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Stockholm Syndrome with God

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/18/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 647 times Debate No: 93861
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The original question: "Is religious fanaticism actually Stockholm Syndrome with God as our captor?"

My answer: No.

No, he is just as mad, upset and heartbroken about hard and tragic events as we are. He "cries with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right." (Elder Gary E. Stevenson). He is the literal father of our spirits, and loves us beyond our comprehension. He allows things to happen out of necessity, we were given our free agency when we came to this earth. Free agency is the ability to choose right and wrong. This sacred right was given to us so that this life could be a test. If we didn't have the ability to choose, it wouldn't be a test, we would've been forced into submission in some way or another. We all can choose to follow Satan or Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father never inspires hate or crusades, God is love. Satan inspires hate and prejudice. We are free to hurt others or to live peaceably with each other. Even when things are done in the name of God, they still are not inspired by God, hate comes from men and Satan. In the end, all those who choose hatred will CHOOSE to follow Satan and his angels to hell. No one goes to hell by accident. We are all educated either in this life or the next about Jesus Christ, and we are allowed to accept His grace to live with him and our loved ones eternally. We are more often punished BY our sins, not FOR them. When Heavenly Father causes bad things to happen to us, He does so with our eternal salvation in mind. Sometimes he chastens people to remember him so when real trouble comes they will turn to him in prayer for protection. Trials cause us to gain strength and draw closer to Him. He never ever ever does anything out of hate, that is why people who know Christ never ever experience Stockholm Syndrome.



First, I'd like to thank my opponent for this opportunity. It has been at least two years since I last visited This is especially true for the original question that I posted.

"Is religious fanaticism actually Stockholm Syndrome with God as our captor?"

Two years later, I still find myself fascinated with the nature of God and the psychology of Religion.

Defining God

Based on Con's argument, we will assume a Christian God for the purposes of this debate.

The most general and widely accepted definition consists of the three Omnis.

Some definitions include Omnibenevolence, but I see this particular Omni as less important than the others.
  • Omniscient - All Knowing
  • Omnipresent - All Seeing
  • Omnipotent - All Powerful

Stockholm Syndrome

Stockholm Syndrome, named after a bank robbery incident in Stockholm, Sweden, is the label used to describe a group of psychological symptoms that appear in some individuals who have been taken hostage or captive.

Medical Dictionary at The Free describes the Syndrome as

... certain behaviors of survivors of World War II concentration camps; members of religious cults; battered wives; incest survivors; and physically or emotionally abused children as well as persons taken hostage by criminals or terrorists.

Most experts, however, agree that Stockholm syndrome has three central characteristics:


Imagine that You and I are going on a journey.

We’re going to stop by the bank to get some cash first, since we’ll need a lot of one dollar bills... for reasons.

We are just about finished up at the Teller when suddenly, an All Powerful, All Seeing, and All Knowing being descends from the sky in a bright flash of light!

He struts into the Bank, proclaiming “Nobody Move! I am God!”. He then shoves an empty bag into our face and says “Hand over the stripper money, kid!”.

We are Prisoners and God is our Captor

At first, we wonder how he knows how we were going to spend our stack of one dollar bills, but after realizing the gravity of the situation, we start frantically thinking of a way out of this mess.

Unfortunately, we’re pretty much screwed. There’s definitely no way to escape an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being. Even if the being had no intention of “capturing” you, He is by definition always going to know and see where we are, what we are doing, what we are thinking, and have the power to do anything He wants to us.

We don’t have the choice of not being subjected to His powers at all times. It’s a fact of our existence. At this point we are feeling pretty trapped.

Noticing our discomfort, God says “Look, guys, I’m going to make it REAL simple for You. Either You can choose to do everything I say, OR You can choose to disobey me. Of course, if You do choose to disobey me, You’ll have to bear the consequences of your actions. In other words, you’ll burn in Hell for all eternity, but just remember that You chose it, not me. No pressure”.

Not wanting to die and suffer for all eternity, we quickly decide to hand over the cash.

“Aw, what good boys. I’ll be nice and spare your lives… for now. Just remember, I’ll always be watching. You can leave now”, says God.

“Well, so much for the strip club”, I whisper to You as we head for the doorway.

“I heard that, you lecherous humans!”, God yelled from deep inside of the now opened Bank Vault.

How We Might Develop Stockholm Syndrome

Most people don’t get Stockholm Syndrome just because they are taken captive. Some of the most classic examples of victims cite repeated abuse from their captors. This is a major factor in developing SS.

It’s five months after the strip club bank holdup debacle, and we have committed ourselves to the teaching of Christianity as best we could. We take our families to church every Sunday, study the Bible, and do Christian people things.

However, we soon find out that You have cancer and while I was driving You home from the Doctor’s office, a drunk driver crashes into us, leaving me paralyzed from the waist down.

As we recovered in the shared hospital room, God, masquerading as a doctor, strolls in.

“Hey God, what’s up?”, I say.

“Oh, just wanted to see your suffering up close.”, He says.

“God, if You’re All Powerful, why didn’t you create a world where we could all receive eternal salvation without having to suffer like this?”, I ask.

“Because I just didn’t”, remarks God.

“But You could have?!”, You say.

“Of course I could have, I’m freaking omnipotent. I can do anything because I’m God”, He says.

“You’re so cooool God!”, we both say in Unison.

“You two aren’t so bad either. Just keep doing what I say and I might let you into Heaven after I let you die”, God remarks.

“Wow, you’re the best!”, You say.

Recognizing the Afflicted

It’s two years later, Your cancer hasn’t gone into remission and I was given awesome new prosthetic limbs like Robo Cop. Sure, our wives left us, we lost our jobs, and our kids hate us, but we’re used to it by now. Sure, God created our wives with the ability to be major jerks and leave us when we get cancer and He created our bodies that can even get cancer in the first place. We’re not upset about that though. We are just so glad that we have God by our side. God loves us and we love Him for helping us through all the struggles that he manufactured.

Summing It Up

God, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being, is by definition impossible to escape from.

God, being All Powerful, has the ability to create a world where Humans can receive eternal salvation without suffering. Despite this, he doesn’t create said world and instead chooses to create a world where Humans will suffer from lots of emotionally and physically painful things.

God, who You can’t escape from and purposefully lets You suffer, says He loves You. You always tell people you love Him.

Yeah, you’ve got Stockholm.

Debate Round No. 1


In your argument, I am assuming you are comparing the hostage to people of religious beliefs, God as the captor, and all those openly against religion as the police and other authorities, if I understand you correctly. I argue that this equation is incomplete, incorrect and missing essential variables for complete understanding.
First things first: we learn from modern-day revelation that we existed as spirits in the Pre-Earth Life with our Heavenly Father and CHOSE to come here to this Earth Life to be tested. We can"t remember the Pre-Earth Life by design. Joseph Fielding Smith said: "In the pre-existence we dwelt in the presence of God our Father. When the time arrived for us to be advanced in the scale of our existence and pass through this mundane probation, councils were held and the spirit children were instructed in matters pertaining to conditions in mortal life, and the reason for such an existence. In the former life we were spirits. In order that we should advance and eventually gain the goal of perfection, it was made known that we would receive tabernacles of flesh and bones and" pass through mortality where we would be tried and proved to see if we, by trial, would prepare ourselves for exaltation. We were made to realize, in the presence of our glorious Father, who had a tangible body of flesh and bones which shone like the sun, that we were, as spirits, far inferior in our station to him."
Our Heavenly Father loved us very much, and wanted us to experience all the joy and glory that does. So the plan was made that we would live this mortal life to learn right from wrong and happiness from misery so that we could choose for ourselves if we wanted joy and exaltation or misery and woe. A very interesting scripture is found in Romans 8:17 "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."
There is a scripture listed in the Book of Mormon in the book of Alma, 14th chapter, 10th and 11th verse. Alma and Amulek, two prophets are preaching to a people that react extremely violently to their teachings. All of the believers, their wives and their children were all cast into a fire with all of their religious records. Alma and Amulek are bound with cords and taken to the place to witness the genocide. Verse 10 and 11 states:
And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in glory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the judgments which he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the blood of the innocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.
In other words, the evil was allowed that the guilty might stand guilty at the judgment bar of God. Most evil or misfortune that comes to us is not wished upon us from God, they are inspired from Satan and from men. God has nothing to do with it, He only allowed it to happen to allow the necessity of free agency. He gives us strength and direction if only we ask for it, He is more than happy to provide it in times of need. We often fail to recognize that this life is a test. From tests we gain strength and knowledge. The purpose of this life is to learn the difference between right and wrong, and become like our Father who is in Heaven and our Saviour Jesus Christ. As we rely on them, we can gain peace and direction in this life despite the trials and once again enter into their presence as a heavenly family unit. Jesus makes promises to those who suffer in Matthew 5: "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness" sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven..."
When Christ suffered in the garden of Gethsemane, He not only suffered for all of our sins and afflictions, He suffered EVERY pain and trail of EVERY human being that has and ever will live. In Alma 7:11-13 in the Book of Mormon, it reads:
"And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.
And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.
Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."
Therefore, all the unfairness and everything that is wrong in this life will be made right in the next through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. (Atonement literally means "at-one-ment", it means to reconcile all men [who will receive it] to the demands of justice, thus allowing mercy to be bestowed upon all those who accept Christ in this life or the next, and allowing man to live with God once again, being washed clean through the blood of Christ.) All of the trials that we experience in this life are blessings under heavy disguise. Only with the aid of Heaven can our eyes be opened to see the true meaning behind trials. They are ultimately for our good. There is almost nothing more challenging than losing a child to death"s grip. The devastation of such tragedy leaves the heart heavy and wanting. There is yet hope and solace that we can draw from the word of God. Joseph F Smith, a modern day prophet, quoted Joseph Smith Jr., another prophet of God. They spoke and testified of this amazing, divine doctrine:
""the infant child that was laid away in death would come up in the resurrection as a child; and, pointing to the mother of a lifeless child, he [Joseph Smith] said to her: "You will have the joy, the pleasure, and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit." There is restitution, there is growth, there is development, after the resurrection from death. I love this truth. It speaks volumes of happiness, of joy and gratitude to my soul."
"If we have received the testimony of the spirit of truth in our souls we know that all is well with our little children who pass away... for the reason that so long as man is in the world, clothed with mortality, surrounded by the evils that are in the world, he runs chances and is subject to risks, and there are responsibilities resting upon him which may prove fatal to his future prosperity, happiness and exaltation."
We don't always understand the meaning of all trials, but that is where faith comes in.


The LDS Faith

First, I'd like to make it clear that the LDS Faith is very different from most Christian ideologies. Among the many differences, the LDS concepts of Heaven (Kingdoms of Glory), Hell (Outer Darkness and Spirit Prison), the Pre-Existence, and the Godhead definitely do not mirror traditional Christian theology.

We are talking about an entirely different game here, folks. We need to redefine god before we proceed.

Notice that I spelled god with a lowercase g. This is because, in the LDS faith, the concept of the Godhead is completely different from standard Christian faith. These three gods are distinct and separate beings. Thus, I find it inappropriate to use a capital G to reference any one of these multiple gods.

      1. "When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim."

      1. "...the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God."

      1. "The Holy Ghost is also a God and is variously called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit, the Spirit of God, etc."

These three gods still maintain the three omni-properties that the Christian God has.

"... God created all things and is the ruler of the universe, being omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent..."

From this point on, all references to god should be interpreted as God the Father AKA Elohim.

Setting the Stage

To better understand my argument, we also need to talk about how it is we came into existence. (According to the LDS Faith).

At some point in their existences, the Father and Spirit Mother decide to have spirit children.

Unfortunately for us we were born without bodies, without a full understanding of the gospel, and without the ability to attain that understanding in our spiritual forms. According to the Father, this was a problem that needed to be fixed.

At this point, the Father lays out his "Plan of Salvation" before the "Council in Heaven", which consisted of all the premortal spirits that he created. This plan intends to explain our purpose and goal in life.

Plan of Salvation
"The fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ, designed to bring about man’s immortality and eternal life. It includes the Creation, Fall, and Atonement, along with all God-given laws, ordinances, and doctrines. This plan makes it possible for all people to be exalted and live forever with God" - (2 Ne. 2, 9).

Those of us that chose to follow God in heaven had our minds wiped and were sent down to Earth to be re-incarnated as babies.

Keep this entire narrative in mind throughout the rest of this argument.

Why This Is Stockholm Syndrome

Three things need to be true in order for my argument to hold water.

1. Religious Fanatics have negative feelings about other religions or moral-authorities.
2. Religious Fanatics are captives of their God/s.
3. Religious Fanatics have positive feelings towards their captors and vice versa.

For the sake of this argument, we can even broaden the term for "Religious Fanatics" to include members of good standing in the LDS church. That's just how strong this argument is.


From the moment we came into existence, we became captives of god. Due to his omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent nature, god is essentially the best captor in existence without even trying.

We can not trick a god.
We can not run from a god.
We can not hide from a god.
We can not kill a god.

We can not even kill our selves - in terms of our own existence!

It is literally and physically impossible to escape from a god. I don't know how else to stress this point. If you can't escape from something are you not a captive of it?

The other element to being captured is the voluntary forfeit of your immediate freedoms in order to accomplish some future goal.

You decide not to scream for help because you don't want your kidnapper to shoot you.
You decide not to commit adultery because you want to make it into the Celestial Kingdom. (Heaven for those of you not familiar with the LDS faith).

In This Case:

The Gospel of Jesus Christ = The Things a Kidnapper Tells You To Do
Receiving Exaltation and Eternal Life = Not Receiving A Bullet Wound

So, Yes, you do get to choose what you want to do, but you are inherently limited by the options your captor presents you with.

Ideally, I'd like to be able to scream for help and NOT get shot by my kidnapper.
It would also be cool if I could cheat on my wife and NOT be demoted to a lower kingdom.

BUT we don't get those options.


Remember how I said "...we were born without bodies, without a full understanding of the gospel, and without the ability to attain that understanding in our spiritual forms"?

Well, guess what?

God the Father, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being, was capable of having physical children with physical bodies. I am really not exagerating when I say that god could have snapped his fingers and made us eternal beings with perfect morality and ability to live the Gospel.

However, he intentionally chose to bring us into existence without those abilities.

Even if it weren't obviously tautologically true, we have a perfectly good example of the Father doing exactly that. Jesus Christ was born with the ability to achieve God-hood without a physical body, a life on Earth, and all the other sucky mortal things.

"By obedience and devotion to the truth he attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state. " -(McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 129)

If as human beings we have to come to Earth and learn to live the Gospel, its because your omnipotent Father intentionally designed You to be unable to receive exaltation and eternal life without doing so. He had the power to create everyone just as perfectly as Jesus Christ, but he didn't. Nothing a god does is "by mistake" or "on accident"..

Do You see what I'm saying now?

I classify this kind of behaviour as abuse. He intended for us to jump through hoops before we could be exalted and live eternally. Most of us suffer and all of us die along the way. Except Jesus Christ because he's special. *rolls eyes*


I don't think the LDS faith or any of the Christian faiths would contest the premise that it's adherents love God/Jesus Christ and that He loves them too.

Lastly, in order to really make the case that the Stockholm Syndrome for believers is real, the captives must have negative feelings towards (classically police) other Authority figures.

Authority is really about power. Police are authorities because they have the power to arrest you. They also have the power to shoot you, taze you, and even kill you if they deem it necessary.

In this case, I propose that religion is, in essence, a kind of moral authority. The definition of moral authority is actually really complex and hard to express, but I'm sure you know what I mean.

And, despite what religion would have most people believe, moral authorities can and do exist outside of religion.

Therefore, any person, group, or organization that represents a different moral authority can count as a viable target.

I don't think it's necessary for me to argue that Religious Fanatics or even LDS members can look at other moral authorities and not feel any negative emotions.

I would almost go so far as to say that maybe You should feel some negative emotions.
Even if another moral authority doesn't directly offend you, they might be promoting a moral outlook that leads others to, from your moral perspective, do things that are wrong.


Thus, I have clearly demonstrated how a diagnosis of Stockholm Syndrome is valid by meeting all three criteria.

Big Thinking

God's Plan of Salvation is essentially arbitrary. Since god could have snapped his fingers and made us perfect beings with eternal life from Day 0 and instead chose not to, what does that mean?
Debate Round No. 2


First off, God is not an arbitrary God that can play by His own rules, He answers to eternal law.
"LDS doctrine seems insistent that God is in charge--though Mormons would also argue that the laws by which all things are created and governed are eternal. God did not make them up. He and they operate hand-in-hand: co-eternal, as it were! That might be perceived by some as potentially robbing God of true omnipotence. However, for Mormons this proposition does not. Rather than it being a statement about God"s limited power, members of the LDS Church see it as a statement about God"s nature. The laws by which He operates are eternal, unchanging, as most Christians believe God is. He was not a God who existed outside of eternal law and then invented a law by which He would function. Rather, God is eternal and so is the law which, by nature, is like Him."
Catholic and Mormon: A Theological Conversation
-By Stephen H. Webb, Alonzo L. Gaskill define "omnipotence":
"The quality of having unlimited or very great power"
Your statement: "God the Father, an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent being, was capable of having physical children with physical bodies. I am really not exagerating when I say that god could have snapped his fingers and made us eternal beings with perfect morality and ability to live the Gospel." is, according to LDS teachings, incorrect. We could not have been spiritually born in Pre-Earth Life into physical bodies as perfected beings. In 3 Nephi 27:19 it states: " 19 And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end."
Do you think a loving Heavenly Father would arbitrarily make up giant restrictions like that? Of course not, it is an eternal law that Heavenly Father answers to. Heavenly Father enjoys eternal life and exaltation, and He wants us to enjoy the same blessings as He does. It is the ONLY way we can do so. Heavenly Father knows that we are capable, and He sent His firstborn son in the Pre-Earth Life to make it possible for us to overcome the demands of justice due to our imperfect natures. In all mercy Jesus calls to us to accept Him as our Saviour.
Loving parents to their infant children are considered captors, according to your definition.
"We can not trick a god.
We can not run from a god.
We can not hide from a god.
We can not kill a god."
[Infants] can not trick [their parents].
[Infants] can not run from [their parents].
[Infants] can not hide from [their parents].
[Infants] can not kill [their parents].
Think about it. The captor in the Stockholm equation MUST be deliberately abusing the captive's rights in some way or another. Loving parents in a standard family unit simply don't that. I'm glad I was constantly monitored as an infant: I would have died had I been neglected. As infants we are helpless. Heavenly Father functions in the EXACT SAME loving way...
"I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another..."
(Mosiah 2:21)
We are as helpless as infants without our Heavenly Father.
Jesus said love everyone. Therefore, if done properly, a religious person would harbour no negative feelings towards those "police or other authorities" you speak about. In Matthew 5 it states:
43 "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
Yes, Jesus Christ proved himself worthy of Godhood in the Pre-Earth Life. We haven't yet. That's why He was chosen as our Saviour. He didn't suddenly appear out of nowhere as a perfect being, He was trained, tried and proven to be Godhood worthy. We needed a perfect Saviour, and He volunteered for the job, being both qualified and willing to suffer for us all. We were not, He was the obvious choice. How grateful I am for Him!
Your quote that you used:
"By OBEDIENCE AND DEVOTION TO THE TRUTH he ATTAINED that pinnacle of intelligence which RANKED HIM AS A GOD, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state. "
- Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine
He wasn't created that way, He ATTAINED it. We haven't yet.
The Plan of Salvation actually reveals that we have much more say and choosing where we go in the next life, PERFECT choice and PERFECT freedom, actually. You mentioned the Kingdoms of Glory. Here is a rundown of the places we choose to go to:
"Celestial Glory
The celestial kingdom is the highest of the three kingdoms of glory. Those in this kingdom will dwell forever in the presence of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. This should be your goal: to inherit celestial glory and to help others receive that great blessing as well. Such a goal is not achieved in one attempt; it is the result of a lifetime of righteousness and constancy of purpose...
Terrestrial Glory
Those who inherit terrestrial glory will "receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fulness of the Father. Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun" (D&C 76:77-78). Generally speaking, individuals in the terrestrial kingdom will be honorable people "who were blinded by the craftiness of men" (D&C 76:75). This group will include members of the Church who were "not valiant in the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:79). It will also include those who rejected the opportunity to receive the gospel in mortality but who later received it in the postmortal spirit world (see D&C 76:73-74)...
Telestial Glory
Telestial glory will be reserved for individuals who "received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus" (D&C 76:82). These individuals will receive their glory after being redeemed from spirit prison, which is sometimes called hell (see D&C 76:84; D&C 76:106).
Speaking of those in the Telestial Kingdom, Joseph F Smith said: "The Lord will do for them the best he can under the circumstances, but since they have denied his power and have dwelt in iniquity, they cannot receive the blessings of the kingdom of God."
Wee are told that even the Telestial Kingdom "surpasses understanding" in its glory. (D&C 76:89)
There is one other Kingdom, that of Perdition.
"Some people will not be worthy to dwell in any kingdom of glory. They will be called "the sons of perdition" and will have to "abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory" (D&C 76:32; 88:24). This will be the state of "those who know [God's] power, and have been made partakers thereof, and suffered themselves through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy [God's] power" (D&C 76:31; see also D&C 76:30, 32-49)."
Joseph Smith stated
"Our heavenly Father is more liberal in His views, and boundless in His mercies and blessings, than we are ready to believe or receive..."
I know that this is all true, not by reasoning but by prayer and revelation from God. I praise His name.


god With A Little G

"God is not an arbitrary God that can play by His own rules, He answers to eternal law."

Again, this is just another instance in which I find it inappropriate to use the uppercase G. The big G is reserved for beings that are truly omnipotent with infinite power.

A big G - God can make 1 + 1 = 3.
An LDS god can not make 1 + 1 = 3.

Well, as Con has pointed out, an LDS god (of which there can be many), is bound by "Eternal Law". We know from doctrine that intelligence and logic are indeed part of Eternal Law.

This doesn't change the fact that You still can't escape from an LDS god.
Captive, You still are.

Eternal Law and Divine Law

Let's start off by making the distinction between Eternal Law and Divine Law.

“"Divine" laws are instituted by God to govern his creations and kingdoms and to prescribe behavior for his offspring.”

“Some Latter-day Saints believe that "eternal" law is self-existent, unauthored law, which God himself honors and administers as a condition of his perfection and Godhood.”

“Latter-day scriptures and other sources do not explicitly state that eternal law exists independently or coeternally with God.”

“...LDS teachings tend to emphasize the following characteristics: (1) the extent of the divine laws revealed to mankind may vary from dispensation to dispensation, according to the needs and conditions of mankind as God decrees; (2) they are given through and interpreted by his prophets; (3) they are relatively concise, but "gentle" or benevolent, given to promote the happiness he has designed for his children (TPJS, pp. 256-57); and (4) they are efficacious for mankind as God's harmony with eternal law was, and is, efficacious for him, and will bring to pass the exaltation of his righteous children.”

What This Means

No scripture or doctrine has been revealed or authored that fully and accurately documents Eternal Law. There are bits and pieces that are sometimes explicitly stated, but most of the time we must infer what is Eternal Law.

The above excerpts from the BYU Library does help us grasp the differences between the two though. The following summary clarifies what each law is.

A god has no control over Eternal Law, which is immuatable and unchanging, and must abide by Eternal Law in order to maintain Godhood.

Divine Law is created and controlled by a god and may change at a god's discretion.

Therefore, all Divine Law, authored by a god, is also Eternally Lawful.

Furthermore, I think the following can be reasonably inferred from the above.

A Divine Law may re-iterate or be abstacted from Eternal Law.

Eternal Law: "Don't mess with Free Agency."
Divine Law: "Don't mess with Free Agency."
Divine Law: "Don't kill other people, because that's messing with their Free Agency."
Divine Law: "Don't rape other people if they don't want to be raped, even if it's not adultery, because that's messing with their Free Agency."

*We shouldn't assume that Eternal Law is vague on every matter. It may very well be specific on some matters like physics. However, we also can not assume that the Divine Laws we currently know are *not abstracted from more broad Eternal Laws.

For example, the Divine Law of Tithing.
This Divine Law may very well be abstracted from a more general Eternal Law that simply states "Tithes must be collected.". The specifics of the collection amount, freuquency, and use of funds may not be described in Eternal Law. A matter such as this is then left up to a god to further define in Divine Law.

If there are no specific values in Eternal Law to mirror, a god may author their own values.

Divine Law is revealed in the early 1860s proclaiming Plural Marriage to be moral, only to have the moral value reversed in 1890.

*This is consistent with Eternal Law because no moral value is assigned to the matter.
Eternal Law must be silent on Plural and Non-Plural Marriage. If Eternal Law were to prescribe a moral value to either, a god could not author a Divine Law that contradics either.

Unlike Eternal Law, Divine Law is not always immutable. Its how the LDS Church can get away with saying things like this;

“...monogamy is God’s standard for marriage unless He declares otherwise (see 2 Samuel 12:7–8 and Jacob 2:27, 30).”Doctrine and Covenants, Official Declaration 1, Summary

If a Divine Law makes no difference in respect to Eternal Law then I would argue that it is indeed arbitrary since it can vary from dispensation to dispensation OR EVEN from god to god.

Why It Matters

Con argues that "the captor in the Stockholm equation MUST be deliberately abusing the captive's rights in some way or another" and I agree.

However, Con insists that the way the LDS god treats His children is not abuse. Instead, it is a demonstration of love.

Sure, the way the Father treats His children may be a demonstration of "love". However, this does not mean that abuse is not a valid part of a god's "love" for His children.

We shouldn't let the emotionally charged words of "family" and "love" disguise the abusive behaviour that the Father demonstrates.

The Father lets his children become afflicted by disease and disaster.

The Father lets his children kill each other in war.

The Father lets his children rape and be raped.

The Father lets his children kill themselves in desperation.

The Father lets his rich children exploit his poor children.

This is textbook child abuse, and if the Father were a human the CPA would be on him like white on rice!

“Child abuse is when a parent or caregiver, whether through action or failing to act, causes injury, death, emotional harm or risk of serious harm to a child. There are many forms of child maltreatment, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse.”


Did you catch that? The key is, the Father is not a human. The Father is a god; nobody ever said that Eternal Laws are not different for humans and gods.

“Latter-day scriptures state that "God would cease to be God" if he were to allow mercy to destroy justice, or justice to overpower mercy, or the plan of redemption to be fulfilled on unjust conditions (Alma 42:13).”

Given that all of a god's actions must be in accordance with Eternal Law, god's treatment of His Children must also be in accordance with Eternal Law.

Is god the Father's behaviour consistent with Child Abuse? Yes.
Is the Father a god? Yes.
Must all gods be perfectly moral and in accordance with Eternal Law? Yes.

Therefore, god the Father's Abuse of His Children is Moral and consequently Eternally Lawful.

You see, as humans, we tend to associate harm with things that are Immoral. While this is often accurate, it is not always correct. Stop trying to assign human values to godly acts.

CONVERSELY, just because a behaviour is morally correct does not change the reality of the behaviour itself. Abuse is abuse even if it is moral on a god's part.

*If you wish to see the Father's abuse of his children as His "love" then that's on You. How that would makes any sense, I don't know, but that's just how people with Stockholm Syndrome think. *wink*

The Negative Feelings are Real

"Jesus said love everyone. Therefore, if done properly, a religious person would harbour no negative feelings towards those "police or other authorities" you speak about. "

It doesn't matter that they were told not to.
In reality, people do have negative feelings towards other moral authorties.


Con's behaviour throughout this debate is consistent with Stockholm Syndrome. No matter how many times I remind Con that they have been abused, Con insists that it was just a god showing his love for his family.

I'd also like to add that I nicely played along with Con's LDS version of god when it was easier not to.

The basic argument still works for an Infinitely Powerful God.
Debate Round No. 3
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by benjiboy456 2 years ago
I'd like to thank you as well, CanWeKnow. The Lord does indeed move in mysterious ways. ;) It was a very well rounded argument that has strengthened my testimony of my Heavenly Father. These questions do need to be asked and prayed about. Thank you thank you.
Posted by CanWeKnow 2 years ago
Once again, I'd like to thank benjiboy456 for this debate.

I had no intention to argue this debate with the LDS god in mind, but it was actually a blast to do so.

As someone who was born and raised in the LDS church, the rhetoric benji used was something I was actually pretty familiar with.

However, even during the 17 years I attended church and the 3 years I attended Seminary, I had not once been taught about Eternal or Divine Law.
This debate gave me the chance to re-evaluate the LDS church's theological narrative.

I have definitely changed my opinion on the LDS church because of this.

I still don't think that any of it is trueeee, but that's beside the point.

If The Book of Mormon, The Bible, and ALL of the "revelations" were true, I'd have no problem hopping on board the LDS train.
Posted by CanWeKnow 2 years ago
So, I should love the creepy girl who stalks me because she loved me first?

Great. >_>
Posted by benjiboy456 2 years ago
1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Posted by CanWeKnow 2 years ago
God is capable of making it happen, no?

There isn't some universal or extra-universal law saying that God can't change his mind. God can do anything! He's so great that way.

It would be uber fun if we got up to Heaven and God was all "It's opposite day! You're going to Hell. :]".
Posted by 42lifeuniverseverything 2 years ago
Love the hypothetical CanWeKnow, but just one issue.

God himself would never descend to Earth until the Second Coming according to the scriptures. So this idea that God an all powerful being suddenly pops from the sky and demands Stockholm out of someone is ludicrous. The argument is more meta-physical in nature and less face to face interaction.

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