On the liberal/progressive/dissident blog “By Common Consent,” a feminist author wrote the following comment, which I provide here in context. The main subject of the piece is an attempt to set forth a warped “straw-man” definition of the Latter-day Saint concept of heaven (that all women are tired/exhausted there—she doesn’t know what a resurrected body is), and then shoot it down. Further trouble is found in the parenthetical aside that she throws in: “Sometimes Mormons joke about the reality of what heaven looks like, especially for women. I suspect this is doctrine that the institutional church may be turning away from (like the doctrine of ruling planets that makes us just look really weird to other Christians), . . .” Incidentally, this woman also admits that she is glad she is “moving away from traditional Mormon beliefs.”
So we have a feminist making the doctrinal determination that she thinks The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is turning away from “the doctrine of ruling planets that makes us just look really weird to other Christians.”
This is actually a “really weird” thing for a supposed Latter-day Saint to say. Many of our doctrines make us look really weird to other Christians. After all, they are in a state of apostasy. This feminist author is allegedly a member of the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, a “peculiar [even weird] people.” If we didn’t have doctrines that made us look weird to other Christians, we would therefore be (or be joining) the other Christians—Protestants/Evangelicals/Catholics. Does she not understand this fundamental concept that the Church is founded upon?—restored doctrine and authority that other Christians don’t have. We better be weird to them or we won’t be Restored and right with God.
But let’s set that issue aside and focus on her assertion that she suspects the Church is moving away from “the doctrine of ruling planets.” She provides no reasoning or examples so it is hard to know why, but I am guessing it is because of some poor wording found in the Church’s gospel topic essay “Becoming Like God.” While most of that essay is a very fine explanation of church doctrine, a couple of important paragraphs were weaker than they should have been. I suspect this unfortunate phraseology was in response to some anti-Latter-day Saint ridicule making the rounds in the “Book of Mormon” musical. Whether or no, the essay missed an opportunity to state the true doctrine in clarity and power.
Thankfully, Latter-day Saints have other better sources from which to gain a more perfect understanding of the doctrine of becoming like God and exaltation: the scriptures and the teachings of modern prophets. A few examples should suffice.
I encountered this quotation from Elder Richard G. Scott shortly after reading the above feminist rant: “The Lord’s plan is to exalt you to live with Him and be greatly blessed. The rate at which you qualify is generally set by your capacity to mature, to grow, to love, and to give of yourself. He is preparing you to be a god.” This doesn’t specifically state anything about creating, populating, and governing worlds without number—but what does God do? What is His work and glory? Is it to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of men/women or not? This is not a hard question for educated Latter-day Saints that aren’t moving away from traditional church teachings.
One of the strongest, most on-point scriptures in the standard works is from the book of Revelation, as corrected by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “And to him who overcometh, and keepeth my commandments unto the end, will I give power over many kingdoms [worlds]; And he shall rule them with the word of God; and they shall be in his hands as the vessels of clay in the hands of a potter; and he shall govern them by faith, with equity and justice, even as I received of my Father” (JST Revelation 2:26-27). This passage lays the doctrine out beautifully; therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised to find some feminists rejecting it. If they or anyone else does so, they are also rejecting the plain and harmonizing teachings of our current prophet, President Russell M. Nelson, who taught the following at the recent First Presidency Christmas Devotional: “Eternal life is the kind and quality of life that Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son live. When the Father offers us everlasting life, He is saying in essence, ‘If you choose to follow my Son—if your desire is really to become more like Him—then in time you may live as we live and preside over worlds and kingdoms as we do.’” (See also D&C 88:107.)
If feminists don’t want this kind of heaven, if their misunderstanding of it convinces them that they want something else, they can have it, for the scriptures also say of those who will not believe and obey, that “when they are out of the world they . . . are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those who are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory” (D&C 132:16).
On a side note, on the rare occasions when I read something on the By Common Consent blog, I find the views of most of their posters out of line with correct Church doctrine and policy; in fact, they often seem to be trying to persuade readers away from sound scriptural doctrine and into modern philosophical error. It’s called the philosophies of men, mingled with scripture. On the two or three occasions when I have tried to post a rebuttal comment to some fallacious drivel, they are always deleted. Seems there is a club of progressives there that want to keep patting themselves on the back with no interference from others. I also often notice that other liberal/progressive/dissident media and bloggers will occasionally copy and paste from that blog to their own and call it a news story. Peggy Stack (with the Tribune) and Jana Reiss (a dissident blogger) both do this under the guise of alleged “news.” We may well see some of this lazy “reporting” in their outlets as General Conference approaches.
But this gets us back to the feminist’s objection to being different from other Christians, to being thought of as “weird.” “Life will not be comfortable for true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ,” said President Nelson, . . .“ The day is gone when you can be a quiet and comfortable Christian.” . . . “Are you ready to join the ranks? Or will you be ashamed of the gospel? Will you be ashamed of your Lord and His plan? (see Mormon 8:38). Will you yield to voices of those who would have you join them on the popular side of contemporary history?”