Becoming Gods


     I spent a good portion of October traveling to various speaking engagements.  After spending a lot of time in airports and on planes, it’s good to be home for awhile.

     Once again on this trip I met various people who questioned my assertion that Mormonism teaches that people can become gods.   Almost all questioned that because they had Mormon friends who told them that Mormonism doesn’t teach that.  Although I have talked about this in the past, it needs to be addressed again.

     As it so happened, I received the new edition of Gospel Principles shortly before I left, so I had opportunity to read it while I was traveling.  Gospel Principles is the basic manual that gives on overview of LDS teachings.  It is revised about every five or six years.

     Therefore when somebody questioned my statement about Mormonism teaching that people can become gods, all I had to do was point them to p. 277 and the chapter on exaltation.  There it simple says, “They will become gods (see D&C 132:20-23).”  

     Here are a couple other statements from Gospel Principles that support this.  “We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him.  We would be resurrected; we would have all power in heaven and earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see D&C 132:19-20).” (my emphasis)  “Having all power in heaven and earth” – that’s quite a statement.

     Or what about this one?  “Everyone who becomes like Heavenly Father eventually knows all things.”  (p. 128).  First omnipotence.  Now omniscience.  Both are characteristics of God.

     Yes, Mormonism does teach that people can become gods.  Why then do so many Mormons deny that?  Some probably are unaware of it.  Some members of the LDS Church have told me that they probably don’t admit it to me or other Christians because they know we are not asking the question sincerely.  That’s quite an act of judgment.  At least in regard to the Christians I recently talked with, that didn’t seem to be the case at all.  They were just trying to verify with their Mormon friends some things they had heard about Mormonism.

     I don’t know how many times Mormons have told me that if I want to learn about Mormonism, I shouldn’t listen to Christian observers of it, but talk directly to Mormons.  That would be good advice if most Mormons accurately articulated Mormonism’s beliefs.  In the case of this teaching, that has not been my experience – or the experience of many others.

18 Responses to “Becoming Gods”

  1. 1 JesusLover
    October 27, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    I’ve wondered sometimes if Mormons gloss over the becoming a god doctrine because they are embarassed by it. It’s obviously not a Christian doctrine and most Christians when presented with this belief liken it to satan’s fall from heaven due to his wanting to be as God which makes the mormon religion by default a deception of satan.
    Now that new Gospel Principles is out there should be no debate that they do indeed believe that.

  2. 2 markcares
    October 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    It would seem as if they would be proclaiming this loudly and clearly. What better neww could you give somebody than that they could become a god?

  3. 3 JesusLover
    October 27, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Well it’s just my opinion…and maybe it’s that I have been a Christian for so long…but to me that belief robs the whole mormon church of any credibility. They are very appearance oriented – want to be included alongside of mainstream Christian Churches – thought of well – a family place. You let people know you are working your way to Godhood and all of a sudden people would drop away. I don’t believe the average person would be attracted to something like that – they would know it was off-base and a bit “weird”. There have been enuf false leaders in the past 40 years that have lead people astray and I don’t think the public has forgotten them. I think that’s why they keep it quiet and in some cases people don’t even know about that belief – to protect the LDS image and keep the mormon church machine going.

  4. November 2, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Gerald R. McDermott, the Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion at Roanoke College and author, with Robert Millet, of Claiming Christ: A Mormon-Evangelical Debate, addressed the question of whether Latter-day Saints are Christians in an article “Is Mormonism Christian?” published in First Things magazine (October 2008).

    By examining Professor McDermott’s critique in light of the Bible, one can see that Mormonism differs from historic Christian orthodoxy to the degree that historic Christian orthodoxy diverges from Biblical truths. See the following link:


    Most points where sectarian Christians have problems with LDS doctrine illustrate the departure of sectarianism from the Bible.

  5. November 9, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    The discomfort is probably because we are fully aware of the distorted and inaccurate way YOU are using the term.

  6. 6 Echo
    November 10, 2009 at 3:20 am

    Hi Seth,

    If you would like your comment to be educational for everyone, you might or could try and explain what you mean by “the distorted and inaccurate way YOU are using the term”. Just a freindly suggestion.

    Good to see you hanging around still! I missed your posts.

  7. 7 markcares
    November 10, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    That’s quite a charege you are making. In my post I talked about how this was a common occurance among Christians. Therefore I take it the “you” refers to all those Christians. Sometimes I hear Christians say that all Mormons are being deceptive when they talk to them. I always refute that and say that that is not true. I know say the same thing to you. Not every Christian distorts the term. I join Echo in ashing you to show us how we are distoring the LDS teaching of becoming a god. I even have refrained from using a capital “G” with gods even though I could show you it used that way in various manauls etc. Even an earlier edition of Gospel Principles used the capital G.

  8. November 10, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    No, I meant you Mark.

    Usually, when I hear you talk about the Mormon notion of divinization, the entire spirit can be summed up thus:

    “you Mormons believe you can become your own god.”

    The anti-Mormon caricature of Mormon divinization inevitably always emphasizes alienation from God. Thus the use of the words “your own” in the above statement. It is always about how once we’ve worked our way into heaven, we Mormons plan to simply flip God the bird, and head off to some other corner of the galaxy where we set up our own shop and ignore dad for eternity while enjoying the worship of our own creations.

    This isn’t like heading off to college you know.

    The Mormon notion of divinization is one of profound UNITY with God. This is something that is almost always ignored by our Evangelical opponents. But Mormonism is adamant that we seek the same unity with God the Father that Christ currently has with him. One in heart, mind, will, and love.

    Thing is Mark, when you use the word “god” in reference to where Mormons believe they are going – well… we know what you’re thinking.

    You’ve got the Godmakers imagery stuck in your head. And we know this is exactly what this is about. A distorted, caricatured, cartoonish, and self-serving apologetic misrepresentation of what we really believe.

    When an Evangelical belligerently throws the “god” word in our face, we quickly sense what you really mean – a prideful, rebellious alienation from God the Father. Which we, of course reject. And always have.

    Sorry. Not buying it.

  9. November 10, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I guess Mark, that I’m just not convinced from our past interactions that you have really moved much beyond the “Godmakers” narrative.

    You are polite about it, which is more than I can say for some. But I have never gotten a sense from you that you have really moved an inch from the overall narrative Ed Decker first cooked-up. So maybe I’m being a bit harsh, but I interacted here for quite a while, and I never got the sense that anything I was saying was making much difference to you.

  10. November 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    And is there a particular reason that you have to have a wordpress account to subscribe to comments now?

  11. November 10, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Never mind. It seems to be happening to a lot of WordPress blogs.

  12. 12 markcares
    November 11, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    OK. Let me try to respond reasonably. Here are some reactions to your comments.
    1( You idntify my thoughts on the topic with the Godmakers. I wish you could be a mouse on the wall whenever anybody asks me about that. (By the way, the “godmakers” is not something many Christians talk about anymore or are even aware of.) I do not like it and I do not endorse it.
    2) In line with that you summarize my thoughts with the thought of “your own god’. I don’t see that thought in my post. Please show me from previous posts or comments where I espoused such thoughts. You made the charge, now I am asking you to prove it.
    3) My original post focused on wondering why many Mormons respond to many Christians with the denial that Mormonism teaches they can become gods. The way I read your comments is that you think a denial is justified because they know the lousy motives behind the question and thus Christians don’t deserve an answer. Are you telling me that all Christians have the wrong motivation – that Mormons have the ability to judge people’s motives – that it is right on a Mormon’s part to deny a teaching of Mormonism rather than explaining the correct interpretation of it? That sure is what it seems.

  13. November 12, 2009 at 7:01 pm

    Mark, the central theme I have always gotten from your posts – as a whole (not just this one) – is that you view the Mormon notion of divinization as arrogant and alienating from God.

    Am I wrong?

  14. 14 markcares
    November 13, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    That’s a good question. I have given it some thought and I think I can honestly say that I haven’t given that much thought and thus, that much expression to the final product – that is, what Momonism’s notion of divinization is. The quotes from Gospel Principles I used in this post are probably as far as I have gone. What I have focused on is more the bare statement of becoming gods especially how it is described as, in the above post, as having all power, knowing all things and having spirit children. I can’t ever remember addressing how this affects the relationship with Heavenly Father.

  15. November 13, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Why haven’t you given it much thought if it’s such an important issue? There must be a reason this stance is objectionable to you.

  16. 16 Abinadi
    January 8, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    I just saw this and had to comment. I think evangelicals also believe this doctrine. In Psalms 82 the heading is “Thus saith the Lord: Ye are gods and children of the Most High.” and in verse 6 it says again, ” 6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” I believe evangelicals believe in the Bible, so they must believe it’s teaching that we are “the children of the most high” and therefore gods in embryo.

    Jesus also taught the same thing. In John 10:34, Jesus, responding to the charge that he held himself to be God” said “34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? ” or, in other words, he was saying that you, yourselves, believe you are gods in embryo because that is your teaching.

  17. 17 Opie
    January 8, 2010 at 5:56 pm

    The reason Mormons may seem to be denying accusations by Christians that they believe they will become gods is because the question is often phrased to make it sound like we believe we will eventually become co-equal with God the Father. Do not forget that Christ said that as Sons and Daughters of God, we will inherit all that God has. What you do not seem to understand is that God has already given most of His children here on earth some very Godly attributes such as the ability to reason, tell right from wrong, and create life. Becoming like God, through a very long process of learning, is not the same as becoming God. Notice in the Gospel Principles Lesson Manual that is mentioned in the blogg above that the word god is spelled using a little g, not a capital G. We believe that God the Father will always be superior to His children, but as we learn from Him we can become more like Him — never superior to Him, but gods in the sense that we will acquire many of His Godly attributes. This is what Sons and Daughters of God are supposed to do — inherit all that their Father has and by living a God-like life, become more like Him.

  18. 18 Opie
    January 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    What I fail to ever hear from Evangelicals or members of other Christian denominations is why they believe God placed us here on earth and what we will be doing for the rest of eternity if we do go to Heaven? Are we going to be playing harps forever, or all standing around in a giant congregation singing phrases for eternity to God as He stands there taking it all in? You say Mormons are wrong in their view that God the Father has sent His children to earth to learn and become like Him, but I never hear what you believe was God’s purpose in creating this earth and placing us on it. Why was it so important for Christ to atone for our sins and why would God create an earth with sin if He did not want us to sin? Obviously, God created Satan, so why did He create such a being?

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October 2009

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