“As God” or “Like God”?

Mormon apologists have tried to tone down Mormonism’s godhood theology by insisting that exalted Mormons merely become “like God,” as if this means there is a distinct difference between what the Mormon God is now, and what Mormons hope to become. Is this an accurate appraisal?

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12 Responses to “As God” or “Like God”?

  1. falcon says:

    Ah…..maybe there’s a watering down of the god gene pool over time. One of the Mormon pat and favorite lines when it comes to the unexplainable and the inexplicable is: “Well there’s so much we don’t know and god is continually revealing more of his truths to us.” In-other-words, they don’t have a clue. But it’s a great escape hatch. There is no systematic theology regarding this because Mormons eschew anything that might interfere with their free flow of spiritual ideas and speculations. What we see as total flakiness, they see as a great feature of their religion. The fact of the matter is, these folks make-it-up as they go along and could care less if it contradicts past pronouncments or teachings. Remember, in the Mormon mind, this cannot be recognized as being inconsistant at best or off the wall at worst. Their god has spoken to them personally, they have a testimony and that’s the end of it. Who are we to insist that Mormons actually make some sense out of what they believe (kind of believe, maybe believe).

  2. Anubis says:

    I remember being taught that I was going to be a God and get my own planet to rule over someday.

    I hate and love how the Mormon church is changing. I love the fact that they have to change which means others will not have to suffer some of the embarrassing questions non Mormons ask. But I hate the fact that they are changing to fit mans needs not God’s.

    They know that these doctrine are embarrassing yet they have taught them. Mormonism truly is the church of Man, they are everything that the preacher in the temple ceremony stood for.


  3. When a Mormon says that to me, I like to say, “So, you’re going to become “like God” like God became “like God” to the god before him, right?

    If so, what’s the difference?

  4. falcon says:

    I was watching U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia being interviewed on 60 Minutes last Sunday night. Much was made of the fact that he is an originalist, looking at the U.S. Constitution in a manner that the Framers of the document intended it. That is in opposition to those who view the Constitution as a “living breathing document” subject to reinterpretation as society changes. So, when it comes to their belief system, are Utah Mormons “originalists” or “living breathers”. The doctrines of plural gods and plural wives as well as blacks in the priesthood and temple rituals, having undergone change based on societal pressure, would indicate that Utah Mormons are living breathers. They seem to, at the present time, want to be “like god” rather than be a god. The FLDS have hung on to the originalist approach. The Community of Christ, I believe, have dumped the whole be a god deal and are more closely aligned with the Christian Church. It would appear that the FLDS are on one end of the spectrum and the Community of Christ on the other. They at least have a handle on what they believe and how they arrived at it. The Utah Mormons appear much more fluid, undefined, and subject to whims and changes. You have to have a large tolerance for ambiguity to be a Utah Mormon. I get a kick out of the fact that our Utah Mormon friends keep telling us that we don’t understand what they believe. I think that’s because they don’t either.

  5. Lancaster says:

    Wayne Dyer is incredibly popular here in Utah. Every PBS pledge break, his lectures run for hours and hours on KUED (University of Utah) and KBYU. I’ve concluded that this is because Dyer sounds like a Mormon GA, only with the explicitly Mormon stuff (and the dull, ponderous attitude) excised. Seriously, go back and examine what the New Age movement was cranking out at its height. It reads like denatured Joseph Smith. The Mormon church is essentially a New Age movement that had a messy, head-on collision with Protestantism. They’re still picking up the pieces.

  6. Ralph says:

    An online dictionary says this about the word ‘like’ –

    * Possessing the characteristics of; resembling closely; similar to.

    * of the same form, appearance, kind, character, amount, etc

    * in like manner with; similarly to; in the manner characteristic of

    * resembling (someone or something)

    * as; such as

    * Possessing the same or almost the same characteristics; similar

    * Having equivalent value or quality

    * having the same characteristics or qualities

    * resembling or similar; having the same or some of the same characteristics

    Most of these state that the objects refered to can be the same as each other. So we are not changing the doctrine. I do agree that we are making it more palatable than saying straight out that we will become gods. But also, saying that we become like God, saves the misconception that we are ‘doing away with God’ as some of you try now and then to attribute to our doctrine.

    We are not saying that there is a distinct difference between what God is and what we will become (like a copy of a copy of a copy degenerates as the article describes). We are telling you that we will not become The God of us, we will still be worshiping Him as our God through all eternity. We will be distinct/seperate beings to Him with all of His attributes and powers but not His glory nor supremacy.

    The part in the article “God will have also progressed. In other words, because the Mormon God continually progresses” is taken out of context. If you read “7 deadly herasies” by McConckie (I think) you will know why. His progression is through His progeny gaining exaltation, not through more knowledge or power, as implied in this statement. If you knew this, please make it clearer in the article, if not please change the article to be clearer.

  7. Bill McKeever says:

    Ralph, while I thank you for your candor, let me state that my article was based on what I have personally heard and read from Mormons on the topic of godhood. I don’t see how your interpretation negates the fact that many Mormons do purposely use the word “like” as if this somehow implies there is a distinct difference between what God is and what they hope to become. I never said, nor implied, that Mormonism denies a distinct separateness between the God of Mormonism and the Mormon. Furthermore, since I never explained in the article how exactly God supposedly “progresses,” I don’t see how I can be accused of taking something out of context. I never said God’s progression included an increase in knowledge or power although I am very aware that this is exactly what Brigham Young and Wilford Woodruff taught. You talk about Mormons having all the attributes and powers of God. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that you did become a God and did somehow acquire the attribute of omnipotence; if you were to arm wrestle Elohim, who would win?

  8. There are two main views of “eternal progression” in Mormonism, the Prattian and Brighamite view. The Prattian view is the standard view today, I would argue, and holds, as McConkie taught, that exalted gods become equal with our particular God in knowledge and power and from then on only progress in progeny. The Brighamite view holds that God is still progressing in nearly all divine attributes and will continue to, like all gods, for eternity.

    I will post an article on MRM.org at some point to clarify this. I have interacted with many Mormons who hold either view; both are alive and well. Three ironies worth pointing out:

    1. Orson Pratt’s view on eternal progression, the standard view today, was criticized by Brigham in at least one First Presidency statement.

    2. In the “Seven Deadly Heresies” speech, McConkie condemns the Adam-God teaching as a damning, deadly heresy, but Adam-God is yet another teaching that Brigham Young taught as a “doctrine”. Notably, McConkie elsewhere admitted that Young taught Adam-God.

    3. Daniel Peterson, who very well could hold to the Brighamite view, seemingly misrepresents the standard Mormon position in a recent Newsroom article, saying that in the afterlife “learning and growth continue into boundless eternity…” But if the standard Mormon view on eternal progression were true, this would of course be incorrect.

    Grace and peace!


  9. subgenius says:

    In the book of Genesis there is tree of knowledge and a tree of life. After eating the fruit from the tree knowledge God states “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” Then Adam and Eve are cast out and so on and so forth. It is at this moment that we are set apart to live a life to repent for this disobedience and even perhaps to partake of the fruit from the tree of life? This fruit may be the transition from “like” to “as”.

  10. subgenius says:

    as a footnote, though i am convert i can NOT find anywhere in the Book of Mormon teachings that men can become God(s). Perhaps it can be pointed out to me clearly.

  11. Lautensack says:

    You cannot find the Laws of Eternal Progression in the Book of Mormon because they had yet to be thought up by Joseph Smith Jr. in the late 1820s when he was writing the Book of Mormon. The Concept is not introduced into Mormon thought until around the year 1843. Ironicly the Fullness of the Everlasting Gospel contained in the Book of Mormon does not teach this, kind of makes you wonder what the word fullness means.


  12. subgenius says:

    thank you for the clarification.
    I am also considering the difference in meaning between “Our Heavenly Father” and “God”……especially considering some of the other discussions i have been reading.
    You do touch on one aspect that is often overlooked……devotion to the Book of Mormon as personally interpreted versus devotion to the Book of Mormon as interpreted by our Prophets versus Prophetic “edicts” beyond the Book of Mormon.
    You have to forgive me, i am a recent convert and have yet to complete the BOM, POGP, D&C, etc.

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