This morning I came across the scripture from D&C 1:16 that says: “Every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god.” This scripture was quoted in Elder Todd Christofferson’s October 2009 General Conference talk, “Moral Discipline,” in a discussion about how “value judgments” replace absolute right and wrong in our day, and that what ensues from this sort of relativism is moral erosion—not to mention uncivility to the point where order in societies must be maintained by compulsion. (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-1117-34,00.html)
Anyway, this struck me because I have been working on a book with a local LDS author recently, and he and I had a discussion last week in which we were talking about how we should refer to God in his book (not an LDS book). God has relevance in the book, because the book is about finding a livelihood wherein you are using your signature gifts and strengths to serve people in your own creative, singular way, and God is the bestower of these such talents, of course. Awhile ago the author and I had thought it best, in order to avoid alienating any potential readers, to let God be whatever He (or she or it) is to the array of readers we hope we’ll reach, and I had been thinking along those lines as we chose our wording in the few places where God came into the text. Similar “secular” books I have recently read that refer to divine inspiration and aid are very painstaking about allowing a wide-open definition of God—from not assigning Him gender, to not assuming that He is paternal, to alluding that He is actually all of the energy of the universe rather than a singular being, and so forth. Some of this may have some veracity (and some of it certainly does not), but the uncomfortable part for me is the blurring of the Judeo-Christian absolutes—that He is a personal, accessible Heavenly Father, in whose image we are created, and to whom we can go often—constantly—for assistance. It occurred to me how silly and even irresponsible it would be for me to cooperate with this open-minded flexibility about God’s characterization, because this would be contributing to the increasing haziness that is threatening the eventual obliteration of God, and the associated absolutes of right and wrong.