Becoming a God

Over the years I have repeatedly discussed with LDS members Mormonism’s teaching about persons being able to become a god.  The reactions have been varied.  Some readily admit that this is LDS teaching and they wholeheartedly accept it.  Most, however, try to qualify it and downplay it.  They have done this in two different ways.

The first is by saying that Mormonism teaches that they can become like God.  They claim that even though LDS Scripture clearly says that people can become gods.  The classic passage is D&C 132:20:  “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them.  Then shall they be gods, because they have all power and the angels are subject to them.”

That passage clearly states, in a number of different ways, that people can become gods.  And over the years many LDS leaders have pointed to this passage to teach this doctrine.  That, I feel, is proof enough that Mormonism teaches that people can become gods, or that when it talks about becoming like god – that is what it means.

The other way that Mormons have sometimes tried to downplay this teaching is saying that they would never become a capital G God.  Instead they say that they would be small g gods, thus implying a difference between the two.  But again, the question is: Is that what Mormonism teaches?  In the student manual on the Pearl of Great Price, a manual in current use, we find this quote:  “Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” (p. 4)  Note especially the use of the capital G – “evolving into a God”.

This quote is notable for two reasons.  One is that it is used in an official LDS Church manual.  Although all Mormons do not agree on the weight that such manuals carry, the LDS Church has repeatedly said that church manuals carry a lot of weight.  They state that they present the official teaching of the church.  That is only to be expected.  The normal practice is to consider official anything that is officially published by an organization.  It would be, for example, the silliest of arguments if an NFL player argued that the rulebook published by the NFL did not represent the official rules of the NFL and thus what he did wasn’t against NFL policy.

But this quote is significant for another reason as well.  It was given by the First Presidency of the LDS.  The First Presidency is the prophet and his two counselors.  It is the most authoritative body in the LDS Church.  Even though it was given in 1909 it is still pertinent as evidenced by it being quoted in a manual published in 2000.  Without a doubt we can say that Mormonism teaches that people can become a God.

Why am I making such a big point of this?  One is because it is denied by many LDS members today and thus it needs to be stressed to get an accurate picture of Mormonism.  Two is because it is another demonstration of the great gap that exists between Mormonism and the Bible.  But most importantly of all, I am pointing this out to illustrate the stark difference between the comfort given by Mormonism and the Bible.  Look again at that quote.  “Through ages and aeons” it says they evolve into a God.  That reminds me of one LDS man telling me that it would take him 10,000 eternities to become a god.

Compare that to the wonderful comfort the Bible gives.  As soon as believers die, they enter the mind-boggling bliss of God’s presence.  Instantaneously all pain and sorrow is replaced with perfect peace and joy.  There are no eternities of evolving and work.  Instead, instantaneously, there is absolute perfection and wonderful glory.

And the best part of it all is that Jesus accomplished all this for us.  He did everything to make us acceptable to God.  In him, right now, we are perfect and worthy in God’s sight.  This heavenly bliss is his gift to us.  To him, and to him alone, be all praise and glory!

4 Responses to “Becoming a God”

  1. February 22, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Mark, you have mentioned a way that many Mormons have rationalized in order to deny or dodge the
    public exposure of one of their leaders more “unique” doctrinal creations, and you have done so in the
    way that is consistent with 1 Peter 3:15 . Thanks for bringing this information up . It’s easy to see
    how some Mormons could use the little “g” (god) response considering that this is used at times
    in Mormon publications. Yet , there are more than a few times that Mormon leaders have used the
    capital G” ( God) as well and I have found these in Church curriculum and also in sermons .
    I personally think that the Mormon doctrine of man becoming a God , an Almighty God , the same as
    his Father in heaven has come to attain before him, to be a uncomfortable doctrine to many Mormons
    when publically brought up by non-Mormons so the rationalizing to downplay or even deny it will often take
    place . The latter days prophets of Mormonism have introduced some very aberrant doctrines about God
    since their alleged appointment by Jesus in 1830 , and their belief of a Mormon male becoming another
    God in a long line of Gods from other Kingdoms is but one example. Jesus has warned Mormons and
    non-Mormons alike to be on the lookout for false prophets in the latter days who might advertise that He
    is directing their doctrinal revealments —Matt 24 :11 ; Mark 13:22-23 .

  2. 2 JBR
    February 25, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    How do you respond when the LDS person presents the reason of “since you’re not Mormon you aren’t quailified to explain what we believe, like we do not tell you what you believe” … for that is what I have found as the way it is explained away.

  3. February 28, 2013 at 4:52 am

    JBR, while you are waiting Mark’s reply allow me to say a few things relative to the question you asked
    him. Not being a Mormon means we are’nt qualified to explain Mormon doctrine to a Mormon ? I can
    see some Mormons might resort to that type of reasoning but in reality I simply let Mormon leaders speak
    for themselves by quoting what they have taught , after all , rank and file members do not establish
    Mormon doctrine , their leadership does. Now it’s obvious that these leaders believe that what they
    have taught about God is clear and plain enough to grasp by even non- Mormons because they desire
    that their “restored truth” about God be made available to everyone , members and non-members .
    Mormon leaders made sure this took place by authorizing the printing of their sermons in days gone by
    and they still do this. Consider : ” We are privileged to present to the Saints and to the WORLD
    the Third volume of the Journal of Discourses, containing the principles of the Gospel
    of salvation delivered to this generation through the Apostles and Prophets of the Most High by the
    power of the Holy Ghost…” [ Vol 3 preface]. Now we turn to page 93 in this volume and we read
    that the Lord created man, ” for the purpose of becoming Gods like Himself ” . Notice, “Gods” not”gods”.
    Joseph Smith had taught this very same thing , that man could learn how to be Gods , the same
    as the head God above . Interestingly enough church curriculum has even stated the following about the
    God Mormons call their heavenly Father : ” ….God is an exalted man who once lived on an earth
    and underwent experiences of mortality….The progression of our Father in heaven to godhood ,or
    exaltation was strictly in accordance with eternal principles…..” [ Achieving a Celestial Marriage ,
    1976, p. 129-130 ] . Notice it says ” godhood ” , not ” Godhood ” .
    I guess the bottom line here is that in Mormon theology the purpose of life for men is to achieve
    Godhood , the same type of Godhood their Heavenly Father has achieved . We can’t help it that
    sometimes in Mormon pubications it says man can become ” gods ” and other times it says “Gods”.
    What we can do is direct people to the source where they can get the truth about man and God —-
    the Word of God , the Bible . We need to remind them not be quick in embracing the claims
    of apostles and prophets who arise in these latter days advertising that Jesus has sent them.
    Matt 24 :11 ; 2 Cor 11:4, 15 ; Rev 2:2

  4. 4 markcares
    February 28, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    Sorry for not replying sooner. I had to take my computer into the shop and didn’t have it for a couple of days.
    That’s why I like to use official church manuals. If they don’t agree with what I say it says, I ask them for their interpretation. Often they don’t have one that is specific to what we are talking about. I try to have them look carefully at the quote and see if their interpretation agrees with it. I then ask them who has more authority: their official church manuals or they, as individual church members.
    The other thing we need to keep in mind is to always share God’s Word with them. Even if they don’t have a high regard for it, it is so powerful and the Holy Spirit can use it to bring them out of darkness into the light of his love.

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February 2013

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