I just watched the movie Hell House which is a documentary about a “Hell House” put on around Halloween time by Conservative Christian Trinity Church in Cedar Hill Texas. Since Trinity pioneered this phenomenon several decades ago, the concept has spread across the country and many other major churches have made their own versions. The purpose of a hell house is basically to scare everyone that enters into accepting Jesus Christ. Thus, they portray vignettes of domestic violence, rape, suicide, abortion etc. in great graphic detail. Later, they show all of the characters roasting and being tormented in hell eternally. The only person that is ultimately saved is one that lived a “life of sin” but has a death bed conversion literally confessing his sins in the last minute of his life. It seems to me, that this way of teaching the gospel is absolutely dangerous and degrading. For instance, the hell house is very insensitive to rape victims. The devil character mocks them and often provokes these characters to commit suicide. Yet, instead of finding a loving father that understands their weakness and gives them comfort and forgiveness, they are cast into hell eternally and suffer. Ultimately this just seems inconsistent with the love of God and the very purpose of humanity. Though we don’t know every detail, I am so thankful for the additional revelation and light that we hold that allows us to live a life of joy rather than fear.
All of this led me to contemplate whether Latter Day Saints should offer a competing product during Halloween time. I think that someone should develop a “heaven house” that could show people the grandeur of Gods plan of salvation and encourage them to come to Christ by appreciating his glory rather than fearing the consequences. Just as in the hell house, there would be little vignettes, but they would be centered around the plan of salvation. Thus, we could see the divine council, the earthly minister of Christ etc. We could also see glimpses of the Glory that awaits us in the Kingdoms of God. Life situations could be displayed, but ultimately I think with a focus on how the light of Christ is constantly intersecting with our lives. Above all, I think that we would focus on God as loving father rather than cruel despot. I don’t know if there would be any audience for this, but I think it would be an interesting experiment. I imagine that people ultimately will achieve a deeper true conversion in their heart if they go through a process that focuses on love rather than terror and hell