Quantcast

Defending the Faith: Joseph Smith's restoration of 'theosis' was miracle, not scandal

Comments

Return To Article
  • Neil G. Barclay Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 10, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    As a Traditional Roman Catholic who has studied the history of the Faith, I can assure Brokenclay that the Church has always been singularly aware of the doctrinal problems that culminated in the Schism of 1054 the split that produced Eastern Orthodoxy. I do not know what might be meant by the ambiguous term "Latin tradition."

    That God was once a being like us is not "laid out" in either early Christian writings or the writings of the moment. Clement of Alexandria articulated a very complex exegesis of a statement by St. Paul, which bears no relation to Mormon materialism. A truncated statement, taken out of context, including ellipses, is not indicative of an understanding.

    I know not about the validity of the opinion alluded to, not having had the opportunity of examining it. As for myself, I deal not in opinions at all, but in learned judgment regarding the pertinent issue -- otherwise, I remain silent.

    I wasn't aware that doctrine, beautiful or not, "happened" to people: a strange locution indeed to describe the source of doctrine or dogma. I also find "beauty" as a criterion rather more than strange.

  • called2serve249 PROVO, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 10:29 a.m.

    Brokenclay-

    I've studied Early Christianity a bit as well, and have to agree with you that Eastern Orthodoxy isn't exactly the same as what the Mormons or Latin tradition hold. I think it is significant that Joseph Smith developed the idea in the midst of a Revivalist America where the concept was so heretical it was sickening.

    As for the idea that God was once a being like us, I agree, it's definitely not a concept clearly laid out in early Christian writings. The best I could come up with was this from Clement of Alexandria:
    "That man with whom the Word dwells...becomes God, since God so wills... Men are gods, and gods are men'."

    Regardless, I find beauty in the doctrine and believe it myself. It doesn't take an article in Deseret News to make that happen for me, but that's just me. My opinion is only as valid as yours.

  • Neil G. Barclay Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 9, 2011 12:28 a.m.

    Mormon theology regarding the meaning of God is off the beaten path of Christian doctrine Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Eastern Rite Catholicism under Rome.

    The God of the Christian entities adduced is pure spirit: always has been, is now, and ever will be; he is eternally omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent.

    The Mormon God is material; has "body, parts, and passions;" is perforce imperfect because he was once a man who had to "progress" to the status of God ("As man is God once was; as God is man may become" has been confirmed by at least five Presidents, including David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball); He sits on a throne on an unknown and imperceptible planet called Kolob, of which the night skies know not.

    One notices the advocate of the Mormon perception in question uses two different Bibles from which to quote (why?). I am not familiar with the newer version. The original King James has been proven to be chuck full of errors of all kinds, many quite substantial; typical of a work composed by a committee appointed by a dubiously-Christian derelict monarch; a man reprehensible in ways too egregious to mention here.

  • JM Lehi, UT
    Aug. 8, 2011 10:27 a.m.

    Great article. Clearly, we were not human before we came here, and there were many noble and great ones involved in Creation.

    Clearly Jesus was God before He became "man." 1 Cor. 15:21 For since by man (anthropOu) came death, by man (antrhropOu) also the
    resurrection of the dead."

    As I understand the LDS and original Christian doctrine, being called "gods" (in agreement with what Jesus says- John 10: "...he called them gods...scripture cannot be broken..."
    and being eternally creative, makes us gods, but we will never be absolutely equal to God, our Loving Father gives us all, but will always be ahead and above us.

  • Scizzle SARATOGA SPRINGS, UT
    Aug. 6, 2011 4:33 p.m.

    In a 2002 interview, Mike Wallace asked Pres. Hinckley about this topic. Wallace asked, "don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?" to which Pres. Hicnkley responded "I wouldn't say that. There was a couplet coined, 'As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.' Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about." Wallace then asked "is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?" to which Pres. Hinckley then replied, "I dont know that we teach it. I dont know that we emphasize it. I havent heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I dont know. I dont know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I dont know a lot about it.

    Dr. Peterson, if Pres. Hinckley avoided this subject, then maybe you should avoid writing articles about what a "miracle" it is.

  • Miriam SEATTLE, WA
    Aug. 6, 2011 1:20 p.m.

    Mormon people will do themselves a great favor to read the named ancient Christians, their beliefs, as well as the Catholic Catechism on Jesus Christ and the Incarnation, leading up to CC460. The issue is intent and context and both were violated. Jesus Christ is the Pearl of Great Price, our teachings for 2,000 years, He is the Meaning and Purpose of our life through the Eucharist.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 6, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    Ad Rem,

    Did you actually read my comment? Do you deny that Mormonism "posits" (?) that Jesus established his complete, "true", homogeneous Church that (as I wrote) "almost immediately began falling into apostasy"?

    The point is, LDS attribute that diversity to apostasy, not to a natural, legitimate diversity of belief that became more mature, consolidated, and "orthodox" over time.

    As such, for Peterson to cherry pick and take out of context teachings that support current claims of LDS Theosis is, as I stated, a blatant hindsight fallacy (not to mention confirmation bias).

    Unfortunately, you comment completely misses the mark as regards relevance. But nice try.

  • Ad Rem Falls Church, VA
    Aug. 6, 2011 6:40 a.m.

    Vanka,

    Given that you reside in Provo, UT, I am surprised that you don't realize that, generally speaking, Mormonism posits that the apostasy was already taking place during the time of the apostles. Thus, they do recognize the "diversity of beliefs" of the church fathers. And they, just like their low church Protestant cousins, get to cherry-pick quotes BECAUSE of that diversity of beliefs - i.e., remnants of the "true beliefs" would be scattered among the church fathers due to the effects of the early apostasy. This isn't much different than what low church Protestants do (e.g., James White, et. al.).

    Now if you really want to use "historical inquiry and documented research", then you will have to accept the scholarly consensus that even in the NT there was a diversity of beliefs. Are you willing to acknowledge that?

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:28 p.m.

    For the life of me, I can't understand why you would deny this comment. One more edit:

    LDS have a peculiar way of looking at the history of Christianity. You view early Christianity as one, monolithic "true Church" established whole-cloth, with all the details complete.

    Then you claim that perfect, whole, "true" Church almost immediately began falling into apostasy.

    By contrast, historical inquiry and documented research shows that Christianity was a heterogeneous, widely varied, pluralistic, ecumenical movement - indeed, a movement that actually preceded Jesus, with fragments of Jewish apocalypticism among the Essenes, and many other groups.

    Among this variety, some Christians believed Jesus was just a man. Others believed he was a gnostic "Aeon". Some Christians believed man is fundamentally evil. Others believed man contains a "divine spark" that can grow into something like divinity.

    Over time, these various factions battled for adherents and supremacy, consolidating "orthodox" beliefs.

    For Peterson to look back at the diversity of beliefs of the Church Fathers, cherry-pick quotes, out of context, that seem to support LDS theosis, is hindsight fallacy of the highest order.

  • Tyler Ray Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:14 p.m.

    Here's logic for parents. Do you love your children? Do you want the best for them? The very best? Since our Father in Heaven has the best, wouldn't it only be logical that He would want the absolute BEST for his children. Of course he would. That's what I love about this principle it makes God a perfectly loving parent, not some unkowable being that we can never really admire and don't know. We know Heavenly Father and he wants us to be as happy as he is.

  • ADN Weiser, ID
    Aug. 5, 2011 12:51 p.m.

    Seeing all the posts on this site about stories dealing with the LDS Church and thier doctrine, I can really see why Joseph Smith Jr. went to a grove of trees to try to see which church was true. There is a war of words, and people understand doctrines so differently. Sounds like we still have that mass confusion. I am grateful that God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ visited this impressionable boy, who had no tradition to cling to. I am grateful that the Lord revealed truth and doctrine to a living prophet, like He always had in the past. (there is a pattern of Him using prophets to establish truth) It is no wonder Jesus Himself, in that vision said that "thier (meaning the man made churches) creeds were an abomination in His sight." Thank the heavens that God still speaks to His authorized servants. It really is like an iron rod which is sure and steadfast, which pierces clouds of darkness and confusion.

  • neamon VERADALE, WA
    Aug. 5, 2011 12:33 p.m.

    And for my Mormon friends out there, one of your scholarly groups published the thesis by Jordan Vajda (Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley, California) a Catholic priest and a member of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans). He served at the Newman Center (the Catholic Campus Ministry) for the University of Washington in Seattle.

    It was entitled "Partakers of the Divine Nature" and it addressed a couple of different perspectives on this topic.

    I think he later joined the Mormon church. I know Mormons will love to hear that!

  • neamon VERADALE, WA
    Aug. 5, 2011 12:26 p.m.

    There was some interesting comments on this topic when I studied Judaism and the variety of early Christian traditions while in Israel. One of the most fascinating statements from "Mr. Trinity" himself, St. Athanasius:

    "God became man so that man might become a god." (cf. St. Athanasius, De Incarnatione or On the Incarnation 54:3, PG 25:192B; also Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 460)

    Deification, Divinization, Theosis, etc. The general idea of the doctrine was taught and believed with variation amongst different religious secs (Christian and Jewish alike). The sum of the belief is that the redeeming power of Christ (Or Hashem in Judaism) is so complete that he is able to redeem man from everything that makes man simply mortal, to the status of god. God in this case is not a reference to "the Father" (or the High One) but the status that redeemed beings achieve through Christ or Hashem. The variation includes some literal anthropomorphic and corporeal traditions on one side, to the extreme of individuals no longer existing and "becoming of the same substance as Christ." Similar to the concept of "partakers of the divine nature," etc.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 5, 2011 12:15 p.m.

    There can be a lot of debates about the nature of God and man. We can believe that man is co eternal with God and as His spirit children, can become like God. Or we can believe in the creeds and that God created man and the universe exnihilo. One of the problems with "creation out of nothing" is "Where did evil come from?" God must have created it and I find it easier to believe in a God that wants us all to become like Him than a God who created evil.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    Aug. 5, 2011 11:54 a.m.

    Here's a question just for fun:

    Whether you believe in the Trinity version of God, or the LDS version:

    If God is Omnipotent and knows all things, and Jesus is God, why is it that only the Father knows the time of Jesus' Second Coming, and not Jesus? Shouldn't Jesus, being Omnipotent know as well? And yet see...Matt 24:36

    Discuss....

  • Zadruga Guy West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 10:46 a.m.

    Faithinfacts noted that the concept of eternal progression implies that God the Father has not yet (and never will) reach the end of His progression. I agree with this, but do not find it troubling.

    I interpret God's Omniscience to mean that there is not anything that any of us knows that God does not also know. His Omnipotence as meaning that there is not anything that one of us can do that God cannot also do. And so forth.

    God is the yardstick against which we measure ourselves. By definition, a yardstick is exactly a yard long -- it is a "perfect" yard. Yet it is possible that an even more precise way of measuring a yard exists. But that need not concern us, because for any measuring that we need to do in this life, the yardstick that God provides is sufficient.

  • KurtFK Littleton, CO
    Aug. 5, 2011 10:01 a.m.

    This whole discussion is interesting, but not crucial to the validity of the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We believe in the principle of continuing revelation. We also do not depend on the Bible as the source of our authority, as do most other churches. If every Bible in the world was destroyed, the LDS Church would still continue on unfazed, because we have the living oracles with us, today. We reverence the Bible and use its teachings and doctrines constantly, but there are many doctrines of our Church that are not found therein, either (a) because they were removed by the early Church Fathers, (b) were too sacred to be written down, or (c) have only been revealed by God in the Latter Days. Attempting to prove the early Christian roots of the LDS Church by calling on the Apostolic Fathers can be dangerous - they were already well into the Great Apostasy when these letters were written.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Aug. 5, 2011 9:23 a.m.

    Good article. I'd love to see a more historical analysis of how orthodox/mainstream religions have adapted in the past few centuries--because when Joseph Smith originally revealed so much, his ideas were extremely radical.

    I see many religions being so embattled these days that they seldom really get hung up on doctrinal differences. there was a time when religious authorities had a lot more power, and then our differences were striking/and dogma was used to divide people into tiers of who can belong to which group...

    Likewise many creeds have fallen out of use for the same reasons--as creeds were used to put solid boundaries on free religious thought. Organized religions prior to Joseph Smith and the concepts of free religion, were focused on control and subjugating the mass of believers--condemning nonbelievers to ostracization (often violence and torture).

    We forget about just how far religious thought has come in our age. Perhaps many don't care because it no longer threatens their lives--though we should all be just a bit more grateful for men like Joe Smith who pushed those boundaries out further and gave us all more room to believe.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    Aug. 5, 2011 8:21 a.m.

    sharrona said: "The sun,heat,light,tri-unity,or 3 things are one."

    Interesting that you should use "sun", "heat", and "light" as your example of your belief in the Trinity, since these are three separate elements that can, and do exist separately, while also being able to exist together in purpose. (i.e. light can be produced without the sun or feeling the heat, heat can be produced without the sun, and it is possible to see the sun without feeling the heat).

    3 separate elements, but one in purpose. When united together they can provide and sustain life.

    Sounds more like what the LDS believe about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, being separate beings, but One in purpose, than your beliefs about the Trinity.

  • Faithinfacts Brisbane, QLD
    Aug. 5, 2011 2:49 a.m.

    The concept of man becoming God goes hand in hand with eternal progression - a troubling concept for many because it implies God is not yet perfect.

    Is God perfect? If he is, the concept of eternal progression is false, assuming Brother Peterson is not redefining the term 'perfect'.

  • User41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 10:00 p.m.

    Thanks once again, Dr. Peterson, for your articles -- I always enjoy reading what you have to say.

    Also, It seems that the Catholics have embraced this "theosis" doctrine for quite some time. Check out their catechism #460. I think that's very cool -- it goes right along with Revelations 21:7 (those who overcome shall inherit all things).

    I find it amusing that as a 'Mormon' I'm so often derided as a loathsome heretic and non-Christian for believing that our Father in Heaven is literally that -- a father figure, who's desire and purpose is to help us grow up to be like Him someday.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:58 p.m.

    KC Mormon. The Prophet(JS) explains there is nothing in the original word in Greek that signifies paradise; but it was This day shalt thou be with me in the world of spirits.(Mormon Doctrine p. 555) Wrong.

    The word "paradise" is found in the Old Testament(Genesis 2:8 Septuagint) a garden(paradeisos 3587)in the east of Eden ,and occurs three times in the New Testament: Luke 23:43,where the Savior on the cross says to the thief, "Today shalt thou be with me in paradise"; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4,where Paul alludes to his vision of the third heaven and also to paradise; and Revelation 2:7,which describes the righteous who partake of the tree of life in the midst of God's paradise.

    God spoke to Moses, I Am( the being)(Ex 3:14 Septuagint). Jesus said, I Am(the being) the Alpha and Omega, says the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, The Almighty. (Rev 1:8 Greek N.T.)verse 6 the O.T. designation of Israel is applied to the Christian Church.

    The sun,heat,light,tri-unity,or 3 things are one.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:49 p.m.

    Translations!!!
    Modern day translators translated the bible (official state church bible - one that even we use) and suddenly TREASURE became STORAGE... totally changed the Savior's message.

    When I met the missionaries in 1967 and stopped them to tell them how wrong they were ... they ONLY told me things I had known as a child about my Father in heaven and His son, Jesus Christ, The Holy Ghost witnessed to me the truth of their message.
    I knew inside, that my Father has total LOVE towards me. NO LIMITS, but what I bring on myself... because my elder BROTHER Jesus shows me the WAY.
    BUT would I rather listen to others telling me, that the things taught to me by the Holy Ghiost are not so... I do not think so!

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:40 p.m.

    Curtis, if that's monotheism, then the word has lost all meaning. To be united in purpose and love is simply insufficient to save LDS theology from the charge of polytheism. John 17:21 fits in very nicely with union with Christ and Eastern Orthodox deification, as Athanasius has demonstrated elsewhere.

    "Trinity" is an extra-biblical term; so is the Greek word "theosis." This is a tired old argument that deserves to be set aside. The words are simply tags to identify and summarize a body of teachings found in the Scripture.

    Just because the LDS worship someone named Jesus or Jehovah doesn't mean that it's the same person we worship. The Israelites learned this lesson early on (Exodus 32:5).

    Dr. Peterson said, "Joseph Smith restored an authentically ancient Judeo-Christian doctrine." The problem is, theosis was never "lost" in Eastern Orthodoxy, and it was never, ever taught as the LDS version. The quotes I supplied are more than enough to demonstrate this.

    I give you this teaching on the authority of the Scripture (Deuteronomy 13:1-5) and the indwelling Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:10-16). The apostles and prophets have already spoken on the matter.

  • Vanka Provo, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:37 p.m.

    In all my years investigating the LDS Church, I have learned that there is one thing that defines whether or not a doctrine is "true": Does the doctrine give you a warm, fuzzy feeling right here, right now.

    It doesn't matter if the ideas seem absurd later on.

    It doesn't matter that the doctrines conflict with what Church leaders said ten minutes or ten years or ten decades ago.

    If it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, it must be true.

    In Mormonism, on this "warm-and-fuzzy" principle hang all the law and the prophets.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:05 p.m.

    RE: brokenclay | 11:02 a.m

    "Create", as used as used and translated in the bible, means "to Organize"

    How do you organize nothing?

    This just impresses the point of the importance of the Restoration of the true Gospel through a living prophet Joseph Smith,

    rather than relying on a committee of men.

  • KC Mormon Edgerton, KS
    Aug. 4, 2011 7:33 p.m.

    lds4gaymarriage
    Let me add a couple more to your list.
    When Jesus was on the cross what did he say to one of the thieves? This day I shall be with you in paradise.
    If paradise is with God then Jesus and the thief must have gone to he presses of God( if Jesus is the same being then that must be the case. Yet what did Jesus tell Mary three days later at the tomb?
    Touch me not for I have not yet ascended to my Father.
    Clearly Jesus did not go to paradise with the Father and because Jesus was with the thief three days earlier Jesus could not be the Father.
    As to the Question from earlier about God having a Father read the Book of Revelation chapter 1. Pay attention to how John is very careful to never call Jesus God or God Jesus then notice (I believe it is in verse 6) what John says Jesus did for us?
    6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
    Notice God and HIS FATHER.

  • standfan HELENA, MT
    Aug. 4, 2011 6:30 p.m.

    I find it most interesting that so many people that claim a belief in God, that claim He is all powerful, and all knowing, that He can do anything, or be anything, can in the same breath put Him in a box and tell HIM it's impossible for you GOD to create anything as good as you are ???? I don't get it. What father, at least a loving one, wouldn't want His children to be, or have, or become all that HE his, or has or has become??? If that's your GOD I feel sorry for you. I know my Father And God wants me to follow and become as He has. I believe, in fact I know it was Christ who said " Be ye therfore perfect, even as I or your Father which is in Heaven is perfect." Can anyone tell me why He would give me commandment I couldn't obey??? Or reqest me to do something that was impossible??? I seem to hear another scripture "With God all things are possible" I don't believe it's very good practice to tell God what He can or can't do. Or what His limits for us are. Just a thought.

  • MarieDevine Divine-Way Kansas City, MO
    Aug. 4, 2011 5:43 p.m.

    Jesus said, scripture says, Ye are gods.
    How can we be like Jesus and God, and sit on God's throne and rule with Him?

    God is His will, the Father; and His word is His Son; the Holy Spirit is His power and faithfulness to do what He said He would do.

    IF we live by every word of God as Jesus said and did, we will be the same as God's word; we will be one with God and Jesus. The power that accompanies God's word is the same from God's mouth or ours.

    There is only ONE GOD, who created all things by His will and His word; but now we can use that power and word to create peace, overthrow leaders, and much more. With God's word, we will rule and judge the nations and we will be judged by that word. THAT is why we must follow the Books of Moses, and the Gospel and Prophets to be one with God. We cannot leave any guidance behind and be true to His word. He is a living God and will guide us if we seek to do all His word. D&C136:37

  • lds4gaymarriage Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 5:14 p.m.

    As has been shown before, Christ is not THE God (see the quote from Athanasius that BrokenClay shared). God, Christ, and the apostles state that the Father is the God of Christ.

    Christ, like us, inherits from God (Rom. 8:14-18) (If Christ is God, how can he inherit from himself or be given something he already has?)
    We will inherit all things (Rev. 21:7)
    We will be given power (Rev. 2:26)
    We will sit on Christ's throne (Rev. 3:21)
    Christ also bears the image of the heavenly (2 Cor. 4:4, Heb. 1:2,3)
    Man too will bear the image of the heavenly (1 Cor. 15:49)
    We will have the same image as Christ from glory to glory (2 Cor. 3:18)
    We will have the same body as Christ (Phil. 3:21)

    We are given exceedingly great promises whereby we'll become sharers of/partners in God's divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4)

    Christ isn't THE God, but he has been raised to Godhood (Rev. 3:21) and the verses above point to us inheriting a lesser, though similar reward.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Aug. 4, 2011 4:12 p.m.

    Bill - I have never heard anyone say the concept of Satan and Jesus being brothers is false because Satan fell. I'm sure he lost things he once had because he fell but it seems you are using semantics to try to minimize the criticism some have that we believe Jesus and Satan are or were brothers. It is Mormonism 101 that Jesus and Satan were brothers in the pre-existence. That is at the heart of non-Mormon criticism. I doubt they care what we think Satan has lost or not at this point.

    And Bill, you often say that the Church hides nothing because everything can be found written somewhere in some LDS book or website. But you have to also know that the main point is that the Church puts forth a primary message that, while not denying certain points of history/doctrine, do not mention them either. This is what I believe is referred to as the varnished or whitewashed history.

    It is like me telling you I have two children and later claiming that because I referenced my other three in some journal, book or website somewhere I was being totally honest with you.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    Aug. 4, 2011 3:42 p.m.

    I don't see how a situation wherin we spend an eternity being inferior to God could not result in conflict, especially if Jesus paid the price for our sins. Where's the justice in that? Either Christ redeems us, or he doesn't. What was the point of his suffering, death, and resurrection? If God is not just, I see no way he could be God. It's just not sustainable. If God is only interested in keeping us under his thumb for eternity, for his own selfish purposes, what is the difference between God and the devil, and why would we want to worship him?

  • Curtis Hight Juneau, AK
    Aug. 4, 2011 3:18 p.m.

    (continued from above)

    I'm not surprised that further light and knowledge reveal shortfalls of light in existing teachings so I have to test the revelations and the revelator through some other means. Is the truth to be found upon the earth? "If any of [us] lack wisdom, let him ask of God . . ." I ask and I receive!

    You stated that "The Eastern understanding of deification is similar to the Western doctrine of union with Christ. I accept this Athanasian understanding of deification with very little reservation." Does "Eastern" and "Western" Christianity concur? Will the Catholic and Protestant portions of Western Christianity concur with your paradigm that a common doctrine of "union with Christ" exists among them?
    ___
    You know that the issues you raise regarding the teachings of The CJCLDS are generally robustly answered (in other forums, if not this one) by those who know the matters well. When I read the Bible I see The CJCLDS far more than any other community and my prayers to the living God are answered with peace, very often direction, and by and by knowledge! Shall I not go on in so great a cause?

  • Curtis Hight Juneau, AK
    Aug. 4, 2011 3:16 p.m.

    brokenclay,

    Thank you: A) I believe in the monotheism of the Bible, which invites us to join the unity, saying "That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee me, that they may be one in us . . .", B) What does "Triunity" mean to you? I don't find it in the Bible, C) "A different God" hmm, I pray to and worship the living God, that same God that I grace all my brothers and sisters worship even if they have significantly different understandings, and I hope and work for growth in the understanding of each of us. D) You didn't answer my question about authority! :-)

    You listed four items from Irenaeus, I don't find convincing biblical evidence for any of the first three, and only in other context parts of the fourth. Your words suggest that you believe the Bible, if so do you believe in ongoing revelation, an active paradigm of the Bible? Maybe you believe in ongoing revelation but just not those revelations associated with The CJCLDS and it's members, if then, not this community, then which?

    (continued below)

  • Kimball Bakersfield, CA
    Aug. 4, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    It makes sense that our Father wants His children to become like him or at least to reach our full potential. He sent His son to make it possible. That makes faith in the Lord Jesus Christ paramount. What a wonderfull plan!

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:53 p.m.

    Twisting of the word of God and incorrect english translations which formed most opinions that Joe declared as scripture. Are mormons really this gullable?

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    The glorification of "man, men, males" really gets old.
    So does the "Handmaiden" label given to women.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:38 p.m.

    Bill: many of the citations by Mr. Peterson came before the creeds were even mentioned.
    Well before the creeds,Saint Peter said, that through them you may participate(*Koinonos ,2844) in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4 NIV).
    *communion of saints, from the Apostles creed. Does not indicate Christians become divine in any sense, but only that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, Our humanity and his deity.

    "Deification," the Orthodox understanding,is to be interpreted in terms of the distinction between the divine essence and the divine energies. Human beings share by God's mercy in His energies but not in his essence, either in the present age or in the age to come. That is to say, in theosis the saints participate in the grace, power, and glory of God, but they never become God by essence.

    Tertullian was a Trinitarian(triune God)well before the Nicene creed.

    CougarinVegas, Be ye perfect Mt 5:48, Paul explains use of the laws: Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith.(Gal 3:24 NASB)

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Mormoncowboy: When you say the implication really there? In my opinion no but to some it could be assumed as yes. The Father created many worlds, not just one and in reality we really don't know how huge the universe is. We are only beginning to understand that. We are heirs to all the Father has not just a few so the answer is no. Will we have worlds of our own? That I really don't know though we will be able to do as the Father has done. Again "as God is man may become but as man is God once was" is a correct principle.

    Did the Father have a Father and a Mother? To that I must answer Yes. However, we worship only our Father in Heaven. The Father of Jesus Christ our eldest brother. Satan and all those spirits (1/3 of the Host of Heaven) lost their Glory and are no longer our brothers and sisters, but our sworn enemy.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:19 p.m.

    @megen: I agree, not everything you create is your child. But are you saying that if you create an actual child, it is not yours, and then you go through an adoption process to make it your child? If you don't have to do that, why would God? (along the same lines using your example, if you create the dinner, would you then have to adopt it in order for it to be your dinner, or is it yours by virtue of the fact that you created it.)

    @elchupacabras: We are also His offspring, created in His image...this is also very scriptural (see Acts 17:28-29; Genesis 1:26) You don't have to adopt your own offspring...they are yours.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:18 p.m.

    Spartan,

    Of course there are answers to your Chicken and Egg question. However this forum is not a viable venue for answering them. I suggest you begin by going to the Church's main website, Music, and look for the words for LDS hymn 284, "If You Could Hie to Kolob." With that and the attendance of the Holy Ghost, you can begin to receive a mantic answer to your questions. Beyond that, joining the Church, becoming temple worthy, and engaging in in temple worship for a lifetime would help. However, don't expect a cookbook of astrophysical details. Expect the confirmation of the Holy Ghost and a knowledge that God is in his heaven.

    In the meantime you might ponder the various names and titles for God used in the Old and New Testament. On deep reflection, there is much to be learned in why and when the apostles and prophets used the various terms. The Hellenistic explanation and resulting conclusions about God aren't the only ones that fits. So very much happened in the first 200 years after Christ was here. He and the apostles prophesied a general apostasy, and so it was.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 4, 2011 2:03 p.m.

    "By the way the question asked of President Hinkley was more in line with Do you believe you will get your own world?"

    Bill:

    Sure, this isn't the type of language that the Church generally uses or encourages to brand its concept of Exaltation...but, still...isn't the implication really there??

  • Bill in Nebraska Maryville, MO
    Aug. 4, 2011 1:01 p.m.

    By the way the question asked of President Hinkley was more in line with Do you believe you will get your own world? The answer to that is exactly what President Hinkley said. That isn't taught nor is it really elaborated on. What we do teach is that we can become just like our Heavenly Father. That we can be kings, priests, priestess and queens in the Kingdom of our Father (celestial kingdom).

    The quote, "As God is man may become and as man is God once was" in correct principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all heirs of the kingdom but we must obey the commandments, be baptized and repent of our sins and then endure to the end. We don't earn our kingdom, it is a gift to us by the Grace of Jesus Christ. True followers of Christ whether LDS or not will have this opportunity. That is why the temple work is so necessary for every person who has lived, is living or will live on the earth.

    Again many of the citations used by Mr. Peterson came before the creeds were even mentioned.

  • Spartan ALPHARETTA, GA
    Aug. 4, 2011 12:57 p.m.

    So part of your beliefs is the doctrine, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Can anyone of you explain logically and clearly how God who existed before all else can have been EVIL and VILE and if He was HOW did God get saved and when. If God was sinful (as we are) who forgave Gods sins? The idea that God was once fallen and evil like we are is ludicrous to the intelligent person. God tells us through the Bible that He is the "alpha and omega", the beginning and the end of all existence as we know it. God tells us in the Bible, "I am the great I am". Now about us becoming like God. We may become closer to the glory of God but we can never reach the glory He is or have the power over all existence as He has. We are subject to the devils temptations. God is not. As a matter of fact God tossed out the devil from heaven and a third of the rebellious angles. Be careful that God does not decide to toss you out too.

  • Sasha Pachev Provo, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 12:27 p.m.

    I am a convert to the LDS church, and thus have the ability to look at things with a perspective of a non-believer because I was one at some point. I did look at the "scholastic" commentary on Romans 8, then at the verse itself. Wow, too much knowledge can really get you going and make you miss simple things.

    The scripture says to me plainly - you are something that can inherit what God has. A pet does not inherit the property of the owner. The heir must poses the same class of intelligence as the giver of the inheritance.

    The fact that Joseph Smith understood that, while almost every Christian minister of his time and today missed it only strengthens the argument that Joseph Smith was indeed God's prophet.

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 4, 2011 12:07 p.m.

    Fred, we are only His creations until we profess our faith in Him, at which time we become heirs as His children. This is very scriptural, see John 1:12.

  • megen Truth or Consequences, NM
    Aug. 4, 2011 12:02 p.m.

    Fred Vader, not everything you create is your child. I'm creating dinner, but it is not my child.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:55 a.m.

    Speed 66,

    I think all Judaeo-Christian religions agree that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were true to their faith, were accepted by God, and, for those who believe in an afterlife at all, will be consigned to "heaven" with their polygamous wives. Even Muslims believe the same for Abraham. So, just what is not mainstream about polygamy being practiced in heaven?

    Others,

    Peterson's article emphasized that belief in theosis is not mainstream for Christians today, but there is evidence that early Christians thought differently about things. Peterson never implied that Joseph somehow built Mormonism's concepts out of historical scraps which he had no access to. Unlike modern day Christianity and Judaism, Mormonism doesn't claim an authoritarian (etymologically speaking) foundation. The foundation is clearly and solidly mantic. Joseph Smith understood the nature of God in a far different way than traditional Christianity from the time he was 14 years old, and that source was not reading Christian treatises on the subject. The testimonies of individual Latter-day Saints are also on a mantic foundation. LDS are not telling you "follow my logic" or "trust me." They simply teach and invite others to experience the mantic.

  • disciplescientist San Antonio, Tx
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:50 a.m.

    elchupacabras,
    while the Church has canonized the King James version, it does not forbid anyone from seeking a deeper understanding using other versions. Other versions can enlighten the scripture, especially to a modern reader.
    Joseph Smith said that Martin Luther's German Bible was the most correct he had read! (sorry no reference)

    As a note: in non-English countries Mormons use the most commonly used versions and translations. There is now a LDS version of the Spanish Bible. In Finland the national Lutherian church made a new translation of the Bible that was published and printed in 1990s. The Finnish LDS church immediately adopted that version, despite that the translation is much less literal that the previous 1930s translation. Thus in translated talks the translators sometimes needs to refer to the 1930s translation that carries the meaning of the KJ version that the speaker refers to)

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:48 a.m.

    Thank You Mr. Peterson. As to the quote by Mr. Snow: "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Given whether you believe God the Son was and is a literal physical being or was an expression of the Father in the flesh, and now an Heir with Him in His spiritual omni-presence . The quotes provided by Mr. Petersen and Mr. Snow accurately reflect that as the God-Son was once flesh, but now an Heir with the Father, so, also, is man (adopted or otherwise) heir to the same. Note that Mr. Snow used the term God not the term Father. His quote is accurate, when applied to the Son in every Christian belief of which I am aware, as it is to Mormons. Where is the conflict?

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:32 a.m.

    brokenclay:

    "God is 'the uncreated one"...He created everything else ex nihilo"

    If He created everything else, then He is the Father of "everything else", inlcuding us...since He created us.

    You do not adopt something you created. You adopt something that someone else created. If you created it, there is no need for adoption, it is yours.

    It really is rather simple.

  • disciplescientist San Antonio, Tx
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    elchupacabras,
    If I may, I would like to suggest you try to view, just as a thought experiment, the issue as we as Mormons do.
    To us, the doctrine of exaltation existed in the Early Church but was in time diluted or altered by Greek philosophies, intellectuals and especially by 'official' church creeds. So it seems perfectly valid to explore the knowledge that the early fathers still had of the true doctrines of the restored gospel. Not a proof, per say, but shows that our doctrine is not without grounds in the docrines that can be found handed down to the church fathers and in this case also the eastern branch of Christianity.

    See other post about the translations..

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    Daniel R. Peterson, 2011 - Theosis was restored by Joseph Smith

    Gordon B. Hinckley, Time Magazine, 1997 "I dont know that we teach it. I dont know that we emphasize it."

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Aug. 4, 2011 11:02 a.m.

    Curtis,

    Thank you for the invite. I offer you monotheism, the Triunity, a different God.

    If an Eastern Orthodox theologian were to read this article, he would take serious issue with Dr. Peterson's conclusions. Allow me to add Irenaeus' thoughts to the matter, as well, from the same chapter as Dr. Peterson's quote (Against Heresies 4.38):

    1. God is "the uncreated One"
    2. He created everything else ex nihilo
    3. The "uncreated One" includes the Father, Son, and Spirit-- Trinitarianism
    4. "For from the very fact of these things [men] having been created, [it follows] that they are not uncreated; but by their continuing in being throughout a long course of ages, they shall receive a faculty of the Uncreated, through the gratuitous bestowal of eternal existence upon them by God. And thus in all things God has the pre-eminence, who alone is uncreated, the first of all things, and the primary cause of the existence of all, while all other things remain under Gods subjection."

    Not LDS teaching.

    The Eastern understanding of deification is similar to the Western doctrine of union with Christ. I accept this Athanasian understanding of deification with very little reservation.

  • speed66 Hever City, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 10:54 a.m.

    This certainly sets the bar low for miracles. Using mathematical principals to defend a religious belief - cute but dangerous. What happens when we use math to measure the lives of Mormons vs. others? Divorce, teenage pregnancy, drug use, porn addiction and other measurable benchmarks show that despite their devotion, they lead lives that are essentially the same as others.

    I'm consistently amused at Mormons trying to convince others that they are mainstream and that they alone are the holders of truth. Neither is true.
    Victim-hood is part of the culture that comes with claims that they are believed to have horns and/or pointy tails or that they are portrayed as inherently evil. The truth is that most people don't care. They know little more about Mormons than Mormons know of Christian Science, 7th-day Adventists or Jehovah Witnesses.

    Mormon beliefs are not mainstream. The past practice of polygamy, the belief that polygamy will be practiced in "heaven", homophobia, racism, garments and priesthood. None of this is mainstream.

    Trying to defend it only fuels the fire of those who think it matters. Does anyone really believe the "I'm a Mormon ads work?

    Again, who cares what others think?

  • TheProudDuck Newport Beach, CA
    Aug. 4, 2011 10:51 a.m.

    Traditional Christians believe in the doctrine of the Trinity -- the concept that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though each has a distinct personal identity (that's the "neither confounding the Persons" in the Athanasian Creed) are nevertheless one God. (LDS doctrine also teaches that the persons of the Godhead together constitute "one God"; the differences aren't as great as either traditional Christians or many Mormons make it out to be.)

    Once you've gone beyond the strict mathematical notion of oneness, there's no real reason why -- if three Persons can constitute one God -- three *billion* persons can't also be included under the heading "one God."

    To paraphrase the old saying, we've already established what God can be -- now we're just quibbling about numbers.

  • elchupacabras Idaho Falls, ID
    Aug. 4, 2011 10:06 a.m.

    Daniel R. Peterson takes Romans 8 WAY out of context. Being joint heirs with Christ means were are adopted by the Father as His sons and daughters, not theosis. The totality of scripture is very much against the idea of man becoming God.

    Also, the Patristic writings mentioned have a very different idea about "deification" of man, and perhaps reflect more of the Eastern Orthodox tradition regarding the topic-- but never do they ever attempt to show that man evolved from his current state into the Alpha and Omega.

    I am curious as to why Moroni 8:18 seems to also go up against the idea of theosis, yet Joseph Smith sharply repudiated it.

    Odd are the use of quoted originating from Alexandria- it is the same school
    from where Arius originated, and he was declared a heretic.

    On one hand there is widespread condemnation of the Patristic fathers, claiming they helped create contemptible creeds, yet when it is deemed convenient, such quotes are employed to buttress arguments.

    Did anyone also notice Peterson's use of the NIV? I thought Mormons weren't supposed to reference that version.

  • CougarinVegas HENDERSON, NV
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    Larryc,

    Thanks, a couple more scriptures.

    Matt 5:48 "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." I think Heavenly Father wouldn't give us a commandment he didn't think we could keep.

    Eph. 4:13 " Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." This also emphasizes we are to attain perfection and the very stature that Christ has.

    Finally, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said

    Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?

    Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

    If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?
    All good people I know want their children to have all they have and more. I can't conceive of a jealous God hedging up his Children's way. Why don't all Bible believers believe in theosis?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Brother Chuck Schroeder: Romans 8:17 NIV, Now if we are children, then we are heirsheirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Verse 15,the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, abba, Father. See verse 23.(adopted into the family of God)

    And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God's promise to Abraham belongs to you(Gal 3:29 NLT) Christians become spiritual descendants by adoption not the same substance. God is other.
    Now you are no longer a slave but God's own child. And since you are his child, God has made you his heir. (Gal 4:7NLT)

    In Mormon America, Richard and Joan Ostling examine the alleged compatibility between Eastern theosis and Mormon godhood.After citing several experts in this field, the Ostlings concluded by saying, "It seems clear that support for the Mormon, eternal progress, and deification cannot be found in Eastern Orthodoxy, the early church fathers. More on this later.

  • Idaho Coug Meridian, Idaho
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:24 a.m.

    I greatly appreciate this article. It is the antithesis of what has been a move toward PR and mainstreaming of the Church as of late. Daniel Peterson says here is what we believe, have always believed, and here is why. It does us NO good to sugarcoat or pretend we are something we are not. Thanks to the internet, milk before meat is obsolete. We need to embrace who we are and what we believe.

    I admittedlydo not have a testimony of all things LDS. But I want to decide what I believe about LDS teachings without leaders and members constantly trying to rewrite, sugarcoat or dumb it down.

    Thank you Daniel Peterson for embracing and explaining a concept that, while a key reason some reject us, is key to LDS doctrine.

  • Mormoncowboy Provo, Ut
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    I actually like this article. Not because I'm convinced that there is any truth to the religious implications, but because I think it is at least a fair explanation of Mormon belief. When the tiresome debates stir regarding the issue of whether Mormons are "Christian", these are the kinds of answers that ought to be given.

  • FL Cougar PENSACOLA, FL
    Aug. 4, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    Fascinating article, and timely, too. While I discount the writings of early 'Christian Fathers' on a number of doctrines, it is very interesting to hear their points of view on theosis.

    I have always explained this doctrine to people by way of explaining the principle of Eternal Marriage, and having families of our own after this life. It seems to help most people when described in this manner.

  • JRJ Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    What a beautiful truth to adhere to! To know that we have a Father who loves us and provides us an "opportunity" to become like Him, is a warm, comforting thought in this world of evil. Granted, it will take a long, long time to become that good, but heck, I have the time apparently since I'm not much of a choir person either. Sometimes I reflect back on my life and marvel at how much I have learned and realize to become as God is is a great goal and is entirely possible. To become like my earthly father is an on-going goal; why not work for an even loftier one and become like my Heavenly Father.

  • Brother Chuck Schroeder A Tropical Paradise USA, FL
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    Let's address this then, Daniel Peterson, For the Deseret News.

    "If we are children (of God)," wrote the apostle Paul to the Romans (8:17, New International Version), "then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ."

    "To him that overcometh," says the Savior to John the Revelator (3:21, King James Version), "will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear."

    Mormonism has been harshly criticized because it takes those verses very literally.

    I had to look up "paraprosdokian." Here is the Wikipedia definition: "Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected, frequently used in a humorous situation."
    (such as) Going to church doesn't make you a Mormon any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

    Joseph Smith began to teach that humans, being children of God, can become like their Father. The doctrine is most famously expressed in the couplet of Lorenzo Snow: "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become."


    My views.

  • Larryc206 Santa Cruz, CA
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    Two quotes from the Christian "New Testament"

    1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

    24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,
    25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Aug. 4, 2011 8:27 a.m.

    Thank you, Brother Peterson. The information you have included in this article is very enlightening, edifying and useful. Much appreciated.

  • Curtis Hight Juneau, AK
    Aug. 4, 2011 4:58 a.m.

    (continued from above)

    ___
    I attended meetings at St. Innocent Russian Orthodox cathedral in Anchorage last fall. One woman I spoke with was excited when she heard that I was a Latter-day Saint and warmly acknowledged our similarities. Speaking of theosis she stated something like "some denominations say that makes us a cult, but our beliefs are the original ones." If you don't hold to Latter-day Saint teachings about theosis, do you hold to those of Orthodoxy? If you don't hold to either, to what do you hold?

    Come to Alaska, we'll go fishing! :-)

  • Curtis Hight Juneau, AK
    Aug. 4, 2011 4:55 a.m.

    brokenclay

    I smile when I see your display name: so often, if not always, complaining, but I don't recall you offering me anything. What would you have me do? And what authority is attached to this offer?
    ___
    Dr. Peterson stated that "Joseph Smith restored an authentically ancient Judeo-Christian doctrine." St. Athanasius's teachings came hundreds of years after the mortal ministries of the apostles who worked with our Savior in His mortal ministry. St. Athanasius, and the Nicene Creed, postdate all the dated quotes except for the one from St. Jerome. Hence, I'm not surprised that St. Athanasius's views include items that I don't agree with: I'll lay hold upon those items that are scriptural (meaning the Bible in this context), and charitably let pass those that aren't.

    (continued below)

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Aug. 4, 2011 1:33 a.m.

    Alternate translation for that last quote: "god" or "gods."

    [W]e are not sons by nature, but the Son who is in us; and again, that God is not our Father by nature, but of that Word in us, in whom and because of whom we cry, Abba, Father. And so in like manner, the Father calls them sons in whomsoever He sees His own Son. . . .

    [B]ut that they might know that from the beginning they are creatures, but when according to grace they are said to be begotten, as sons, still no less than before are men works according to nature (Con. Arian. 2.59).

    Athanasius' view of our sonship makes perfect sense of the NT data with regard to our adoption by the Father (Romans 8:15). Adoption "denoted the Greek, and particularly Roman, legal institution whereby one can 'adopt' a child and confer on that child all the legal rights and privileges that would ordinarily accrue to a natural child" (Moo, 501).

    As I mentioned before, Athanasius' teaching represents the entire Eastern tradition on theosis. I would challenge you to find a Church father who says God the Father was once a man.

  • across the sea Topeno, Finland
    Aug. 4, 2011 12:18 a.m.

    Great article!

    AND as to the following discussion on THE RIGHT TO PROCLAMATION OF ONE'S TRUTH.

    "what is so different about you Mormons?* was the question raised by the 5 people around the dinner table. They were all highly educated business people and state officials from Florida. All working for a company owned by an LDS serial investor. I was an independent consult advising them on select matters.
    What a tough situation! How I could remain "neutral" to continue my consulting work with them? To stay firm and faithful to my conviction? To not OFFEND my friends around the table...
    I deeply pondered the question for a moment... and this was the answer given to me, as I said:
    "First, I want you all to know, that I know that the Church I belong to is the only true Church in the world today - AND - My most sincere wish is that YOU would feel the same way about yours, if you do not, then you have some searching to be done."
    What a wonderful evening we had, because I was HONEST and TRUE and just told them about my MOST SINCEREST desire that they, too, have PEACE in their lives

  • brokenclay Scottsdale, AZ
    Aug. 3, 2011 11:52 p.m.

    Dr. Peterson,

    The doctrine of theosis espoused by the Eastern Church Fathers (the EXACT same doctrine held to by the modern Eastern Orthodox Church) is qualitatively different from the LDS doctrine of theosis. The parallels you have drawn are therefore both misleading and misrepresentative. The quotes that have been mined in the article are torn from a particular theological context. In grad school, I did a significant amount of study on Athanasius' formulation of theosis. It's interesting that you didn't provide any quotes from him-- so allow me to do so. He is representative of the whole Eastern tradition on theosis:

    "For as, although there be one Son by nature, True and Only-begotten, we too become sons, not as He in nature and truth, but according to the grace of Him that calleth, and though we are men from the earth, are yet called gods, not as the True God or His Word, but as has pleased God who has given us that grace" (Con. Arian. 3.19).

    For He [Jesus] was made man that we might be made God (de Incarn. 54.3). In other words, Jesus was not a man prior to his incarnation.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 3, 2011 10:18 p.m.

    No fit,
    I fail to understand why it is okay for people to be "offended" by Mormonism. It would generally be considered bigotry to be "offended" by a teaching of Judaism or even Islam. We are a pluralistic society that accepts just about anything except pedophilia and homicide without being judgmental. Yet it is still socially acceptable to be rude and even crude to Mormons, even around Temple Square.
    Many people of many different faiths believe that their religion is true. Granted there are some post-denominationals and new-agers out there, but since when is believing that one's own religion is true is "offensive." Should a Jew be offended that Muslim believes he or she has the truth? I think not.
    Can you answer this? Exactly which "other faiths" find it "offensive" that people from a different faith believe that they have the truth? I don't think there is such a major organized faith here in the United States, but there are certainly intolerant individuals. One shouldn't "tone down" their statement of belief just to please an intolerant individual. Our country is founded on freedom of religion, freedom of association, and freedom of speech.

  • no fit in SG St.George, Utah
    Aug. 3, 2011 8:32 p.m.

    Afraid some other faiths find such a philosophy offensive, Appears to go along with " Mormonism the only true religion".
    You might want to tone it down a notch.

  • New Yorker Pleasant Grove, UT
    Aug. 3, 2011 8:31 p.m.

    Thank you, Brother Peterson. I was never very keen on the prospect of just singing in the heavenly choirs for all eternity. Isn't it wonderful that there is eternal purpose in going through this earthly existence!