A few years back I had an epiphany. After careful consideration I decided that if I didn't make it to the Celestial Kingdom (the Mormon ultimate heaven, where one can be with God for eternity) that I would probably be OK with that outcome. Many people will probably be mortified by that statement. "How can you even contemplate that?", they will ask. They will most probably be of the mind set that the alternative isn't so great. I mean, spending all eternity in a fiery hell is not something that most folks aspire to.
That is what was great about growing up Mormon. Mormons don't believe in a traditional Christian hell. As an aside from my main point, hell is a concoction of first millennium Christians. The Jews thought that you would be punished for your sins, but drew the line at the punishment being eternal. It took the Christians to really put the nastiness in hell, for your torment enjoyment. Anyway, back to my point, Mormons don't teach Hell. Oh, they teach enough stuff that may be considered a candidate for an effective torture, and I don't think you would get any arguments about Fast and Testimony meeting being a similitude of what might be expected in Hell, but no actual Hell for the Mormons. No, for the Mormons, Hell is just not being able to return to the presence of God.
To be fair, I will stipulate that for the true believer returning to the presence of your creator should be the ultimate goal. I think the problem is that most people don't really take a good look at what the alternatives are. They have been told that to miss the mark and not obtain "exaltation" would be a really bad thing, and that the eternal punishment would be knowing forever that you are shut off from God and not being able to do anything about it. Sounds pretty grim. But not so fast. We hear much about freedom of choice, but when it comes down to it, many probably are only getting the high pressure sales pitch for option one (Exaltation or Celestial Kingdom) without really knowing what other options are out there. Therefore, I propose to explain my thinking in this matter. It may be that after knowing all the facts, and seeing your options, you decide to shoot for the stars, but if you miss and hit the moon, that won't be so bad either.
Option 1 (Church Preferred)
You live an exceptional life. You give of your time, talents, money and all you possess to the furthering of the Kingdom of God on earth. This entails depriving yourself of many fun and interesting things to do here on Earth. Furthermore, you have a part time job, besides your real job that puts food on the table, for your entire life, namely whatever church calling you have. Also as part of your time commitment you must go to meetings, home teach, help people move, put in sprinkler systems, and overall not have the ability to say no to any request that is in your earthly power to actually perform. Then you die.
Upon your death you will spend some time in "Paradise." This sound really great, except the work doesn't stop here. On the other side of some kind of force field are all the souls in "Spirit Prison." This is where people who haven't had the opportunity to hear about all the work they didn't know they had to do (ie. the Gospel) will get a chance to hear about it from you. You will be a busy bee in the afterlife teaching these billions of poor souls and giving them the chance to accept the gospel, so that your compatriots down on Terra Firma, who are still trying to do all the things they can't/aren't allowed to say no to, can baptize the lost souls by proxy. Settle down to the work, because this will take a few thousand years to get all cleaned up once the world finally ends. Whenever that is. Possibly 22 months from now if you are lucky and the Mayans are right.
So we move forward past all the tediousness and get to the good stuff. All the people have been sorted out into one of the three kingdoms of glory that they have earned by their actions in their earthly probation. You, being one of the hard working elect have made it to the Celestial Kingdom. Sweet. You are now in line to have all that the Father has. All knowing, all powerful, and the ability to continue your progression by helping other spirits, that you will create, to get to where you are.
So you and your wife/wives get busy and start creating spirit children. When the house gets full and you can't take the constant noise, your first born and some others help you create a world and you start putting spirits into bodies. Because you had to go through it, you decide to stick to the plan and make it really hard for people to actually believe in you. You do this by making your children forget all about you when they are born and then go out of your way to not really give them any concrete proof that you exist. If they really bugged you when they were spirit children, you may even sprinkle in some "proof" that you know they will interpret incorrectly to believe that you don't exist. Just off the top of my head, maybe some large bones and fossils that will lead them to think of evolution and that the world you made a few thousand years ago is really billions of years old. I mean, what is the point of being a god if you can't have any fun at it? Sorry, I digress.
Option 2 (Preferred by me)
So, I tried to be good, but I read some books and looked up some stuff on the Internet (and no, not necessarily porn, but other important stuff) and kind of went a different direction and now I'm dead and not going to the Celestial Kingdom. What do I have to look forward to? Well, the Mormons teach that everybody, regardless of their actions on Earth, will get a resurrected, perfect body. Joseph Smith stated that if you could see the lowest kingdom ( the one that the really bad people will end up in, called the Telestial Kingdom) you would kill yourself to get there. It is that beautiful. So, I figure I'm not that bad, so I'm ending up in the second kingdom, or Terrestrial Kingdom.
Since I missed the target and won't become a god, I will no longer be married. The marriage to my spouse is for time and all eternity, but only if I achieve salvation. If not, no marriage for me. I will not have the power to create new spirit children, as this is reserved to those Exalted Ones. Also, there is no work for me to do, as all the important stuff is done in regards to my probation, and the new gods are going and doing their thing, and I'm not allowed to be in there presence.
If you haven't seen the possibilities in this scenario yet, allow me to spell them out. I will have a perfect body, one that is incapable of producing children (can you say spiritual tube tying/vasectomy). I like to think along the lines of a Greek Adonis. I will be unmarried. Half of all the billions of people, who also have perfect bodies, will be of the opposite sex. The trial is done, I've been cut off, and there is no more sin and nothing really more to do. I'm sure you now see the potential.
So, there you have it. I have spelled out both options for you to make an informed decision. You can work really hard to obtain all the power in the universe, so that you will be able to continue to work really hard. Or, there is always the eternal orgy. So what I'm saying is; if you so choose, go ahead and shoot for the stars, but if you miss and hit the moon, you may enjoy the ride. Literally.