Accurate Mormonism Or A Caricature Of It?

Accurate or Caricature?

Accurate or Caricature?

I’d like to get the opinion of Mormons only here. In light of the recent article on LDS.org titled, “Becoming Like God,” I’d like to know if you think the following statement could rightly be referred to as a caricature of Mormonism.

“Mormons are taught that God the Father was perhaps once a child, mortal and progressed to become what he is now. They are taught that they have heavenly parents and that marriage in a temple is required for them to have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven. They are taught that they can become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by their offspring.”

Is this accurate or a caricature?

Please share this post in any social media site you can and ask Mormons to respond here in the comments section. I am working on a project and would like to get a healthy response from current Mormons. This is a time for them to be heard. Let’s hear them loud and clear.

17 Thoughts on “Accurate Mormonism Or A Caricature Of It?

  1. Erik on March 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm said:

    In the very article that you referenced on LDS.org:

    ““What kind of a being is God?” he asked. Human beings needed to know, he argued, because “if men do not comprehend the character of God they do not comprehend themselves.” In that phrase, the Prophet collapsed the gulf that centuries of confusion had created between God and humanity. Human nature was at its core divine. God “was once as one of us” and “all the spirits that God ever sent into the world” were likewise “susceptible of enlargement.” Joseph Smith preached that long before the world was formed, God found “himself in the midst” of these beings and “saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself” and be “exalted” with Him.”

    • Thanks for your comment, but it doesn’t really answer my question. Are you a Mormon and if so, do you think the emboldened quote is accurate or caricature?

  2. Jon B. on March 9, 2014 at 1:52 am said:

    This is word for word – Copied exact from the LDS dot org website. I am Mormon Oak Hills ward – Bethany Oregon BTW –
    Gospel Principles, (2011), 275–80
    1. They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C 76:62).

    2. They will become gods (see D&C 132:20–23).

    3. They will be united eternally with their righteous family members and will be able to have eternal increase.

    5.They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have—all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (see D&C 132:19

  3. I’m a Mormon and I have never been taught that in my 20 years of membership in the church. We are told we can progress to become “like” God (Matthew 5:48) but that’s as far as it goes. The stuff about innumerable progeny, a planet, and God once being a child is something I’ve only heard in anti-Mormon literature. So yes, I would say that statement is a caricature. And maybe that’s why so much anti-Mormon stuff has so little effect. We Mormons look at it and read things like that and conclude that whoever wrote or disseminated it knows nothing about the church, so we dismiss it.

  4. Sandra on March 9, 2014 at 7:55 am said:

    I am a Mormon. I’m not certain what you mean by a caricature but I would like to respond. We as Christians believe a baby was born to a mother who had never had sex. He grew up, became a preacher and when he died his followers got into heaven. Is this an accurate statement about what Christians believe? There is nothing false here, the statement is true but it far from accurately explains the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, his ministry here on earth, his sacrifice for our sin and the eternal life we have been granted because of it. The statement is so lacking in it’s description of the atonement which is the cornerstone of our faith.

    The statement that you posted attempts to explain what Mormons believe about being created in the image of God and his eternal plan for us. There is nothing in this statement I find to be false. It is what we believe. However, like my example, it’s hard to say it’s an accurate description. We are all the posterity of Adam who walked with God, spoke with God. Would you say that Adam had jurisdiction over this world and it has been peopled by his offspring?

    God’s made us in his image. His plan for us is to become as he is. Being like God is not about power or jurisdiction. Being godlike is being Christlike. It is having the ability to love, forgive and sacrifice like Christ did. That is divinity. The only man that has ever walked the earth and could do these things perfectly was Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are all trying to achieve that, to be like Christ.

    My response to you is also quite lacking in the explanation of these sacred concepts. However, I believe I answered the question you were looking for. Yes, I am Mormon and I find no falsehood in the statement you posted. Thank you for asking.

  5. The first sentence is just baseless, but fairly common speculation among Mormons.
    The rest is straight up Mormon doctrine.
    “They are taught that they have heavenly parents” (See The Family: A Proclamation to the World https://www.lds.org/topics/family-proclamation)
    “marriage in a temple is required for them to have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven. They are taught that they can become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds,” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/search?lang=eng&query=continuation+of+the+seed&x=0&y=0).
    “these worlds will be peopled by their offspring.” I can’t find the exact scripture for this one, but it is easy to extrapolate from just what we see here. we needed to come to earth and live through mortality in order to have a fullness of joy. We will have spirit children. We will have the power to create worlds and bodies for them. We will want them to have a fullness of joy. Of course they will get their turn to gain a body and people a world.

    • Oh, and just by way of information I am an active and faithful member of the Church. And I’m happy to answer any questions or concerns about our doctrine.

  6. Michael on March 9, 2014 at 4:26 pm said:

    I’ve been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 34+years.
    With regards to the statement, “Mormons are taught that God the Father was perhaps once a child, mortal and progressed to become what he is now”:
    In 1997 President Hinckley was asked about this directly and responded, “I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.”
    With regards to this statement, “They are taught that they have heavenly parents and that marriage in a temple is required for them to have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven.”:
    The word “eternal” needs to be placed in front of posterity with “a” removed. Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” I would probably replace “will be” with “could be” or “could become”
    With regards to the statement, “They are taught that they can become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by their offspring.”
    In His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:48) Jesus taught, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Paul later taught in a letter to the Roman saints (Romans 8:16-17),” The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” That is what we are taught in terms of our Identity, Purpose and Potential as Children of God.
    In reference to other planets: http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/05/tech/innovation/billions-of-planets/

  7. Marco Hanson on March 9, 2014 at 8:14 pm said:

    I’ve been LDS since 1998, and am still an active member of the Church in Austin, Texas. As a thumbnail sketch of an area in which LDS doctrine differs from mainstream Christianity, I find the first two sentences oversimplified but acceptable. The part about “jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by their offspring” is something I’ve never heard from the pulpit or read in a Church magazine or lesson manual, but it can probably be supported from legitimate 19th-century sources. It took me some careful study of the Bible to reconcile it with what I already believed when I was converting from Evangelical Christianity to LDS Christianity. Since then, it never crosses my mind until someone drags it out as a point of ridicule. This sliver of esoteric doctrine makes up maybe 1/100 of 1% of what it means to believe and practice Mormonism, so it’s annoying when non-Mormons treat it as a major feature of our faith.

  8. Mike Morgan on March 9, 2014 at 11:00 pm said:

    I would say that what you have in quotes here is not quite accurate, it’s close but what is spoken of in the article describes the topic with complete accuracy. We do believe that “as man is, God once was and as God is, man may become”. We call this Eternal Progression. As the article talks about, not a lot has been revealed about the specifics of eternal progression, so to say that we are “taught that we will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, which are peopled by our offspring”, is not really accurate. We know that it will occur for those worthy of it, but what we are actually taught is that the best way to prepare for eternal progression is to learn and live the principles of the gospel here in mortality that being faith, repentance and enduring to the end.

  9. Bea Kass on March 10, 2014 at 1:36 am said:

    For those that are younger in the church seem adamant that this is not part of lds doctrine. However, in my 40 years in the church, growing up we were always taught that we would govern our own planets, have spiritual offspring who would populate those worlds. I still have a copy of the Achieving Celestial Marriage institute manual from which these lessons were taught. . Why does the LDS church now seem so reluctant to admit this was once taught and a major promise of what will happen if we remain faithfull. (Doctirnes of Salvation 2:43-44,48) /www.ldslearning.org/celestial-marriage.pdf
    It was only last year I sat through a Sunday School lesson that was teaching this very same lesson about having our own planets.

  10. Miriam on March 10, 2014 at 11:12 am said:

    I am a life long member of 38 years and your statement is accurate.

  11. First of all, I’m 47, raised in a conservative, orthodox Mormon family in Salt Lake. Attended youth seminary in high school, eagle scout, LDS mission, married my spouse in the Manti Temple. My father sold LDS books out of our house to raise money for missionary work. I’m the youngest of 8. I’ve worked as a supervisor for the LDS owned bookstore Deseret Book.

    Though I’m not Mormon anymore, I would like to think for the bulk of my life I was in an informed, LDS social construct.

    I attended a very popular LDS play when I was a teenager called “Star Child.” It was written to be a sequel to the super popular LDS play, “Saturday’s Warrior.” One of the songs sung in the play is called, “Within Me,” and my folks played it in our house often.The lyrics read:

    Dear Father, [God] do I really matter?
    He bends to pick me up. I am His daughter.

    And with his spirit oh so near I see myself, the picture’s clear:
    As endless as the sands of time, I see my destiny, all I can become.
    Just like the stars up in the sky, I am a multitude, a universe am I!

    Within me, worlds without end!
    Within me, power to ascend!
    To glory if I am worthy for within me there is life!
    And within me, a multitude shall arise!

    This idea of human progression from a pre-mortal spiritual child of Heavenly Father, to the potential of partaking in the Abrahamic covenant, that is to say, to have our own children be as the sands of the sea, and to become like God and do as he has done, is key to the LDS theology that I understand and was taught to believe in my seminary, church and in my home. Anyone who paid attention, would have also been taught that God the Father was once like us and progressed to where he is, just as we must in order to become like him.

    I read some of the posts above by Latter-day Saints and I wonder if they attended the same church I did. Maybe they didn’t. It is conceivable that there are those who lived in places or grew up in families who didn’t really study, pay attention, were uncomfortable with the topic, or emphasized other aspects of the faith. What I mentioned above was definitely emphasized and was saturated in the Salt Lake Mormon community where I grew up.

    I think the supplied statement is reasonable and accurate.

    –Tom Kimball

  12. I was a believing mormon for 32 years. This doctrine was not a minor thing. It was the whole point of the Plan of Salvation: to return to the presence of God in the highest level of the Celestial Kingdom and to have “eternal progression” (meaning to become perfect like God) and “eternal increase” (meaning to create spirit children eternally without number and to create worlds for them eternally without number). It’s possible the church is not emphasizing it as much in the last 25 years as it did when I was attending Sacrament Meetings, Gospel Doctrine classes, and Temple sessions. However, I’m sure it’s still taught in the temple – I’m aware the temple ceremony has changed in the last 25 years, but certainly not so fundamentally.
    Joseph Smith first introduced this doctrine in his King Follett Sermon. You can find it in the Ensign, April1971. The following link will take you to an interesting article by LDS scholar Stan Larson: https://journals.lib.byu.edu/spc/index.php/BYUStudies/article/viewFile/5013/4663

  13. I must say that President Hinckley’s reply to Larry King *deeply* troubled me… And yes, I am Mormon. I am proud of the doctrine that, “as man now is, God once was; and as God now is, man may become.” I wish President Hinckley had also been proud of it…

    http://latterdaysaintwoman.wordpress.com/as-man-now-is-god-once-was-as-god-now-is-man-may-be/

  14. Life-time Mormon here. Each of the three sentences is a caricature. They begin truthful enough, but quickly stray into the land of speculation. To wit:

    “Mormons are taught that God the Father was perhaps once a child, mortal and progressed to become what he is now.” This one is real iffy. The word “perhaps” keeps it out of the dog house, but just barely. It’s certainly not official Mormon doctrine, though I have heard it speculated by members on occasion.

    “They are taught that they have heavenly parents and that marriage in a temple is required for them to have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven.” This sentence gets more mileage than the first one before it runs out of steam. A period after the word “posterity” with the rest of the sentence chopped off there, would have kept it much more accurate.

    “They are taught that they can become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by their offspring. They are taught that they can become gods… “Cut! Cut! Turn off the camera’s!” Massive speculation begins with the first “and”. Everything else that follows is a, well, words wouldn’t begin to describe it.

  15. Even where the words are right, the tune is all wrong, and the words are not all right.

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