Sounds like a stupid question coming from an active, practicing Mormon like me. If God isn't a Mormon, then what the heck am I doing here?
But in all seriousness, is God a true-blue Mormon?
Let me first examine my reasons for being Mormon in the first place. Here's a brief summary:
- I was born into the Church.
- Although much about God is still a mystery to me, I have felt His presence in my life and this makes me want to stick around in the Church.
- A lot of things about Mormonism make perfect sense to me. (On the other hand, there are a lot of things about it that make no sense to me.)
- I believe that living the Gospel and following the example of Christ makes me a better person. Without it, I think I would be more selfish and less compassionate.
- I believe that Mormonism is an excellent road-map to lead me to God and Eternal Life. I haven't investigated all of the world's religions, but I've yet to find anything better.
- To be 100% honest, my activity in the Church is partially fear-motivated. If I leave it or start doing things that I've been taught are wrong, I'm afraid of the consequences that may follow -- not so much from the Church, but from God.
- Although I don't proclaim to know, I do believe very strongly.
As religion has evolved and split off into countless denominations, many consider themselves to be non-denominational or even agnostic. I used to kind of scoff at agnosticism. I think I looked at it as a fear of commitment to live by any principles, or a watered-down version of religion. Now, although I haven't abandoned my Mormon denomination for agnosticism, I think I'm starting to understand what motivates people to go that route. I sometimes feel very sad, disillusioned, and confused by Mormonism and religion in general. My eyes have been opened to the realities of hypocrisy, pride, persecution, feelings of superiority, ignorance, judgment, and lack of compassion -- all among the members within my own Church. I am not guiltless of all these ugly traits either and sometimes I feel like I'm losing the war with myself and all the other Mormons who proclaim that God is on their side. Sometimes I wish that I could escape to a sort of "spiritual Woodstock," where everyone respects and validates everyone, everything is good, and love is all you need. No judging, no hypocrisy, where no one is any better than anyone else, and everyone is just getting high on God's love for us all.
Everyone wants to claim God as their own. Whether we're Mormon, Baptist, Catholic, Jew, Hindu, or Muslim, we all believe that God is on our side and that we are doing His will. Could it be that God really is on all our sides, as long as we are doing what is "good" and "praiseworthy?" For the Catholic nun who is visited by The Virgin Mary; for the Buddhist who reaches Nirvana; for the atheist who one day has a spiritual epiphany and becomes a born again Christian; if God is a Mormon, then why doesn't He lead all who He is talking to, to the Mormons? With the Church being worldwide and so many meetinghouses and missionaries spread throughout the globe, the Mormons are only a few steps away for many.
I was recently having an online debate with a Mormon who found it presumptuous of me to say that God had never told Mother Teresa to become a Mormon. How did I know He hadn't? I replied that I was confident in my assumption because I knew that Mother Teresa had never denied God anything that He asked of her. As a young nun, she made a vow to never hold back anything that He required of her. I also believe that she had a closer and more personal relationship to Christ than most of us. Perhaps all of us, for that matter. If God had said to her, "Find the Mormons and become one of them," then I'm confident she would have done so.
So, to answer my own question: is God a Mormon? I don't know. But I do believe that Mormonism is the path that He's directed me to for one reason or another and I don't intend on giving it up. On the other hand, I don't believe that Mormons have a monopoly on real, true, meaningful spiritual experiences. By believing that other religions don't have "the fullness of the Gospel," even if this is true, we tend to make it sound as if non-Mormons are not getting "the full spiritual experience." Some people of other faiths will convert to Mormonism if they feel that it gives them something that their old religion wasn't. That's a reality and it's the main reason why missionaries have success. But others are so strong and satisfied in their respective faiths, who am I to say that they are missing something? None of us will ever have the time to try on the different hats of all the world's religions. We have to remember that when we proclaim our Church to be the only true Church of God, it's based on our individual faith and spiritual experiences -- not because we've been able to eliminate all the others through trial and error.
If God is a Mormon, then perhaps we should follow His example and start validating the spiritual experiences and paths along which He seems to be leading all his non-Mormon children who ask in sincerity -- even if these paths He leads them down are just detours to the ultimate One and Only True Gospel that we believe in; detours that may last a lifetime and look very different from Mormonism, but will lead them home to God in the end. I think that the Mormon religion makes more allowance for this than most others, especially because of the temple ordinances we do by proxy, but many of us seem to have a hard time remembering it.
"For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." (Matthew 7:8)
Not just for the Mormons.