had, some of us will even have a chance to catch up in the spirit world. Some christians throw the word grace around like they own it. The fact is, we ARE saved by grace in the end. The difference though between our idea of grace is that we believe that Christ’s mercy and grace applies to all of the human family. Other christians teach that grace is reserved for the so-called “saved”. Its because of grace that baptisms for the dead exist. Its because of grace that children aren’t damned to hell without baptism. No wonder the atheists are driven crazy by the christians. They drive me crazy too! The fact is, when you throw “works” into the salvation equation God’s mercy becomes even greater because it leaves room for those who never “got saved” but still lived good lives. Thank God for mercy and grace!
I wonder why this is not a well known mormon doctrine. If the general public really understood these teachings, it would certainly make every other religion look a lot crazier. It would also compel people to look at their own beliefs and questions them. For Mitt, it would certainly touch a chord with conservative atheists and people in general who are tired of the good/evil nonsense that the evangelicals throw out there. It would help people see the church in a more favorable light and though it might be sad for those of us who oppose Mitt, the fact remains, what is good for mormonism is good for Mitt.