Which is better: Gay or Dead?

Horrified but unsurprised by The Gay Dot’s report of an LDS bishop saying suicide is preferable to being gay, I retweeted the link to the post. xJane sparked the following train of thought yesterday:

NotSoPoetic: (link) #mormon bishop says suicide is preferable to being gay http://bit.ly/eMtcvm
xJane: @NotSoPoetic Does suicide send you to hell in Mormonism (as it does in Catholicism)?
NotSoPoetic: @xJane It sends you to the lowest heaven with Hitler and serial killers. Only high-up priesthood holders who defect can go to mormon hell.
xJane: @NotSoPoetic wait, Hitler’s in heaven? I’m SET!
xJane: @NotSoPoetic but still, weighing theological probabilities, wouldn’t it be better just to be gay?
NotSoPoetic: @xJane From mormon perspective, yes, as sexual sin is second to killing. Gay mormons may possibly be able to get into second highest heaven.
xJane: @NotSoPoetic So, he was homophobic and wrong!

And suddenly Twitter is no longer sufficient for the magnitude of this conversation. xJane is correct; this LDS bishop, who abused the trust of a gay Mormon coming out to him by responding that it was “best to follow through the suicide than to give into men,” was wrong. First, because he’s a bigot. Second, because what he’s said is theologically incorrect from an LDS perspective.

Mormons have a much more complicated and forgiving scheme of salvation and damnation than your garden variety Christianity. The traditional view is as follows:

Baptism -> Death -> Go to Heaven

Really that’s supposed to be it. There’s a Heaven and a Hell, and if you become a Christian you get to go to heaven. It’s gotten much more complex over the years, with niggling arguments over who can perform the baptism and how much water to use, and then the Catholics had to go and add bleeding Limbo to the mix. But I think we can agree that the traditional concept of Christian salvation involves acknowledging the sacrifice of Christ through the act of baptism, which then places your name on St. Peter’s VIP list.

Mormons, being the pyramid-scheme loving, wacky new business model enthusiasts that they are, had to go and muck up the works by injecting a fat load of second chances, bootstrapping and free will into the equation:

pre-existence -> earth life -> death -> bonus round -> final judgement -> go to one of three levels of heaven

Mormons teach that prior to this life they voted on participating in God’s plan for humanity, choosing to go through with an earthly life. They were given bodies, sent to earth and view this life as a trial. Jesus dying for all mankind gets nearly everybody out of Hell. In fact, the only way to get into Mormon Hell is through deliberate rejection of entering any kind of heaven. Only “Sons of Perdition” or priesthood-holding men in leadership positions allowing them a “sure knowledge” of God and His PlanTM can be damned to join Lucifer and his rebellious angels in Hell. In a way this really marginalises the function of Jesus in humanity’s salvation. Even serial killers get to go to some kind of Heaven. Your religious affiliation plays no part in your pretty much guaranteed pass out of Hell.

Mormons believe that after we all die we go to a holding tank until the Final Judgement Day that accompanies Christ’s Second Coming. Good Mormons go to Paradise, where they are called upon to minister to those who chose not to become Mormons or didn’t have the chance to hear about Mormonism. Back on earth, the living perform the necessary rituals for dead people so that they can become Mormons posthumously and have a shot at one of the higher kingdoms of heaven.

After the Final Judgement, Human beings, based on their Mormonliness, are sorted into three kingdoms not unlike the various houses at Hogwarts. Everyone is guaranteed to at least find a home in the Telestial Kingdom, the Slytherin of the Mormon afterlife. Suicides, murderers, and the scum of all mankind will be found in this kingdom. And apparently it’s not too bad! Wilford Woodruff (allegedly) once said that if human beings knew how lovely it was in this lowliest of heavens, they’d be killing themselves to get there, and the general understanding among Mormons is that Telestial Slytherin House is pretty nice.

In the middle is the Terrestrial Kingdom for spiritual Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, where decent non-Mormon people and backslidden Mormons will go. These are folks who never became Mormon or didn’t accept posthumous Mormonisation.

The Gryffindor of the afterlife is the Celestial Kingdom, which is for good Mormons. The top tier of Celestial glory is reserved for Mormons who are heterosexually married in the temple. (You can see how this makes being gay a problem.) For years it was also taught that a man needed at least three wives to achieve this highest level of glory, something that Fundamentalist Mormons and traditionalist LDS still believe in. Good Mormons who have done everything right, received their temple ordinances, but never got married, will serve as “ministering angels,” a bit like personal assistants to the glorified married folks birthing new spirit babies and creating new worlds to set up yet another deified Ponzi scheme.

These ministering angels in the Celestial Kingdom should, doctrinally speaking, include gay Mormons who remained faithful to their covenants. Gay Mormons who killed themselves, regardless of other issues of worthiness, would end up in the Telestial Kingdom. It’s hard to say where a sexually active gay Mormon would end up. I want to say that if the person had ethical sexual relationships, they’d likely end up in the Terrestrial Kingdom. So if the Mormons are right, repression or living a gay lifestyle seems like it leads to a better situation than suicide.

So not only was that worthless git of a bishop abusing his parishioner by telling him suicide was better than being gay, he was wrong according to his own doctrine.

And, since I believe Mormon teachings are a load of rubbish, I’ll add that he was just plain wrong.

11 thoughts on “Which is better: Gay or Dead?

  1. I find it interesting that for all of Mormonism’s quirks, it’s one of the more humane posthumous belief systems. For Christians, if you don’t accept Jesus, you go to hell. That includes good Mormons, good Buddhists, good atheists, and even good Christians who don’t specify a particular theological belief (preferably in mantra form). And hell isn’t Slytherin: it’s teeth gnashy and sucks big furry balls. Most Christians I know are uncomfortable with questions like “do all people who have never heard of Jesus go to hell? Do unborn babies go to hell?” Often Christians respond with a cop-out like “God may have a plan for them, God is mysterious, I don’t know God’s plan for them, look over there – a three-headed monkey!”

    I saw a stand-up comic once who described it like this. Two Christian missionaries came to his house.

    Them: “Have you heard about Jesus?”
    Him: “No.”
    Them: “Well, you have to believe in Jesus. If you don’t, you’ll go to hell!”
    Him: “But what about all the people who have not heard about Jesus?”
    Them: “Well, they’ll go to heaven, since they didn’t hear about him. But now *you’ve* heard.”
    Him: “So why did you tell me?!”

  2. gah, that’s better than some Christians I know (nod, whatshisface from…cameron kirk!)

    he, and many others like him, believe that their mission on this earth is to let everyone know about christ because if they don’t, they’re going to hell. it’s not just a matter of accepting him, it’s a matter of dying without even knowing about him.

    fun, huh? SIGN. ME. UP.

  3. *they’re as in, people who don’t know about christ are going to hell. so they need to let them know so they can accept him and yay!

    as for this bishop, there are no words. no clean, nice ones at least. i’d like to see a bit of GA type public censure of him at the VERY least. but i know even that’s asking for far too much.

    because, really, he’s hardly the only one. even these days.

  4. So glad I could spark such a post! As much as I think religions are pretty much bullshit, they do generally have internal logic. And since they’re not going to listen to my atheist logic, it helps me to understand their position by understanding their logic. At least, that’s how I treated it growing up before I knew I was an a-word. It is therefore incredibly enlightening to me to see this all laid out: gay people (in LDS belief) may reach first heaven if they heterosexually marry, second if they either give into sin or repress themselves, or third if they kill themselves.

    I guess it’s nice to know that fundies’ external logical inconsistencies are matched by their internal logical inconsistencies.

  5. Wow… I was raised mormon and all the heaven stuff made sense to me at the time. Now it just looks like Heaven is more of an eternal mound of paperwork. The Church TM is a bureaucracy for time and all eternity, that’s for sure.
    Also, I had a seminary teacher theorize that the top level of the celestial kingdom is married people, while the other two are equal to one another but designated one for men and one for women. Essentially, when you’re not doing godly paperwork, you’re stuck in an eternal singles ward. Cue the nightmares.

    As for the asshat bishop, I hope the person he talked to gave him his comeuppance or that someone else will. Still, I guess there is a silver lining: his blatantly hateful, unmerciful comment might help some “why-do-you-guys-care-so-much”-head-in-the-sand mormons to turn their eyes toward the daylight for a minute. Here’s hoping. (And here’s more hoping the poor soul he said that to ignored him).
    Neanderthal

  6. Why are Mormons so convinced that God actually wants a bunch of robotic sycophants around for eternity?

    The bishop incident merely illustrates that when a religion places more emphasis on dogma than people, they’ve lost the message. Mormonism lost that message a very long time ago, which is the primary reason I reject it.

    Assuming Jesus existed, His message was crystal clear–don’t be an ass. I mean, “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” It’s a shame that any religion piles so much bullshit on top of this that they can’t see it anymore.

  7. Pingback: Sunday in Outer Blogness: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like the “War on Christmas” Edition! | Main Street Plaza

  8. Good news! The Roman Catholic Church has abandoned the idea of limbo.

    Strange that what for hundreds of years had been assured salvation, if just short of bliss, for the unbaptized is now nonsense but thus spaketh the current Pope.

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