Does Mormonism still teach God the Father was once a man?

Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition blog recently wrote a good article providing relevant FAQs in answer to the question, “Are Mormons Christian?” The first topic Mr. Carter addressed was, “What do Mormons believe about God?” His answer began this way:

“Mormons claim that God the Father was once a man and that he then progressed to godhood (that is, he is a now-exalted, immortal man with a flesh-and-bone body).”

This answer represents pretty straight-forward traditional Mormonism. Even so, a Mormon commenter, Francis, took issue with the statement. As part of a larger discussion that included reference to Aaron Shafovaloff’s video project, God Never Sinned, Francis wrote,

“Actually they don’t teach that he was once a mortal man, what is taught is that he has a body of flesh and bone; hence we were made in his image… I am a member of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I have never once EVER been taught that God has ever been mortal much less a sinner. ALL my instruction has always said he is the same now as he has always been, PERFECT and because of that perfection he cannot sin, and has had no need for a mortal probation… I find it severely upsetting myself that others in my religion believe that my Father in Heaven could ever have sinned. I am also upset that the entire world seems to base their view of my religion of the actions and personal beliefs of a few, instead of researching and gaining an understanding for themselves of what we truly believe and are taught. Not to be converted, or to take anything away from any other religion or belief system, but just to be able to speak intelligently on the subject.”

I don’t know how long Francis has been a Mormon, but the doctrine that God the Father was once a mortal man had been very clearly and unapologetically taught in the LDS Church from the 1840s up until 1997 when then-president Gordon B. Hinckley began claiming ignorance of the teaching. About five or six years ago Joel Groat at Institute for Religious Research noted changes in the way Mormonism portrayed this historic LDS doctrine. No longer taught openly and clearly, it is no wonder Mormons do not know what the Mormon Church has traditionally believed about God the Father. Therefore, for the sake of Francis and others who are left in the dark on this topic, here is a brief look at the Mormon doctrine, “As man is, God once was.

First of all, the nature of God is a core doctrine that is the foundation of everything one believes. Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks told an audience at Harvard Law School, “For us, the truth about the nature of God and our relationship to Him is the key to everything else” (“Fundamental Premises of Our Faith,” 26 February 2010).

Joseph Smith in Nauvoo by grindael

Joseph Smith would agree. This is why, early in his famous King Follett Discourse, he said,

“…it is necessary that we should understand the character and being of God, and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God…These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ himself did.”

Yet, 1844 was a long time ago. Looking at more recent Mormon sources we find the doctrine being taught in Church manuals:

“As shown in this chapter, our Father in heaven was once a man as we are now, capable of physical death. By obedience to eternal gospel principles, he progressed from one stage of life to another until he attained the state we call exaltation or godhood.” (Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, 132)

“God Was Once a Man As We Are Now” (Search These Commandments, 1984, 151)

In 1997, about the time President Hinckley was publicly distancing the Church from the controversial doctrine, a new Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society manual was released. The introduction said, “This book reflects the desire of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles to deepen the doctrinal understanding of Church members and to awaken within them a greater desire to know the things of God” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, v). In Chapter 4, under “Suggestions for Study,” the manual stated,

“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?”

In 2006 Mormon Apostle Henry B. Eyring told BYU students,

“I bear you my witness that God the Father lives, a glorified and exalted Man.” (“Gifts of the Spirit for Hard Times,” 32:18, CES Fireside, 10 September 2006)

In 2007 Mormon Apostle Dallin Oaks helped journalist and filmmaker Helen Whitney understand the “bold ideas” of Mormonism:

 “…that first revelation [Joseph Smith’s First Vision], concerning the nature of God as an embodied, glorified, resurrected Being, challenged the creeds of Christianity…

“Joseph Smith put together the significance of what he had taught about the nature of God and the nature and destiny of man. He preached a great sermon not long before he was murdered that God was a glorified Man, glorified beyond our comprehension, (still incomprehensible in many ways), but a glorified, resurrected, physical Being, and it is the destiny of His children upon this earth, upon the conditions He has proscribed [sic], to grow into that status themselves. That was a big idea, a challenging idea. It followed from the First Vision, and it was taught by Joseph Smith, and it is the explanation of many things that Mormons do — the whole theology of Mormonism.”

Then in 2009 when the Mormon Church released a new edition of the Sunday School manual Gospel Principles, the Church chose to still include this:

“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, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 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.” (Gospel Principles, 2009, 279. Ellipses in the original.)

To sum up, the “whole theology of Mormonism,” affirmed by a Mormon apostle five years ago and included in a Mormon Sunday School manual updated just three years ago, is the doctrine that God the Father was once a man like us. Furthermore, he is now an exalted, glorified, resurrected Man, who has set the rules whereby human beings may grow to the same status (i.e., godhood) themselves.

If you are a Mormon and do not know this – the whole theology of Mormonism and the whole point of the Mormon Church* – it would be good to ask why. And an even more important question: What else don’t you know about Mormonism?

My friends, the Mormon view of the nature of God (and man) is unbiblical, and therefore unChristian. If you are shocked or offended by the teaching that God the Father was once a man “like us” who “succeeded” in attaining the status of godhood (exaltation), “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel” (Joshua 24:23).

* “The Church exists to help families gain eternal blessings and exaltation.” (Gospel Principles, 2009, 211)

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 God the Father, King Follett Discourse, Nature of God and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Does Mormonism still teach God the Father was once a man?

  1. Mike R says:

    Falcon, so you thought that you might tell God when you had enough ministering to followers
    of false prophets for a while huh ? Yet He turned your coffee break into yet another mission ,
    that’ll teach ya !!! You’re right about Clyde and ” church” . I do hope that he will ask God
    for the strength to venture to a Christian church and hear the true gospel of salvation . If he
    responds to it then he’ll go from being a lost good person to being that person who is now
    completely forgiven by God and given the gift of salvation ( eternal life ) . May God help him
    to start out the door of his Ward soon and make that journey .

  2. Andy Watson says:

    Hi Ralph, it’s been a long time since we last chatted. I went and looked back on one of our numerous interchanges on various subjects that we had that I keep stored in my documents. Regarding the issue of the Trinity, Christian church history, and your referencing a dictionary that you believe supports the LDS position of the Bible not teaching what Christians have defined as the Trinity, you stated this on July 3, 2009:

    “I agree that the Trinity was not a creation of the Councils in Nicea or other but that they were taught before then…. And as you have pointed out, these writings were less than 100 years after the last of the apostles…An interesting thing I have found is a comment in the RC encyclopaedia. Under ‘Blessed Trinity’ they state that it is the Liberal Protestantism of today that say the doctrine of the Trinity is not found in the Bible. So maybe those Christian references I found are from that school of thought.”

    Ralph, your conclusion in your own words is still the same answer with the same issue today. Nothing has changed. Liberal Christianity, which I believe is an oxymoron, is not Christian orthodoxy but rather apostasy. With that said, I asked you then and will ask you again to look in that same dictionary and see what it says under the title of “Mormonism.” Is that word in there? What does it say? If nothing is listed, do you see that this is problematic and weakens your proposed intention of nullifying a doctrine because a liberal dictionary gives no real reference or the answer is very vague? Following your line of reasoning, I guess if nothing is listed for “Mormonism” then I guess there is no such thing as Mormonism even among liberal “christianity.”

  3. Andy Watson says:

    Hi Clyde,

    You asked: “Should I stop doing good at my church and go to a Christian church and do what I am good at there?”

    I think you have received some very good answers from the other posters. However, I would like for you to define for me what the word “good” means and what encompasses the “doing good” on your part at the local LDS ward. Also, what are you “good at”?

    I will tell you from the Bible what you are good at: absolutely nothing. Well, I guess one thing: continue in your free moral agency to sin continually and thoroughly in rebellion against a holy God fulfilling the desires of what you want to do in your sin nature (Rom 3:10-12; Gen 6:5; Gen 8:21). There is nothing you can do to please God in your current sinful condition in rebellion and hostility towards a sovereign and holy God through your suppression of the truth in favor of fables from the infamous Joseph Smith (Rom 8:6-8).

    The Christian church is full of fakes and covenant breakers (see the parable of the wheat and tares – Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43). The Church has sheep and goats. Look at this way; if you remain a goat in your rebellion against God by engaging in polytheistic religious practices as taught by Joseph Smith, you will be in company with many more goats at the LDS ward. However, if you go to a true Christian church that teaches and preaches the gospel, then the pendulum will swing the other way and you will be with probably less goats and more sheep. Your turning into a sheep from a goat is more probable in a Christian church instead of the LDS ward.

    Repent of your sin and come to Christ. Now.

  4. Andy Watson says:

    Hi Fred,

    I would like to examine the laundry list of verses that you have put forth that you believe somehow supports the LDS heretical view of God the Father being a man with a body of flesh and bones as stated in D&C 130. Before we examine what all this means in the Bible, we need to first begin with this whole issue in light of Mormonism and its teachings on this very subject. Mormon doctrine and teaching is very clear: Mormons cannot use references to Jehovah when trying to prove that God the Father has a body:

    “All revelation since the fall has come through Jesus Christ, who is the Jehovah of the Old Testament. In all of the scriptures, where God is mentioned and where he has appeared, it was Jehovah who talked with Abraham, with Noah, Enoch, Moses and all the prophets. He is the God of Israel, the Holy One of Israel; the one who led that nation out of Egyptian bondage, and who gave and fulfilled the Law of Moses. The Father has never dwelt with man directly and personally since the fall, and he has never appeared except to introduce and bear record of the Son.” (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p. 27)

    Here’s the further problem, Fred. What form was Jesus Christ in prior to his birth in Bethlehem when he was in his pre-mortal, preexistent state? The pre-incarnate Christ of the Old Testament is still a spirit in the preexistent state in Mormon doctrine! He had no body! Your heavenly father living near Kolob never appeared to anyone on earth post-fall from Eden. I would urge you to seriously think this over and consider it. I don’t know of any Mormon that I have ever talked to that has. You be the first.

  5. TJayT says:

    Kate said;
    “I’m not really interested in what different men “think” about a certain scripture. I am more interested in what Jesus and scripture actually says. Sometimes you have to put scripture together and cross reference things.
    Can you explain these scriptures to me?”

    Yes, I can. But you have made it clear that you don’t want to hear what “men think” about these and earlier scriptures. You are sure you know exactly what God has said, and anything I say will be irrelevant. There really isn’t a way to carry on a conversation that way, so I’m going to go ahead and bow out. As always good to talk to you.

  6. Andy Watson says:

    Fred, your real problem and dilemma is within Mormonism. Nevertheless, let’s address the issue of people seeing God “face to face” or in other ways in the Bible. Appearances of God are called “theophanies” in Christian theology. More specifically, a “Christophany” is an appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ in the Old Testament. When it comes to deity, nature, essence and substance within the ontological trinity, there is no difference between the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. They are distinct persons, but not separate. They cannot be separated in their nature and essence.

    Exodus 33:11 says that “the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, just as a man speaks to his friend.” The phrase “face to face” in Hebrew means personally, directly, or intimately. Moses had this kind of a relationship with God (Deut 34:10). Moses was a mortal man and never saw the “face” (Exodus 33:20, 23) of God directly. God’s face is God’s full presence. God’s essence = God’s face (Hosea 7:2).

    Is the cloudy pillar “face to face” in Exodus 33:9? What about from the midst of the fire in Deut 5:4? Please examine Deut 4:12, 15 and compare it with Deut 5:4 and Exodus 19:9. This is considered a theophany – an appearance of God the Father. What are some examples of Christophanies? There are many of these in the Old Testament beginning in the Garden of Eden going forward (Gen 3:8; Gen 18; Gen 32:24-30).

    Jesus was very clear that no one has seen the Father (John 1:18). God the Father is Spirit (John 4:24). A spirit does not have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39). Jesus is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15). God’s “face” (essence and full presence) will be seen in Rev 22:4 in the eternal state.

  7. falcon says:

    You reference the apostle Paul and suggest that someone “taught” him. If you look carefully at what Ananias did for Paul it wasn’t to “teach” him. God used Ananias as a instrument to heal Paul (Acts 9:17). So who “taught” Paul. Very simply, the Holy Spirit taught Paul (Galatians 1: 11-12). This is also the place where Paul writes about false gospels and not preaching one that even an “angel” might bring (Galatians 1:8). Joseph Smith claimed a “gospel” from an “angel” and it’s a false gospel just as Paul warns.
    Finally who’s going to “teach” me if I don’t attend a specific institutional “church”. Here’s what the apostle John tells me In (First John 2:27);
    “And as for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for any one to teach you but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.” The anointing teaches me.
    I’m not advocating that people not attend a church. What I’m saying is that the Holy Spirit resides in all born again believers in Jesus Christ. We don’t need a brick and mortar building.
    We are the temple of the Holy Spirit as the Bible also teaches us. The Body of Christ is very important as God has gifted each member in a specific way through the Holy Spirit to function within the Body of Christ.
    However it all begins with knowing Jesus in a personal way and receiving the Gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Father sent on the Day of Pentecost. I don’t care what church someone “attends”, if they aren’t born again by the Spirit of God through faith in Jesus Christ, they aren’t saved.

  8. Rick B says:

    Falcon keeps saying that for the most part he does not attend a Church. This seems to bother people, Why?
    I look at it this way, What if Falcon knows the word of God really well, reads His Bible and knows it better than most, And I believe he does.

    Then he goes and checks out some local church’s but find they dont know the word of God and maybe even deny much of what the Bible teaches. Sadly now a days many churchs are like this, One book you can read is called, Faith undone, by Roger oakland.

    So IMO it would be better to sit home and read the Bible and study it, then to go to a church where they no nothing. What about foreign countries where Churchs are not allowed and you will be put in Jail or be executed for going? China comes to mind, yes they have state run Church’s but they are not teaching the word of God. What did believers do before Church building were made? They had home church’s. So people can harp all they want, and I do believe we should meet together to fellowship, but if we cannot because of false teachers or laws or what ever, then simply reading will still be good enough.

  9. Andy Watson says:

    Figures of speech involving analogies are used throughout the Bible. The most common ones are simile, metaphor, indirect analogy, hyperbole, personification, and anthropomorphism/zoomorphism. For our discussion involving God’s “face” as thought of being literal by the Mormons, the liteary device of anthropomorphism needs to be examined. An anthropomorphism is the representation of God with human features or human characteristics. It is very clear and direct in Scripture that God (the Father) is (a) spirit. Jesus clearly stated this in John 4:24. The Father is an eternal, transcendent, omnipresent Person. Our finite mins as humans cannot grasp and understand what this is like. Therefore, the authors of Scripture use figurative language in describing a Being that makes it easier for us to understand in our thinking and language.

    We find multiple examples of anthropomorphisms in the Scripture. For example, God is described as having an arm (Job 40:9), a back (Exod 33:21-23), breath (Job 33:4), ears (2 Sam 22:7), eyes (Psalm 34:15), a face (Exod 33:11), feet (Gen 3:8), fingers (Deut 9:10), hair (Dan 7:9), a hand (Dan Psalm 95:4-5), a head (Dan 7:9), a heart (2 Chron 7:16), lips (Psalm 89:34), a mouth (Deut 8:3), nostrils (2 Sam 22:9, 16), shoulders (Deut 33:12), and a tongue (Isa 30:27).

    When animal imagery is used to describe God, the figure of speech is called a zoomorphism. An example of this is Psalm 91:4. This passage does not imply that God is a bird or that He resembles a bird in any physical aspect. There is a definite analogy being suggested by the text between God and birds. The image of a mother hen or bird surrounding her chickds with her wings to protect and comfort them is the way that God comforts and protects His people.

  10. falcon says:

    So Clyde,
    What good has it done for you to attend the Mormon church where you are taught, if that teaching is of a false gospel promulgated by false prophets and teachers?
    Mormons make a huge mistake in that they mistake devotion,’ sincerity, piety and feeling as truth.
    Mormons may walk out of a meeting, even General Conference exclaiming that they could “really feel the spirit”. What they don’t quite understand is that “feeling” something doesn’t equate with the presence of the Holy Spirit. It’s very easy to create a “feeling”, an ambiance. That’s pulled-off everyday by unscrupulous hucksters and flim-flam agents.
    False religious teachers are experts at seducing people through feelings mistaken for the presence of the Holy Spirit. Play the right music, have the correct lighting, use the right words and a “spirit” is created. Attending a church that is good at creating a “spiritual feeling” won’t do much more than feed someone’s emotions.
    What people need is for their spirits to be fed by the Holy Spirit and this comes from a correct understanding of and teaching of God’s Word.
    That’s why the apostle John talks about the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the teaching that comes from Him and leads people into all truth as Jesus promised.
    There’s a Gift of the Holy Spirit called discernment. The lack of this gift is what leads Mormons into all sorts of error; specifically that dealing with the nature of God.

  11. falcon says:

    It’s kind of funny. As of late I’ve turned into a church attender. I actually look forward to going and don’t want to miss. The focus of the service is on praising God and the preaching of the Word.
    Of course as the preacher is preaching I’m slicing and dicing every word but that doesn’t take away from the benefit I’m receiving from hearing the Word preached. My guess is that most of the Christian posters here do the same thing.
    That’s the problem with Mormons and Mormonism. They just accept what they’re told. All-be-it we have some Mormons like TJay who take the errors they hear and compound it into significantly more error and make the resulting new error comfortable to their own set of heretical beliefs.
    Anyway you are absolutely right. Going to a church that doesn’t teach God’s Word is worse than not attending at all.

  12. Andy Watson says:

    Returning back to Exodus 33 where Moses and the Lord spoke “face to face,” God’s glory is passing by as Moses is hidden in the cleft of the rock (Exodus 33:22). The text says that God will cover Moses with His hand until He has passed by. God’s hand will be taken away in Exodus 33:23. Moses has been placed in the cleft of the rock, but God has placed His “hand” covering Moses. How? If one is to take this literally it becomes very problematic. This would portray God as a Being with very long arms and hands that can cover Moses as God passes by at the same time. Using the Mormon hermeneutic for interpretation, why would Moses be able to see God’s “hand” and “back” but not His “face”? Using Mormon reasoning, is Moses only allowed to see certain body parts? No. These are figures of speech.

    How big are God’s “hands”? Figurative language is used again in Isaiah 40:12 that describes God’s “hands” as being so large that He can hold all the waters of the earth in the cup of His “hands.” I would hardly doubt or believe that this would fit the idea of the Mormon represenatation of God being a man in the normal sense that human beings are physically contructed. This certainly doesn’t fit with the LDS heresy of stating that God is an exalted man who became deity. God the Father is not a man (Isa 31:3).

  13. Mike R says:

    Andy, thanks for sharing the clear Biblical truths about Jesus as Jehovah , the God of Israel.
    It’s important for our Mormon guests to realized why we cannot embrace the teachings of
    their prophets and apostles on some very important issues concerning who God is, and that
    it’s vital for Mormons to realize that they can’t trust their leaders to be reliable guides in
    teaching about God based on their track record . As you know , Mormon leaders have claimed
    to offer no uncertain sound in what they teach about knowing the truth of the gospel since
    they faithfully relay this truth to mankind. Concerning the God of Israel, Jehovah ,
    who is taught to be Jesus Christ by these men today, yet for many , many years the Mormon
    people were being taught some very confusing “truths” about Jehovah from their apostles .
    Considering that during this time these “modern-day” apostles were claiming to be personally
    directed by Jesus Himself, so this becomes evidence that these men might not be actual
    officials in the New Testament church inaugurated by Jesus after His resurrection , despite this
    Mormon leaders have advertised since 1830 to be His only true church . Concerning the mess
    created by these men over God’s identity and especially the Jehovah of the O.T. , Mormon
    author Boyd Kirkland admits: ” Latter-day Saints were thus confronted with a CONFUSING
    ARRAY of different authorities on the question of God’s identity and roles. Apparently , many
    of these Church members wrote letters to the First Presidency , asking them for help in sorting
    out and understanding these matters .”
    Incredibly , Mormon leaders claim that a identifying mark of false churches is that they’ve
    issued unstable teachings on vital truths.

  14. grindael says:

    I think that Ralph had the right of things (about how Mormonism approaches this doctrine NOW) in his first comment. I’ll tell you why.

    When Smith revealed his bombshell in the Nauvoo Grove in 1844, it was the culmination of years of Smith’s evolution of various dogmas. His King Follett discourse invited speculation, especially in the light of Smith’s subsequent assassination. Starting with the Trinity Doctrine in the early 1830’s, and progressing to Modalism and then full blown polytheism, his magnum opus was the blending of Masonic rituals with his self-aggrandizing revelations that men can become just like God, and that this has been going on forever, an “eternal round” that was easy to explain to those who could receive “revelation”. He said he could “take away the veil” so men could see the “truth”. Smith himself said that he could “comprehend God”, and that all should shut up and listen. He said that if this wasn’t true, it “becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations, inspirations, or to be a Prophet; and I should be like the rest of the world—a false teacher”.

    Smith here, laid down the guantlet. He made it imperative that if he couldn’t prove that he could “comprehend God” he (and therefore anyone else who claimed to receive revelation) would be false teachers. Smith put it this way,

    “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did, and I will show it from the Bible.” (Journal of Discourses, 6:3)

  15. grindael says:

    Smith continued on saying that the purpose of all mankind was,

    “To inherit the same power, the same glory, and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds come rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself.” (page 4)

    Smith then said that he knew these things, because “I am learned, and know more than all the world put together. The Holy Ghost does, anyhow; and he is within me, and comprehends more than all the world; and I will associate myself with him.” (page 5)

    Here is Mormonism’s dilemma. Brigham Young needed to prove that he was a prophet too. That he could get revelation just like his predecessor Smith. He had to show that he too, had the “Holy Ghost”, and that he was “learned” and could answer the questions of the followers of Joseph Smith. Mormons wanted to know the answers, and they felt they had a prophet who could give them. Young himself used the same line in 1854 at a General Conference, telling the church that “I know the Lord blesses his people with temporal things in abundance, and wishes to bless them with knowledge and understanding that is not for the world of mankind who do not believe in him.” (October 8, 1854 Discourse of of Brigham Young compiled by Eldon Watson).

    He then repeated Smith’s mantra, saying, “I tell you my text is in the bible and reads as follows. “This is eternal life “And” This is eternal, life that they might know thee the only ture [true] God, and Je[s]us Christ whome [whom] thou hast sent.”

    Young then said that what he preached that day was scripture. He put it this way,

    “I feel inclined here to make a little scripture. (Were I under the necessity of making scripture extensively I should get Bro. Heber C. Kimball to make it, and then I would quote it. I have seen him do this when the [Elders] have been pressed by their opponents, and were a little at a loss; he would make a scripture for them to suite the case, that never was in the bible, though none the less true, and make their opponents swallow it as the words of Paul, Christ, or some of the Prophets. The Elder would then say, “Please turn to that scripture, and read it for yourselves.” No they could not turn to it but they recollected it like the devil for fear of being caught.) I will venture to make a little. scripture.” (ibid)

  16. grindael says:

    What was Young’s scripture? The same doctrine that Smith taught. But Young went a step farther, explaining that it was Adam who was the father of men’s spirits, and that he was God the Father:

    “I tell you more, Adam is the father of our spirits. He lived upon an earth; he did abide his creation, and did honor his calling and priesthood, and obeyed his master or Lord, and probably many of his wives did also , and they lived, and died upon an earth, and were resurrected again to immortality and eternal life.”

    Although Young (and Smith) said this could be proved from the Bible, this is not true. It could not be. It could not be proved by the Book of Mormon either. It was new “revelation”, and as Smith said, if it wasn’t true, he was a false teacher.

    Ralph said,

    “we do not know what the exact conditions were for Heavenly Father during His mortal experience and any type pf speculation/discussion about it is discouraged because it can lead people into the paths of error. Thus it is logical to tone it down and refrain from mentioning it too much.”

    And he is right. We see what happened with Brigham Young. The problem is, is that the church can’t admit that Smith and Young were wrong. They didn’t prove anything. They contradicted the Bible. Young’s subsequent “revelation” on Adam-god was called false doctrine. But the real question is, what about Joseph Smith’s statement that if what they taught was not true, then they were not really prophets? That it was the first principle of the Gospel to comprehend God. Ask a Mormon prophet today if they comprehend God, and you get, “I don’t know”, or “I can’t answer that”. It is easier now, to ignore questions about God, and claim that “no one needs to know”, because they really can’t answer the questions as proved by Brigham Young. They opened the door, but later “prophets” have shut it tight because everything now is done by committee. No one will reveal any teachings about the nature and character and history of God in the Mormon Church because they can’t. It’s all speculation now, but that’s not what was taught and affirmed by the early Mormon “prophets”. Far from it. _johnny

  17. Mike R says:

    Grindael, great post ! I agree with your assessment . It’s really sad how current Mormons
    have to resort to such rationalizing concerning many important teachings from their leaders
    of the recent past , words like “folklore” are now used by Mormon apologists in an effort to
    down-play or dismiss what originally was taught as spiritual truth . I noticed that Ralph
    chose his words careful in his attempt to deflect the substance of this topic of Heavenly
    Father was first once a man who worked His way up to becoming The Almighty Creator
    of heaven and earth , etc , Ralph said ” we do not know what the EXACT conditions were for
    H.F. during His mortal existence…” This is true because of the word “exact” , however this
    is really a red-herring because of what Mormon apostles have taught about this issue leaves
    little left to our wondering : ” We are the children of God….we are precisely in the same
    condition and under the same circumstances that God our Heavenly Father was when He
    was passing through this or a similar ordeal. ” [ Gospel Doctrine, p. 54 ].
    ” The exaltation which God has attained to has been through obedience to these self-same laws
    that are now taught to us. ” [ Gospel Truth, p.107 ] . Concerning the “Great Plan,or the Plan of
    Salvation” another Mormon apostle taught : ” God the Father, the Supreme God, has gone
    through the equivalent of every earth phase of the Great Plan, which we are working out.
    Therefore He has had our experiences [ cont]

  18. Mike R says:

    or their equivalents, and understands from His own experience the difficulties of our journey.”
    Also, ” In so far as man accepts the plan of salvation he is being educated by the Lord, to
    become even as God is. God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degrees of
    advancement .” [ A Rational Theology. A Melchizedek Priesthood manual (1915) p. 62-63].
    There is also the thought expressed by some Mormons that in Jn 5:19 Jesus is said to follow
    in the tracks of His Father because He ( Jesus) emulates His behavior , this would correspond
    with LDS testimony that they follow in Jesus’ tracks because He is their example of living the
    correct gospel principles and laws necessary for exaltation, the same Plan. Along this theme
    I’m reminded that Ralph is on record as testifying that he hopes to attain to the same experience
    of Rev 4:8-11 , he believes that he’ll also be worshiped as an Almighty God one day.
    Of course I’m sure he does’nt make a point of admitting this to often in public. Perhaps that
    might be closer to the truth with all the down-playing , denying , of what was once serious
    doctrine by past Mormon leaders , by many of today’s Mormons , i.e. perhaps they just
    keep these type of doctrines secure deep in their hearts and refuse to acknowledge their
    full validity publicly ? God help the Mormon people break free from following apostles who
    have strayed from the gospel that Jesus directed His original apostles to go and teach .

  19. falcon says:

    Smith, Young and the early “prophets” of Mormonism were sure about what they taught. That is until they “evolved” into more understanding, knowledge and light and then they became sure of that. These guys would suppose something, imagine it, have thoughts about it and call it revelation.
    We see the fruits of this today in guys like our friend TJay. Knowing how Smith and Young processed information, we can better understand Mormon guys like TJay. I think there’s more than a little arrogance at work here. It’s a form of pride and the puffing of ego and a form of psedo-intellectual snobbery.
    Some Mormons like Ralph aren’t into what TJay is into. Ralph is simply left to sort of “spin” what these early prophets said and try to come up with some plausible explanation. Ralph, for example, knows what the church fathers taught. So this idea of a “restoration” is a farce. Ralph suffers to try to hold on to something he wants to believe in. TJay just makes something new up and is making himself equal with Smith and Young in his imagination suppositions.
    Quoting Biblical text was thrown out the window with these two early Mormon prophets. They just elevated their own thinking to a level of Scripture. When necessary they’d pull a Bible verse out of thin air and mold it to support what they had created.
    As Christians we stand on the Biblical text and the traditions of the Church. Mormons can’t stand on either one. They can’t even stand on the traditions of their own church or Smith’s “revelation” the BoM. Mormonism is a fly by the seat of your pants, make it up as you go along religion.
    The current prophets can’t even explain what former prophets meant by what they said. They are left w

  20. Mike R says:

    falcon, these are interesting times for Mormons. For several decades now there’s been a
    growing effort to quietly discard some significant doctrines espoused by their past prophets
    and apostles that today’s LDS are uncomfortable with . I personally think that Mormons like
    TjayT are becoming more prevalent and those similar to Ralph are slowly becoming the minority
    and it seems like the Mormon hierarchy does’nt care about this as long as LDS keep quiet and
    the money keeps coming in . More Mormons are sensing that though their leaders are nice
    polite men ,they have no special appointment by God to be His sole channel of vital spiritual
    truths to mankind . I believe that a sizeable crowd of those Mormons who act on this discovery
    are going to come to experience the kind of relationship with the Jesus revealed in the N.T. ,
    a life that is not encumbered by the yoke that their hierarchy have placed on them –Matt11:27,
    28; Heb 7:25

  21. falcon says:

    I think some of these modern day Mormons are really acting in the spirit of old time Mormonism. That is, just sort of “reflect”; think about spiritual matters like the nature of God; get ideas when they’re thinking, reflecting and considering and see it as revelation. If you get some conflicting ideas latter, don’t worry. The process is progressive.

    Maybe the Unity form of religion would fit these folks.

    “We encourage you to explore and apply Unity teachings based on your own spiritual understanding. We believe this spiritual understanding is enhanced through reflective prayer and meditation. The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are: 1) God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere. 2) We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good. 3) We create our life experiences through our way of thinking. 4) There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God. 5) Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them. ”

    The idea of God being every where would give Mormons pause since the Mormon god is limited. But really there’s lots of room to wiggle in the Unity program. Think of the freedom to “….. apply Unity teachings based on your own spiritual understanding.” This would appeal to many Mormons. There’s a tradition of making it up as you go along in early Mormonism. Since the modern Mormon prophets aren’t really willing to go out on a limb and say little except be good and tithe, individual Mormons need to strike out on their own.

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