Mormonism and Christianity advocate two deeply contrasting and conflicting worldviews. As Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw correctly states, "At the heart of our continuing disagreements, I am convinced, are the very basic worldview issues." Dr. Stephen Robinson makes the same general point: "The real sticking point is not what the LDS think about Christ and his gospel, but rather the different ontological frame or view of the nature of the universe into which the Mormons fit the gospel." James Sire, in The Universe Next Door, defines a worldview as "a set of presuppositions which we hold about the basic make-up of our world." A worldview is a view of total reality that is developed by the use of words and concepts in order to create a coherent frame of reference for all beliefs, thoughts, and actions.
Essentially, a worldview is our answer to the ultimate questions of life: What is primary reality, the really real? What is the nature of external reality, the world around us? What is a human being? What happens to a person at death? Why is it possible to know anything at all? How do we know what is right and wrong? What is the meaning of human history?
It is no accident that the official LDS Web site declares that Mormonism, as the real restored truth, provides answers to life and worldview questions such as these: What's the purpose of my life? Where did I come from? Did I exist before this life? Could a young farm boy really have seen God? Is motherhood part of God's plan? Will I be with my family after death? Mormonism is much more than just another religion; it is a full-fledged worldview. As the official Web site reveals, Mormons teach a totally different perception concerning the nature of God, the pre-creation universe of eternal realities, the origins of our world, the nature of humanity, and the eternal potential of humans to become gods. In fact, the worldview constructed and promoted by Mormonism mirrors several aspects of ancient paganism, Egyptian and Greek mythology, Hinduism, and New Age, and is foreign and destructive to a biblical Judeo-Christian worldview. As Dr. Jim Adams writes:
In some significant ways the traditional LDS positions hark back to the pagan views of ancient Israel's Near Eastern neighbors- views that the Old Testament patriarchs, prophets, and psalmists intentionally rejected in light of the revelation they received from the one true and living God.
The primordial worldview-the original pre-creation order of the universe-of Mormonism is complex and difficult for Christians to understand because it teaches that before creation God lived in a multifaceted universe of coeternal realities composed of eternal laws, intelligences or minds, spirits, and physical matter. In Mormonism, all existence finds its origin in the primordial realm. Mormonism teaches that God eternally existed within an uncreated environment of numerous elements of a preexisting universe.
Eternal Laws and Principles
According to Mormonism-in sharp contrast to the Christian view that God is absolutely and totally above all things- everything in the universe is ultimately governed by eternal transcendent laws and principles. In accordance with this perspective, God himself is also governed by law. In fact, the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all progressed into godhood by obeying eternal laws. As a result, since God must work only through natural law to accomplish his purposes, he cannot act from outside or above the realm of nature.
Eternal Intelligences and Spirits
Other uncreated primordial elements existing in the universe for Mormons are eternal divine intelligences. Mormonism teaches that the intelligence-the irreducible mind-part of humans- is eternal, as affirmed by the Doctrine and Covenants:
Man was in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. All truth (intelligence) is independent in that sphere in which God has placed it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there is no existence. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.
Joseph Smith elaborates in his famous King Follett sermon:
The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself. The intelligence of spirits had no beginning; neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven. . . . God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself. Intelligence is eternal and exists upon a self-existent principle.
These eternal minds or intelligences are identified by Mormons as the primal component of every human, angel, or god. Mormonism teaches that the eternal mind or intelligent component of every human has the natural capability and potential to grow in knowledge and power until he or she progresses into the glorified state of godhood. For Mormons, this means that humans have the potential to become fully equal with God. According to Mormonism, because the human spirit proceeds from the existence of these eternal minds or intelligences, the human spirit is not literally created by God. Every human spirit once existed as a divine intelligence before becoming a spirit-offspring of heavenly Father God and his wife. The human mind or spirit has no beginning and will have no end.
Another rather surprising teaching of Mormonism is the belief that all physical matter is also eternal, and that it is simply a variation and a denser form of eternal spirit. Joseph Smith declared that God revealed to him that all spirit is actually matter. According to Smith's revelation in Doctrine and Covenants 131:7-8:
There is no such thing as immaterial matter. All spirit is matter, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes. We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.
Mormonism actually emphasizes that the existence of eternal matter is being proved by modern physics.