I have been thinking about this subject lately, and wanted to express my feelings about it. I think so many times in the Christian world, people are measured by their beliefs. A person's "worthiness" is dependent upon the doctrine they believe. For example, my husband's coworker told my husband, "You are going to hell", because my husband believes in the principle of repentance. This man believes all Mormons are going to hell because our beliefs differ from his. In reality, how does God view Latter-day Saints? How does God view everyone?
I want to tell you about this man that told my husband he is going to hell. He is really a great man. He has, I think 5 children, that are homeschooled. His children are a legacy to his greatness as a father. They are wonderful children, very sweet and kind. This man is kind to others and often offers to pray for those who are ill or struggling. He is a good man. I'm sure in his way, he feels that by making statements such as he did, he is warning my husband of some future punishment.
In our religion, we do believe that we have the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. We believe that all of the ordinances, including temple ordinances, and gospel truths that were lost to apostasy in ancient times have been restored today. We do believe we have the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our church today. But does that make us more worthy? I wish it were that simple. I often tell people that it is just as difficult for us to live our religion as it would be for anyone else. Some members live it, others struggle with certain aspects. Clearly, being a baptized member of this church does not guarantee exaltation in the kingdom of God. It is only through faithfulness and repentance (both of which are made possible by the atonement of Jesus Christ) that we can be found worthy at the judgement day.
So what about those who are not Mormon? I look at our sojourn in life as sort of a gathering time, and a proving time. We are here to gather knowledge and experience, and we are here to prove if we will live up to what we know to be true. People in all ages of time have been exposed to truth, and have lived the best they could. Some were baptized members of our church, but many, many who were worthy people were not. There are many people in the world who are not members of my church who have lived a much worthier life than I have. I might serve in my small way, but I will never match the charity and goodness of Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was Catholic, and acted and lived according to the light and knowledge she posessed. If she were given more knowledge by God, I am sure that she would have lived accordingly, because that was her nature. But her entire life was given in service to God and others. What greater life could a person live? Her reward in heaven will be great, I'm sure. She knows the Master's voice, and will always follow.
One of our beliefs is that God will judge us according to what we have done in this life. We will then be given the opportunity to learn more. Through God's great plan, sacred ordinances can be performed in the temple for those who did not have the opportunity to receive them. The great, great grandfather from Europe who was a good, godly man, will be able to receive baptism through the efforts of his children if they perform that ordinance in sacred temples. All blessings will be made available to the faithful. But baptism in any church does not guarantee faithfulness.
So many religions look at religion as being between "us and them". But in reality, we are all on the same path, we should be lifting each other up, not tearing each other down. Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley said, “Let me say that we appreciate the truth in all churches and the good which they do. We say to the people, in effect, you bring with you all the good that you have, and then let us see if we can add to it. That is the spirit of this work. That is the essence of our missionary service.” (Meeting, Nairobi, Kenya, 17 February 1998)
How do I feel about members of other religions? I believe that we are all spirit children of God. Literal spirit children of God. That makes us all spirit brothers and sisters. In the pre-existence there was a war in heaven, and Lucifer and his followers were cast out. The rest of us came to this earth to experience mortality. I have been thinking lately that it is a blessing to have no memory of the pre-existence because I surely would mourn for those who were lost to Lucifer's cunning persuasion. So too, I want to help all of my spirit brothers and sisters in mortality to succeed in this test of life. I'm sure I will mourn over those that are "lost" to the wiles of the adversary. I want to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to all so that they will enter this path of knowledge and light. Many are on the right path, many need more knowledge. Some, I'm sure, were more valiant than I was before this earth life. Some are more valiant than I am in this life. But I do believe that this is the restored gospel, so I will continue to try to teach others some of the knowledge that I have gained.