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.
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.
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.
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 theresurrection 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
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 24:36Discuss....
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.
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.
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.
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
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'.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
lds4gaymarriageLet 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.
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.
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
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.
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
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?
(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?
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
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!
Twisting of the word of God and incorrect english translations which formed most
opinions that Joe declared as scripture. Are mormons really this gullable?
The glorification of "man, men, males" really gets old.So does
the "Handmaiden" label given to women.
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
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.
@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
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.
"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??
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
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.
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.
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.
Fred Vader, not everything you create is your child. I'm creating dinner, but
it is not my child.
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.
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
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?
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.
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..
Daniel R. Peterson, 2011 - Theosis was restored by Joseph SmithGordon B. Hinckley, Time Magazine, 1997 "I dont know that we teach it. I
dont know that we emphasize it."
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 nihilo3. The
"uncreated One" includes the Father, Son, and Spirit--
Trinitarianism4. "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.
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?
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.
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 schoolfrom 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.
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 saidOr 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thank you, Brother Peterson. The information you have included in this article
is very enlightening, edifying and useful. Much appreciated.
(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! :-)
brokenclayI 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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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!