Becoming a God

Even though I have recently addressed this topic, I am revisiting it because it is the centerpiece of Chapter 5 of the Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, a chapter that will be studied in the LDS Church this coming Sunday.  This chapter begins by quoting the famous couplet President Snow authored,

“As man now is, God once was:

As God now is, man may be.”

It then talks about how he made this the theme for his life.  It was his “constant light and guide”.  But what I found especially enlightening is that it then says that, “in this chapter, President Snow teaches the doctrine that we can become like our Heavenly Father.”  That struck me because that clearly shows, and as the rest of the chapter demonstrates, that when Mormonism talks about the possibility of becoming like God it means that they can become a god.  In other words, in the official writings of Mormonism, the two statements are synonymous.

That is important because many members of the LDS Church have given me the impression that becoming like God is less than becoming a god.  And I don’t doubt that they truly believe there is a distinction between the two.  But even a cursory reading of this chapter says differently.  Following are just some quotes I pulled from that chapter to demonstrate that.  These quotes are all an explanation of becoming like God.

“There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization.”

“He has bestowed on us the capacity for infinite wisdom and knowledge.”  (my emphasis)

“We have divinity within ourselves.”

Heavenly Father says:  “walk ye up and come in possession of the same glory and happiness that I possess.” (my emphasis)

“becoming like unto Him in every particular”

But President Snow also states very clearly that all this is conditioned on a person’s obedience.  One quote will suffice:  “They are His children, made in His image, and destined through obedience to His laws to become like unto Him.”  Repeatedly he talks about how people can realize their divine potential IF they remain faithful and obedient.

What a contrast to biblical teaching! It speaks of a God that we can’t begin to fathom – a God that is so superior that even the angels cover their faces in his presence.  The God of the Bible is one whose both nature and works leave us speechless.  The God of the Bible stands unequalled from eternity to eternity.  Nowhere does the Bible state that we will possess the same glory as God.

But his greatest glory is his love.  The love that moved him, not to give us a plan of salvation, but salvation itself.  The love that he put into action by sending Jesus as our substitute, to do everything necessary for us to live eternally with him.  And that is what Jesus did!  He was perfectly obedient and then bestowed that righteousness on us through faith.  And then he died – not for any sins he committed – but for all the sins we have committed.  He paid the full price.  And because Jesus did it all there are now no conditions, no ifs, for us to fret over.  Instead of making eternal life with Heavenly Father conditional on our obedience, God offers it to us as his free gift.

O, what a blessing that is.  Because Jesus has already done everything for me, I am positive that right now that, in Christ, I am completely worthy and accepted to God.  Because of Jesus, I can’t wait for Judgment Day because there I know I will be lovingly accepted by God.  Because of Jesus, I know beyond the shadow of any doubt that I will be living with Heavenly Father forever.  There are no ifs, ands, or buts, about it.  To Him be all praise and glory!


9 Responses to “Becoming a God”

  1. 1 rechtglaubig
    March 8, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    One thing I want to point out for anyone reading is that one common response I will see is a list of quotes (usually copied from the FAIR Apologetic website) from the early Christian church that, on the surface, seem to support the LDS doctrine. If you take the time and research the quotes for yourself, you will find that:

    1) Key words are left out of the specific quote
    2) The context of the quote explains what the ECF is trying to say.

  2. 2 markcares
    March 8, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Thanks for that comment. I have experienced the same thing. But I also have talked with many LDS members who don’t even admit that this is what their church teaches. The ones who try to say that this is what the early church teaches are at least admitting that Mormonism teaches that.

  3. March 8, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Mark, you present some great facts to show that the Bible presents our Creator as unique , He is’nt like
    any other ( either ” god” or “God” ). He stands alone as the one true Almighty Lord God creator of all
    there is . I have never really understood why some Mormons would use the excuse of man only becoming
    some “god” as compared to their Heavenly Father who is a ” God” . What Mormon authorities have taught
    is that sinful man can , through following the Mormon “gospel plan” , progress into becoming an Almighty
    God just like their Heavenly Father is today , ( they’ve used the ” like Father like son” line to explain this ).
    This teaching is’nt difficult to varify . Remember also that in Mormon publications Heavenly Father is
    sometimes refrred to as a ” god” , and man is referred to as becoming a ” God” . Bottom line here is that
    the rationaizing that some Mormons use to divert away from what they are publically uncomfortable with talking is silly . I also realize that some Mormons are so engrossed in church activities and that they
    simply have not taken the time to check out what the leaders have taught on many important issues.
    As far as the issue that rechtglaubig has mentioned is concerned , we must realize that some Mormons
    will try and find any “evidence” from any source in an effort to prove this doctrine . The confusion that
    has come from influencial Mormons on this has already become apparent . Case in point :
    Church curriculum once taught that the doctrine of man becoming a God taught by Mormon
    leaders is identical to what the early Christian fathers once taught about this. Now , we see where
    popular BYU prof. Robert Millet has admitted that , ” Latterday Saints would probably not agree with
    most of what was taught about deification by the early christian church leaders…”
    Mark, thanks for reminding us all that the safe place in which to anchor our beliefs about God/Jesus /
    salvation is in the Bible , it’s the bed rock of the christian faith . May the Mormon people come to see
    the importance of Jesus’ counsel to be on the lookout for prophets in these latter days—- Mark
    13:22-23 —who will come claiming to be appointed by Him to teach the real truth about God etc.
    It is prudent , and in line with Jesus’ counsel , that their teachings be tested —Jn 4:1

  4. March 9, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Of all the teachings I grew up with, this is the one that has probably most influenced my worldview and most comforted me as I ponder “eternity.” It’s got nothing to do with a desire to equal God or become a god or attain godly power. Instead, it is the inherent message of eternal progression and learning. Learning, seeking, and expanding understanding is the path. One can study, grow, and improve eternally. It is not stagnated perfection or the forever sameness of ominiscience. What’s even more beautiful is that God continues to expand as well; one never catches up because He never stops. Why would he? The glory of God is intelligence. So magnificent, so inspirational in its constant encouragement to reach and never enter into a vegetated state of “enough” truth or wisdom. Especially moving is the instigation to learn NOW and always; to never decide you’ve learned sufficient to simply step back and await the afterlife’s lifting of the veil to continue on. The understanding you take with you upon leaving this plane informs the beginning of your continued learning in the next. Its a message of positive action, of positive motivation, and of respect for the endless beauty of creation and its never-ending intricacies. Simply beautiful.

    Dedicating so much of oneself to demonstrating to others the error of their ways, even “in love”, seems sad to me. I respect that, in many cases, it is well-intentioned and done with an honest sense of “helping.” But to me it represents the exact opposite of the above teachings. It is not shared progression and a mutual love of the quest, instead it seems an invitation to simply be satisfied with the “given truth” on offer by the helper. You worry that not all Mormons correctly understand their own doctrine and want to help them better comprehend, taking comfort in your surety that they will see the light once you get a chance to demonstrate your irrefutable evidence. I wish you great happiness and satisfaction as you continue your calling. For me, I’ll take solace in the wonderful news that whatever my current misunderstandings, God urges me to keep seeking and to incrementally build my understanding, both now and eternally with Him in the next realm.

  5. 5 JR
    March 9, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Regarding FAIR using quotes from the early Christian church and key words being left out to support LDS doctrine – it is interesting that this accusation is made because the same can be said of people who oppose the LDS church.

  6. 6 markcares
    March 9, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Victim of the Fury:
    Thanks for stopping my blog and leaving your thoughts. Permit me to explain my motivation for doing this. I do not expect you to agree with it but I feel that it is only fair to attempt to verbalize it as best I can. I am totally convinced that the stakes can not be any higher. That is how the Bible presents it and the Bible is my only source of ultimate truth. It describes two sides to eternity: heaven and hell. it further clearly identifies the dividing line between the two. “He that believeth on him is not comdemned, but the that believeth not is condemned already.” (John 3:18) Those who trust in what Jesus has done are not condemned – all else are condemned.
    That is why I do what I do. Because Mormonism teaches that Jesus didn’t do it all for us – that a person’s eternal destiny relies not only on what Jesus has done but also on what a person does. But splitting a person’s trust between Jesus and themselves destroys trust. In short, the teachings of Mormonism results in people receiving God’s condemnation – the condemnation that ends in hell itself.
    I don’t want to see anybody suffer that fate. So I warn people. I do this not out of love for the quest, but out of love for people. It is my prayer that in your quest you will see that God has revealed his amazing truth and love in the Bible. Ultimate joy is knowing that, in spite of what I have done, God loves me because of Jesus.

  7. 7 Kent
    March 12, 2013 at 6:55 am

    I recently had a couple of Mormon missionaries tell me that it isn’t Mormon doctrine that God used to be a man before He became God and they tried to use the line of becoming ‘like’ God, downplaying, the becoming gods themselves. However, the words of Joseph Smith contradict what the missionaries told me.

    “I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.

    … he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.

    Here, then, is eternal life — to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you”

    (History of the Church, vol. 6, pp. 304-306)

  8. 8 markcares
    March 12, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Your experience is quite common. That is why it is so helpful to have quotes like yours or the one in the post handy to show that Mormonism itself teaches this doctrine. Just yesterday i was reading a LDS blog on this very lesson and it was talking about how some critics of the LDS Church accuse the Church of trying to hide this teaching. The point the person was making is that it was right there in their official manual so how can anybody say that the Church is trying to deny it. I don’t know if some LDS members know just how many of their fellow members try to deny this teaching – thus making it appear to non-LDS that the LDS Church itself trying to hide it. That’s true especially because many non-LDS obviously don’t read LDS manuals!

  9. 9 JBR
    March 12, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Mark ….
    You say: “That is why it is so helpful to have quotes like yours or the one in the post handy to show that Mormonism itself teaches this doctrine.”
    That (IMO) is what is needed ……… a source available so one can access these quotes

Comments are currently closed.

March 2013

Blog Stats

  • 183,672 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 997 other followers

%d bloggers like this: