09 June, 2009

Mormon doctrine of godhood

The following in quotes is an explanation from a member of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints of their doctrine of godhood. His screen name is "gusgus" on Yahoo:

(gusgus)"My friend, for I truly feel I can call you friend, because of your sincerity of heart, I appreciate your prayers and concern and commend you for your compassion and charity. I too pray that we both may come unto Jesus Christ in more purity and faith, that we along with all our brothers and sisters around the world who will, might be joined together in true worship of Him to whom all adoration belongs. Now, as I have said before, if the truth be here or there, or the true religion be here or there it matters not one iota to me, only that I join with that true religion.

I tell you that I know by the power of God, by His Holy Spirit who's fruits are peace, joy, love, faith, etc.. that the path I have chosen is correct and true.

Now, I ask you to lay aside your abhorrence for our deification doctrine (for this is one thing you have brought up multiple times and it appears to me that it consumes your vision and doesn't allow you to fully converse with me), for a moment and consider this (which may also give you perspective into the thinking of Latter-day Saints.

Now, let me throw some new perspective on the situation in the Garden of Eden.

First, according to your statement and the belief that is common among Christians, you make two very large assumptions, one being that Adam and Even in their paradisiacal state that Adam and Eve, since they came about ex-nihilo were created with inherent evil, or that God created that evil within them. It was then to this inherent evil that the Serpent was appealing to, to take over the good and choose an evil path.

I have qualms with this assumption, that God created evil, in fact since all things (according to some beliefs) were made ex-nihilo; this would require God to create the devil with his inherent evil and thus have set up for the exact course of events that humanity has taken. I testify that God cannot be the author of sin.

The second assumption is this, that Satan was asking Eve to do a completely evil thing. This doesn't make sense either. Satan doesn't attempt to get you or I to murder outright, he knows that such an attempt is futile. No, first he takes a little here and there and develops the "flaxen cord."

This is why the devil's chief art is that of counterfeit, in order to subtly and slowly lead men astray. This much is plainly seen throughout scripture in figures such as false prophets, false Christs, corrupt priests, false gods, and so forth. Saul wasn't tempted to kill Samuel, but was tempted to do that which wasn't his right.

David wasn't tempted at the first to take Bathsheba, or even to kill Uriah, but he was carefully lead too it until the scripture says "David tarried" when he should have been out on the battlefield fighting for the Lord the Lord Himself wasn't tempted by the devil to renounce His divinity and give over His power, but the devil tried to get Him to satisfy His hunger (justified hunger), that wouldn't have been a terrible evil considering the circumstances (but evil, nonetheless, for God is intolerable in any degree...again he wouldn't create it) though it would be acting without direction of the Father for His own gain, the devil also tempted Him to prove His divinity, well that (to a weaker mind) wouldn't have been so bad either, to supposedly get rid of your chief critic by proving him wrong. Finally the devil tempted our Lord to worship himself and all the world Satan promised in return. That would seem reasonable to a weak mind as well since that would seem to mean Christ could then take and preserve all from damnation without a fight or later sacrifice.

So you see then that it is improbable that the assumption that the devil was tempting Eve to do an entirely evil thing is a correct assumption. Nor that God had created evil in our first Mother for the purpose of humanity's demise.

More probable, then, is to assume that God created Adam and Eve with all that is good and taught them all that was good to do.

It is far more reasonable as well (for God created our minds most likely to the end of holy reasoning, or pure reasoning, which the Lord Himself often used in life) to question why Satan would choose that particular method of temptation, and to what end? We must draw the conclusion, that Adam and Eve who walked and talked with God would not be so easily dissuaded from hearkening to God alone.

Thus in order to derail their perfect and innocent state (which God created them in) it is more than remotely possible that Satan set up his first and most artful deception, imitation, and counterfeit.

Consider first that God created the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (God, as is safe to assume, created all that is good and only that which is good or else He fights against Himself and would be a liar in all He does if anything else were true) Then it follows that there was a good, and divine purpose in that thing, so long as it was handled in God's way, just as the powers of procreation should be handled (which were also created and thus divinely sanctioned by God) only in God's way.
Now, leaving the tree for the moment, let us consider the fact that Satan appeared in the form of a Serpent. Flash forward to Moses and the brazen serpent, and Who it was that brazen serpent symbolized, also look at the common symbol of healing the serpent is in society. Truly, it would seem the serpent (although predominantly considered evil in our modern viewpoint) was once considered a symbol and sign of God.

Why would Satan do that? It was precisely what he does in every single introductory temptation to every human being; namely counterfeit of that which is good.

What could possibly be good about partaking of the "Forbidden Fruit" well, again the "forbidden fruit" was made by God and thus could not be inherently evil, so long as it was handled as He directed, just as every other good thing which is made must be used to its proper and virtuous ends.

Now, there are several more things which I would have to explain to expand on this line of thinking. Things that aren't from made from ex-nihilo of man's mind, but have strong scriptural support.

However, to sum up, it could be that Satan's suggestion/temptation (made by the mouth of a serpent) to obey him and eat the forbidden fruit so that Eve could become like God, knowing good and evil, was a close imitation of what God had in mind for Adam and Eve. However, Satan's ultimate goal has been and will forever be to ensnare, capture, control, and destroy the souls of men, whereas God has nothing else in His design for man than that which suggests growth, freedom, purification,and sanctification.

Now, I do not expect you to believe what I have proposed here. Nor do I expect that it will make sense entirely unless you are more versed in Latter-day Saint belief that I had though. Nor, do I think that you would believe it without first accepting other doctrines that have been divinely revealed in these "latter-times". However, I do hope, and desire that it might shed some light on why Latter-day Saints see deification as part of the plan of God, and not an outright heresy which Eve easily bowed to. Many like

Eusebius at least suggested the doctrine of godhood."

(Cristoiglesia)I appreciate your explanation of Mormon teaching on deification. It is very difficult to even get Mormons to admit that this is their teaching. In discussions with Mormons it is most often denied. Could it be that most Mormons are not throughly indoctrinated into this teaching or is the teaching just often denied?

You refer to the teaching or writing of Eusebius. Not knowing specifically the writing you are speaking of I must answer your claim of Eusebius agreeing with Mormon doctrines in a very general way. However I am somewhat familiar with some Mormon writers who have used the writings of the Church fathers as support for their teaching of Mormon doctrines including deification. I have read Keith Norman, Steven Robinson, B. H. Roberts and Van Hale and in every case where they have made such comparisons there is a diverse understanding of terms between the orthodox Christian understanding and Mormon adaptation of those same teachings. They are also most often understood outside of context to orthodox Christian teaching. Therefore, to say that such teaching of the Church fathers are in agreement with Mormon teaching just does not stand up to scholarly scrutiny. [Interesting as a side note to this, the fact that the Mormon church teaches that the Church Christ established fell into apostasy almost immediately upon the death of the apostles causes one to ponder why they would even use the teaching of the fathers since they believe them to be the apostates which they believe were prophesied.]

Now, I can accept the Mormon agreement on the philosophical conclusion that the greatest good that one can reach is to become as much like God as possible. I also agree that the Church fathers sometimes speak of the process of sanctification in terms of becoming like God or Gods. Their teaching differs from Mormon doctrine in that, Mormons teach that both man and God are the same in origin and through progression can also become a God in the same way as our heavenly Father who in Mormon doctrine is just one who has attained Godhood from another planet.

I have never read where any of the fathers taught that kind of progression from man to Godhood. Instead their teaching is just the opposite where God does not transfer by impartation godly attributes to the believer who has successfully run his race to eternal life. Without exception the Church fathers point out that God is unique in His attributes and that man can aspire but never attain such perfection or eternal presence. The understanding of theosis is entirely different from the Church fathers and Mormon doctrine. In Mormon doctrine theosis is becoming God and in the teaching of the Church fathers it is becoming like God. Such a difference is profound and not subtle.

Appealing to Scripture for clarification we can only find that it is impossible for man to reach godhood as the bible teaches only monotheism and in teaching monotheism it depicts the one true God as unique, possessing attributes that are not shared with His creation. While Mormon doctrine affirms that man's nature and God's nature are the same, the Scriptures reveal God the Father is singular and unique throughout all time. Here is the Word of God.....

Deu 4:35- That thou mightest know that the Lord he is God, and there is no other besides him.

Isa 40:25- And to whom have ye likened me, or made me equal, saith the Holy One?

Isa 43:10- You are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that you may know, and believe me, and understand that I myself am. Before me there was no God formed, and after me there shall be none.

Isa 44:6- Thus saith the Lord the king of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts: I am the first, and I am the last, and besides me there is no God

Isa 44:21-22- Tell ye, and come, and consult together: who hath declared this from the beginning, who hath foretold this from that time? Have not I the Lord, and there is no God else besides me? A just God and a saviour, there is none besides me.

Be converted to me, and you shall be saved, all ye ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other.

Isa 46:10- Remember the former age, for I am God, and there is no God beside, neither is there the like to me:

The Scriptures say that there is only one God who created all things. (Jer 10:11) The Scriptures further state that only He who is the one God has all the glory. (Isa 42:8) and is the only one worthy of worship (Mat 4:10 & Deu 6:13 &10:20)

The Bible teaches that God is the same through all eternity who has no creator or has progressed to godhood He says in the book of Malachi that He does not change. And in Isaiah that He is eternal, having no beginning nor an end. His eternal uniqueness without creation in Scriptures proves that there is no foundation in orthodoxy to a doctrine which states that God has progressed into His current godhood or that we can do the same. Therefore, this Mormon doctrine of godhood while aspiring to the philosophy of the “greatest good” falls short in view of the evidence in the Word of God where God is unique, eternal and revealed as monotheistic and in that sense the Mormon doctrine of godhood is heretical as well as how it is a perversion of the Gospel message. God bless!

In Christ
Fr. Joseph


  1. Anonymous21 June, 2009

    Sorry, but the Mormon doctrine of "godhood" is not heretical.

    Christ was a man. A human being... how do you think Christ could be fully human and fully God at the same time?

    Christ knew that noone could be fully one with God without humility. It was ironic, but Christ Himself could not be one with God if He worshipped inwardly. The flow of worship must flow outwardly toward your worthy source... the creator, otherwise your soul has become spiritually stagnant (with pride).

    This is one reason why Christ was baptized... even if you are the most correct thinking or perfect person in the world, you cannot be one with God without humility. The Holy Spirit is Holy because "He" merges our psyche with God's, which ironically can only happen through loving Him and abasing ourselves in worship before Him.

    That's all Mormons are saying. They grasp further though, speculating how this physically plays out, which they should not do... but are you the most perfect thinking person who knows God perfectly well? Didn't think so. Don't you think, Fr. Joseph that it would be prudent to refrain from doing so?

    All we can do is speculate upon the nature of God and why He is what He is. But to understand that, we would fully understand ourselves... and even that is one of those "necessary mysteries."


  2. Fr. Joseph22 June, 2009

    Thank you for your comment but I am curious as to why you say that the Mormon doctrine of Godhood is not heretical. It seems that you are also trying to make a case that this is not doctrinal teaching without directly saying so. But, it is taught in the writings of the Mormon founder Joseph Smith in "The Pearl of Great Price" and elsewhere in his writings.

    I can understand the striving to understand God, to get closer to Him and to become like Him. I can also understand pride and the sinfulness of pride. But, it seems to me that what prompted the original sin was pride as this is what the Serpent appealed to when tempting Eve. He promised her that she would be as God.It seems to me that this is the same spirit of pride that authors the Mormon Doctrine of Godhood.

    Now, where we agree is when you suggest that understanding God's nature is difficult to grasp and this is especially true of the Trinitarian Godhead which Mormons reject and is accepted by orthodox Christianity. It is by perfect faith by grace that we accept this doctrine and not by perfect reason. We can discern that the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity is expressed in perfect love for one another and the unified love towards humanity and while we are in a familial relationship and are grafted into the vine from which this love gives life we are not nor can we ever be the source of this love that gives life. The creator manifested in the Trinity will bot inside time and outside of time in eternity will always be divine and separate from the created. There is no celestial kingdom of the production of gods and spirit children when we leave this earthly life into our eternal promise since the creature can never be God just as Satan and His minions found in their rebellion but instead a continuation of the familial relationship of the vine where we are part of the love but never the source. God bless!

    In Christ
    Fr. Joseph

  3. Godhood huh. Wasn't that the first lie that Satan used to convince Eve to eat of the forbidden tree?

    "For God doth know that in what day soever you shall eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened: and you shall be as gods, knowing good & evil." [Gen. 3, 15]

    I have to say, that is pretty scary.

  4. Preston (Truthsayer)03 February, 2010

    Anonymous, It's very ironic that you would play the "you shall be as gods" card... Mormonism is built on the lies of Satan!

  5. Go back into Genesis, Satan says "For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."

    If they took of the fruit and died instantly without further knowledge than Satan would have shown himself to be 100% a lair, yet that's not the case here as the text shows.

    After eating from the tree we read "And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked"

    Then after they hide from God and after hiding speak to God they get the following response from God "Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"

    Satan said "ye shall be as the gods knowing good from evil" and in that he was correct. The father of lies will often craft his lie as a part truth and part lie, something opened their eyes and they gained knowledge like "the gods". It's also interesting that an all-wise and all-knowing God choose to hide this tree in the middle of the garden making it beautiful and the fruit delicious to eat - begging the question as to whether or not becoming more knowledgeable like "the gods" was a good thing or bad thing.

  6. their new found knowledge brought death into the world and most people would agree that this was not a good thing. Christ's atoning death restored the eternal life of man. God bless!

    Fr. Joseph

  7. First, it was not "the doctrine of deification" that attracted me to the LDS church. I didn't know about it at first, but to become as God is is what every person should be aiming for. As Jesus said, Be ye therefore, perfect, even as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
    One of my pastors when I was a teenager, told me that in heaven, we will not know each other and we will be just sort of floating around, Praising JESUS! nothing more, and God will be sitting there, just digging it. And I thought, what kind of heaven is that?
    The idea that we can continue to grow and progress as we do now, but without the temptations of sin, now THAT heaven I could like.
    Adam and Eve, IMHO, never thought about it like "I will BE A GOD!" like the evil Skelator does at the end of "He-man and the Masters of the Universe" or something. To be a God, one must first humble themselves as a little child. You know, the last shall be first, etc.
    As to them actually bringing death into the world, think about for a second, if we never experienced anything bad or sad or evil, would we ever really appreciate how good we have it?
    Have you ever noticed babies, how they grow up? They don't know how good they got it!! They WANT to grow up, they WANT to do everything they see adults do. By the time we get to adult hood, we are looking at small children and think "Youth is wasted on the young"!
    If death never came, if we lived in ignorance of bad and evil, we would never know good, either. In fact, we might be as the small child, struggling to grow up, but never being able to.

  8. You bring up a good point and it illustrates one of my greatest problems with the Mormons and that is that they do not explain this and other fundamental doctrines to their new converts. They wait until they have built a social relationship with them first so that they will be more willing to accept such heterodox teaching to Christianity. I think most converts think that the Mormons are just another denomination of Protestantism when in actuality it is not Christianity at all but instead a henotheistic belief more like the religions of ancient Rome or Greece than Christianity with their many gods and their relationship with one another.

    You also illustrate why you were vulnerable to their heretical teaching and that is that you had not been properly instructed in the Christian faith.

    Any faith that has to hide their teaching to those they are trying to convert is more a cult than a true faith and in doing so they resemble what the Bible warns us about and that is the ravening wolves that prey on the weak in knowledge and faith to separate them from His Church. God bless!

    Fr. Joseph