Progression to Godhood — Mormonism’s God

The following quotes are from the LDS Church’s Achieving a Celestial Marriage Student Manual published by the Church Educational System, copyright 1976.

In the relationships of husband and wife and parent and child we begin to approach the divine calling of godhood. Our Heavenly Father and mother live in an exalted state because they achieved a celestial marriage. As we achieve a like marriage we shall become as they are and begin the creation of worlds for our own spirit children. (page 1)

God Became God by Obedience to Law

It was late afternoon as we sat in my office, but I felt the time had been well spent. He sat silently now, obviously contemplating the ramifications of the things we had been discussing…Finally he spoke…

[Student:] “Then what you are saying is that God became God by obedience to the gospel program, which culminates in eternal marriage.”

[Teacher:] “Yes. Do you realize the implications of this doctrine as far as you are concerned?”

[Student:] “I think so. If God became God by obedience to all of the gospel law with the crowning point being the celestial law of marriage, then that’s the only way I can become a god.”

[Teacher:] “Right.”
(page 4)

The Law Which Brings Eternal Life Is Temple Marriage

Law requires that certain objectives be accomplished if we are to become like God. Look at the chart at the bottom of this page.

Why is each step necessary in the acquisition of godlike attributes? Under each step list the thing gained which is necessary for godhood.

[The accompanying diagram is in the form of 8 steps: Birth, Faith in Jesus Christ, Repentance, Baptism, Gift of the Holy Ghost, Temple Marriage, Resurrection, Eternal Life.] (page 5)

…God is an exalted man who once lived on an earth and underwent experiences of mortality. The Prophet Joseph Smith refers to this as “the great secret.”…The progression of our Father in heaven to godhood, or exaltation, was strictly in accordance with eternal principles, ‘for he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.” (page 129)

GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN
He Lived on an Earth like Our Own

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. (page 129)

He Experienced Conditions Similar to Our Own and Advanced Step by Step

Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is. (page 129)

…even as the infant son of our earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages of aeons, of evolving into a God. (page 130)

So far as the stages of eternal progression and attainment have been made known through divine revelation, we are to understand that only resurrected and glorified beings can become parents of spirit offspring. Only such exalted souls have reached maturity in the appointed course of eternal life; and the spirits born to them in the eternal worlds will pass in due sequence through the several stages or estates by which the glorified parents have attained exaltation. (page 131)

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.

This entry was posted in Afterlife, Nature of God and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

180 Responses to Progression to Godhood — Mormonism’s God

  1. GRCluff says:

    I would say they are still true today. I am convinced that eternal progression is the way of truth, but people do tend to look at it wrong. When you consider that the alternative is eternal stagnation, is that not the core definition of damnation? Progress ended, no more growth is a prison condition– a state of damnation NOT heaven. When we grow in glory ourselves we have more glory to give to Him who created us. Why can none of you see that perspective?

  2. SteveH says:

    Gundek,

    I have never understood why some evangelical sects reject the words of Jesus Christ when he states very plainly:

    John 3:5

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    There are numerous other examples in the New Testament where Christ states very plainly that the ordinance of baptism is absolutely necessary. Yet, notwithstanding the clear and plain words of Jesus, evangelicals (unlike the rest of Christendom) totally reject the necessity of this ordinance.

    Given that evangelical theology so easily rejects such a basic tenet of Christianity as well as many other basic tenets (ordinances and covenants, the priesthood, the importance of marriage etc.) can evangelicals be properly called Christians?

  3. SteveH says:

    MichaelP,

    It is recorded in the New Testament in numerous places that Christ instructed his disciples NOT to tell the world about some specific aspects of His teachings or sacred events that took place.

    One example would be what transpired on the Mount of Transfiguration wherein Jesus and three of his disciples (Peter, James, and John) ascended this high mountain. On the mountain top Jesus, and his three disciples met with Moses and Elijah and God the Father who declared:

    Matthew 17: 5
    This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

    In Matthew 17:9 Jesus instructs his disciples to tell no one about the vision or what transpired there.

    What occurred on the Mount of transfiguration was that the Keys of the Kingdom
    of God (or the power and authority specifically held by Moses and Elijah) were transfered to Christ's disciples Peter, James and John.

    The sacred events which occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration are a great mystery to biblical scholars and have been hotly debated through the ages.

    The Lord has chosen to reveal an understanding of these sacred events in this dispensation. This is but one example of the great value of modern revelation and prophets.

  4. SteveH says:

    MichaelP,

    It is recorded in the New Testament in numerous places that Christ instructed his disciples NOT to tell the world about some specific aspects of His teachings or sacred events that took place.

    One example would be what transpired on the Mount of Transfiguration wherein Jesus and three of his disciples (Peter, James, and John) ascended this high mountain. On the mountain top Jesus and his three disciples met with Moses and Elijah and God the Father who declared:

    Matthew 17: 5
    This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.

    In Matthew 17:9 Jesus instructs his disciples to tell no one about the vision or what transpired there.

    What occurred on the Mount of transfiguration was that the Keys of the Kingdom
    of God (or the power and authority specifically held by Moses and Elijah) were transfered to Christ's disciples Peter, James and John.

    The sacred events which occurred on the Mount of Transfiguration are a great mystery to biblical scholars and have been hotly debated through the ages.

    The Lord has chosen to reveal an understanding of these sacred events in this dispensation. This is but one example of the great value of modern revelation and prophets.

  5. Isaac says:

    To both Aaron and Gloria,
    You make it sound as though we wake up every morning, open the window and cry out "HA HA! I will be a god someday! Wa-ha-ha-ha-haaaa!" which is soo FAR from the the truth. Gloria…I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea that I would become like unto God…the thought is humbling…and i do feel a sense of joy in my humility, to know that I am a Child of God and that my potential is unlimited. i seek not to be praised Aaron, for i have not and will not have done anything in this lifetime to merit such. You are right though, that if such feelings of arrogance and pride did persist in one's heart, then we need to repent. When is he, who seeks a position of authority within your church, sinful in the desire? When is he not? What should he focus on and what should he not focus on?

  6. isaac says:

    Aaron, I have never in my life, until you suggested it, considered the topic of praise and adoration…and it seems that Ralph hasn't either…nor have i heard it mentioned in all my years. Is it appropriate to? I think not. And i echo Ralph, i am too concerned with my current relationship with Christ to bother with unfathomable circumstances ions from now. The attitude you suggest we have would be akin to me accusing you of planning the decor of your mansion in heaven.
    One more clarification….I am a son to a mortal father…and although i become a father myself, i am still my father's son, and he is still greater than i and that will never change. although i have grandchildren and am a grandfather, yet will he be a Great-grandfather and he will never be deminished. i will never be equal to God the Father.

  7. germit says:

    ISSAC;s point, and others have made it, seems to be inconsistent to me, here's how:

    on the one hand, a person is to recieve greater glory and exaltation based on obedience to eternal principles and commandments, just as GOD Himself has (so the story goes). So, the greater the obedience= the higher the position. Not saying I agree with that, but I think I 'get it'.
    THEN, Isaac says essentially, my father, grand-father, etc. are greater than me BECAUSE THEY PRECECED ME. The LDS seem to favor earthly analogies in this : what if my earthly father is the Unibomber, orthe BTK killer ?? Is he still greater than I , even if I extend to him the honor due to a father ?
    As for feeling uncomfortable, well you should, becoming a god is idolatry. You have something of a conscience. GERmIT

  8. isaac says:

    To the 1 Cor 7 thread,
    Paul is a missionary. Paul is single. It is better to be a single missionary for 7:33 "he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, (as in)how he may please his wife." In 7:29 Paul eludes to a time when those married will be asif they were not…they will be missionaries, and thier greater responsiblity to the Lord. If you must marry, marry, but the self control over your passions whilst on your mission will surely impower you (as would keeping the other commandments of God.)

  9. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    > "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of what your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to conscious integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  10. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    > "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of what your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to conscious integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  11. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    > "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father as he is now, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of what your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to conscious integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  12. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father as he is now, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of what your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to conscious integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  13. I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea that I would become like unto God…the thought is humbling…

    Humbling? It is pure pride. If you think that it's even possible that you will someday be appropriately be worshipped by other persons (spirit children), then you need to repent of pride and worship the one true God as the God of gods, who alone is to be worshiped in all worlds and in all reality.

  14. I'm not exactly comfortable with the idea that I would become like unto God…the thought is humbling…

    Humbling? It is pure pride. If you think that it's even possible that you will someday be appropriately be worshipped by other persons (spirit children), then you need to repent of pride and worship the one true God as the God of gods, who alone is to be worshiped in all worlds and in all reality.

    i seek not to be praised Aaron

    Well God does. And so the question is, if you really think you can become worsipped by others as a God someday, will you be seeking that praise like our God seeks that praise? If so, again, you need to repent.

    Grace and peace in the God of all gods for all worlds and all universes,

    Aaron

  15. Isaac says:

    He "down played it" because those not of our faith teach it more than we do. When does a man, who is seeking a position of authority within your church, sinful? LDS's are portrayed as basking in the state of godhood that they will someday aquire…when its mentioned minimually. To dwell on it, as those in these post do and or accuse us of doing, is sinful in nature. We do not focus on such things just as you do not focus on what decor you might have in your mansion in heaven. Focusing on our relationship with Christ is above focusing on post-exsitance circumstances.

  16. Isaac, nowhere does Paul narrow or limit of relativize his comments to missionaries.

  17. Isaac, nowhere does Paul narrow or limit or relativize his comments to missionaries.

  18. Isaac says:

    Ye must be baptized to enter the kingdom of God. It requires a specific act, does it not? Yet ye must have a broken heart and a contrite spirit. Ye must have Faith. Ye must have Charity. If ye have faith alone, and act not, then where lies your faith? If i have faith in Christ, yet do not heed his call, and do not serve my fellow man, then where lies my Faith? In Barren land that cannot produce the fruits to be harvested. If i have faith to move my chair from one side of the room to the other, yet do not move it, then is my faith dormate and inactive. To require an act is not denying the neccesity of faith.

  19. Evangelicals don't teach it. We simply point out that traditional Mormonism taught it, institutional Mormonism in a measure continues to teach it, and at the laymen folk level of oral traditional it still is a doctrine that thrives.

    This isn't an issue of mere focus. It's an issue of a true/false proposition. Either you believe you can become a God worshiped by other persons (spirit children) someday or not. If you do, then we have all the more reason to hold up the teaching to the world and show it for how ugly it is, and then call all who believe in it to repent, and instead worship the one true God as the God over all gods for all worlds and universes.

    Isaac, the issue of "focus" and "emphasis" is a red herring. The issue is whether you are going to repent.

  20. isaac78 says:

    Amongst the 1000's of churches out there, there is not a consensus on what tota scriptura is, for one must rely on the corruptable flesh of the heart and mind to make thier interpretations. If i wanted to become a pastor, i'd go to one of many Religious colleges and or Seminaries to receive a degree in theology….I am trained in the intsitutions of man. Though the Bible speaks truth, I am liable to misinturprete. As the ruling priests of Christ's age misread the scriptures so it is possible today.

  21. MichaelP says:

    Cheap grace. Do you really think the grace offered by Christ is cheap?

    I know you say you have put effort into understanding our view, but I don't think you get it. You can view it differently, but a pet peeve of mine is when Mormons get so bent out of shape when we "misconstrue" your faith and so quickly and readilly "misconstrue" ours. And again, you paint a very large brush without specifics. Do you care to explain why ours is a cheap gospel? Please do so while accurately portraying our view. It can be done while disagreeing, too.

  22. MichaelP says:

    Yes, they can be read wrong. And many are. Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn are great examples. But that does not mean they all get it wrong, and that is why we have the Bible as the standard. This way we can test what people say about God's word by looking at an objective and stable source. Sure, there are different takes, but there are many ideas that are unreasonable. Kind of like law, there are different ways to apply a legal rule, but that rule still exists.

  23. Lautensack says:

    Wow,
    Isaac this is perhaps one of my favorite arguments, "there are so many churches that there is no way to know who is actually speaking the word of God." That's because it doesn't actually take into account what those "1000's" of churches actually believe that is the same and what the differences are (Romans 14). However allow us to turn this argument around, How do you know your church is the one true Mormon Church that Joseph Smith started amongst the 100+ Churches out there claiming to be the true succession of his teachings?

    Lautensack

  24. GRCluff says:

    2 Ne 26:16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

    2 Ne 28:16 But it came to pass that they did again minister upon the face of the earth; nevertheless they did not minister of the things which they had heard and seen, because of the commandment which was given them in heaven.

    Historical, even scriptural, but you have to accept the BoM first.

    What kind of things would God forbid to be written? Who knows, but if it happened on the American continent, it probably happened in Jerusalem. To Matthew perhaps?

  25. GRCluff says:

    2 Ne 26:16 Behold, it came to pass on the morrow that the multitude gathered themselves together, and they both saw and heard these children; yea, even babes did open their mouths and utter marvelous things; and the things which they did utter were forbidden that there should not any man write them.

    2 Ne 28:16 But it came to pass that they did again minister upon the face of the earth; nevertheless they did not minister of the things which they had heard and seen, because of the commandment which was given them in heaven.

    Historical, even scriptural, but you have to accept the BoM first.

    What kind of things would God forbid to be written? Who knows, but if it happened on the American continent, it probably happened in Jerusalem. To Matthew perhaps?

  26. GRCluff says:

    MichaelP asked:
    I am still curious about marriage's role in acheiving godhood?

    The way to understand this concept properly, from the Mormon perspective is to ask the same question about a similar commandment that may be more acceptable. For example:
    I am still curious about baptism's role in acheiving salvation

    Take a paragraph or two to answer. Be sure to include bible references. When you are done, run find and replace to substitute marriage for baptism and salvation with exaltation, (or godhood if you prefer) then you will understand the concept properly.

    Take Matt 3:5 for example:
    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

    Try this change:
    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, it is not enough to enter into the kindgom of God alone, except a man be sealed in eternal marriage and stay faithful to his wife he cannot have eternal increase in the kingdom of God.

    That is the verse that Matthew was commanded to leave out of his gospel, because the world was not ready for deeper doctrine. You know, milk before meat.

  27. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father as he is now, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to conscious integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  28. Isaac, welcome to the blog. Please register with IntenseDebate.com so we don't have to moderate your every comment.

    "i will never be equal to God the Father."

    Please be more specific. Are you adopting a Brighamite or Prattian view of Mormon eternal progression? Because either view speaks of significant ways of becoming equal with God the Father as he is now, although never relationally and familially supreceding him.

    Also, what I write doesn't really change whether or not you wake up consciously thinking about deification. For one thing, institutional and historic teachings have made it clear that it is the "first principle" and "greatest goal" to know that God is man like us, and progressed unto godhood like we can someday. See what your own Manti Pageant has been saying for years upon years.

    If you are only rarely conscious of your end goal, I would see that as a kind the result of a kind of coping mechanism of diassociation, avoiding the awkward and uncomfortable implications of your own worldview. And I would see it as an attempt to stay Mormon by avoiding important parts of Mormonism. Either way, it's a heart-problem and an integrity-problem. Either your religion teaches the end-goal of deification or it doesn't. If it does, then you have a responsibility to consciously integrate that into a responsible working worldview.

    As for me and my house, I will trust God's testimony, "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." (Isaiah 43:10)

  29. testallthings says:

    John 17:3–And this is life eternal that they know the only true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent

  30. testallthings says:

    Isaiah 43:11
    I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

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