I’m hoping you will be able to help me. I was brought up in the Mormon Church and have always believed in God. I still go to church occasionally but feel that I’m only going because I’m so afraid of the possibility of going to hell! I know that if you accept Jesus into your life then you are heaven bound and I have done this myself – but I just can’t stop thinking about all those people who are dying and going to hell every single day… I just can’t understand why God (as he can see into the future and knows everything that’s going to happen), created mankind, hell, etc… if he knew that the vast majority of people were going to end up in pain and torment for all eternity! If He’s so caring then why did He do it? He tells us to worship him or we’ll end up there… I’m a mother of a 14 month old boy, and I love him unconditionally (like God apparently loves us)… if he turned his back on me and decided he didn’t want to know, I would still NEVER turn my back on him – or allow him to be sent to such an awful place!! But yet the Bible says that God loves us like a father loves his children?! He’s got a funny way of showing it! I hope you will be able to answer, as no other Christians have been able to answer my question! I want to take my son to church, but I don’t want him feeling forced to worship a God who is just scary and controls you by fear? Please help…. Sarah, from the United Kingdom
We seem to have several problems here. I hope that we can help you straighten them out a bit. You seem to have the impression that if you accept Jesus in your life you go to heaven and that if you don’t you go to hell. Then you say that you can’t understand why God could be so cruel. Perhaps if you accepted the concept that God is not cruel, but is the epitome of loving kindness, you might be able to adjust your notion of heaven and hell to fit with the true character of God. Here’s a brief summary about the true story of heaven and hell. In the afterlife mankind will be relegated to one of three kingdoms of glory (celestial, terrestrial and telestial) or to a kingdom of darkness (with no glory). So, we have four general compartments rather just than two. Now, who goes to each of these compartments? First, the celestial kingdom– The celestial kingdom is reserved for those who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, obey all of His commandments and overcome the wickedness of the world. The terrestrial kingdom is reserved for all those who are the good people of the earth, but who do not accept the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior. The telestial kingdom is reserved for all the wicked people of the world. Included in this group according to the scriptures are liars, sorcerers, adulterers, whoremongers and whosoever loves and makes a lie. Those who live worthy of exaltation in the celestial kingdom will come forth in the MORNING of the first resurrection and—
they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever (D&C 132:19)
They shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers and all heights and depths…. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them. (D&C 132:20).
Others who inherit the celestial kingdom may not be exalted, but will act as servants to the exalted ones. This is the environment in which God and Christ dwell. Paul in Romans puts it this way—
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Rom 8:16-17).
The lowest kingdom of glory is that of the telestial. Those who inherit the telestial kingdom are those wicked people who do not repent, but are required to pay for their own sins as though there had been no Savior. These will not be resurrected until the end of the millennium, after they will have paid the full price for all their sins. During the millennium they will be under the servitude of Satan, who they followed in mortality. But at the end of the millennium they will be resurrected and will inherit and receive the glory of the telestial kingdom, which glory surpasses all understanding!! (D&C 76:89). Can you imagine the kindness, the forgiveness and the inexpressible love of our Heavenly Father for even his wayward children who hate their Father in Heaven, and during their mortal lives have followed the will of Satan rather than the will of God!!! Their final glory shall surpass all understanding!!! Now you say that you have accepted Jesus into your life, but that you only go to church on occasion and that the only reason you go is out of fear of this vengeful God. Such an attitude as that will get you nowhere! If you say that you have accepted Jesus into your life, you would be well advised to really accept Him into your life by keeping His commandments—
If ye love me, keep my commandments John 14:15.
That would surely include constant attendance at church and bringing your little boy up in the bonds of the gospel. It would include being Christ-like in your own life, as expressed in the 13th Article of Faith—
We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul–We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.