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)

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. Ralph says:

    In Genesis 1:27-28 God commanded man and woman to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. We also know that God married Adam and Eve as it refers to them as being man and wife. Finally we are also told in the Bible that pro-creation is only to be within the bonds of marriage. So to keep the first command of multiplying and replenishing the earth one must be married – hence logic suggests that marriage is part of that command from God.

    Or did I miss something else in the Biblewhere it says we do not have to have children anymore or we can have them outside of marriage?

  2. SteveH says:


    Regarding the other matters which you raised (i.e. not understanding LDS doctrine there really is not enough space here for me to review all of the "mistatements" (I prefer the term misrepresentation) of LDS doctrine that I have seen posted here by evangelicals at Mormon Coffee. The evangelicals' misrepresentation and mischaracterization of the LDS doctrine regarding faith and works is a typical example.

    I would encourage anyone who wants to know "what Mormons believe" to visit their local LDS chapel and find out for themselves – a simple enough suggestion.

    Regarding your question of whether I have ever considered understanding doctrinal matters from the Protestant viewpoint my response is yes. I am intimately familiar with the Protestant viewpoint.

  3. Make sense, but it seems essentially like a "yes" to my question, "You OK with that, Ralph?" You seem OK being called "God" and "Heavenly Father" because to you those are relative terms. And you likewise seem OK with someday being called the "Alpha and Omega" and "Almighty" and the "King of Ages".

    Ralph, repent, and be saved. God is ready and willing to forgive you. Hanging onto the idea of someday becoming an "Eternal Father" and "Almighty God" to whom persons cry out "Holy, holy, holy!" and "You alone are wise!" comes from a heart controlled by Satan and his demons. If you knew the one true God, you would shudder>/em> at the thought of having persons someday worship you as their God.

  4. Makes sense, but it seems essentially like a "yes" to my question, "You OK with that, Ralph?" You seem OK being called "God" and "Heavenly Father" because to you those are relative terms. And you likewise seem OK with someday being called the "Alpha and Omega" and "Almighty" and the "King of Ages".

    Ralph, repent, and be saved. God is ready and willing to forgive you. Hanging onto the idea of someday becoming an "Eternal Father" and "Almighty God" to whom persons cry out "Holy, holy, holy!" and "You alone are wise!" comes from a heart controlled by Satan and his demons. If you knew the one true God, you would shudder>/em> at the thought of having persons someday worship you as their God.

  5. Makes sense, but it seems essentially like a "yes" to my question, "You OK with that, Ralph?" You seem OK being called "God" and "Heavenly Father" because to you those are relative terms. And you likewise seem OK with someday being called the "Alpha and Omega" and "Almighty" and the "King of Ages".

    Ralph, repent, and be saved. God is ready and willing to forgive you. Hanging onto the idea of someday becoming an "Eternal Father" and "Almighty God" to whom persons cry out "Holy, holy, holy!" and "You alone are wise!" comes from a heart controlled by Satan and his demons. If you knew the one true God, you would shudder at the thought of having persons someday worship you as their God.

  6. SteveH says:


    Jesus Christ taught his disciples how to pray. His prayer is known as the Lord's Prayer (with which I assume you are familiar – you know: Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed by the name etc.). Christ directed his disciples to address their prayers to whom? to Our Father who art in Heaven. It is important to note that Jesus did not tell his disciples or apostle to pray to him but rather to his Father. In matters of prayer it is important to follow Christ's example.

    The problems arises if one supposes that the Father and the Son are somehow the same entity (as promulgated in the Nicene Creed). Then confusion comes about as to whom one is to address in their prayers. What we need to do is to follow Christ's example – it is really as simple as that.

    You stated that the prophet Thomas S. Monson does not have a close relationship with Jesus Christ. This is false. Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God and as such receives revelation directly from Jesus Christ. Thomas S. Monson knows the Lord face to face.

    Likewise, my relationship with Jesus Christ is personal and intimate. I know Jesus personally. I know his glory. I know his character. I know his sense of humor. I know his voice and I know his face. This knowledge does not come from man but from direct personal experience. Consider the example of Paul the Apostle and you will begin to understand what I am saying.

  7. Lautensack says:

    Allow me to try to understand you. You are saying Christ saves/exalts you 100% if you do these things, repent/obey the church? Thus your level of salvation is contingent upon your obedience/repentance? I'm trying not to put words in your mouth but that is what it appears you are saying. Please correct me if I have misunderstood you.

    As for the Bible, again even in regard to God it is not the only authority. "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." (Psalm 19:1) The Bible rather it is the supreme authority by which anything else that claims authority must be tested. Yes, you could find many examples that my understanding of scripture is incorrect according to your view, however when your view is critiqued by sola and tota scriptura, your view would fail to be consistent. I dare say that you could not find a single unique doctrine of the LDS Church without the aid of extra biblical writings and the presupposition that the bible is both incomplete and untrustworthy.


  8. SteveH says:


    I apologize for my comments. However, being a Latter-day Saint I am quite accustomed to evangelicals slinging all sorts of mud at my religion, the leaders of my church, and at me. Nevertheless, I was frankly appalled by what I saw on Dr. Ben Witherington's web site (regarding the Top Ten Redneck Awards) which, in my eyes severely diminishes his credibility. Indeed, I would think that most people would be appalled too.

    Regarding the Apostle Paul's marital status, as I have stated elsewhere on this thread, there is considerable debate amongst theologians and biblical scholars concerning whether or not Paul was married. Many scholars are of the opinion that Paul was married. My Jewish friends strongly assert that Paul was married and find it difficult to consider that he wasn't. However, until we find a marriage certificate with his name and that of his spouse I imagine that this controversy will continue to be debated.

  9. mobaby says:

    This is always what it comes down to with LDS believers. It is basically a form of Gnosticism – secret knowledge revealed only to the initiated. Mormonism cannot be shown to have a standing in archeology or history – so you must have an experience of the hidden knowledge to reveal this transcendent truth. In contrast, Christianity is a very factual religion – you can visit Jerusalem today, there is no debate as to whether the Jewish people of the Bible existed. God established the sacrificial system with the Jewish people and Jesus came to fulfill this system and establish a ruler on the throne of David FOREVER (notice no 1700 year gap in his reign). Jesus was born in a real city still there today – Bethlehem. The creator God of the universe came to earth as a child when Jesus was born. The Holy Spirit came to draw believers to Christ crucified and resurrected. The transcendent experience of God for Christians is very much founded on the work and reality of what God has done in this world – and it can be seen in history. Mormons must accept their beliefs and the Book of Mormon on faith – minus any evidence other than personal experience.

  10. Lautensack says:

    This is interesting because my knowledge that Jesus leads and directs His Church, (which does not include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), is the only High Priest, because He lives forevermore, comes from both direct personal experience (Romans 8:16) from the spirit of God who leads to all truth (John 16:13).
    The difference between us is my testimony, a wonderful thing to be sure, is subject to the scrutiny of the bible, and the whole of the bible. To be frank, my testimony is not the measure for truth, as many men have claimed to see God and lead masses to destruction, rather no matter my feelings I must submit my feelings to the Word of God, the whole of the Bible. If my feelings differ from what the Word of Truth says I have a choice, I can either believe God or trust my own feelings, essentially making man the measure of all things. This knowledge is available to anyone who is willing to allow themselves to be taken captive to the word of God.


  11. Ralph says:


    I never said that it was a contradiction, I just said that if Paul was not stating his opinion but said that this advice was from God, then it would be a contradiction.

  12. MichaelP says:

    Still no response on the effect of Paul's suggestion on the topic and its effects on the assumption that it was first century custom that all are married ebcause of this commandment.

    As I have stated, Paul seems to be saying that it was not rule, like you are assuming.

  13. Ralph says:


    Here is what Paul said about the ‘advice’ given –

    1 Cor 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

    1 Cor 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself

    1 Cor 7:12 But to the rest (unmarried and widowed) speak I, not the Lord

    From my understanding Paul was saying that those who were single were able to focus on spiritual things more than those who were married and in his opinion that is a good thing.

    However the only thing he said that was a ‘command’ from the Lord was in verses 10-11

    1 Cor 7:10-11 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.

    So God’s commandment, and we see this in Jesus’ teachings and the Garden of Eden in Genesis, is to be married.

    As far as why Paul is advising something supposedly contradictory – I don’t know, you will just have to ask him when you see him next.

  14. Ralph says:


    This is what is recorded about Job and his family and possessions before and after his trials. The family numbers are quite specific and verse 10 says that Job was given twice as much as he had before. So it fits with the LDS teachings, but not with other Christian teachings.

    Job 1:1-2 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

    Job 42:10-14 And the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. … So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Keren-happuch.

    But as I said – it’s only a hint, it can be interpreted in other ways.

  15. TXNathan6152 says:

    You stated that the prophet Thomas S. Monson does not have a close relationship with Jesus Christ.
    I apologize, I wasn't clear here. My point at that part was that if Mormons said their testimony of Jesus Christ was their relationship with Him, then they would be invalid, since they testify of Thomas S. Monson and Joseph Smith and yet can't say they have relationships with them.
    Following the example of Jesus Christ is great. But also consider the final prayer of Stephen (Acts 7:59): "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" This is a man who saw the heavens open and Jesus seated at the right hand of God (Acts 7:56). In other words, he had a vision comparable to Joseph Smith's (if Smith's vision was a valid one, which I don't believe it is). Would you say that a man so full of the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:55) would say an "improper" prayer immediately afterwards? I don't think so.

    I see no confusion in to whom I address my prayers. I address my prayers to the Trinitarian God. Which person I directly address makes no difference to me, or to God, I would think. Sometimes I address Heavenly Father. Other times, I address Jesus. Other times, I address the Holy Spirit.

    I hope you realize that Christians do not believe Jesus is Heavenly Father or the Holy Spirit is Jesus or something like that. Christians believe in the Biblical truth that there is one God, that Heavenly Father is God, Jesus is God, the Holy Spirit is God, but these Persons are not each other. "Neither dividing the divine Essence nor confounding the Persons" I think is the expression. Just to clear that up.

  16. JessicaJoy says:


    In the context, we see Paul appealing to his apostolic authority, indicating his advice is from God. At the very end of the chapter, after he says "after my judgment," he adds "and I think also that I have the Spirit of God." Paul believed He was writing this chapter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I Cor 7, written by the Holy Spirit-inspired apostle causes no contradiction with I Timothy 4:3 or any other scripture in the Bible. It only contradicts with the LDS doctrine of celestial marriage.

  17. Lautensack says:

    In 1 Cor 7:10-11 Paul is speaking to those already married, this is not a commandment to get married. 1 Cor 7:6-7 Paul is giving his opinion that it is better to be unmarried, such would only be valid if God had not commanded either way, requiring marriage or not. If God required men to be unmarried then it would not have been Paul's opinion, and had God commanded them to be, then Paul would be directly opposing a commandment of God. As it is there was no commandment so Paul's opinion was not a sin, but then again marriage is not a sin either, however exalting either celibacy or marriage as an idol is a sin.


  18. Lautensack,

    Absolutely- we have to do certain things to be saved. But we do not do the saving. This is Biblical to the core. Christ commands us to keep His commandments and to follow Him, to repent, and "sin no more." And our reward is proportional to our obedience- "for one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead." 1 Corinthians 15:41-42.

    "To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in His throne." Rev 3:21

    "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
    "He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me."
    "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you."
    "Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city."


    Bible- yes, everything in the natural world testifies of God- but that doesn't answer the questions on doctrine. Understand, appealing to sola and totala scriptura doens't settle the issue. SOMEBODY IS INTERPRETING THE SCRIPTURES from this basis.

    LDS doctrines found in the Bible:
    1. Godhead- huge topic, but if one interprets the bible literally, you cannot get away from the Father and Son being separate. Many scriptures to support. Consider Genesis 3:22- "the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us." Or John 17. etc. etc.

    2. Man may become like God- again Genesis 3:22- man is become like one of us. Psalms 82:6 I have said ye are gods…children of the Most High God." Again quoted by Christ himself in John 10:34. Acts 17:29 offspring of God. Romans 8:17 joint heirs with Christ. 1 John 3:2 when he shall appear, we shall be like him.

    3. Premortal life- Job 38:7 all the sons of God shouted for joy (at the creation). Eccl 12:7 the spirit shall return unto God who gave it; Jer 1:5 Before I formed the in the belly I knew thee; Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestine; Ephesians 1:4 chosen us in him before the foundation of the world; Jude 1:6 angels which kept not their first estate (explain this one);

    Could go on and on. You will of course reject these examples. But that is your opinion, and any authority you use to reject these interpretations is man-made. Appealing to the Bible solely or in totality will not work to exclude my interpretation. I can justify these doctrines and others on this basis.

  19. Martin_J says:

    If the law made God god, then god is not God because the law is God. By this logic, should we be worshipping the law, not God?

  20. SteveH says:


    Not to belabor the point, but that is your subjective opinion and it is also your subjective interpretation of the scriptures. Truly, evangelical theology is quite different from that of Roman Catholicism, Greek Orthodox, Coptic traditions. Scholars would also say that there are considerable differences in evangelical theology with that taken by mainline Protestant denominations such as the Church of England (Episcopal Church in the U.S.), Lutheranism etc.

  21. Ralph says:


    Please re-read the chapter as here is what Paul said to the unmarried –

    1 Cor 7:6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.

    1 Cor 7:7 For I would that all men were even as I myself

    1 Cor 7:12 But to the rest (unmarried and widowed) speak I, not the Lord

    Then to the married he said –

    1 Cor 7:10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord,

    Yes he may have the spirit of God, but he clearly states that all of these comments to the unmarried are his own opinion and not from God as verse 10 compared to verse 12 clearly states.

  22. SteveH says:


    Again, you clearly do not understand LDS doctrine. It is not "a form of Gnosticism" as you put it. It is not based on having some type of "secret knowledge". The Book of Mormon is exactly what it claims to be, namely: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Its veracity is open to any who seek it.

  23. Ralph says:


    Are you able to read others' hearts and minds? How can you say that someone does not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ if you can't? I rely very much on the Saviour and His help and guidance through the day. I recognise Him as my Saviour and Redeemer and that I can only acheive exaltation through His atonement. I also see Him as my elder brother who loved me so much He was willing to come to this earth to suffer for my sins and pains and die for me so I can return to live with my Heavenly Father.

    Now if you do not believe that I have a personal relationship with my Saviour then can I say the same about you?

  24. SteveH says:


    Stephen was calling out directly to his friend Jesus when he said "Lord Jesus, receive my sprit!". Stephen was not in the act of prayer. It is interesting to note that Stephen beheld God the Father as well as Jesus Christ as two separate individuals with physical bodies. I have never understood how evangelicals could say that this great vision of Stephen comports with a Trinitarian conception of God.

  25. JessicaJoy says:


    In verse 25 Paul says "Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful…I say, that it is good for a man so to be."

    According to this passage, there was no commandment related to celestial marriage in the 1st century church, would you agree?

  26. SteveH says:


    In response to your question:

    "It seems to me that there are actually two LDS churches. The question is, are there?"

    There answer in unequivocally no.

    Emphatically, the LDS DO NOT "start with one gospel and end with another".

    Really, Martin you truly do not understand LDS doctrine, the LDS Church, its people and culture.

  27. SteveH says:


    In response to your question:

    "It seems to me that there are actually two LDS churches. The question is, are there?"

    There answer in unequivocally no.

    Emphatically, the LDS DO NOT "start with one gospel and end with another".

    Really, Martin you truly do not understand LDS doctrine, the LDS Church, its people and culture.

  28. SteveH says:


    According to your formulation, is not your salvation dependent on X, where X is your faith in Christ?

    I think the question is how do we exercise our faith in Christ. In LDS doctrine we exercise our Faith in Christ by repenting of our sins, being baptized and following the commandments of God. The first step of course is exercising faith in Christ.

  29. SteveH says:


    Perhaps you are misinterpreting what Paul has to say on the subject. It is unequivocally clear that marriage was and is viewed as a sacred covenant and commandment of God by the Jewish faith. Paul was a Jewish rabbi. It is a perversion of his words to suggest that Paul is advocating against marriage.

    This highlights the great problem of evangelical theology in that it consistently misinterprets the intent and meaning of God's Word.

  30. MichaelP says:

    Steve, but that misses the point. You can qualify the works with faith, but that does not negate the importance of the works, right? Faith might be important, to you, but it is meaningless without the specific works, the checklist that Christ will view at judgment. Is Christ going to tell people who had the faith in his saving powers that they don't quailify because they didn't do the specific thing? Of import is faith, then? Does this philosophy of the checklist not also put faith in the works themselves?

    I know you believe something different, but this conclusion is perfectly legitimate. I hope you understand the thought process here, that works as a requirement negate the effects of faith as shown above. I hope this also puts the idea that we ought not to put our faith in works so that we might boast. Our faith is to be in Christ, and Christ alone. Does this make sense?

  31. MichaelP says:

    Where did I say Paul was against marriage? I never said so, though I do repeat what Paul explicitly says, that if folks canot avoid sinning through sex, they ought not to get married. How can you read anything different into his clear words? And his clear words suggest that marriage was not a commandment.

    BTW, you like to say that we misprepresent your faith. Fair enough, but consider this alternative view: we interpret your faith differently. No, we are not saying what it is you think you believe. While what you think you believe is important, we simply reach different conclusions. Its also necessary to say that Mormons all too often conclude differently on our beliefs. Thus it is important try to understand the others view point, and fairly try to present it. You don't have to like what we say, but give specific examples where we are completely off base. OK?

  32. MichaelP says:

    God's command in the garden, huh? Jesus's teaching, referencing that man and wife are to become on flesh when they are married. There is one thing missing from that– a clear cut command. You'll disagree, and that is fine.

    But the biggest thing missing from your response is that the mere suggestion Paul gives, opinion or not, is that marriage was not a requirement. You seem to flippantly disregard this suggestion, which really gets at a major point of Mormonism– that it restored the early church. But here we see a requirement in your church under the restoration theory that was not in existence in the early church. Rather, Paul suggests that it is better not to be married. Again whether or not it was his opinion does not matter to the suggestion that it negates it as a requirement of the early church. Do you have any thoughts on this observation?

  33. germit says:

    Ralph: have you considered the possibility that God wanted to express the FREEDOM that believers have in being married, or NOT, and therefore the fact that Paul says "I have no commandment…." is another way of GOD saying "I, GOD, have no commandment on this as well.." this does not have to contradict being fruitfull and multiplying: that was stated as God's overarching goal for man, not as what EVERY individual has to do physically; if it were such, Paul is very WRONG in not re-stating that "commandment". Is that your view, that not only was this Paul's opinion, but that he is going against "be fruitful and multiply"….or maybe Paul's understanding was weak and flawed ..???

  34. MichaelP says:

    Would it be accurate, FoF, then to state that you are responsible for your actions that Christ bases his decisions for salvation? Whether or not the individual is the one who saves, what role does Christ have in forcing the actions that the individual takes? Seems to me that you have set up a system that requires an individual effort to reach the standard Christ set up, and since there is the idea of agency, it seems the indivuidual alone reaches the check point set up by Christ, and all he does is say yes or no as to the efforts to get there.

    I know you will see that as misrepresenting your faith, but is the logic there to reach this conclusion?

  35. SteveH says:


    I have heard of this interpretation of the Apostle Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 7 wherein "that if you can refrain from sex, you ought to not get married so you can focus on God" and seen it used as a defense of the practice of celibacy for Roman Catholic priests and nuns (which did not become incorporated in the Catholic church until about the 9th century). However, this is clearly a gross misinterpretation of Paul's intent which was to warn the members of the church in Corinth to abstain from the sexual promiscuity that was rampant in Greek culture.

    The very notion that Paul (as former Jewish rabbi) would be denouncing marriage or otherwise stating "that if you can refrain from sex, you ought to not get married so you can focus on God" is preposterous. Marriage is a sacred covenant in the Jewish religion and the first great commandment which God gave to Adam and eve in the Garden of Eden:

    Genesis 2: 24
    Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    The scriptures must be interpreted in their full social and cultural context otherwise you wind up with really perverted notions such as thinking that Paul was advocating against marriage. It is essential to realize that Jesus and his Apostles were Jews and always viewed themselves as being good Jews – the covenanted people of the Lord. Christ's apostles saw in Jesus the divine fulfillment of Jewish prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah. Being a disciple of Christ did not diminish their Judaic heritage but to them was a fulfillment of all that being a Jew meant. It was only many decades after the Ascension that the followers of Christ started to see themselves as being distinctly different and apart from their Jewish brethren.

  36. SteveH says:


    No, it doesn't make sense to me nor to the vast majority of Christendom.

    It is curious how evangelical theology negates some six millenia of Biblical teaching. The vast majority of Christian denominations (apostolic faiths such as Roman Catholicism, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Coptic, Marionite, Anglican etc. including most mainline Protestant churches – Lutheran, Anabaptist, Calvinists etc.) affirm the absolute necessity of sacraments or ordinances and covenants such as baptism.

    Evangelical theology is in the minority on this issue on insisting that ordinances and covenants are not necessary. This begs the question: are evangelicals really Christian if they totally reject Christ's teachings on such vital matters as baptism?

    Is not the notion of cheap grace a false gospel?

  37. SteveH says:


    What you wrote is anything but clear:

    "I do repeat what Paul explicitly says, that if folks cannot avoid sinning through sex, they ought not to get married. How can you read anything different into his clear words? And his clear words suggest that marriage was not a commandment."

    Are you suggesting that Paul was advising the early church members in Corinth that "if they cannot avoid sinning through sex, they ought not to get married". In other words, are you stating that Paul was advocating sexual promiscuity for those who are not married???

    Isn't this exactly the opposite of what Paul was writing to the saints in Corinth – to avoid the rampant sexual promiscuity that was so prevalent in Greek culture.

    This does not make sense to me.

    In regard to you other point concerning misrepresenting LDS doctrine; evangelicals do not so much "interpret {our} faith differently" but rather are very uninformed as to what Latter-day Saints actually believe and practice in their faith.

  38. germit says:

    Ralph: if the corredt , God intended scenario is that all are to be married and have kids, what is Jesus talking about in

    Matt 19:12; For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mothers womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are ALSO eunuchs who MADE THEMSELVES eunuchs FOR THE SAKE OF THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it." Comments???

  39. Brian says:

    Dear Sharon,

    Thanks for your article. I will say this of the "Achieving a Celestial Marriage" book: it is refreshingly straightforward; unvarnished. Based on the sections you cited, it does not seem to try to hide behind jargon and platitudes, but is very explicit about what is being taught.

    So I admire the book for its candor, though I cannot say I admire it for its truthfulness. The author clearly has no idea what the Good News about Jesus Christ is. The author's god is a creature, not creator (Romans 1).

  40. Martin_J says:

    Hi Gloria,

    Here's a question I've been wanting to ask of someone who's been on the 'inside', and it sort of follows from your observations;

    It seems to me that there are actually two LDS churches. The question is, are there?

    The first LDS church comprises the rank and file, who broadly see themselves as trying to follow Christ under the direction of the prophets. They are the ones who get surprised when other churches (Evs, for example) react with hostility to the LDS movement. They might have gone through some of the Temple rites, but they're probably thinking that the weirder stuff is not core to their faith. Their reading of the Bible might be rudimentary, but its not all that wacky. They are probably a little embarrassed at some of the teachings that they see as non-core, such as the after-death marriage thing, and they probably hope to muddle through because they've got these wonderful prophets to guide them.

    The second church is where they are heading. This is realm of JS's actual teaching. This church comprises the 'survivors' of the rites and missions (those who have stayed with the church after sacrificing so much for it). They are the one's who have 'levelled up' on the various rituals and they are destined for church leadership. Their mission is to promote the temple by drawing in the rank and file. They've got so accustomed to promoting the church's doctrine, that they have long since ceased to question whether it aligns with Christ's at all. Though they put forward an amicable face, they actually loath being scrutinized. To them, Christ is the vehicle through which they achieve the various states that are required to make themselves into gods.

    So, it seems to me that LDS start with one gospel, and end with another.

  41. Lautensack says:

    This is the heart of the faith works question and what separates Christianity from the knockoffs, do you work because you have already been raised with Christ and seated in the heavenly places because your life is hidden with Christ in God, or do you work so that you can be raised with Christ and seated in the heavenly places so that your life might be hidden with Christ in God?
    More plainly do you keep the commandments because in doing so you will gain a greater "celestial" glory vs "terrestrial" glory, is your degree of glory dependent not upon Christ who has forever perfected those who are being sanctified, but upon your own obedience?

    As for the LDS doctrines found in the bible. No Trinitarian disagrees that the Father and Son are separate personages, however to arrive at the LDS doctrine of God being an exalted man among many gods I dare say that is utterly contra scripture. (Isaiah 44:8)

    Please allow me to correct you, man is like God, however at the same time he is not like God. (Genesis 1:27 cf Isaiah 46:5)

    If we read Job 38:7 in context there is no way that the sons of God could be referring to men, unless Job wasn't actually a man. As for God's foreknowledge unless you are willing to say that God does not know the future this in now way infers a pre-mortal life. Jude 6 is referring to angels, in order for such to be referring to men you must first show from scripture than men can become angels or angels men. Eccl 12.7 is indeed interesting however would the spirit not be a good and perfect gift coming down from the father of lights?

    You have been so wonderful in showing my point to be clear, your church cannot take all of scripture as it's council. Now you will say this is just my interpretation or opinion, however when you take all of scripture into account an honest man can see that the LDS doctrines are not supported by it.


  42. Lautensack says:

    So my testimony is my subjective opinion, but yours is not? Do you not see the double standard there? As for my "interpretation" of scripture when Isaiah wrote that there was no other God than YHWH was that just his subjective opinion?
    While yes there are differences between Roman, Greek, and Protestant traditions, most of which spring from one group not believing all of scripture, there are many things that we do agree on. Also one can be both mainline and evangelical, unless you would say people like RC Sproul, J.I. Packer, and Sinclair Ferguson aren't in mainline denominations.


  43. TXNathan6152 says:

    Good idea. I plan on attending seminary a couple times with my friends as well. But it's very hard to have a relationship with someone you don't talk to. I'm asking sincerely, because if I have misconceptions I want to know the facts: just what sort of relationship do you have with Jesus Christ? I know you claim to testify of Christ, but LDS testify that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, yet they obviously don't have a close relationship with him. So what exactly constitutes your relationship with Jesus Christ? Or, if that's too personal, what would be your estimate of the average LDS relationship with Jesus Christ?
    P.S. I was not referring to "propaganda", for the record. I was referring to a speech given by McConkie concerning the LDS relationship with Jesus Christ. I was also told by a Mormon that Mormons don't worship Jesus, they worship Heavenly Father through Jesus (and yes, I know it isn't official doctrine when an average Mormon speaks of such things, but it wasn't propaganda). Don't believe the ideas I've heard some Mormons say; EV's are not out to obfuscate the matter. EV's are not testimony killing, lying demons.

  44. JessicaJoy says:

    I don't see any contradiction here. The 1st century apostle obviously did not believe in the doctrine of celestial marriage which is why he advocated for being single. Later, in I Timothy 4:3 he said that some would depart from the faith and would teach heretical doctrines such as "forbidding to marry." He never forbade marriage in I Cor. 7 so I don't see what the contradiction is. He certainly did not teach the LDS doctrine on celestial marriage that Sharon cited in this post, which is another reason LDS doctrines do not resemble 1st century Christian teaching.

  45. Gundek says:


    I agree that there is debate about Paul's marital status. John Calvin comments on it in a number of places in his commentaries. Read his comments on Philippians 4:3. Once again the is focusing on the Greek word "Syzygos" and if it is a proper name.

    I am interested in why your Jewish friends are convinced that Paul was married. I would also be interested in the Jewish view on celestial marriage.

  46. Gundek says:


    Thank you again for the answer. I am still not clear on how the spirit and intelligence thing is supposed to work. I understand that god makes the spirit and puts the pre-existing non-made intelligence in them. My question is where does the intelligence come from for the spirits born to the exalted in the future? Has this intelligence existed for all time too?

    Thank you also for the suggesting a copy of gospel principals.

  47. Martin_J says:


    In terms of the history of the overall movement, the Utah Branch of the LDS tradition certainly has started with one gospel and ended with another. I don't see any current teaching that polygamy is mandatory for exaltation, or that blacks cannot become priests, or communal possession of goods, or the Adam-God theory, or frontier expansionism, or the magic world-view, or the literalness of the Book of Abraham, to name a few.

    I will accept that one idea that has continued from the start is the LDS faith in their prophets (which is utterly misplaced, IMO).

    My concern is that the average guy in the pew has no clear idea about where the LDS movement is headed. There's only this vague idea that Jesus started the whole enterprise going, which is demonstrably untrue.

    I might know more than you think. My father is a Freemason, and I know something of the Temple Rites that LDS have copied from Freemasonry.

    Steve can I ask you a question? What temple rites have you been through, and why did you do them? What rites of passage, or initations have you completed?

  48. MichaelP says:

    Cluff, beg your pardon?

    "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."

    What a comment! I am not sure to take it seriously or not. And I am not trying to be mean. What you are saying here is that the Bible is unequivocably not sufficient because God left stuff out that we might not understand. I hope you know that we disagree 100%.

    While I accept that as the Mormon view on how it affects godhood, and for that I thank you for your explanation. I think you might expect me to have some problems with the thinking. The trouble with it is not too far from the first in that marriage was not written for baptism. That substitution is changing what was written. It also does not negate Paul's writing in 1 Cor 7. I think it is more difficult to arrive at that conclusion without your last comment, that Matt was commanded to leave stuff out, a claim without any historical, or theological, basis.

  49. Martin_J says:

    Post script correction;

    Before I get too distracted by the history of the LDS movement, my present concern is that "newbies' might be joining the LDS church with one set of expectations, but the "veterans" know that its all very different.

    So, possibly there are two churches; the 'public' church that says "we believe in Jesus" and the 'secret' church that operates behind closed doors.

    My question to SteveH is about where he stands in the progression from one to the other.

  50. Gundek says:


    While I do not know the teachings of "Roman Catholicism, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Coptic, Marionite, Anglican etc. including most mainline Protestant churches – Lutheran, Anabaptist…" I am familiar with the Reformed teaching on Baptism. Calvin teaches us in the Institutes that…

    “We must utterly reject the fiction of those who consign all the unbaptized to eternal death… Baptism is not so necessary that one from whom the capacity to obtain it has been taken away should straightway be counted as lost” (4.16.26).

    I cannot speak for all who claim to be Reformed of course but for anyone who subscribes to the Westminster Confession of Faith the Divines tell us that…

    "Although it is a great sin to contemn or neglect this ordinance, yet grace and salvation are not so inseparably annexed unto it, as that no person can be regenerated, or saved, without it: or, that all that are baptized are undoubtedly regenerated." (WCF XXVIII, V)

    And yes cheap grace is a false gospel.

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