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!