“For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being;
but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity” (The
Book of Mormon, Moroni 8:18).
“And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers
out of the land of Jerusalem? And Aaron said unto him: Yea,
he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven
and in earth. Believest thou this? And he said: Yea, I believe that
the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell
me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words” (The
Book of Mormon, Alma 22:9-11).
“Now, the decrees of God are unalterable” (The Book of Mormon,
“For God doth not walk in crooked paths, neither doth he turn
to the right hand nor to the left, neither doth he vary from that
which he hath said, therefore his paths are straight, and his course
is one eternal round” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:2).
“By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is
infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable
God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things
which are in them; And that he created man, male and female,
after his own image and in his own likeness, created he them; And
gave unto them commandments that they should love and serve
him, the only living and true God, and that he should be the only
being whom they should worship” (Doctrine and Covenants 20:17-
“From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail”
(Doctrine and Covenants 76:4).
“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s”
(Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
“I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show
what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the
beginning? Open your ears and hear, all ye ends of the earth, for
I am going to prove it to you by the Bible, and to tell you the designs
of God in relation to the human race, and why He interferes
with the affairs of man. God himself was once as we are now, and is
an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great
secret, if the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world
in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was
to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see
him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very
form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness
of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed
with him, as one man talks and communes with another” (Joseph
Smith,Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345. Italics in original.
See also Achieving a Celestial Marriage, p. 129).
“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all
eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you
may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are
simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the
Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man
converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God
the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself
did, and I will show it from the Bible” (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the
Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-346. Italics in original. See also Gospel
Principles, 1997, p. 305).
“If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God
the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He
had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father?
And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever
did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor?
And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is
earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus
had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also?” (Joseph
Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 373.)
“That which is without body or parts is nothing. There is no God
in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones” (Joseph Smith,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church – Joseph Smith, p. 42).
“In knowledge there is power. God has more power than all other
beings, because He has greater knowledge, and hence He knows
how to subject all other beings to Him. He has power over all”
(Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith,
2nd President Brigham Young
“Our God and Father in Heaven, is a being of tabernacle, or, in
other words, he has a body, with parts the same as you and I have;
and is capable of showing forth his works to organized beings, as
for instance, in the world in which we live, it is the result of the
knowledge and infinite wisdom that dwell in his organized body.
His Son Jesus Christ has become a personage of tabernacle, and
has a body like his Father. The Holy Ghost is the Spirit of the Lord,
and issues forth from himself, and may properly be called God’s
minister to execute his will in immensity; being called to govern
by his influence and power; but he is not a person of flesh as we
are, and as our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ are” (Brigham
Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 24. See also Journal of Discourses
“When you can thus feel, then you may begin to think that you
can find out something about God, and begin to learn who he is.
He is our Father—the Father of our spirits, and was once a man
in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted Being. How many
Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when
there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing
through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That
course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity.
You cannot comprehend this; but when you can, it will be to
you a matter of great consolation” (Brigham Young, October 8,
1859, Journal of Discourses 7:333).
“It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous
traditions, that God has been once a finite being; and
yet we are not in such close communion with him as many have
supposed” (Brigham Young, October 8, 1859, Journal of Discourses
“The idea that the Lord our God is not a personage of tabernacle
is entirely a mistaken notion. He was once a man. Brother Kimball
quoted a saying of Joseph the Prophet, that he would not worship
a God who had not a Father; and I do not know that he would if be
had not a mother; the one would be as absurd as the other. If he
had a Father, he was made in his likeness. And if he is our Father
we are made after his image and likeness. He once possessed a
body, as we now do; and our bodies are as much to us, as his body
to him. Every iota of this organization is necessary to secure for us
an exaltation with the Gods” (Brigham Young, February 23, 1862,
Journal of Discourses 9:286).
“Some men seem as if they could learn so much and no more.
They appear to be bounded in their capacity for acquiring knowledge,
as Brother Orson Pratt, has in theory, bounded the capacity
of God. According to his theory, God can progress no further
in knowledge and power; but the God that I serve is progressing
eternally, and so are his children: they will increase to all eternity,
if they are faithful” (Brigham Young, January 13, 1867, Journal of
“Now I would ask the Christian world a question, and in doing so
I do not mean to reflect upon, or cast an insinuation in the least
derogatory to, all Christians, or to any who believe in God; but I
would ask them, what do you know of God? Take all the divines on
the face of the earth and place them in this stand, and beyond the
attributes of God they know nothing of Him; they are entirely ignorant
of His person. There is the difference between the various
religious sects of the Christian world and the Latter-day Saints”
(Brigham Young, July 11, 1869, Journal of Discourses 13:144).
“Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It
is not so. He is no more every where present in person than the
Father and Son are one in person” (Brigham Young, Discourses
of Brigham Young, pp. 23-24. See also Teachings of Presidents of the
Church: Brigham Young, p. 29).
“Now do not lariat the God that I serve and say that he can not
learn any more; I do not believe in such a character” (Brigham
Young, Deseret News, June 18, 1873, p. 309. See also Eugene England,
“Perfection and Progression: Two Complimentary ways to
talk about God,” BYU Studies, Summer 1989, p. 37).
“I tell you, when you see your Father in the Heavens, you will see
Adam; when you see your Mother that bear your spirit, you will see
Mother Eve. And when you see yourselves there you have gained
your Exaltation; you have honored your calling here on the Earth;
your body has returned to its mother Earth; and somebody has
broken the chains of death that bound you, and given you a resurrection”
(Brigham Young, The Essential Brigham Young, p. 99).
“What, is it possible that the Father of Heights, the Father of our
spirits, could reduce himself and come forth like a man? Yes, he
was once a man like you and I are and was once on an earth like
this, passed through the ordeal you and I pass through. He had
his father and his mother and he has been exalted through his
faithfulness, and he is become Lord of all. He is the God pertaining
to this earth. He is our Father. He begot our spirits in the
spirit world. They have come forth and our earthly parents have
organized tabernacles for our spirits and here we are today. That
is the way we came” (Brigham Young, The Essential Brigham Young,
4th President Wilford Woodruff
“GOD IS INCREASING IN KNOWLEDGE. If there was a point
where man in his progression could not proceed any further, the
very idea would throw a gloom over every intelligent and reflecting
mind. God Himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge,
power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end”
(Wilford Woodruff, The Discourses of Wilford Woodruff, p. 3).
“Meeting Adjourned till evening when the House was filled again.
Was Addressed…by Brigham Young…I will now preach you another
Sermon. There is one great Master and Head in all kingdoms &
g[overnment?]. So with our Father in Heaven. He is a Tabernacle.
He Created us in the likeness of his own image. The Son has also
a Tabernacle like the Father & the Holy Ghost is a minister to the
people but not a tabernacle” (Wilford Woodruff, Waiting for World’s
End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, Susan Staker, ed., p. 150. Recounting
Brigham Young’s conference sermon from April 9, 1852.
Ellipsis, brackets, spelling, and punctuation in original).
5th President Lorenzo Snow
“As man is now, God once was; as God is now, man may be” (Lorenzo
Snow, The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 2. Italics in original. See also
The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles, 1979, p. 59).
6th President Joseph F. Smith
“It is said that God is a spirit, and they who worship him must worship
him in spirit and in truth. But he is a spirit possessing the tabernacle
of flesh and bones, as tangible as a man’s and therefore to
be like God and Jesus all men must have a body” (Joseph F. Smith,
Gospel Doctrine, 1986, pp. 453-454).
“I do not believe in the doctrines held by some that God is only a
spirit and that He is of such a nature that He fills the immensity
of space, and is everywhere present in person or without person,
for I can not conceive it possible that God could be a person if He
filled the immensity of space and was everywhere present at the
same time. It is a physical, a theological, an unreasonable, inconsistency
to imagine that even God the Eternal Father would be in
two places, as an individual, at the same moment. It is impossible.
But His power extends throughout the immensity of space, His
power extends to all His creations, and His knowledge comprehends
them all, and He governs them all and He knows all. It is a
scriptural truth, that this is life eternal to know the only true and
living God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I believe that
the Latter-day Saints, through the teachings of the scriptures and
through the revelations that have come to them by the voice of the
Prophet Joseph Smith, are able to learn the true and living God
and know Him and also His Son whom He has sent into the world,
whom to know is life eternal” (Joseph F. Smith, Conference Reports,
April 1916, p. 4).
“Mary was married to Joseph for time. No man could take her for
eternity because she belonged to the Father of her divine Son. In
the revelation that has come thru Joseph Smith, we learn that it is
the eternal purpose of God that man and woman should be joined
together by the power of God here on earth for time and eternity”
(Joseph F. Smith, Messages of the First Presidency 4:330).
“God has a tabernacle of flesh and bone. He is an organized being
just as we are, who are now in the flesh. …We are the children of
God. He is an eternal being, without beginning of days or end of
years. He always was, He is, He always will be. We are precisely in
the same condition and under the same circumstances that God
our Heavenly Father was when He was passing through this or a
similar ordeal” (Joseph F. Smith, February 17th, 1884, Journal of
Discourses 25:58. Ellipsis mine).
“President Joseph F. Smith (1838-1918) taught: ‘God the Eternal
Father…is the literal parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
and of the spirits of the human race….We are God’s children’”
(Joseph F. Smith, “The Nature of the Godhead,” Ensign, January
2006, p. 51. Ellipses in original).
8th President George Albert Smith
“The Lord has blessed us with a knowledge that he lives, and has
a body, and that we are created in his image. We do not believe
that he is some kind of essence or that he is incomprehensible”
(George Albert Smith, Conference Reports, October 1921, p. 39).
10th President Joseph Fielding Smith
“Where has the Lord ever revealed to us that he is lacking in
knowledge? That he is still learning new truth; discovering new
laws that are unknown to him? I think this kind of doctrine is very
dangerous. I don’t know where the Lord has ever declared such
a thing. It is not contained in any revelation that I have read”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:8).
“The Prophet taught that our Father had a Father and so on.
Is not this a reasonable thought, especially when we remember
that the promises are made to us that we may become like him?”
(Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 1:12).
“Our Father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a Father, and since
there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each
Father had a Father, until we come to a stop where we cannot go
further, because of our limited capacity to understand” (Joseph
Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation 2:47. Italics in original).
12th President Spencer W. Kimball
“Men with keen intelligence got together… [at] Nicea and created
a God. They did not pray for wisdom or revelation. They claimed
no revelation from the Lord. They made it just about like a political
party would do, and out of their own mortal minds created a
God which is still worshiped by the great majority of Christians”
(Spencer W. Kimball, The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p. 426.
Ellipsis and brackets in original).
15th President Gordon B. Hinckley
Don Lattin: There are some significant differences in your beliefs.
For instance, don’t Mormons believe that God was once a man?
Gordon B. Hinckley: I wouldn’t say that. There was a little couplet
coined, “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.’’
Now that’s more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into
some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.
Don Lattin: So you’re saying the church is still struggling to understand
Gordon B. Hinckley: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe
in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of
God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain
unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. Knowledge,
learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education.
We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest,
best, brightest people that we can. (“Musings of the Main Mormon
Gordon B. Hinckley, ‘president, prophet, seer and revelator’ of the
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sits at the top of one
of the world’s fastest-growing religions,” an interview by San Francisco
Chronicle religion writer Don Lattin, Sunday, April 13, 1997,
Retrieved May 2, 2011).
“At first, Hinckley seemed to qualify the idea that men could become
gods, suggesting that ‘it’s of course an ideal. It’s a hope for a
wishful thing,’ but later affirmed that ‘yes, of course they can.’ (He
added that women could too, ‘as companions to their husbands.
They can’t conceive a king without a queen.’) On whether his
church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he sounded
uncertain, ‘I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize
it… I understand the philosophical background behind it,
but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot
about it’” (“Kingdom Come,” an interview with Gordon B. Hinckley
by Don Van Biema, Time magazine, August 4, 1997. http://
Retrieved March 2, 2009. Ellipsis in original).
“We must be grafted into the true vine, and continue to partake of
its fatness, and then we shall go back to our Father and God, who
is connected with one who is still farther back; and this Father is
connected with one still further back, and so on; and just so far
as we respect our superiors and try to save our children, so shall
we receive blessings from this time forth and for ever, and shall
become as numerous as the sands upon the sea shore” (Heber C.
Kimball, April 6, 1857, Journal of Discourses 5:19).
“When we talk about celestial glory, we talk of the condition of
endless increase; if we obtain celestial glory in the fullest sense of
the word, then we have wives and children in eternity, we have the
power of endless lives granted unto us, the power of propagation
that will endure through all eternity, all being fathers and mothers
in eternity; fathers of fathers, and mothers of mothers, kings
and queens, priests and priestesses, and shall I say more? Yes, all
becoming gods” (George Q. Cannon, October 31, 1880, Journal of
“The Prophet Joseph teaches us that our Heavenly Father was
once a man and dwelt on an earth like we do upon this and that
He has gone on from step to step, from one degree of glory and
exaltation to another, until He now rules and governs.” (George
Q. Cannon, Gospel Truth: Discourses and Writings of President George
Q. Cannon, 1:128).
“Mormonism does not tend to debase God to the level of man, but
to exalt man to the perfection of God” (Charles Penrose, cited in
The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 107).
“The God whom the ‘Christians’ worship is a being of their own
creation—if, indeed, there can be such a being as they describe
him to be; they have formed certain notions concerning deity,
and then they have formulated those notions into articles of faith
or religion” (Charles W. Penrose, January 14, 1883, Journal of Discourses
“The Father and the Son do not progress in knowledge and wisdom,
because they already know all things past, present, and to
come” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, p. 117).
“Remember that God our Heavenly Father was perhaps once a
child, and mortal like we ourselves, and rose step by step in the
scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved forward
and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He
now is” (Orson Hyde, October 6, 1853, Journal of Discourses 1:123.
See also The Gospel Through the Ages, pp. 104-105, and Achieving a
Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 129).
“There are Lords many, and Gods many, for they are called Gods
to whom the word of God comes, and the word of God comes to
all these kings and priests. But to our branch of the kingdom there
is but one God, to whom we all owe the most perfect submission
and loyalty; yet our God is just as subject to still higher intelligences,
as we should be to him” (Orson Hyde, “A Diagram of the
Kingdom of God.” Millennial Star 9 [15 January 1847]: 23, 24, as
quoted in The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 299).
“Gods, angels, and men are all of one species, one race, one great
family, widely diffused among the planetary systems as colonies,
kingdoms, nations, etc.” (Parley P. Pratt, The Key to the Science of
Theology, 1978, p. 21).
“The idea of a God without ‘body, parts, or passions’ is not more
absurd or inconsistent than their modern popular doctrine that
all things were created from nonentity, or in other words, that
something was created from nothing” (Parley P. Pratt, Key to the
Science of Theology, 1978, p. 26).
“Joseph knew God, for he had seen him, had conversed with him,
and received from him instruction. He declared God to be in human
form, an exalted, glorified Man, and that was his first great
service to humanity. He brought back the lost knowledge of the
true and living God” (Orson F. Whitney, Conference Reports, October
1928, p. 62).
“Mormonism teaches that God was once just like ourselves; that
the eternal part of Him was enshrined in mortal flesh, subject to
mortal ills and earthly pains and toils. I do not now refer to the
experience of the Savior in the meridian of time. I mean that in
the far away aeons of the past God once dwelt upon an earth like
this, and that through its trials and vicissitudes and the experience
they afforded He became a more intelligent being than before,
ascending finally by obedience to certain principles, ennobling
and exalting in their nature, to the plane which He now occupies.
These truths, forming the ladder up which He climbed to celestial
heights, up which we too are expected to climb from earth to
heaven, from mortality to immortality, from a world where grief
and sorrow reign, to a better and brighter sphere where sorrow
and suffering are unknown—these truths are self-existent and
eternal. God did not create them” (Orson F. Whitney, May 6, 1892,
Collected Discourses 3:45).
“However, if the great law of progression is accepted, God must
have been engaged from the beginning, and must now be engaged
in progressive development, and infinite as God is, he must
have been less powerful in the past than he is today” (John A.
Widtsoe, Rational Theology, 1915, p. 23).
“We may be certain that, through self-effort, the inherent and innate
powers of God have been developed to a God-like degree.
Thus, he became God” (John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, 1915,
“His Godhood, however, was attained by the use of his power in
simple obedience to the laws he discovered as he grew in experience”
(John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, 1915, p. 24).
“God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degrees
of advancement” (John A. Widtsoe, Rational Theology, 1915, p. 61).
“In spite of the opposition of the sects, in the face of direct charges
of blasphemy, the Church proclaims the eternal truth: ‘As man
is, God once was; as God is, man may be’” (James E. Talmage, Articles
of Faith, 1984, p. 390; p. 430 in the missionary edition).
“God has glorified His Son; but though the Son is glorified with
the glory of the Father, you can’t change the fact that He is the
Son of that Father, and that Father, the Eternal Father, the Father
of Jesus Christ, the Father of His spirit and the Father of His body,
was once a Man, and has progressed, not by any favor but by the
right of conquest over sin, and over death, to His present position
of priesthood and power, of Godship and Godliness, as the Supreme
Being whom we all profess to worship” (James E. Talmage,
Conference Reports, April 1915, p. 123. See also Alonzo L. Gaskill,
Odds Are You Are Going to Be Exalted, p. 8).
“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” (Melvin J. Ballard, Sermons and Missionary
Services of Melvin J. Ballard, p. 238).
“It follows that the devil would rather spread false doctrine about
God and the Godhead, and induce false feelings with reference
to any one of them, than almost any other thing he could do.
The creeds of Christendom illustrate perfectly what Lucifer wants
so-called Christian people to believe about Deity in order to be
damned” (Bruce R. McConkie, BYU Devotional “Our Relationship
with the Lord,” p. 3. See also Apostle Jeffery R. Holland,
“Knowing the Godhead,” Ensign, January 2016, p. 35).
“Truly the most grievous and evil heresy ever imposed on an erring
and wayward Christianity is their creedal concept about God
and the Godhead!” (Bruce R. McConkie, BYU Devotional “Our
Relationship with the Lord,” p. 3).
“The Father is a glorified, perfected, resurrected, exalted man
who worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he
has given to us so that we may do the same” (Bruce R. McConkie,
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith, p. 64).
“It should be realized that God is not progressing in knowledge,
truth, virtue, wisdom, or any of the attributes of godliness. He has
already gained these things in their fullness. But he is progressing
in the sense that his creations increase, his dominions expand,
his spirit offspring multiply, and more kingdoms are added to his
domains” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 239).
“According to revelation, however, he is a personal Being, a holy
and exalted Man, a glorified, resurrected Personage having a tangible
body of flesh and bones, an anthropomorphic Entity, the
personal Father of the spirits of all men” (Bruce R. McConkie,
Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 250).
“However, the mere worship of a god who has the proper scriptural
names does not assure one that he is worshiping the true
and living God. The true names of Deity, for instance, are applied
to the false concepts of God found in the apostate creeds of the
day. ‘There is but one only living and true God who is infinite in
being and perfection,’ the Presbyterian Confession of Faith correctly
recites, and then proceeds to describe a false god who is ‘without
body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible’
and so forth” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 270.
Italics in original).
“Its chief interest to the gospel student lies in the fact that the
gnostic concept of God, in large part, was the one adopted by the
early church councils, with the result that modern Christians, as
acceptors of these early creeds, are worshiping with a false concept
of God to which Christian names have been given” (Bruce R. McConkie,
Mormon Doctrine, 1966, p. 316).
“False creeds teach that God is a spirit essence that fills the immensity
of space and is everywhere and nowhere in particular present.
In a vain attempt to support this doctrine, formulated by councils
in the early days of the great apostasy, it is common for apologists
to point to the statement in the King James Bible which says, ‘God
is a Spirit.’ (John 4:22-24.) The fact is that this passage is mistranslated;
instead, the correct statement, quoted in context reads:
‘The hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall
worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh
such to worship him. For unto such hath God promised his Spirit.
And they who worship him, must worship in spirit and in truth.’
(Inspired Version, John 4:25-26.)” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon
Doctrine, 1966, p. 318. Italics in original).
“Further, as the Prophet also taught, there is ‘a God above the Father
of our Lord Jesus Christ’” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine,
1966, p. 322. Italics in original).
“The whole Christian world, in the days of the Prophet, believed
falsely that God was a mystical spirit essence that filled the immensity
of space and was everywhere and nowhere in particular
present — all of which proved only that they were all heretics, that
the apostasy was universal. Heresy is false doctrine” (Bruce R. McConkie,
Mormon Doctrine. 1966, p. 352).
“There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge
and is learning new truths. This is false—utterly, totally, and completely.
There is not one sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly
twisted and incorrect view of the King Follett Sermon and of what
is meant by eternal progression” (Bruce R. McConkie, “The Seven
Deadly Heresies,” an address given at Brigham Young University
on June 1, 1980. Transcribed from actual speech).
“This Eternal God is a Holy Man in whose image mortal men are
made. He has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s. He is
a resurrected, glorified, exalted Personage of tabernacle. And he
lives in the family unit” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah:
The First Coming of Christ, p. 549).
“Do we not still have teachers who say that God is progressing in
knowledge and learning new truths; that there will be a second
chance for salvation for those who reject the gospel here but accept
it in the spirit world; that there will be progression from one
kingdom of glory to another in the world to come? And are there
not those among us who refuse to follow the Brethren on moral issues,
lest their agency and political rights be infringed, as they suppose?
Truly, there are heresies among us” (Bruce R. McConkie,
The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p. 60).
“Just as some shall gain eternal life by worshipping the true and
living God, so shall others inherit eternal damnation by worshipping
false gods. The greatest truths known to man are that God
is a personal being in whose image we are made, that he is our
Father, and that we have power to become as he is. The greatest
heresy found in Christendom is that God is a spirit, an essence
that fills immensity, an uncreated force or power having neither
body, parts, nor passions” (Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah:
The Second Coming of the Son of Man, p. 77).
“The name Elohim is of frequent occurrence in the Hebrew texts
of the Old Testament, though, it is not found in our English versions.
In form the word is a Hebrew plural noun; but it connotes
the plurality of excellence or intensity, rather than distinctively of
number” (James Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 1956 ed., p. 38).
“We believe in a God who is Himself progressive, whose majesty
is intelligence; whose perfection consists in eternal advancement;
the perpetual work of whose creation stands ‘finished, yet renewed
forever;’—a Being who has attained His exalted state by a
path which now His children are permitted to follow; whose glory
it is their heritage to share. In spite of the opposition of all other
sects, in the face of direct charges of blasphemy, the Church proclaims
the eternal truth, ‘As man is, God once was; as God is, man
may become’” (James Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p. 390).
“The Father is the one true God. This thing is certain: no one
will ever ascend above Him; no one will ever replace Him. Nor
will anything ever change the relationship that we, His literal
offspring, have with Him” (Boyd K. Packer, Let Not Your Heart Be
Troubled, p. 293. Italics in original).
“I bear you my witness that God the Father lives, a glorified and
exalted Man. He is the Father of our spirits. He and His Beloved
Son, both resurrected and glorified, appeared to the boy Joseph
Smith in a grove of trees in New York” (Henry B. Eyring, “Gifts of
the Spirit for hard times,” CES Fireside given at Brigham Young
University, September 10, 2006).
“Among the first principles lost in the Apostasy was an understanding
of God the Father” (Quentin L. Cook, Ensign, February
2012, p. 33).
“The fact is that orthodox Christian views of God are Pagan rather
than Christian” (B.H. Roberts, The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p. 116).
“The Prophet Joseph Smith corrected the idea that God that now
is was always God” (B.H. Roberts, New Witness for God 1:465).
“But if God the Father was not always God, but came to his present
exalted position by degrees of progress as indicated in the teachings
of the prophet, how has there been a God from all eternity?
The answer is that there has been and there now exists an endless
line of Divine Intelligences—Deities, stretching back into the
eternities, that had no beginning and will have no end. Their existence
runs parallel with endless duration, and their dominions
are as limitless as boundless space” (B.H. Roberts, New Witness for
“The belief of the Latter-day Saints regarding the personality of
God and our relationship to him has been crystallized by President
Lorenzo Snow into the aphorism, one of the most expressive
in the language: ‘As man is, God once was; as God is, man may
be.’ No statement could set forth more clearly the nature of God’s
exaltation and man’s destiny.’ — Manual, 1901-2, part I, page 17”
(B.H. Roberts, 1992, Defense of The Faith and The Saints 2:539).
“We offend again in our doctrine that men are of the same race
with the divine personages we call Gods. Great stress is laid upon
the idea that we believe that ‘as man is, God once was, and as God
now is, man may become.’ The world usually shouts ‘blasphemy’
and ‘sacrilege’ at one when he talks of such a possibility” (B.H.
Roberts, 1992, Defense of The Faith and The Saints 2:570).
“Mormon prophets have continuously taught the sublime truth
that God the Eternal Father was once a mortal man who passed
through a school of earth life similar that through which we are
now passing. He became God — an exalted being — through obedience
to the same eternal Gospel truths that we are given opportunity
today to obey. For the purpose of giving a clear understanding
of the teachings of the latter-day prophets, we shall quote some
of their statements. Joseph F. Smith declared that ‘God himself is
an exalted man, perfected, enthroned and supreme.’ Elder Orson
Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: ‘Remember
that God our Heavenly Father was perhaps once a child, and mortal
like we are, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the
school of advancement; has moved forward and overcome until
He has arrived at the point where He now is’” (Milton R. Hunter,
The Gospel Through the Ages, pp. 104-105).
“The first question that may arise in one’s mind is, ‘How can mortals
ever become Gods when there is already a supreme being?’
As it is possible for several sons here in mortality to eventually
become fathers, so it is just as possible for the sons of God to reach
the station of perfection that He has attained. Of course, at that
time He will still be God, and even a greater Deity that He is today.
This is the doctrine of the plurality of Gods” (Milton R. Hunter,
The Gospel Through the Ages, p. 107).
“How did the Eternal Father become God? …He became God by
absolute obedience to all the eternal laws of the Gospel – by conforming
His actions to all truth, and thereby became the author of
eternal truth. Therefore, the road that the Eternal father followed
to Godhood was one of living at all times a dynamic, industrious,
and completely righteous life. There is no other way to exaltation”
(Milton R. Hunter, The Gospel Through the Ages, pp. 114,115. Ellipsis
“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).
“I bear testimony, obtained through the power of the Holy Ghost,
that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, the only Begotten of
the Father in the flesh. I testify that the Savior is a resurrected being,
having a tangible body of flesh and bones, and that his Heavenly
Father, who is also the Father of the spirits of us all, similarly
has a tangible body of flesh and bones” (Francis M. Gibbons, “The
Savior and Joseph Smith—Alike Yet Unlike,” Ensign (Conference
Edition), May 1991, p. 33).
“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,
1950, pp. 105-106).
“God is a glorified and perfected man, a personage of flesh and
bones (see D&C 130:22). Inside his tangible body is an eternal
spirit” (Gospel Principles, 1985, p. 9).
“Because we are made in His image (see Moses 2:26; 6:9), we know
that our bodies are like His body. His eternal spirit is housed in a
tangible body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22). God’s body,
however, is perfected and glorified, with a glory beyond all description”
(Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 6).
“Our Heavenly Father knows our trials, our weaknesses, and our
sins. He has compassion and mercy on us. He wants us to succeed
even as He did” (Gospel Principles, 2009, p. 279).
“The doctrine that God was once a man and has progressed to
become a God is unique to this Church. How do you feel, knowing
that God, through His own experience, ‘knows all that we know regarding
the toils [and] sufferings’ of mortality?” (Brigham Young,
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p. 34.
Brackets in original).
“The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches that man is an eternal being,
made in the image and likeness of God. …These truths are generally
well understood by Latter-day Saints. Less well understood,
however, is the fact that God is an exalted man who once lived
on an earth and underwent experiences of mortality. The great
prophet Joseph Smith refers to this as ‘the great secret’” (Achieving
a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 129. Ellipsis mine).
“As shown in this chapter, our Father in heaven was once a man
as we are now, capable of physical death. By obedience to eternal
gospel principles, he progressed from one stage of life to another
until he attained the state we call exaltation or godhood” (Achieving
a Celestial Marriage, 1976, p. 132).
“God Was Once a Man As We Are Now” (Search These Commandments,
1984, p. 151).
“Our Father Advanced and Progressed Until He Became God”
(Search These Commandments, 1984, p. 152).
“The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: ‘When you climb up a ladder, you
must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the
top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel—you must begin with
the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But
it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil before you
will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it
will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the
grave’ (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348). This is the way
our Heavenly Father became God” (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 305.
Italics in original).
“Modern revelation declares that Heavenly Father ‘has a body of
flesh and bones as tangible as man’s’ (D&C 130:22). The Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints accepts Genesis 1:26 and Moses
2:26 literally. As children of our Heavenly Father, our physical
bodies and our spirit bodies are in His image” (The Pearl of Great
Price Student Manual Religion 327, 2000, p. 8).
“In the King Follett discourse, Joseph Smith declared that the first
principle of the gospel consists of knowing the character of God.
Joseph taught that God ‘was once a man like us; yea, that God himself,
the father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ
himself’ (p. 346; or Supporting Statements B on pp. 7–8 of the student
manual). The twenty-four-year ministry of Joseph Smith was
characterized by continual revelation about the nature of God”
(Doctrines of the Gospel Teacher Manual Religion 430-431, 2000, p. 7).
“Explain that in 1840 Lorenzo Snow, who later became President
of the Church, received a personal revelation in the form of a
poetic couplet: As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man
may be. He shared this revelation with no one except his sister
Eliza and Brigham Young” (Doctrine and Covenants and Church History
Seminary Teacher Resource Manual, 2001, p. 64).
“The truths taught in Doctrine and Covenants 130:22-23 may
seem natural and logical to long-time members of the Church.
However, this doctrine is very different from the beliefs of most
other Christian churches. List and explain three ways that your
life—such as your thoughts, behavior, and prayers—is different
because you know what the Godhead is really like” (Doctrine and
Covenants and Church History Seminary Student Study Guide, 2001,
“Many people, including numerous Bible scholars, have concluded
that the God depicted in the Old Testament was the product
of the superstitions and primitive beliefs of a primitive and superstitious
people. They come to this conclusion because they see
things that seem contradictory to their conception of the God of
the New Testament” (Old Testament Student Manual Genesis-2 Samuel
Religion 301, 2003, p. 48).
“Now Mormonism has always assumed the naive concept of space
and time as contexts for whatever is real. Accordingly, it denies
eternity in the sense of timelessness, describing God as subject to
both time and space. God is both somewhere and sometime, a
view that has always widely prevailed in popular religion and is
central to the Mormon conception that God is a material being.
The doctrine of God’s temporality is the most radical facet of Mormon
finitism and certainly the most important, for by its very nature
temporality involves process, as the concept of time can have
meaning only as a measure of context for events. God is placed
therefore not above or without, but within the ongoing processes
of the universe” (Sterling M. McMurrin, The Theological Foundations
of the Mormon Religion, p. 39).
“Long before our God began his creations, he dwelt on a mortal
world like ours, one of the creations that his Father had created
for him and his brethren. He, with many of his brethren,
was obedient to the principles of the eternal gospel. One among
these, it is presumed, was a savior for them, and through him they
obtained a resurrection and an exaltation on an eternal, celestial
world. Then they gained the power and godhood of their Father
and were made heirs of all that he had, continuing his works and
creating worlds of their own for their own posterity—the same
as their Father had done before, and his Father, and his Father,
and on and on” (BYU Professor Kent Nielsen, “People on Other
Worlds,” New Era, April 1971, pp. 15-16).
“When the gospel plan was explained to Lorenzo Snow, he put
the whole plan in a nice epigram: ‘As man now is, our God once
was; as now God is, so man may be.’” (Church Patriarch Eldred G.
Smith, “Decision,” Ensign (Conference Edition), May 1978, p. 29).
“We often say, and you have heard the expression as it has already
been referred to in this conference, that ‘as man now is, God once
was, and as God now is, man may become.’ The only way man may
become as God now is, is through fulfilling the laws of celestial
marriage and the laws of the gospel, as I have just read to you the
word of the Lord from the Doctrine and Covenants. Can we afford
to overlook such opportunities for exaltation? Temple marriage is
not just another form of church wedding; it is a divine covenant
with the Lord that if we are faithful to the end, we may become as
God now is” (Church Patriarch Eldred G. Smith, Conference Reports,
October 1948, p. 93).
“Each member of the Godhead fulfills particular functions in relation
to each of the others and to mankind. God the Father presides
over the Godhead. He is the Father of all human spirits and
of the physical body of Jesus Christ. The human body was formed
in his image” (Encyclopedia of Mormonism 2:553).
“Through modern revelation we learn that the universe is filled
with vast numbers of intelligences, and we further learn that Elohim
is God simply because all of these intelligences honor and sustain
Him as such” (W. Cleon Skousen, The First 2,000 Years, p. 355).
“His glory and power is something which He slowly acquired until
today, ‘all things bow in humble reverence.’ But since God ‘acquired’
the honor and sustaining influence of ‘all things’ it follows
as a correlary that if He should do anything to violate the
confidence or ‘sense of justice’ of these intelligences, they would
promptly withdraw their support, and the ‘power’ of God would
disintegrate. This is what Mormon and Alma meant when they
specifically stated that if God should change or act contrary to
truth and justice ‘He would cease to be God.’ Our Heavenly Father
can do only those things which the intelligences under Him
are voluntarily willing to support Him in accomplishing” (W. Cleon
Skousen, The First 2,000 Years, pp. 355-356).
“To suppose that God is infinitely learning is to also suppose him
to be infinitely ignorant” (BYU Professor Emeritus Joseph Fielding
McConkie, Answers: Straightforward Answers to Tough Gospel
Questions, p. 112).
“Knowing what we know concerning God our Father — that he is
a personal being; that he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible
as our own; that he is an exalted and glorified being; that he was
once a man and dwelt on an earth — and knowing that this knowledge
was had by many of the ancients, should we be surprised
to find legends and myths throughout the cultures of the earth
concerning gods who have divine power but human attributes and
passions?” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, “The Eternal
Gospel,” Ensign, July 1996, pg. 53).
“Joseph Smith did in fact teach that God is a Man of Holiness, an
exalted and glorified man. Latter-day Saints really do not claim to
know much beyond that, except that over a long period of time
our Heavenly Father gained the knowledge, power, and divine attributes
he now possesses; there is no knowledge of which he is
ignorant and no power he does not possess. Because he has held
his exalted status for a longer period than any of us can conceive,
he is able to speak in terms of eternity and can state that he is from
everlasting to everlasting. One Church leader, Joseph Fielding
Smith, explained, ‘From eternity to eternity means from the spirit
existence through the probation which we are in, and then back
again to the eternal existence which will follow. Surely this is everlasting,
for when we receive the resurrection, we will never die. We
all existed in the first eternity. I think I can say of myself and others,
we are from eternity; and we will be to eternity everlasting, if
we receive the exaltation’” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet,
The Mormon Faith: Understanding Restored Christianity, p. 169).
“God is not simply a spirit influence, a force in the universe, or
the First Great Cause” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet,
“What We Believe,” Brigham Young University 1997-98 Speeches,
“The tougher issue for many Christians to deal with is the accompanying
doctrine set forth in the King Follett Sermon and
the Lorenzo Snow couplet – namely, that God was once a man.
Latter-day scriptures state unequivocally that God is a man, a Man
of Holiness (Moses 6:57) who possesses a body of flesh and bones
(D&C 130:22). These concepts are clearly part of the doctrinal restoration.
We teach that man is not of a lower order or of a different
species from God. That makes many of our Christian friends
extremely uncomfortable, for it appears to them that we are lowering
God in the scheme of things and thus attempting to bridge
the Creator-creature chasm” (BYU Professor Emeritus Robert L.
Millet, What Happened to the Cross?, p. 66).
“It is in this context, the idea that God is a Man of Holiness, that
we come upon several of the singular Latter-day Saint doctrines.
First, the Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father is an exalted
man, a corporeal being, a personage with flesh and bones.
They do not believe he is a spirit, although they acknowledge that
his Spirit or sacred influence is everywhere present. Joseph Smith
taught in 1844 that God our Father was once a mortal, that he
lived on an earth, died, was resurrected and glorified, and grew
and developed over time to become the Almighty that he now is.
To say this another way, they teach that God is all-powerful and
all-knowing, but that he has not been so forever; there was once a
time in an eternity past when he lived on an earth like ours” (BYU
Professor Emeritus Robert L. Millet, The Mormon Faith: A New Look
at Christianity, p. 29).
“Our God is also our Father, our Father in heaven. He is a man,
a glorified, resurrected man, a Man of Holiness (see Moses 6:57).
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught that God was once a mortal,
that he dwelt on an earth, worked out his salvation, and inherited
the fulness of light and knowledge and power” (BYU Professor
Emeritus Robert L. Millet, Selected Writings of Robert L. Millet: Gospel
Scholars Series, p. 277).
“In his article, ‘The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine,’ BYU
professor of American history Thomas G. Alexander put to rest
the myth that Mormon theology is constant and unchanging by
showing the evolution of basic doctrines of God and humankind.
Carefully documenting several remarkable changes from 1830
through 1925, Alexander showed that Mormons have understood
and worshipped different gods at different times. The godhead
Mormons think of now is entirely different in character than the
divinity worshipped by early Mormons. Moreover, Mormonism’s
unchangeable doctrines are changing as we speak. The infusion of
ideas from protestant neo-orthodox theology is a recent example”
(George D. Smith, Religion Feminism & Freedom of Conscience, p. 53).
“God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title
Elohim, is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus
Christ, and of the spirits of the human race * * * Jesus Christ is the
Son of Elohim, both as spiritual and bodily offspring; that is to say,
Elohim is literally the Father of the spirit of Jesus Christ, and also
of the body in which Jesus Christ performed His mission in the
flesh, and which body died on the cross, and was afterwards taken
up by the process of resurrection, and is now the immortalized
tabernacle of the eternal spirit of our Lord and Savior” (Hyrum M.
Smith and Janne M. Sjodahl, Doctrine and Covenants Commentary,
p. 448. *** in original).
“Everything Latter-day Saints teach about God is in agreement
with the rest of the Christian world, with the exception of His
nature” (Mormon apologist Michael W. Fordham, “Does Gordon
B. Hinckley Understand Mormon Doctrine?” http://www.fairlds.
org/apol/misc/misc09.html. Retrieved November 15, 2008).
“To sum up, it is the official teaching of the LDS Church that God
the Father has a physical body (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).
The belief that God the Father was once a human being rests
mainly on two technically uncanonized sources (sermons of Joseph
Smith and Lorenzo Snow) which have, however, in effect become
normative” (Stephen Robinson, How Wide the Divide, p. 87).
“Some who write anti-Mormon pamphlets insist that the Latter-day
Saint concept of Deity is contrary to what is recognized
as traditional Christian doctrine. In this they are quite correct”
(William O. Nelson (director of the LDS Church’s Melchizedek’s
Priesthood Department), A Sure Foundation: Answers to Difficult Gospel
Questions, p. 93).
“Joseph Smith’s purpose is to show that the Bible teaches that our
Father in Heaven was once mortal, as we are. To do so he takes
John 5:19 as a text. Here the Savior said, ‘The Son can do nothing
of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever
he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.’ The Prophet then
reasons that it is Christ’s purpose to lay down his life and take it up
again. Thus, if Christ can do only that which his father did, his father
must also have been subject to death, he must have died and
then taken up his life again as a resurrected being. From this statement
of the Prophet, many have attempted to reason that he was
saying that his father was also a savior for those of another world
and thus that all worlds require their own saviors. The Prophet
never taught such a thing and was not alluding to it here. His remarks
centered on the doctrine of resurrection, not the salvation
of God’s endless creations. The Prophet had already clearly taught
that the atonement of Christ—which was infinite—embraced all
that he had created under the direction of the Father (see commentary
on D&C 76:23-24). Responding to those who wanted to
argue that there is a special strain of savior gods, Elder Bruce R.
McConkie often asked, ‘What earthly good could possibly come
from teaching such a thing?’” (BYU Professor Emeritus Joseph
Fielding McConkie and Craig Ostler, Revelations of the Restoration,
“Second, Lorenzo Snow is remembered for his couplet ‘As man
now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.’ These words
came by revelation to Lorenzo when he was a young man in Nauvoo.
Their truthfulness was reaffirmed when he heard the Prophet
Joseph Smith teach the very same concept. Over the years this
simple yet profound statement has stirred the minds of many individuals
and caused them to further investigate The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (Lorenzon Snow, The Teachings of
Lorenzo Snow, edited by Clyde J. Williams, p. viii).
“However, opinion is divided as to how closely the Son’s career
paralleled that of his Father…These and the Prophet’s earlier remarks
are believed by some to infer that our God and his father
once sacrificed their lives in a manner similar to the atonement
of Jesus Christ. It is argued that the Prophet’s Words suggest that
these gods did not simply live and die as all men do, they ‘laid
down’ and ‘took up’ their lives in the context of sacrifice…This
extrapolated doctrine rests upon a somewhat inadequate, if not
shaky, foundation. Indeed, it is highly doubtful. The basic process
of laying down and taking up one’s life is similar for all even
though it is not identical for all” (Rodney Turner, “The Doctrine
of the Firstborn and Only Begotten,” in The Pearl of Great Price: Revelations
from God [Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham
Young University, 1989], p. 99. Italics in original. Ellipsis mine).
“I want you to eat of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good
and Evil, that your eyes may be opened, for that is the way Father
gained his knowledge” (Lucifer speaking to Eve on the “Sixth
Day” in the Post-1990 LDS Temple Endowment Ceremony).
“But there was a time when our God was not God” (Mere Mormonism,
Ronald R. Zollinger, p. 90).
“Similarly, they [Mormons] have a view of the nature of God and
the eternal progression of His children that is found in no other
Christian faith” (“Increase in Visibility Brings Questions, Answers
Mormon Moment,” July 26, 2007, Newsroom, http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/increase-in-visibility-brings-questions,-
answers-mormon-moment. Retrieved August 26, 2015. Brackets
“One of the overarching truths of the Restoration is that God lives
and dwells in His heavens, that He is an exalted man with ‘a body
of flesh and bones,’ and that He is yesterday, today, and forever
the same unchangeable God, the fountain of all virtue and truth”
(Keith B. McMullen, Second Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric,
“God Loves and Helps All of His Children, Ensign (Conference
Edition), November 2008, p. 75).
“‘Mormon theology differs radically from conventional Christianity
in locating God in time and space,’ explained Columbia University
scholar Richard Bushman during an interview with CNN in
June 2011. ‘He is not outside creation as traditionally believed. He
is part of the physical universe, a being like the God in Michelangelo’s
Sistine Chapel who could touch Adam’s finger with his own
if He chose’” (“The Power of New York’s ‘Burned-Over’ Districts,”
NYC Religions, http://www.nycreligion.info/power-yorks-burneddistricts/.
Retrieved, January 22, 2015).
“In March 1839, Joseph first hinted that there may be more than
‘one God’ (D&C 121:28); however, it wasn’t until 1842 that he
specifically referred to the godhead as consisting of three separate
beings who were also ‘three Gods.’ He seems to now consider
them to be one only in the sense that they ‘agree as one.’ In his
last public discourse, given June 16, 1844, Joseph repudiated the
trinitarian notion of a three-in-one God” (BYU Professor Charles
R. Harrell, ‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology,
“One of the most distinctive doctrines of Mormonism is the belief
in a plurality of Gods. This is generally understood to mean
that there are innumerable Gods besides (and above) the God
that we worship, all of whom are creators of worlds and objects of
worship. Furthermore, these Gods were all once human, and just
as they attained Godhood, so can we. This view goes beyond the
traditional Christian doctrine of human divinization or theosis in
which the righteous are partakers of the nature of God through
the indwelling of God’s Spirit” (BYU Professor Charles R. Harrell,
‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology, p. 114).
“A passage sometimes cited by Latter-day Saints as a reference to a
plurality of Gods is Psalms 82:6 in which the seer Asaph declares,
‘I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most
High.’ While it may be tempting to read this passage as meaning
that we are all children of God and, therefore, potentially gods, it
would be a misreading” (BYU Professor Charles R. Harrell, ‘This
is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology, pp. 116-117).
“The early works of Joseph Smith show a clear monotheistic leaning.
When a Book of Mormon prophet was asked whether there
was more than one God, the answer was a resounding ‘no’ (Alma
11:28-29). The Book of Mormon repeatedly emphasizes that there
is ‘one God’ (see, for example, 2 Ne. 31:21; Mosiah 15:4-5; Morm.
7:7). After the publication of the Book of Mormon, Joseph began
revising the Bible and seems to have ‘consciously attempted to
remove all references to a plurality of Gods’… Similarly, monotheism
appears to be the underlying theology in the revelations of the
Doctrine and Covenants until at least 1839” (Charles R. Harrell,
‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology, pp. 118-
119. Ellipsis mine).
“LDS scripture also depicts God as possessing an ‘infinity of fullness
from all eternity to all eternity’ (D&C 109:77). This idea of
God’s eternal possession of infinite fullness seems to indicate a belief
in an eternally unchanging God. In the Book of Mormon, God
is not ‘a changeable being, but he is unchangeable from all eternity
to all eternity (Moro. 8:18). Similarly, an early revelation by
Joseph Smith refers to him as ‘the same God yesterday, today, and
forever’ (D&C 20:12), noting that ‘from everlasting to everlasting
[he is] the same unchangeable God’ (v. 17). The Lectures on Faith
also state that God ‘is the same from everlasting to everlasting,
being the same yesterday, today, and for ever.’ These expressions
are similar to Protestant declarations that God is ‘unchangeable
[and] the same from everlasting to everlasting.’ In sum, early LDS
scripture and teachings consistently present God as having continued
uninterruptedly as God from all eternity” (BYU Professor
Charles R. Harrell, ‘This is my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon
Theology, p. 127. Brackets and italics in original).
“It would have been almost inconceivable to the earliest Mormon
converts that God would have flesh and bones, a characteristic
universally associated with mortality and denigrated for its corruption
and imperfection” (BYU Professor Charles R. Harrell, ‘This is
my Doctrine’: The Development of Mormon Theology, p. 135).
“As an official document from the First Presidency, the orthodoxy
of the Church regarding the Godhead was established. What Nicaea
and Alexandria accomplished for the Catholic Church, this
document accomplished for the Latter-day Saints. Regardless of
what had been said before, this was the new standard for doctrinal
accuracy” (Brian W. Ricks, “James E. Talmage and the Nature
of the Godhead,” (M.A. thesis, Brigham Young University, August
2007), p. 132).
“Latter-day Saints believe the melding of early Christian theology
with Greek philosophy was a grave error. Chief among the
doctrines lost in this process was the nature of the Godhead. The
true nature of God the Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy
Ghost was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. As a consequence,
Latter-day Saints hold that God the Father is an embodied
being, a belief consistent with the attributes ascribed to God by
many early Christians. This Latter-day Saint belief differs from the
post-New Testament creeds” (Gospel Topic Essay, “Are Mormons