GODHOOD

The following are sections out of Bill McKeever’s book In their Own Words: A Collection of Mormon Quotations. The full book of 400 pages is available at Mormonism Research Ministry or Amazon.com.

Standard Works

“And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my
word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant,
and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him
who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and
the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye
shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first
resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones,
kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and
depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, that
he shall commit no murder whereby to shed innocent blood,
and if ye abide in my covenant, and commit no murder whereby
to shed innocent blood, it shall be done unto them in all things
whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through
all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the
world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are
set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been
sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation
of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods,
because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting
to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above
all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be
gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto
them” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-20).

Joseph Smith

“Here, then, is eternal life-to know the only wise and true God;
and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be
kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before
you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from
a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation
to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead
and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as
do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power” (Joseph Smith,
Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 346-347).

2nd President Brigham Young

“The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods
like Himself; when we have been proved in our present capacity,
and been faithful with all things He puts into our possession. We
are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up
from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father
in heaven. That is the truth about it, just as it is. The Lord has
organized mankind for the express purpose of increasing in that
intelligence and truth, which is with God, until he is capable of
creating worlds on worlds, and becoming Gods, even the sons of
God” (Brigham Young, August 8, 1852, Journal of Discourses 3:93).
“We are not required in our sphere to be as perfect as Gods and
angels are in their spheres, yet man is the king of kings and lord
of lords in embryo” (Brigham Young, April and May, 1863, Journal
of Discourses 10:223).

“We talk a great deal about our religion… It is the only system of
religion known in heaven or on earth that can exalt a man to the
Godhead, and this it will do to all those who embrace its laws and
faithfully observe its precepts. This thought gives joy and delight
to the reflecting mind, for, as has been observed, man possesses
the germ of all the attributes and power that are possessed by God
his heavenly Father” (Brigham Young, October 6, 1863, Journal of
Discourses 10:251).

“Intelligent beings are organized to become Gods, even the Sons
of God, to dwell in the presence of the Gods, and become associated
with the highest intelligences that dwell in eternity. We are now
in the school, and must practice upon what we receive” (Brigham
Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 245).

“Having fought the good fight we then shall be prepared to lay our
bodies down to rest to await the morning of the resurrection when
they will come forth and be reunited with the spirits, the faithful,
as it is said, receiving crowns, glory, immortality and eternal lives,
even a fulness with the Father, when Jesus shall present His work
to the Father, saying, ‘Father, here is the work thou gavest me to
do.’ Then will they become Gods, even the sons of God; then will
they become eternal fathers, eternal mothers, eternal sons and
eternal daughters; being eternal in their organization they go
from glory to glory, from power to power; they will never cease to
increase and to multiply, worlds without end. When they receive
their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame
earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as
we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and
God” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 283; Journal
of Discourses 18:259, October 8, 1876).

“We cannot receive, while in the flesh, the keys to form and fashion
kingdoms and to organize matter, for they are beyond our
capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men
who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, have
kept their first and second estate, and are worthy to be crowned
Gods, even the Sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter.
How much matter do you suppose there is between here and
some of the fixed stars which we can see? Enough to frame many,
very many millions of such earths as this, yet it is now so diffused,
clear and pure, that we look through it and behold the stars. Yet
the matter is there. Can you form any conception of this? Can you
form any idea of the minuteness of matter?” (Brigham Young, Discourses
of Brigham Young, p.398. See also Journal of Discourses 15:137
and Latter-day Prophets Speak, Ludlow, p. 128).

“We shall go on from one step to another, reaching forth into
the eternities until we become like the Gods, and shall be able to
frame for ourselves, by the behest and command of the Almighty.
All those who are counted worthy to be exalted and to become
Gods, even the sons of God, will go forth and have earths and
worlds like those who framed this and millions on millions of others”
(Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, July 19, 1874, 17:143).

3rd President John Taylor

“CHRIST’S SERVICE PLACES GODHOOD WITHIN MAN’S
REACH—As a man through the powers of his body he could attain
to the dignity and completeness of manhood, but could go
no further. As a man he is born, as a man he lives, and as a man he
dies. But through the essence and power of the Godhead, which
is in him, which descended to him as the gift of God from his
Heavenly Father, he is capable of rising from the contracted limits
of manhood to the dignity of a God, and thus through the atonement
of Jesus Christ and the adoption he is capable of eternal exaltation,
eternal lives, and eternal progression” (John Taylor, The
Gospel Kingdom, p. 58).

4th President Wilford Woodruff

“There are a few individuals in this dispensation who will inherit
celestial glory, and a few in other dispensations; but before they
receive their exaltation they will have to pass through and submit
to whatever dispensation God may decree. But for all this they
will receive their reward-they will become Gods, they will inherit
thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers through the endless
ages of eternity, and to their increase there will be no end, and the
heart of man has never conceived of the glory that is in store for
the sons and daughters of God who keep the celestial law” (Wilford
Woodruff, June 27, 1875, Journal of Discourses 18:39).

5th President Lorenzo Snow

“…the Spirit of God fell upon me to a marked extent, and the
Lord revealed to me, just as plainly as the sun at noon-day, this
principle, which I put in a couplet: ‘As man now is, God once was;
As God now is, man may be’” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo
Snow, p. 2. Ellipsis mine).

“Why, we are just beginning to find out that we are the offspring
of God, born with the same faculties and powers as He possesses,
capable of enlargement through the experience that we are now
passing through in our second estate” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings
of Lorenzo Snow, p. 3).

“He has given us faculties and powers that are capable of enlargement
until His fulness is reached which He has promised—until
we shall sit upon thrones, governing and controlling our posterity
from eternity to eternity, and increasing eternally. That is the fact
in regard to these matters” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo
Snow, p. 2).

“Joseph Smith declared that the glory of God is intelligence, that
a man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, and that whatever
principles of intelligence he attains to in this life, they will
rise with him in the resurrection, giving him the advantage over
ignorance and evil in the world to come. He taught that man by
constantly progressing may eventually develop into a divine being,
like unto his Father in Heaven” (Lorenzo Snow, The Teachings of
Lorenzo Snow, p. 27).

“THEY SHALL ORGANIZE WORLDS AND RULE OVER THEM
‘Only a short time before his death, President Snow visited the
Brigham Young University [then Brigham Young Academy],
at Provo. President Brimhall escorted the party through one of
the buildings; he wanted to reach the assembly room as soon as
possible, as the students had already gathered. They were going
through one of the kindergarten rooms; President Brimhall had
reached the door and was about to open it and go on when President
Snow said: “Wait a moment, President Brimhall, I want to see
these children at work; what are they doing?” Brother Brimhall replied
that they were making clay spheres. “That is very interesting,”
the President said. “I want to watch them.” He quietly watched the
children for several minutes and then lifted a little girl, perhaps
six years of age, and stood her on a table. He then took the clay
sphere from her hand, and, turning to Brother Brimhall, said:
“President Brimhall, these children are now at play, making mud
worlds, the time will come when some of these boys, through their
faithfulness to the gospel, will progress and develop in knowledge,
intelligence and power, in future eternities, until they shall be able
to go out into space where there is unorganized matter and call
together the necessary elements, and through their knowledge
of and control over the laws and powers of nature, to organize
matter into worlds on which their posterity may dwell, and over
which they shall rule as gods”’” (Snow, Improvement Era, June 1919,
658–59)” (Lorenzo Snow, Presidents of the Church Student Manual:
Religion 345, 2013, pp. 90-91. Brackets in original).

“Salt Lake City. Clear and cool. 10 a.m. Fast meeting at the temple,
Pres. Lorenzo Snow presiding. In his remarks Pres. Snow said in
part: I know the destiny of the Latter-day Saints. I know my destiny,
providing I keep in the path the Lord has marked out. I know
what you—brethren and sisters—can reach. We are all the children
of God—all that live upon the earth. God loves us all. When
Jesus died, he died for the whole human family. He died that we
might become Gods and Goddesses in eternity” (A Ministry of Meetings:
Diaries of Rudger Clawson, Stan Larson, ed., p. 318).

6th President Joseph F. Smith

“Those who have been born unto God through obedience to the
Gospel may by valiant devotion to righteousness obtain exaltation
and even reach the status of Godhood” (Joseph F. Smith, Teachings
of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith, p. 358. See also James Talmage,
Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 424 and Neal A. Maxwell, Men and
Women of Christ, p. 37).

8th President George Albert Smith

“We are here to prepare ourselves and develop ourselves and qualify
ourselves to be worthy to dwell in the presence of our Heavenly
Father. We believe that we are here because we kept our first estate
and earned the privilege of coming to this earth. We believe that
our very existence is a reward for our faithfulness before we came
here, and that we are enjoying on earth the fruits of our efforts in
the spirit world. We also believe that we are sowing the seed today
of a harvest that we will reap when we go from here. Eternal life is
to us the sum of pre-existence, present existence, and the continuation
of life in immortality, holding out to us the power of endless
progression and increase. With that feeling and that assurance, we
believe that ‘As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may become.’
Being created in the image of God, we believe that it is not
improper, that it is not unrighteous, for us to hope that we may be
permitted to partake of the attributes of deity and, if we are faithful,
to become like unto God; for as we receive of and obey the
natural laws of our Father that govern this life, we become more
like Him; and as we take advantage of the opportunities placed
within our reach, we prepare to receive greater opportunities in
this life and in the life that is to come” (George Albert Smith,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith, 2011, p. 71).

10th President Joseph Fielding Smith

“Latter-day Saints believe in this progression in eternity until, eventually,
we become worthy through knowledge, wisdom, humility,
and obedience, to be like God, and then to have the privilege of
being made equal in power, might and dominion (D&C. 76:95),
and to possess all that the Father hath (D&C. 84:38) as members
of ‘the Church of the First-born’” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The Way
to Perfection, p. 9).

“Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods, and that man by obeying
the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will
eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will
become a god” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:98).
“If we have lived in faithful obedience to the divine plan given to
Adam and handed down by duly appointed servants of the Lord,
we are promised a glorious resurrection. And we will become
gods, even sons and daughters of God with power eventually to
gain perfection, ruling over our own posterity and thus laying a
foundation of eternal progress as sons and daughters of our Eternal
Father and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, our Eldest Brother,
who redeemed us from eternal death by the shedding of his blood
on the cross” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Selections from Answers to Gospel
Questions: A Course of Study for the Melchizedek Priesthood Quorum
1972-73, p. 172).

“The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall
be blessed with the fullness of his kingdom. In other words, we will
have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we
must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife
when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on
an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind
of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful,
then they also will receive the fullness of exaltation and partake of
the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go
on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds,
and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:48. See also Achieving a Celestial
Marriage Student Manual, 1976, p. 132).

“We have been promised by the Lord that if we know how to worship,
and know what we worship, we may come unto the Father
in his name, and in due time receive of his fulness. We have the
promise that if we keep his commandments, we shall receive of his
fulness and be glorified in him as he is in the Father. [See D&C
93:11–20, 26–28.] This is a doctrine which delighted President
Snow, as it does all of us. Early in his ministry he received by direct,
personal revelation the knowledge that (in the Prophet Joseph
Smith’s language), ‘God himself was once as we are now, and is
an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens,’ and that
men ‘have got to learn how to be Gods … the same as all Gods
have done before….’ [Teachings, pp. 345–46.] After this doctrine
had been taught by the Prophet, President Snow felt free to teach
it also, and he summarized it in one of the best known couplets
in the Church in these words: ‘As man now is, God once was; As
God now is, man may be.’ This same doctrine has of course been
known to the prophets of all ages…” (Joseph Fielding Smith, The
Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles 211-212, 1979, pp. 327-
328. Brackets and ellipses in original).

12th President Spencer W. Kimball

“Desirable as is secular knowledge, one is not truly educated unless
he has the spiritual with the secular. The secular knowledge is
to be desired; the spiritual knowledge is an absolute necessity. We
shall need all of the accumulated secular knowledge in order to
create worlds and to furnish them, but only through the ‘mysteries
of God’ and these hidden treasures of knowledge may we arrive
at the place and condition where we may use that knowledge in
creation and exaltation” (Spencer W. Kimball, Conference Reports,
October 1968, p. 131).

“Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225,000 of
you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there
in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do
it. I think he could make, or probably have us help make, worlds
for all of us, for every one of us 225,000” (Spencer W. Kimball,
“The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1975, p. 80).

“First, let us pause to remind ourselves that we are the spiritual
children of God, and that we are his supreme creation. In each of
us there is the potentiality to become a God—pure, holy, true, influential,
powerful, independent of earthly forces. We learn from
the scriptures that we each have eternal existence, that we were
in the beginning with God (see Abr. 3:22). That understanding
gives to us a unique sense of man’s dignity” (Spencer W. Kimball,
“President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 1980, p. 94).

“The other-eternal life-is a cooperative program to be developed
by the Lord and his offspring on earth. It thus becomes the overall
responsibility of man to cooperate fully with the Eternal God in
accomplishing this objective. To this end God created man to live
in mortality and endowed him with the potential to perpetuate
the race, to subdue the earth, to perfect himself and to become
as God, omniscient and omnipotent” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 2).

“And let us not suppose that in calling people to repentance the
prophets are concerned only with the more grievous sins such as
murder, adultery, stealing, and so on, nor only with those persons
who have not accepted the gospel ordinances. All transgressions
must be cleansed, all weaknesses must be overcome, before a person
can attain perfection and godhood” (Spencer W. Kimball, The
Miracle of Forgiveness, p. 16).

“I would emphasize that the teachings of Christ that we should become
perfect were not mere rhetoric. He meant literally that it is
the right of mankind to become like the Father and like the Son,
having overcome human weaknesses and developed attributes of
divinity” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
p. 26).

“Man can transform himself and he must. Man has in himself the
seeds of godhood, which can germinate and grow and develop.
As the acorn becomes the oak, the mortal man becomes a god. It
is within his power to lift himself by his very bootstraps from the
plane on which he finds himself to the plane on which he should
be. It may be a long, hard lift with many obstacles, but it is a real
possibility” (Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball,
p. 28. See also Doctrines of the Gospel Student Manual Religion
430 and 431, p. 52).

“Men require priesthood for exaltation. No man will ever reach
godhood who does not hold the priesthood. You have to be a
member of the higher priesthood – an elder, seventy, or high
priest – and today is the day to get it and magnify it” (Spencer W.
Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 51).

“Man is created in the image of God. He is a god in embryo. He
has the seeds of godhood within him and he can, if he is normal,
pick himself up by his bootstraps and literally move himself
from where he is to where he knows he should be” (Spencer W.
Kimball, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1965, p. 26).

“There have been long periods of history when the total truth was
not immediately available to the inhabitants of the earth. But in
our day, the whole eternal program is here and can carry men to
exaltation and eternal life all the way to Godhood” (Spencer W.
Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, p. 83).

“Peter and John had little secular learning, being termed ignorant.
But they knew the vital things of life, that God lives and that
the crucified, resurrected Lord is the Son of God. They knew the
path to eternal life. This they learned in a few decades of their
mortal life. Their righteous lives opened the door to godhood for
them and creation of worlds with eternal increase” (L. Tom Perry
citing Spencer W. Kimball, “The Tradition of a Balanced, Righteous
Life,” Ensign, August 2011, p. 51).

15th President Gordon B. Hinckley

“The whole design of the gospel is to lead us, onward and upward
to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great
possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King
Follett sermon (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-62)
and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and
incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become!” (Gordon
B. Hinckley, Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 179, See also
“Don’t Drop the Ball,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November
1994, p. 48).

First Presidency

“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed
with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an 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 and aeons, of evolving into a God” (Statement
of the First Presidency signed by Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder,
and Anthon H. Lund as cited on page 355 of Man: His Origin and
Destiny. See also Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p. 130).

Apostles

“But another and still greater object the Lord had in view in sending
us down from yonder world to this is, that we might be redeemed
in due time, by keeping the celestial law, and have our
tabernacles restored to us in all the beauty of immortality. Then
we will be able to multiply and extend forth our posterity and the
increase of our dominion without end. Can spirits do this? No,
they remain single. There are no marriages among spirits, no coupling
together of the males and females among them; but when
they rise from the grave, after being tabernacled in mortal bodies,
they have all the functions that are necessary to people worlds.
As our Father and God begat us, sons and daughters, so will we
rise immortal, males and females, and beget children, and, in our
turn, form and create worlds, and send forth our spirit children
to inherit those worlds, the same as we were sent here, and thus
will the works of God continue, and not only God himself, and
His Son Jesus Christ have the power of endless lives, but all of
His redeemed offspring” (Orson Pratt, August 20, 1871, Journal of
Discourses 14:242).

“If you have been pretty good people and have kept the commandments
of God as far as you understood them, and have done
well in many respects, you may have the opportunity of becoming
angels; but there is quite a difference between angels and those
who have the privilege of endless increase, and of being crowned
as kings and priests in the eternal worlds” (Orson Pratt, July 11,
1875, Journal of Discourses 18:50).

“In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods,
each one of whom has his own wife or wives which were given to
him previous to his redemption, while yet in his mortal state. Each
God, through his wife or wives, raises up a numerous family of sons
and daughters; indeed, there will be no end to the increase of his
own children: for each father and mother will be in a condition to
multiply forever and ever. As soon as each God has begotten many
millions of male and female spirits, and his Heavenly inheritance
becomes too small, to comfortably accommodate his great family,
he, in connection with his sons, organizes a new world, after
a similar order to the one which we now inhabit, where he sends
both the male and female spirits to inhabit tabernacles of flesh
and bones. Thus each God forms a world for the accommodation
of his own sons and daughters who are sent forth in their times
and seasons, and generations to be born into the same. The inhabitants
of each world are required to reverence, adore, and worship
their own personal father who dwells in the Heaven which they
formerly inhabited” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 37).

“We hold that men are literally the sons and daughters of God;
that He intends we shall become like Him; and it is certainly reasonable
to expect that the child will eventually develop to the status
of the Parent. We are divine beings in embryo, and it is only a
question of time when we shall blossom in perfection” (Orson F.
Whitney, May 6, 1892, Collected Discourses 3:45-46).

“Man is to become a God. The difference between the human
and the divine is a matter of education and development. Gods
and men are of the same species, and it is just as reasonable that
God’s children should attain to the fulness of His spiritual stature,
as that man’s children should grow to the fulness of his physical
stature. The Son of God thought it not robbery to be equal with
God. Neither need we, His sons and daughters, think it robbery to
aspire to that glorious plane where stand God our Father and Jesus
Christ, our Elder Brother. He has made it possible for us all to
come unto Him and be like Him. He laid down His life to bridge
the chasm and enable us to cross it over” (Orson F. Whitney, Collected
Discourses 4:132).

“…Mormonism be it true or false, holds out to men the greatest
inducements that the human mind can grasp… It teaches men
that they can become divine, that man is God in embryo, that God
was once man in mortality, and that the only difference between
Gods, angels and men is a difference in education and development.
Is such a religion to be sneered at? It teaches that the worlds
on high, the stars that glitter in the blue vault of heaven, are kingdoms
of God, that they were once earths like this, that they have
been redeemed and glorified by the same laws, the same principles
that are applied to this planet, and by which it will ascend
to a perfected and glorified state. It teaches that these worlds are
peopled with human beings, God’s sons and daughters, and that
every husband and father, may become an Adam, and every wife
and mother an Eve, to some future planet” (Orson F. Whitney,
June 9, 1895, Collected Discourses 4:336-337. Ellipses mine).

“It [Mormonism] teaches that the worlds on high, the stars that
glitter in the blue vault of heaven, are kingdoms of God, that they
were once earths like this, that they have been redeemed and glorified
by the same laws, the same principles that are applied to this
planet, and by which it will ascend to a perfected and glorified
state. It teaches that these worlds are peopled with human beings,
God’s sons and daughters, and that every husband and father, may
become an Adam, and every wife and mother an Eve, to some
future planet” (Orson Whitney, “Divine Evidences of Truthfulness
Discourse,” June 9, 1895, Collected Discourses, 4:336-337. Brackets
mine).

“We are taught that men and women, the sons and daughters of
God, who were spirits in his presence, were sent here to take mortal
tabernacles and undergo experiences that would in due time
exalt them to the plane occupied by their Father and Mother in
heaven. Earth is to become a heaven. Man is to become a God. The
difference between the human and the divine is a matter of education
and development. Gods and men are of the same species,
and it is just as reasonable that God’s children should attain to the
fullness of his spiritual stature, as that man’s children should grow
to the fullness of his physical stature. The son of God thought it
not robbery to be equal with God. Neither need we, his sons and
daughters, think it robbery to aspire to that glorious plane where
stand God our Father and Jesus Christ, our elder brother” (Orson
F. Whitney, Collected Discourses 5:76-77).

“There is a spirit in man and the inspiration of the Almighty
giveth it understanding; the sinful who listen and obey are led
to repentance, and, through the doors of baptism of the water
and spirit are brought out of wickedness to the enlightenment of
pure knowledge, until in obedience to heavenly law they secure
the keys of power authorizing them to pass by the angels, inherit
glory, become heirs of God, joint heirs with Christ; and, having
abiding in them eternal lives shall beget, throughout the endless
ages of eternity, the souls of the children of men to the honor and
glory of God, and create and have dominion over worlds” (Moses
Thatcher, August 28, 1885, Journal of Discourses 26:305).

“Divinely Appointed Judges Called ‘Gods.’—In Psalm 82:6, judges
invested by divine appointment are called ‘gods.’ To this scripture
the Savior referred in His reply to the Jews in Solomon’s Porch.
Judges so authorized officiated as the representatives of God and
are honored by the exalted title ‘gods.’ Compare the similar appellation
applied to Moses (Ex. 4:16; 7:1). Jesus Christ possessed
divine authorization, not through the word of God transmitted to
Him by man, but as an inherent attribute. The inconsistency of
calling human judges ‘gods,’ and of ascribing blasphemy to the
Christ who called Himself the Son of God, would have been apparent
to the Jews but for their sin-darkened minds” (James Talmage,
Jesus the Christ, p. 501).

“WE HAVE frequently said that perhaps the grandest thought that
has ever been brought forth to the children of men is the Mormon
truism, namely: ‘As man is, God once was, and as God is,
man may become.’ The foundation of that truism is in this revelation
and these words we have just read. Let me read them again:
‘Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God’
— Now, I would like to say a word or two about that Mormon truism,
namely: ‘As man is, God once was, and as God is, man may
become.’ Note that it is not to the effect that man will become, but
man may become, and I wish to say that few men will become what
God is. And yet, all men may become what he is if they will pay the
price” (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary Services of Melvin
J. Ballard, p. 238).

“When Joseph Smith came forth declaring the restoration of this
Gospel, with its clear-cut notions concerning the salvation of men,
concerning the doctrine of deity, they were so diametrically opposed
to every existing religious denomination that there is no
wonder he had the hatred and enmity of religious bodies” (Melvin
J. Ballard, Conference Reports, April 1932, p. 58).

“Joseph Smith the Prophet declared that there is a plurality of
gods. An indication of such plurality runs through the scriptures,
ancient and modern. In the very beginning of time Adam and Eve
were promised that they should ‘be as gods’ (Gen. 3:5) and Jesus
reminded the Jews that in their scriptures it was written ‘ye are
gods.’ (John 10:34.) Paul spoke of ‘lords many and gods many.’
(1 Cor. 8:5.) Modern revelation presents the same truth when
it says ‘according to that which was ordained in the midst of the
Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world
was.’ (D. & C. 121:32). This implies that many personages may
have attained the power and place of Godhood. This does not
make them in any sense coequal with God, or with his Son, or
the Holy Ghost. Those who are denominated gods have a rank
in the eternal councils, with corresponding power to help foster
the purposes of the Father. There may be many generals in an
earthly government, but only one commander-in-chief. Even so in
the government of heaven” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,
pp. 53-54).

“The gospel teaches that the hosts of intelligent beings here and
in the spirit world may progress forever. The condition is obedience
to eternal law. These personages are in various stages of progression,
some beginning, others far on the way. Some, through
the eternities, may already have won sufficient of the attributes
of divinity to be spoken of as gods. The destiny of all who are
faithful is godhood. Modern revelation makes the promise to all
who comply with certain requirements ‘Then shall they be gods,
because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting
to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all,
because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods,
because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them’
(D. & C. 132:20)” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,
p. 54).

“However, in the restored gospel the word god does not always
refer to the governing council of the Gods: the Father, Son, and
Holy Ghost. There are in the universe innumerable intelligent
beings, some of whom have come to this earth. These beings, if
faithful to the law of the Eternal Father, are steadily progressing
toward his likeness. Those who have risen high in their progressive
development are often spoken of as gods. This is thoroughly consistent
with the doctrine that all are children of God the Father,
therefore of his nature, and capable of rising towards his image”
(John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, p. 66).

“To enter the highest of these degrees in the celestial kingdom
is to be exalted in the kingdom of God. Such exaltation comes
to those who receive the higher ordinances of the Church, such
as the temple endowment, and afterwards are sealed in marriage
for time and eternity, whether on earth or in the hereafter. Those
who are so sealed continue the family relationship eternally. Spiritual
children are begotten by them. They carry on the work of
salvation for the hosts of waiting spirits. They who are so exalted
become even as the gods” (John A. Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations,
p. 201).

“But to Latter-day Saints, man is a child of God with the seed of
godhood in him” (Hugh B. Brown, The Abundant Life, p. 110).
“The Gospel is a plan for successful living—for progress toward
Godhood” (Mark E. Petersen, Faith Works! p. 139).

“In the important doctrinal discourse known as the ‘King Follett
Sermon’ the Prophet Joseph Smith, referring to those who ‘shall
be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ,’ described jointheirship
as inheriting the same power, the same glory, and the
same exaltation, until an individual ascends to the station of Godhood
and rises to the throne of eternal power, sharing the rewards
with all the faithful who have preceded him. A joint-heir legally
inherits and shares all equities and gifts in equal interest with all
other heirs. Nothing is excluded nor adjusted in value between
the participating joint-heirs” (Delbert L. Stapley, Conference Reports,
April 1961, p. 66).

“How can mortals become either gods or angels unless they obtain
the same powers, the same attributes, and the same holiness
that such eternal beings now possess? God is God and angels are
angels because they possess the powers and perfections that now
are theirs. If men gain these same states of glory and exaltation,
can they do it without becoming like those who already have so
inherited?” (Bruce R. McConkie, A New Witness for the Articles of
Faith, pp. 194-195.)

“Those who seek the Lord, who find him, who keep his commandments,
who grow in the things of the Spirit, shall gain the fulness
of the kingdom of the Father. They gain exaltation; they become
gods. They inherit all things—literally” (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal
New Testament Commentary 2:328).

“Again: ‘Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of
my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him
the name of my God’ (Rev. 3:12). That is, he shall have exaltation
and godhood. As Deity now is, he shall become. He shall have
eternal life” (Bruce R. McConkie, Sermons and Writings of Bruce R.
McConkie , p. 367).

“The ‘conditioned-reflex’ version of the behaviorist cannot inspire
the mystery and awe and wonder which are the glory of man.
To know, instead, that every individual is an eternal person, a potential
god or goddess, capable of deep love and graciousness and
mercy, more than human, is to prepare us to live with courage and
a sense of responsibility, to inspire self-reliance, self- respect, and
genuine respect for others” (Marion D. Hanks, Conference Reports,
October 1968, p. 117).

“The purpose of mortal life and the mission of The Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter-day Saints is to prepare the sons and daughters
of God for their destiny—to become like our heavenly parents”
(Dallin H. Oaks, “Same-Gender Attraction,” Ensign, October 1995,
p. 7).

“Lorenzo Snow, a modern Apostle, wrote a poem to his ancient
counterpart Paul, from which I quote only one verse: A son of
God, like God to be, Would not be robbing Deity; And he who has
this hope within, Will purify himself from sin” (Boyd K. Packer, Let
Not Your Heart Be Troubled, p. 292).

“Elder James E. Talmage said, ‘Somehow the Latter-day Saints
have the mistaken notion that in the end, when the day comes
that the Lord will make them gods or goddesses, when someone
lays their hands on their heads and, as it were, says to them, You
have now all that you need to be a God-go ahead-this is not true.
All that you need to be a God is in you right now. Your job is to
take those crude elements within you and refine them’” (Gene R.
Cook, Living by the Power of Faith, p. 91).

“We are charged with the responsibility of getting people out of
their ruts and routines, out of their problems and their pain, out
of their little arguments and ignorance and sins, and take them to
the Gods — to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost — ultimately
we are to take them toward their own Godhood” (Jeffrey
R. Holland, “Divine Companion: Teaching by the Spirit,” Church
News, July 4, 2009, p. 15).

Seventies

“The only way we can know God is to live as he lives, to think as he
thinks, and to experience what he experiences. Interpreted in this
light, we are brought face to face with the powerful Mormon doctrine
which declares that ‘As man is God once was, and as God is
man may be’” (Milton R. Hunter, Conference Reports, October 1945,
p. 111).

“We are a group of people who know that we must gain knowledge
of truth in order that we may progress on to godhood” (Milton R.
Hunter, Conference Reports, April 1945, p. 73).

“Therefore, all those who love God and keep his commandments
will receive eternal life, godhood, or exaltation, which means that
they will rise in the resurrection and enter into celestial glory to be
made joint heirs with Jesus Christ and receive all that the Father
has” (Milton R. Hunter, Conference Reports, April 1952, p. 125).

“In June, 1840, Lorenzo Snow formulated the following famous
couplet: ‘As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.’
This doctrine, when first announced by the Prophet and later restated
by Elder Snow, was astounding to Christendom, since the
teachers as well as the laity had long ago ceased to regard man
as a being of such magnitude. Even today it is still a doctrine understood
primarily by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints” (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel through the Ages,
pp.105-106).

“Thus all men who ascend to the glorious status of Godhood can
do so only by one method – by obedience to all the principles and
ordinances of the Gospel of Jesus Christ…No prophet of record
gave more complete and forceful explanations of the doctrine
that men can become Gods than did the American Prophet, and,
furthermore, he definitely pointed the course which men must
follow” (Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 115. Ellipsis
in original).

“Thus we do not become Godlike in this world, nor Gods in the
world to come, through any miraculous or sudden gift, but only
through the slow process of natural growth brought about as a
result of righteous living. Some people may think that when they
die they will instantaneously get rid of all their bad habits and
become purified. Such is not the case. We can become purified in
this world, and the same holds true in the next life, only through
repentance; that is, overcoming our faults and sins and replacing
them with virtues. Charles W. Penrose sustains these thoughts in
the following words: ‘Men become like God not by some supernatural
or sudden change, either in this world or another, but by the
natural development of the divinity within. Time, circumstances,
and the necessary intelligence are all that are required’” (Milton
R. Hunter, The Gospel through the Ages, p. 116).

“Even the doctrine of a knowledge of God as the avenue to Godhood
made its way outward from the Divine Fountain of Truth
into the heathenistic religions of the Mediterranean world. The
teachings of the Hermetic pagan cult sound quite familiar to
those who are acquainted with the doctrine taught by Jesus, by
John the Beloved, by Paul, and by Joseph Smith the American
Prophet. They have a close kinship to the true Gospel which came
to earth through the holy prophets of God. For example, Hermes
declared: ‘And this alone, even the knowledge (gnosis) of God, is
man’s salvation. This is the ascent to Olympus, and by this alone
can a soul become good.’ This religion taught, as did the Prophet
Alma, that man must experience a rebirth. The Hermetic rebirth
involved nothing less than deification. ‘This is the good; this is
the consummation for those who have got gnosis-they enter into
God’; so declared the Hermetic teacher” (Milton R. Hunter, The
Gospel through the Ages, p. 117).

“Thus we see that the true doctrine of knowing the Lord as the
pathway to Godhood was revealed to man as part of the knowledge
of the divine plan of salvation; and, like many other Gospel
truths, it was disseminated among pagan worshipers” (Milton R.
Hunter, The Gospel through the Ages, p. 118).

“The crowning doctrine of the gospel of Jesus Christ relates to
the principle of men becoming gods. It is marvelous that such a
doctrine, although in a polluted form, should have been retained
by Indian pagans from the time of the close of the Book of Mormon
to the coming of the Spaniards. Through modern revelation
received by the Prophet Joseph Smith and his successors, the
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints not
only know that they are spirit children of a Heavenly Father and
a Heavenly Mother, but they also know that there is a possibility
for some of them ultimately to become exalted to Godhood. As
early as February 16, 1832, Jesus Christ revealed to the Prophet
Joseph Smith the sublime truth that ‘men may become gods’” (Milton
R. Hunter, Christ in Ancient America, p. 167. Italics in original).

“Becoming a god is our greatest possibility in life. Jesus taught that
all men, including himself, were the actual spirit children of God,
and that according to the eternal laws of heredity, the offspring of
God might hope to eventually become like their eternal parents. It
is interesting to remember that God’s angels, spirits, and men are
all members of the same species in different degrees of righteousness
and different stages of development” (Sterling W. Sill, That Ye
Might Have Life, p. 26).

“It is clear that the teaching of President Lorenzo Snow is both
acceptable and accepted doctrine in the Church today” (Gerald
Lund, “I have a question,” Ensign, February 1982, p. 40).

“The Lorenzo Snow couplet expresses a true statement: ‘As man
is, God once was; and as God is, man may become’” (Bruce C.
Hafen, The Broken Heart: Applying the Atonement to Life’s Experiences,
1989, p. 134).

“On the other hand, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, we believe that we are the spirit offspring of God
with inherited spiritual traits that give us the divine potential to
become like our parent, God the Father” (Tad. R. Callister, “Our
Identity and Destiny,” BYU Magazine, Winter 2013, p. 46).

“Perhaps no doctrine, no teaching, no philosophy has stirred such
controversy as this: that man may become a god. It is seen by some
as blasphemous, by others as absurd. Such a concept, they challenge,
lowers God to the status of man and thus deprives God of
His dignity and divinity. Others claim this teaching to be devoid of
scriptural support. It is but a fantasy, they say, of a young, uneducated
schoolboy, Joseph Smith” (Tad Callister, “Our Identity and
Destiny,” BYU Magazine, Winter 2013, p. 47).

Church Manuals

“Can you see the reasonable basis for belief that you can become a
God like he is by progressing here and hereafter?” (Book of Mormon
Student Manual Religion 121 and 122, 1989, p. 58).

“We can become Gods like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation”
(Gospel Principles, 1985, p. 290).

“All good things come from God. Everything that He does is to
help His children become like Him. He has said, ‘Behold, this is
my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal
life of man’ (Moses 1:39)” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 6).

“Consider this fact: Your marriage is a laboratory for godhood”
(Achieving a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 65).

“One of Lorenzo Snow’s great contributions was his elucidation
of the doctrine that man might one day become like God. As
President of the Church he gave a discourse entitled ‘The Grand
Destiny of Man.’ He related how as a young man he had been
inspired by one of the Prophet Joseph Smith’s sermons about the
manifestations of God and Jesus Christ to him. Two and one-half
years later, after a patriarchal blessing meeting, Joseph Smith, Sr.,
had promised Lorenzo that he could become as great as God himself.
Two and one-half years after that, while Lorenzo listened to
an explanation of the scriptures, the Lord inspired him to compose
this couplet: ‘As man now is, God once was; As God now is,
man may be.’ President Snow stated, ‘Nothing was ever revealed
more distinctly than that was to me.’ Shortly before Joseph Smith’s
death, Lorenzo heard him teach the same doctrine. Thereafter
Elder Snow made the doctrine one of the subjects of his own discourses”
(Church History in the Fulness of Times, 2003, pp. 451-452).

“All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God”
(Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 9).

“You are a literal child of God, spiritually begotten in the premortal
life. As His child, you can be assured that you have divine,
eternal potential and that He will help you in your sincere efforts
to reach that potential” (True to the Faith: A Gospel Reference, 2004,
p. 74).

“When Adam and Eve partook of the fruit they became mortal
and, in the sense of knowing good and evil, began to become like
God. But Satan implied that God’s forbidding them to partake of
the fruit was because God did not want them to become as the
Gods, trying to make it appear that God’s motives were selfish.
The truth is that God’s work and glory is to help all of His children
to one day become as He is (see Moses 1:39)” (The Pearl of Great
Price Student Manual Religion 327, 2000, p. 13).

“We Can Become like God Because We Have the Seed of Deity
Within Us. When Jesus was created after the fashion and in the likeness of
the Father, and was therefore in the image of his Father, did he strive also
to become like God in every other way? What does the word equal mean?
And since Jesus thought that it was not robbery for him to become like God,
what does Paul say you should strive to do as well? (See Philippians 2:5–8,
12; 3 Nephi 27:27.)” (The Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles
Religion 211-212, 1979, p. 328. Bold and italics in original).
“Through Christ We Can Receive All That the Father Has. ‘Now,
how are they to receive all that the Father hath, if something is
withheld? And if something is not withheld, how can they receive
all that he hath and not become as he is, that is, be gods themselves?”
(The Life and Teachings of Jesus & His Apostles Religion 211-
212, 1979, p. 329. Bold in original).

“Remind students that because all men and women are spirit children
of our Heavenly Father, we are capable of becoming like
Him. Also, Moses was a son of God in that he had spiritually been
born again and become a member of the Church of Jesus Christ;
thus he stood in a position to become a joint-heir with Christ (see
Moses 6:68; D&C 25:1)” (The Pearl of Great Price Teacher Manual
Religion 327, 2000, p. 12).

Other Sources

“The great hope of the gospel for us is that we may come to a oneness
with our Lord and our Father and partake of this same work
and glory and godhood. Being joint-heirs of all that the Father
has, we may then look forward to using those powers to organize
still other worlds from the unorganized matter that exists throughout
boundless space. Creating other worlds, peopling them with
our own eternal posterity, providing a savior for them, and making
known to them the saving principles of the eternal gospel,
that they may have the same experiences we are now having and
be exalted with us in their turn—this is eternal life” (BYU Professor
Kent Nielsen, “People on Other Worlds,” New Era, April 1971,
p. 16).

“When the Lord revealed to Moses the great purpose of life, he
expressed himself in these words: ‘For behold, this is my work
and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man.’ (Moses 1:39.) In other words, the Lord’s work is to bring
about the resurrection (immortality) of all of his Father’s children
and to make it possible for them to receive exaltation or godhood
(eternal life). When one comes to understand these purposes,
one’s heart rejoices in the knowledge that the greatest blessing
available to man—godhood—may be received by those who desire
it with all their hearts” (Roy W. Doxey, “Accepted of the Lord: The
Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure,” Ensign, July
1976, p. 50).

“Fundamental to our understanding of the reason for existence
in mortality is our knowledge that men and women were born as
spirit children of the Eternal Father and that Jesus Christ is our
elder brother in the spirit. Because their status is transcendently
greater than ours, we stand in awe at the thought of one day becoming
as they. Nevertheless, we are begotten spirit children of
the Eternal Father—born in the lineage of the gods—and we have
within us the power, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, to rise
to the heights of godhood” (Roy W. Doxey, “Accepted of the Lord:
The Doctrine of Making Your Calling and Election Sure.” Ensign,
July 1976, p. 50 ).

“Latter-day Saint doctrine can be understood to have appreciation
for Christ and applications for man that go beyond traditional
Christology. It is LDS teaching that all the Father’s children possess
the potential to strive toward the same godhood that the Godhead
already has; because in their humanity there is a divinity that
is progressing and growing according to the faith, intelligence,
and love that abound in their souls. Like the attribute of perfection,
divinity is not a static absolute but a dynamic progression”
(The Encyclopedia of Mormonism 1:273).

“Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme
Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latterday
Saints, the term ‘godhood’ denotes the attainment of such a
state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does
and being as God is” (The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 2:553).
“The physical body is a gift from God… Latter-day Saints look
upon the body as an essential component in the progress to become
perfect, even as the Heavenly Father is perfect” (Encyclopedia
of Mormonism, 2:580. Ellipsis mine).

“The central focus of Joseph Smith’s teaching is the literal and
infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ and the restoration of the eternal
gospel and its ordinances. In this expansive view (popularized
under the label of ‘eternalism’ by B. H. Roberts) men and women
are eternal beings procreated by a Heavenly Father and Mother, a
concept elaborated by Lorenzo Snow and his sister Eliza R. Snow.
Men and women are tested by choices between good and evil in
mortal life as preparation for the eternities. The universe, filled
with a myriad of worlds inhabited by sons and daughters of God,
exists for the purpose of allowing individuals to progress toward
becoming gods and goddesses” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:687).

“Since all mankind have a divine Father, they are potential ‘heirs
of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ’ (TPJS, pp. 346-47; cf. Romans
8:17). In this sense, all the children of God are embryonic
gods or goddesses. Obedience to the fulness of the gospel is the
perfecting process through which they may go ‘from one small
degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from
grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation…until [they] arrive
at the station of a God’ (TPJS, pp. 346-47)” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism
2:791. Ellipsis, brackets, and italics in original).

“Nothing I say here should be interpreted as denying the importance
for Mormonism of God’s corporality and God’s nature as an
exalted man. Neither am I denying the importance of LDS belief
that we humans are literally God’s children and can become what
God is. These are lynchpins in LDS theology” (BYU Professor Stephen
Robinson, How Wide the Divide, p. 91).

“Joseph Smith taught that man, far from being an enemy or mere
tool of God, was actually a god in embryo. The Father had achieved
godhood only by going through the same experiences man is
now enduring. Having successfully met all tests, he progressed in
knowledge and power to become God. In turn, he instructed his
spirit children in the plan of salvation before they came to earth
and promised them that if they lived faithfully in their mortal life,
one day they, too, might become gods. This was the doctrine of
eternal progression, which became another hallmark of the restored
gospel” (James B. Allen and Glen M. Leonard, The Story of
the Latter-day Saints, 1992, p. 183).

“Being all-knowing, the Lord understood that for us to become
like Him we must develop our divine attributes in the same manner
in which He did. We must come to an earth and experience
growth through opposition. (See 2 Ne. 2:15.)” (BYU Professor
Daniel K. Judd, “Redeemed by the Savior from Fall, Man Is Born
Innocent Into the,” Church News, November 29, 1993, p. 14).

“Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob may have qualified for exaltation in
the highest heaven, but they did not so achieve on their own; they
stand now, with their eternal companions, not as angels but as
gods and goddesses (see D&C 132:37). The patriarchal order is
a partnership” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, Selected
Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel Scholars Series, p. 282).

“A foundational teaching of the gospel is that through the plan of
redemption not only can we dwell again with our Heavenly Father
but we can become as He is” (Brett L. Holbrook, Church Educational
System coordinator, “Christ developing divine attributes,”
Church News, January 3, 2004, p. 8).

“GODHOOD. The final status of those who attain exaltation and
Thus become gods (D&C 132:19-20)” (David R. Ridges, Mormon
Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier, 2007, pp. 121-122).
“Those who attain exaltation live in the family unit forever (D&C
131:1-4). They become gods (D&C 76:58; 132:20)” (David R. Ridges,
Mormon Beliefs and Doctrines Made Easier, 2007, p. 92).
“First of all, exaltation to godhood does not come to Mormon’s
just because they belong to the LDS church. It comes to men and
women who live faithful and righteous lives, who keep all of God’s
commandments, who learn to treat their fellowmen the way that
they want to be treated, and who will love and honor God with all
of their heart, might, mind and strength” (Donny Osmond, “Polytheism?
Elohim? Exaltation?” http://donny.com/my_beliefs/
polytheism-elohim-exaltation-2/).