Here’s something to bend your mind on a Monday Mormon; can men become gods? In the latest of our 21 Questions that is what we ask. So many Mormon leaders have said as much but will today’s Mormon Church give a straight and comprehensive answer to a straight question? What do you think? As before, we will look at the questions (Q) and answers (A) with comments (C) and quotes (Qu.)
Q: Does the Mormon Church believe its followers can become "gods and goddesses" after death?
A: We believe that the apostle Peter’s biblical reference to partaking of the divine nature and the apostle Paul’s reference to being 'joint heirs with Christ' reflect the intent that children of God should strive to emulate their Heavenly Father in every way. Throughout the eternities, Mormons believe, they will reverence and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ. The goal is not to equal them or to achieve parity with them but to imitate and someday acquire their perfect goodness, love and other divine attributes.
C: That is quite a mouthful when a simple “yes” would have done to start with. Consider what a Mormon prophet said back in 1975:
Qu: “Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225,000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do it. I think he can make, or probably have us help make, worlds for all of us, for every one of us 225,000” (Spencer W Kimball, Ensign, Nov.1975, p.80)
C: Mormon men intend to become gods, just as their god has done before them. Joseph Smith taught this and, in 1974, Mormon apostle Marion G Romney stated, “God is a perfected, saved soul, enjoying eternal life.” (Salt Lake Tribune, Oct.6, 1974) That is what “salvation” is to a Mormon, i.e. godhood.
Not only does Mormonism teach that God has a physical body, but that He is an exalted man. Joseph Smith said “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens.” Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt went even further:
Qu. “The Gods who dwell in the Heaven have been redeemed from the grave in a world which existed before the foundations of this earth were laid. They and the Heavenly body which they now inhabit were once in a fallen state... they were exalted also, from fallen men to Celestial Gods to inhabit their Heaven forever and ever.” (The Seer, Jan 1853, p.23 quoted in the Salt Lake City Messenger, Nov. 1994, p.6.)
C. The Mormon Plan of Salvation teaches that those who live worthy lives and fulfil all the ordinances of the church can become gods one day. This is an endless cycle: God was once a man and lived worthy to become a god. He created an earth to hold his spirit children, so that they in their turn could follow him. Mormon Apostle Le Grand Richards wrote a letter to Morris L. Reynolds on 14th July 1966, in which he stated: ‘There is a statement often repeated in the Church, and while it is not in one of the Standard Church Works, it is accepted as Church doctrine, and this is: “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”’
The Mormon religion is aimed specifically at the exaltation of men, dedicated to making men into gods. It may surprise you to know that this doctrine can be found in the Bible:
“For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God…” (Gen.3:5)
“You said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain. I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the most high.
But you are brought down to the grave, to the depths of the pit” (Isaiah 14:13-15)
“In the pride of your heart you say, ‘I am a god; I sit on the throne of a god in the heart of the seas.’ But you are a man and not a god, though you think you are as wise as a god.” (Ezekiel 28:2)
Lest there should be any doubt consider the words of the LORD to Israel through Isaiah:
“’You are my witnesses,’ declares the LORD, ‘and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. before me no God was formed, nor will there be one after me.’” (Isaiah 43:10)
The truth is there if we allow the Bible to speak.