From what I know about the LDS doctrine of exaltation and eternal progression, faithful Mormons will eventually learn to become gods.
One of the scriptures quoted to me to support this teaching is Matthew 5:48:
“So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect.”(NAB)
My counter is this:
Have among yourselves the same attitude that is also yours in Christ Jesus, Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.
So, is the God the LDS worship eternally “more perfect” than his eternally progressing sons and daughters? Or, do they eventually reach the same level of perfection, going against what Jesus taught about God?
To be perfect as written in Matt 5:48 is to be complete, fully formed, or finished. God is fully formed and there is no attribute or knowledge he does not posses. Thus He is perfect.
Progression then is not about reaching a greater level of perfection. Instead, God progresses in glory and honor as he exalts his children. Here is how Joseph Smith said it:
What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out His kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to My Father, so that He may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt Him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take His place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the tracks of His Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all His children. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 347-348)
Thus God will ever be our Father and we will ever be his children. We will never reach his “level” of exaltation worlds without end.
Perfection in this context means fully realizing our nature and being. Of course God is perfectly free and hence perfectly fufills his own nature, which is goodness, truth, love, omnscience, etc., without any impediment. We will be perfect when we perfectly realize our created nature in communion with God, when we are fully what God created us to be - his adopted children. Of course we will always be less than God since we are created, finite creatures, wholly dependent on God’s grace for all the perfections we possess and for our very existence.
On the Joseph Smith quote, I can’t help but think of multi-level marketing, where everyone “below” you contributes to your cash-flow (or glory in this case).
Joseph Smith also taught:
"It is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.
These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse with Him as one man converses with another, and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; and I will show it from the Bible."
"There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal [co-eternal] with our Father in heaven.
**The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. **The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits."
To me the most fundamental theological difference between Mormonism and orthodox Christianity is that in the latter God is viewed as the source of all other existence, the unique self-existing being. God has always been God. In the Mormon faith the elements and our intelligences are co-eternal with God. God is more of an organizer than a creator, who apparently progressed into his godhood and now wants to help us progress into godhood as well…
Wait a minute. I thought Jesus did not have to progress. He was a ‘perfectly perfect’ intelligence when God found him among us ‘less than perfect’ intelligences and exalted him to godhood without making him go through the normal steps (having a body, getting married, etc.).
What does that mean, “worlds without end”? Is that in the BOM? It’s not in the Bible.
We are not given information about Jesus as an intelligence. We simply know that he was the first born of all the spirit children of Father in Heaven and the Only Begotten in the flesh.
Who said Christ did not have to progress? Indeed he was perfect in character and attributes but that does not mean he had no mission to perform while here in mortality. He had to complete that mission. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” (Heb 5:8-9)
The term “world without end” is found in the Bible, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph 3:21). It is also found in the Doctrine and Covenants 76:112.
By the word of His power God has created near endless worlds and will continue to do so. "For behold, there are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand, and innumerable are they unto man; …And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof even so shall another come; and there is not end to my works, neither to my words. (Moses 1:35,37) Through all of this God will ever remain our Father and we his children.
So your saying that Mormon’s don’t believe that if you live the best Mormon life possible that you can become the god of your own world? Don’t get me wrong, I am not accusing you of anything. I have heard that from a ton of Evangelicals. Still, I have heard a lot of false claims/out of context claims about my religion from them too. For that reason, I have kept it in the back of my mind to hear from a qualified source. (Some even claiming to be ex-Catholic)
Fyi, there are a lot of good Catholics on this board, but I would like to hear it from either a Mormon or a ex-Mormon.
“If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 473-479)
In truth we do not focus on such questions. For there is only one God whom we worship and such knowledge is not essential for salvation.
Let me give you an honest answer. I have been a member my whole life and have never heard talk of “being a god of my own world”. I hate even say the term. It gives a completely erroneous impression of the LDS people. We do not worry about such things. Man is nothing, even less then the dust of the earth (Hel 12:7). That is our current state. We worry about improving ourselves through use of the atonement and hard work. I grant it may be possible in some extremely far future but I have never seen a quote stating it. To get information on the subject I might end up having to do the same as anyone (ie. searching anti-LDS sites for old quotes from church leaders.)
That is totally not true. I was LDS for a lot less time than you and heard it many times. In fact, it was taught that god became a god who then created this world and we could become a god and create our own old.
This makes perfect sense if you believe the LDS prophet who said “as man is, god once was and as god is, man may become.”
Jesus had to progress maybe as a man seeing by other men but not as the Son of God.
When we touch to the figure of Jesus we touch to one of the three “expressions” of God, each one the same, each one different.
Mormon cannot grasp this neither we can. But we as christians accept the unexplainable, mormons accept theories more easily to understand. Mormon accept the creation or a retional human mind in contrast with christians that try to accept the unacceptable, the unreasonable the ultrarational or infrarational, the concept of Love cut separated from the idea of discrimination or deserving it.
Mormon theology is not stupid. It is more controlled. Gives men the impression you can relly work your own salvation without falling in self sufficiency since at the end, and really at the end they know they need the intervention of “somebody else”.
Mormonism is a religion for feeling “proud” of being good and wanting to be good. Of course you cannot tell them and they won’t accept it since proudness as a negative connotation.
In chrstianity we want to be good, but we know we can’t be good even when we behave well.
They, mormons, retains a small sentence from St.Paul, to justify the baptem of deads, thing never said by St. Paul as a teaching. Who can ever say Paul said to do the same as somebody was doing? He never said you should do the same.
But at the same time mormons completely overcome many affirmations of St. Paul (if we stay we the same author) such as: For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.(Ephesians 2:8-9)
Mormons put togheter the concept of faith with their emotive reality.
But you don’t have to be a mormon to do it. Christians do it too.
A Christian live a contradiction: I believe in what I can’t believe. I have faith in what I canno’t believe. there is something inside me that believs in something another part of me cannot believe. I believe to be the truth something that I don’t cannot feel being the truth. For a mormon is: I believe to be the truth what I feel to be the truth. So they downgrade the truth to the level of emotive feeling.
This is tricky. Of course you feel much better then St.Antony in his internal fight, but Jesus didn’t come to bring the peace but the sword as He said.