LDS Church Web page details doctrine on 'becoming like God'

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  • DocHolliday reno, NV
    March 3, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    This is the problem... Today's doctrine will inevitably become tomorrows opinion

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 3, 2014 1:03 p.m.


    I will leave to another day the issue of whether we are all God’s children or not (obviously I believe we are).

    But as to whether we are predestined to salvation or wrath, how do we reconcile this with a merciful, tender God?

    If he created us to be perpetually punished, then isn’t he responsible for that? Why should I suffer (or enjoy eternal bliss for that matter) for something he chooses and which I had no control over?

    Imagine a father and mother having children with the express purpose of torturing some for the rest of their lives. Would they be worthy parents?

    If we are just creations, then imagine a dog breeder who bred some puppies to be tortured. Would that person be moral?

    I am sorry but predestination makes God out to be a villain – someone I could never follow. His commitment to choice and accountability with a super heavy dose of mercy and love make him worthy of his title and our love.

  • Say No to BO Mapleton, UT
    March 3, 2014 7:02 a.m.

    We don't need more quotations from Aristotle and Eliza R Snow. In disputed doctrine we need scriptures and pronouncements from the Prophet in General Conference. (Look at the pattern shown in the Official Declarations. The Prophet speaks, followed by a sustaining vote accepting him as God's oracle.)
    Who authored these Gospel Topics essays? Do we know? Was it a BYU professor? A writer in the Public Affairs office? An assigned General Authority? Someone over in the Missionary Department?
    If the intent is to clear up some doctrinal misunderstandings, anonymous writings that sound scholarly are not going to do it.
    At a time when the Family Proclamation has been relegated to something less a revelation, we don't need a tinkling cymbal, we need prophetic utterance; getting the water from where it comes out of the ground as Elder Marion G Romney expressed it.

  • ThinksIThink SEATTLE, WA
    March 3, 2014 3:59 a.m.

    So, does "becoming like God" mean that LDS faithful will (1) create worlds, and (2) create additional lives?

    I don't see an answer in the essay.

  • sharrona layton, UT
    March 2, 2014 12:20 p.m.

    @Twin Lights, “He is worthy of ‘all our love and adoration”. True,”

    Westsminster Shorter Catechism Q. 1. What is the chief end of man? A. Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

    *The family is important from its beginning i.e...,be fruitful and multiply, (Gen. 9:7).But, even more important is the family of faith, which is all of those who by faith believe in the name of Christ and thus are God’s children (John 1:10–13).

    Not every(generically created) person is a “child of God” as it is understood in popular culture[Mormon]; since all human beings are born children of Adam — sinners — and not children of God, only those who receive adoption as His sons and daughters through trusting in His promises can actually call God(Abba) Father (Gal. 4:1–7).

    God’s decision was made before either we or the world existed. “He predestined believers for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will” (Eph. 1:5), Like the rest, we were by ‘Nature’ deserving of wrath Eph 2:3. *R C Sproul

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    March 1, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    If we are not God's children and meant to become like him, then why create us in the first place?

    As a race of underlings to sing praises to him? Such a narcissistic god would be unworthy of adulation.

    Why are we here if not to learn to be like him? Here we learn love and the consequences of our actions. If we are to make no decisions in heaven, if we are to live apart, not in an eternal family unit, then this earth life makes no sense (and learning to love our family members becomes a rather cruel joke).

    Only a god lacking in intelligence and compassion would do this.

    None of these things apply to God. He is holds all wisdom and knowledge. He loves us completely. He puts us before his own suffering. He is worthy of all our love and adoration because he plans for us the very best - more than we can truly comprehend.

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    March 1, 2014 8:01 a.m.

    "Be ye therefore perfect like your father in heaven is perfect".
    ....As man now is, our God once was;
    As now God is, so man may be...

    Neither of these are Church Doctrine as pronounced by Gordon B. Hinkley a few years back.
    "Be ye therefore perfect" is the most damaging (false) doctrine taught. It messes with everyone's head when it gets stuck there. It took me 50 years to leave the Church doctrines behind and that single doctrine is still the hardest to get out of the system.
    Be careful of what you accept as doctrine. Just because it sounds nice doesn't put any validity to it. Just because it sounds "ridiculous" doesn't mean it's false.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    March 1, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    We believe that God was once like us. And no one of faith would argue that this planet is not His. And we also believe that we are imbued with divine potential. So comparing our getting our own planet to sitting on a cloud playing a harp is disingenuous. The idea may be reductionist and cartoonish, but it is also accurate. We need to stop being embarrassed by our own doctrines - let the chips fall where they may.

  • metatron Mount Laurel, NJ
    Feb. 28, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    Really love this topic essay. Especially, the line, "imagine exaltation less through images of what they will get and more through the relationships they have now and how those relationships might be purified and elevated." Just reeling over how this reconciles the fanny alger, helen mar kimball, polyandry and other hidden marriages as examples of relationships to be exalted. How is dynastic exalting, when marrying and sealing connections between families occurs through property exchange of females as in the April 5, 1894 concubine discussions? Marriages and seals in their exotic variety wrecked havoc on the Emma/Joseph marriage as evidenced by the divorce "offer" in section 132, it was nearly on the brink of failure. Then to the future and how will latter-day saints exhibit leadership in sociality in it's exalted state as society deals with 6 - 12% evolutionary yield of same gender attraction? If we have theistic evolution at work here then was it intelligently designed?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:47 p.m.

    RE: faith traditions having religious experiences that are similar (in phenomenological content).

    Rudolph Otto’s on man’s numinous religious experience, or his experience of God.

    The numinous is a primary meaning that it cannot be taught but can only be awakened in the mind. Otto begins his chapter “The Elements of the ‘Numinous’” with a warning: “The reader is invited to direct his mind to a moment of deeply felt religious experience. . . . Whoever cannot do this, whoever knows no such moments in his experience, is requested to read no farther.”

    Otto describes the element of “awfulness,” that is, being full of awe, as a holy fear of the Lord, one of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, along with wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, and piety.

    It is what is meant by the phrase from Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom.” It is also what Moses experienced it in Exodus 3:5, when he was told, “Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place where you stand is holy ground.”

    Holy, holy, holy, LORD(YHWH) God Almighty,... (Rev 4:8)

  • John Armstrong Buena Vista, VA
    Feb. 27, 2014 4:20 p.m.

    I love the "Gospel Topics" essays that the Church is publishing. They are thoughtful, scholarly, and faithful. This essay is no exception.

    It might be worth noting that the phrase "so far as is possible" appears in Plato's formulation of the duty to "become like God" in his dialogue Theaetetus, which was written in the first half of the 4th century B.C. It therefore seemed odd to me to say that this phrase indicates a departure from the original idea. Plato's notions of godlikeness -- along with Aristotelian, Stoic, and Biblical notions -- influenced Christian thinkers in the early centuries after Christ. I discuss the idea of becoming like God in Plato's work in an article found here:

    As for the "incursion of new philosophical ideas" regarding creation ex nihilo, whatever these ideas were, they were not from Plato or Aristotle. Neither of them thought that the world was created from nothing. In Plato's Timaeus, God makes the world from existing material, and Aristotle thought that the world never was created but has always existed.

  • Michigander Westland, MI
    Feb. 27, 2014 2:29 p.m.

    These doctrines were, are, and will always be heresy and blasphemy and are found nowhere in the correct interpretation of the KJV Bible and the BOM.

  • AllBlack San Diego, CA
    Feb. 27, 2014 12:33 p.m.

    It's a excellent article. Clears up many things. I only wish that it was first translated so they could release it simultaneously in several languages.

  • Jamescmeyer Midwest City, USA, OK
    Feb. 27, 2014 9:40 a.m.

    This is one of the key truths that draws the entire Gospel plan into focus, and brings the importance of our families on Earth and our familial relationship with God as His spiritual children full-circle.

    I've recently had an experience with one who identified as Christian over it. He was outgoing and enthusiastic in sort of a naive sense, and the two of us were apparently the only Christians in that particular environment. But when topic lead to topic and this came up, he almost immediately seemed to shut himself off in terms of actual thought and communication. He continuously ignored or interrupted anything he expected a response to, and it was a disappointing reminder of the animosity those who are otherwise Christian seem to regard us with.

  • brokenclay Tempe, AZ
    Feb. 27, 2014 8:12 a.m.

    It's a shame that the LDS continue to misrepresent the Eastern Orthodox teaching on theosis in support of their qualitatively different doctrine.

    "[A]lthough 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." (Athanasius, Con. Arian. 3.19)

    The LDS deny charges of polytheism, saying that although they believe in distinct persons in the godhead (hence the term "personage"), they are one in purpose and doctrine. So if two humans share identical purpose and doctrine, does this make them one "humanhead"? The absurdity should be obvious. Polytheism concerns distinct ontology, not distinct purposes.

    Will LDS who are deified never be worshiped by their creations? Who does their Father worship? Was the Father always the Father? If not, why is he worshiped simply because he was the first one to make it to the top?

  • sharrona layton, UT
    Feb. 27, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    RE: I know it. I Live it. I Love it. "The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas…,Mere Christianity. i.e...,

    Theosis in the N. T. 2Peter 1:4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate=(koinōnos/*communion ) in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.

    Or*the communion of saints", in the Apostles' Creed.

    “ If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions]. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about." The three personal God “Mere Christianity. Lewis gives some other analogies of the Tri-Unity.

    J S, Lectures on Faith, Q. What is the Father? A. He is a personage of glory and of power.
    (5:2.). What is the son? First, he is a personage of tabernacle

  • I know it. I Live it. I Love it. Provo, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 10:00 p.m.

    "The command Be ye perfect is not idealistic gas. Nor is it a command to do the impossible... if we choose—He will make the feeblest and filthiest of us into a god or goddess, dazzling, radiant, immortal creature, pulsating all through with such energy and joy and wisdom and love as we cannot now imagine... The process will be long and in parts very painful; but that is what we are in for. Nothing less. He meant what He said."

    -C.S. Lewis (not a Mormon)


    Too many Christians are falling away from the truth. It's hard. I understand that well. But God gave us Fathers and Mothers for a reason more than being a blueprint for life. It's a part of our identity as beings capable of something much more. Thus why the Family is under attack. The greatest gift we have is to create, extend ourselves, and extend our love. We weren't given this gift temporarily, but as a means to expand ourselves and our happiness forever.

    How exactly is that a bad thing?

  • jeanie orem, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 7:45 p.m.

    President Lorenzo Snow spoke it well in a poem he wrote entitled "Man's Destiny".

    ....As man now is, our God once was;
    As now God is, so man may be,—
    Which doth unfold man’s destiny.

    The boy, like to his father grown,
    Has but attained unto his own;
    To grow to sire from state of son,
    Is not ’gainst Nature’s course to run....

    AZKID - I completely agree.

  • AZKID Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    I read the article and it is beautifully done and masterfully constructed. I particularly liked the following description of what the doctrine of "exaltation" means to the Latter-day Saints:

    "They see the seeds of godhood in the joy of bearing and nurturing children and the intense love they feel for those children, in the impulse to reach out in compassionate service to others, in the moments they are caught off guard by the beauty and order of the universe, in the grounding feeling of making and keeping divine covenants. Church members imagine exaltation less through images of what they will get and more through the relationships they have now and how those relationships might be purified and elevated. As the scriptures teach, 'That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.'"

    This statement, no doubt formulated under the inspiration of Heaven, took my breath away. This is what I believe in. This is what I rejoice in, every day of my life. This expresses the deepest part of my faith in Jesus Christ and his restored gospel.

  • 1.96 Standard Deviations OREM, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:46 p.m.

    Very nice article the church produced! Does this not make the gospel of Jesus Christ more exciting to live, faithfully, while we are in mortality? It does for me!

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:22 p.m.

    When asked about the belief in humans’ divine potential, President Hinckley responded, “Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly.”


    There you go, once again....

    I am a Progressive and a Liberal BECAUSE I am Mormon,
    and not inspite of it.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Feb. 26, 2014 3:07 p.m.

    common sense really. Nothing earth shaking here. "Be ye therefore perfect like your father in heaven is perfect"...The Savior says in the New Testament. Perfection will not be achieved in this life but is part of our divine potential. We are children of God and therefore inherit the that potential by virtue of our parents. We never eclipse the Father or Son but we add to their glory as we attain our own exhalation. Every father wants his son to have everything he has. Again, this is just common sense that was lost during the apostasy and dark ages.