Mormon teaching of exaltation contradicts the Book of Mormon/doctrine and covenants- Mormon response?

In Moroni 8: 18 we read, “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” Mormon 9:9-10 states, "For do we not read that God is the asame byesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no cvariableness neither shadow of changing?

10 And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles"

Finally, Doctrine and Covenants 20:12, “Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever.”

I think these make it pretty clear that the original “revelations” to Joseph Smith stated that God has been the same from the beginning and never changed from some other state of being and never will change.

However, many Mormons are familiar with the King Follett Discourse, and especially Joseph Smith’s statements about Mormon exaltation. We read, "God himself, who sits enthroned in yonder heaven, is a man like one of you. That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today and you were to see the great God who holds this world in its orbit and upholds all things by his power, you would see him in the image and very form of a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion and image of God. He received instruction from and walked, talked, and conversed with him as one man talks and communes with another. " A few paragraphs later he goes on to state, “And you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves–to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done–by going from a small degree to another, from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you are able to sit in glory as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”

I would especially like to hear from Mormons how they reconcile these major differences. If my understanding is correct, revelation given to whoever the current Mormon president is trumps revelation given to a previous president, (that doesn’t make sense either, does God change his mind?) but if the same prophet receives new revelation that is contradictory to previous revelation, what are the followers supposed to believe? It would seem that Joseph Smith is going against God’s original revelations.

I think the common response is that their presidents are fallible and liable to err, so that what was thought to be truthful before, wasn’t actually the truth, but the new revelation should be regarded as truth unless further revelation says otherwise.

Either way, with not knowing what God says, or without someone to say what is unchanging truth (as the OT prophets would say “Thus sayith God”), I could not follow such a religion, which is (partly) why I’m Catholic :stuck_out_tongue:

I am curious as to how a faithful member of the LDS church would respond. When Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon, it was very trinitarian. It was later that JS changed the idea of the nature of God. That is when changes were made to the BOM so that it would not be so trinitarian. For example, the text of one of the visions recorded in the BOM of Mary changed from the angel declaring her to being the “mother of God” in the 1830 version to “mother of the Son of God” in later versions. The BOM is the “keystone” of the Mormon faith and the “most correct book” of any written but it contains no uniquely Mormon doctrines.

I’ll take a brief stab at this. This topic is obviously quite deep requiring time (which I do not have) to research a more complete answer. So, here goes…

The unchangeable nature of God refers to character, promises, purposes, and desires, not necessarily His physical nature.

Hebrews 6:17 (NRSV) In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath

Titus 1:2 (KJV) In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began

Genesis 18:25 (KJV) …Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?

Isaiah 46:11 (KJV) …I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.

James 1:17 (KJV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

I personally am unaware of verses that refer to the physical nature of God being unchangeable and would be interested to know of them.

The Bible clearly teaches that Jesus progressed and learned throughout his mortal life.

Hebrews 5:8, 9 (KJV) 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.

And Jesus may very well have been following the footsteps of His Heavenly Father before Him.

John 5:19 (KJV) Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

Surely Orthodox Christianity would admit that Christ changed when He was born, when He died, and when He was resurrected and that these changes don’t negate the eternal unchangeable nature of God.

I hope this helps.

The problem here is that you assume God to have a physical nature. We have no indication, apart from the incarnation of Christ, that God has any physical nature, in fact we are told that He is the invisible God, are we not?

You are correct that God is unchangeable in everything you have listed, but that is because He is unchangeable in his divine nature. He is the same, for all of eternity.

Again, you will find no verses speaking to the question because no one ever believed that God had a physical body. It is not something that would have been addressed. “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.” (Col 1:15)

Christ’s divine nature, which he possessed from eternity, which he shares with the Father and the Holy Spirit, never changed. Christ voluntarily assumed human flesh. He possessed two natures; divine and human. And yes, as a human he had a human soul, or intellect, which was not without limit. But he also possessed his divine will and always submitted his human will to his divine will which he shared with the Father: “Not my will but yours be done”. While he grew in wisdom and stature he also had the ability to peer into human hearts; to give sight to the blind, to command the wind and the sea; to make a fig tree wither and die on the spot. Most importantly he had the power to raise himself from the dead.

Christ was fully God, from eternity, before he became man. This goes completely against the theory of progressing from man to God.

Glad to see you’re still here, Gazelam

Hello Gazelam,

>>>Hebrews 6:17 (NRSV) In the same way, when God desired to show even more clearly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it by an oath.<<<

I noticed you used the NRSV translation for only in the above quote and the KJV in the others.  When you do that it makes it appear as your using the translation which best supports your view.

>>>In Moroni 8: 18 we read, "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." Mormon 9:9-10 states, "For do we not read that God is the asame byesterday, today, and forever, and in him there is no cvariableness neither shadow of changing?<<<

you>>>The unchangeable nature of God refers to character, promises, purposes, and desires, not necessarily His physical nature.<<<

If your response is true why didn't Moroni make that clear?

Assuming that you believe God changes as a result of JS teachings why does it make sense to you?  In order for what JS claimed to be true would require that God chose not to tell anyone else he was changeable up until the time of JS.  Then God told only JS and no one else.  Does that really maike sense?  Why did he wait till the 1800's to reveal this information and then only to JS?

Christ was not made perfect in the way you are proposing. He didn’t grow in perfection. He was always perfect.

My understanding of the of the NRSV is that it attempts to remain faithful to the KJV while updating the text in a more modern vernacular and incorporating recent Biblical scholarship. I thought the phrase “unchangeable character of his purpose” was clearer than “immutability of his counsel”. A quick web search shows several Bible versions using each. I generally use KJV because I know right where it is on lds.org.

I don’t know. You could certainly study the matter and ask God for yourself. (James 1:5) I’ll just rhetorically turn the question around and ask why in the scriptures when specific unchangeable attributes are listed is physical never mentioned. SteveVH gave his view in an earlier response.

Here’s my own personal take on eternal progression. At some point long before the creation of the Earth was put in motion, God the Father reached a point of final perfection (not the limited perfection mortals can achieve) including omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, acting in all holiness at all times, etc. This includes His spirit inseparably connected with His body eternally. At that point He reached perfection and will always remain in His state of perfection. His own personal perfection is complete and He won’t become even more perfect later on. The only activity remaining for Him is to assist others in obtaining Eternal Life. Moses 1:39 states “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Hopefully, more and more of our Father’s children achieve Eternal Life over time. While this is the noblest of activities, I’m personally not sure what kind of “progression” it is to have more and more souls grateful to you for the gift of Eternal Life. It certainly must be rewarding beyond our mortal comprehension.

Given my eternal progression synopsis, here are my answers…

I don’t believe that God the Father changes any more. To the best of my knowledge He’s working to bring about our Eternal Life. I believe that Jesus reached the same level of perfection as God the Father when He was resurrected.

God the Father is unchangeable from the point that we became involved in His plan of Eternal Life. It makes sense in that God does reveal his secrets to prophets. (Amos 3:7) I don’t have time to research whether this was revealed anciently.

I hope this helps.

so once he became a god from being a sinful man, he stopped changing?

Does that mean LDS doctrine will finally stop changing?

Hello gazelam,

Here’s my own personal take on eternal progression. At some point long before the creation of the Earth was put in motion, God the Father reached a point of final perfection (not the limited perfection mortals can achieve) including omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence, acting in all holiness at all times, etc. This includes His spirit inseparably connected with His body eternally. At that point He reached perfection and will always remain in His state of perfection. His own personal perfection is complete and He won’t become even more perfect later on. The only activity remaining for Him is to assist others in obtaining Eternal Life.<<<

One of the values of membership in forums that are not supportive of your particular faith is that they push the individual to examine their beliefs. I think it is a good thing for an individuals understanding to evolve as a result of their own personal thought processes.

Moses 1:39 states “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Hopefully, more and more of our Father’s children achieve Eternal Life over time. While this is the noblest of activities, I’m personally not sure what kind of “progression” it is to have more and more souls grateful to you for the gift of Eternal Life. It certainly must be rewarding beyond our mortal comprehension.<<<

The above verse was also a significant verse for me also back when I was LDS.

The LDS view of Christ is that He does not have separate divine and mortal natures. The LDS view is that mortality for Him was a time for learning as it is for us, and that he too will be an heir of eternal life. (It was also time for Him to atone for all sins, of course.)

Luke 2:52 (KJV) And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

John 14:28 (KJV) …for my Father is greater than I.

Romans 8:16, 17 (KJV) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

I hope this helps you understand the LDS perspective a bit better.

Alright TexanKnight, I’m calling your bluff. Where in LDS theology is a declaration made that God the Father was once a sinful man?

As man is, GOD ONCE WAS…

and you can read the King Follett Sermon…

your alleged prophet taught God was once a sinful man

Just because the Father may have had a phase of mortality doesn’t mean He sinned during that mortal phase. Jesus lived an entirely sinless life. And Jesus said He followed the example of His Father.

John 5:19 (KJV) Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.

This verse allows that God the Father may have had a perfect mortal existence also. To insist that that any stretch of mortality must include sinning is speculation on your part IMHO.

In Catholicism, the belief is that God has eternally existed as three distinct Persons: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. There never was a time when one Person did not exist, nor a time when they have not existed in the eternal relationship of the Trinity, nor has there been a time when God (whether collectively or an individual Person of the Trinity) did not exist as fully Divine, fully God. The Incarnation of God the Son did not result in a change in the nature of the Divine. Indeed, traditional Christians believe that man and God are of two different natures. Therefore, the Incarnation of the Son resulted in an addition of human nature to the Person of the Son. Further, the sanctification of the saints that results in deification or theosis is accomplished through the grace of God. As St. Athanasius taught, we become by grace what God is by nature. St. Thomas also taught, in his Summa, that “the full participation of the Divinity, [is] the true bliss of man and end of human life; and this is bestowed upon us by Christ’s humanity”.

Mormon theology allows for the belief that the Father was not always God. Indeed, Joseph Smith, in the King Follett Discourse, said that he would “refute that idea” that God was always God from all eternity (which is the Catholic/Orthodox view). Various other leaders, as well as LDS Church manuals and magazines, have discussed the matter of the Father progressing to Godhood, that God became God, and that we follow His example:

In an older edition of the Gospel Principles manual, we read:

***The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: “ When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel — you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave ” ( Teach- ings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348).

This is the way our Heavenly Father became God. Joseph Smith taught: “ It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God … He was once a man like us ;…God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did ” ( Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345 – 46). Our Heavenly Father knows our trials, our weaknesses, and our sins. He has compassion and mercy on us. He wants us to succeed even as he did.***
lds.org/gospellibrary/materials/gospel/Start%20Here_01.pdf (“Exaltation” chapter)

In the Gospel Fundamentals manual, we read:


"Becoming like our Father in Heaven is like climbing a ladder. We must start at the bottom and climb each step until we reach the top. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that if we want to become like our Father in Heaven we must learn how He feels, thinks, and acts. When we understand these things about Him, we can then learn all other things about Him, until we know how to become as He is.

It will help us to remember that our Father in Heaven was once a man who lived on an earth, the same as we do. He became our Father in Heaven by overcoming problems, just as we have to do on this earth. However, the Prophet Joseph Smith said we will not learn everything we need to learn while in this world. It will take us a long time after we complete this life to know all the things we need to know in order to become like our Father in Heaven."***
lds.org/manual/gospel-fundamentals/chapter-36-eternal-life?lang=eng

In the Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young manual, we read:

"God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead. President Brigham Young taught the Latter-day Saints to worship God the Father and address prayers to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. He taught further that God the Father was once a man on another planet who “passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality”"

"The great architect, manager and superintendent, controller and dictator [absolute ruler] who guides this work is out of sight to our natural eyes. He lives on another world; he is in another state of existence; he has passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality, for he has passed through the whole of it, and has received his crown and exaltation and holds the keys and the power of this Kingdom; he sways his scepter, and does his will among the children of men, among Saints and among sinners, and brings forth results to suit his purpose among kingdoms and nations and empires, that all may redound to his glory and to the perfection of his work (DBY, 22)."

"The doctrine that God was once a man and has progressed to become a God is unique to this Church. How do you feel, knowing that God, through His own experience, “knows all that we know regarding the toils [and] sufferings” of mortality?"
lds.org/manual/teachings-brigham-young/chapter-4?lang=eng

There are of course many other examples of the inclusion of the belief of the Father progressing to Godhood, and not always having been God, within LDS teaching. This is somewhat different from the LDS belief that Jesus was a God prior to Him coming to the earth, and that He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament.

As for whether LDS prophets and apostles have taught that God was once a sinful man, well, I’m not sure, at least off the top of my head, of any statements where they have explicitly said something like that, though various statements can be read to imply that. What is explicit is that it has been taught that the Father was not always God, that He was like us, and progressed to the state of Godhood, and we can do so as well. The LDS apologetic organization FAIR says that whether God was once a sinner is speculation, and that many LDS think that’s impossible, while other LDS think it is possible. Clearly, LDS theology allows for the possibility, in contrast to Catholicism, where there is absolutely no possibility of that.

***"The idea that God may once have been a sinner is speculation. Many Latter-day Saints find the idea impossible, while others consider it a possibility. Latter-day Saints do not generally speculate on events that happened prior to the war in heaven.

The details of God’s mortality and existence before the war in heaven are largely unknown and have not been revealed. We do not have an exact answer to this question. For some, however, the idea that God may have once been a sinner like us gives added hope and faith in the atonement, and its ability to ultimately make us without sin regardless of what we may have done.

But the question to ask is: “Does it really matter all that much?” Whether it is true or it is not, does anything change? Knowing details of God’s previous mortality doesn’t change the fact that our Heavenly Father is still our Heavenly Father, who loves us very much. He has perfect knowledge, flawless character, and all power, and we can therefore have perfect faith in his ability to save and exalt his children. He sent His first born son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice Himself for us. He wants us to be “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” ***
en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Was_God_once_a_sinner

lol…js did not say he had a mortal phase. your god was AS MAN IS,

Man IS sinful. Read King Follett discourse. Know your true doctrine before coming here

Hello texanknight,

 The title of the thread refers to "Mormon teachings".  From the verses that living waters presented, it appears that some Mormons believe God sinned and some do not.

 Gazelam is an internet Mormon as opposed to a TBM.  Any individual who spends time in religious discussions with people of other faiths will naturally have there beliefs evolve with the give and take of discussion.  What your demanding is that Gazelam revert back to a TBM so you can prove him wrong.  Once an individual begins thinking for himself there is no going back.

Imam not demanding anything. He asked me to show where the teaching was. I cannot help it if LDS teaching is a moving target that changes as they try to appear mainstream.

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