As Mormons can we talk about “salvation” in the plural?
It seems that part of the restored gospel is the pluralization of “salvation”. We teach multiple “kingdoms” after death–where people receive different kinds of salvation. Granted we teach that these “salvations” are gradated, with the Celestial Kingdom being the highest (and even gradated within itself); but it does seem proper to talk about different “ends”, beyond the paradigm of simply Heaven or Hell.
Christian theologian Mark Heim (professor at Andover Newton Theological Seminary), in his book Salvations, attempts to articulate a religious pluralism rooted in a notion of multiple “salvations”. He concludes:
I insist salvation can be understood in the plural. Religions may be seen as both true and as alternative rather than necessarily either true or false, and thus two “true” religions need not be assumed to represent the same thing. All religions that are true do not have to be true “in the very same sense.” And it does not necessarily follow that the adherents of two true religions must each regard the other as anonymous members of its own tradition (225-226).
Nirvana and communion with God are contradictory only if we assume that one or the other must be the sole fate for all human beings. True, they cannot both be true at the same time of the same person. But for different people, or the same person at different times, there is no necessary contradiction in both being true (149).
I wondering if there is room in Mormonism for this view. What kinds of multiple salvations can (and/or should) we believe in? How does this impact the way we view other traditions, as well as the universal claims of our own?