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-What Do Mormons Believe About God? Was God Once A Man?

What Do Mormons Believe About God? Was God Once A Man?

 

What Do Mormons Believe About God? Was God Once A Man? is going to be the addressed, and according to Joseph Smith the true test of knowing if he was a true servant of the Lord was by his teachings concerning the nature of God. Joseph Smith said: "I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of Him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am His servant; for I speak as one having authority." (History of the Church, Volume 6, page 305/ Teachings of Prophet Joseph Smith, page 345) The proof concerning Joseph Smith being a true servant of the Lord or not is by examining what he taught concerning the nature of God. If what Joseph Smith taught is inaccurate, then he is by exclusion a false servant in disguise appearing to be of God!

 

You may ask, "Who are you to say what Mormons believe?"

  1. I am a concerned Christian who believes that there are many sincere people in the Mormon Church who have been deceived with believing a false concept of God and the gospel message.

  2. I will quote word for word what Mormon resources state concerning the issues at hand.

  3. I will quote what Mormons say for themselves on what they believe.

  4. I will give an evaluation of the information and let those who examine this decide for themselves.

You may ask, “Who are you to examine what Mormons believe?”

  1. Orson Pratt, an early defender of the Mormon Church said: If we cannot convince you by reason nor by the word of God, that your religion is wrong, we will not persecute you, but will sustain you in the privileges, guaranteed in the great Charter of American Liberty: we ask from you the same generosity–protect us in the exercise of our religious rights–convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds.” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 1853, page 15)

  2. Brigham Young, second Mormon Prophet of the Mormon Church said: Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, page 126)

According to Orson Pratt and Brigham Young people are encouraged to examine what the Mormon Church believes and teaches. So we are taking the invitation to examine what Mormons believe and why they believe what they believe.

 

What did Joseph Smith Claim?

“Every man has a natural, and, in our country, a constitutional right to be a false prophet, as well as a true prophet. If I show, verily, that I have the truth of God, and show that ninety-nine out of every hundred professing religious ministers are false teachers, having no authority, while they pretend to hold the keys of God’s kingdom on earth, and was to kill them because they are false teachers, it would deluge the whole world with blood.

I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of Him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am His servant; for I speak as one having authority.” (History of the Church, Volume 6, pages 305-306/ Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 345)

Here we see that Joseph Smith is responding to people who are accusing him of being a false prophet. Joseph Smith, in his defense challenges the world on the nature of who God is, and he states that through his teachings he will prove to all those who come against him to be false teachers. You may ask, “Why is this important to know?” The reason is because so many Mormons today believe that it is them being attacked by others who object to what they believe, but in fact it was first Joseph Smith who went around attempting to prove people wrong. Joseph Smith’s testimony states that he was seeking God about knowing which religion or sect to join, and he was answered that they were all corrupt and an abomination in His sight.

“My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join. No sooner, therefore, did I get possession of myself, so as to be able to speak, than I asked the Personages who stood above me in the light, which of all the sects was right — and which I should join. I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: `they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.’ He again forbade me to join with any of them; and many other things did he say unto me.” (Joseph Smith History 1:18-20)

It is clear that Joseph Smith believed that all others were wrong and that his teachings were of God. In examining what Joseph Smith taught concerning the nature of God it is very important to realize that he is not being attacked or bashed, but it is what he taught as true doctrine that is going to be dismantled and proven to be in error.

 

Official Mormon Statements

What Kind of Being is GodThe Prophet Joseph Smith said: “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” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345).” (Gospel Principles, Chapter 1, page 9, 1992)

What makes this quote interesting is it comes from Gospel Principles, which is an official Latter-Day Saints publication for doctrinal issues. The book quotes Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith on page 345 and here is the context surrounding what Joseph Smith was teaching.

I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a 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. 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.

In order to understand the subject of the dead, for consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how He came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. 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.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, page 345)

From this we see the following:

  1. Joseph Smith states that God was once a man like we are now, thus teaching that God was first a man who became a God.

  2. Joseph Smith states that he is going to prove from the Bible that God was once a man.

  3. Joseph Smith states that God has not been God from all eternity and that he will refute that idea.

  4. Joseph Smith states he is going to tell us how God came to be God.

Another interesting quote from Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith:

The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. Do you believe it? If you do not believe it you do not believe the Bible. The scriptures say it, and I defy all the learning and wisdom and all the combined powers of earth and hell together to refute it.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-348)

This is the Scriptural proof that Joseph Smith is attempting to provide that God was once a man. Joseph Smith seems to believe that Jesus was doing the exact same things that the Father did to attain Godhood according to what Jesus taught in John 5. The context of John 5 in no way is dealing with the teaching that the Father was once a man who became a God, or that Jesus was duplicating the same type of events that the Father has done in the past. Joseph Smith is misrepresenting what Jesus was teaching and his conclusions on the nature of God not being from everlasting to everlasting are false.

 

President Gordon B. Hinckley of the Mormon Church stated: 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 Follet 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! (See The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, comp. Clyde J. Williams, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984, p. 1.)” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, page 179)

 

Gordon B. Hinckley is the current prophet for the Latter-Day Saints Church and from the above quote we see the following important points:

  1. President Gordon B. Hinckley endorses the teaching that God was once a man who became a God.

  2. President Gordon B. Hinckley endorses the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and would by logical assertion give it as a modern day truth for What Do Mormons Believe About God? Was God Once A Man?.

  3. President Gordon B. Hinckley endorses former President Lorenzo Snow teachings on the nature of God. This would be safe to say that Gordon B. Hinckley also agrees with what Lorenzo Snow said, “As man is now, God once was; as God is now man may become.” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, page 2)

What do Mormons say about God once being a man?

 

This is an interesting question, and I will quote an answer from a Mormon apologetic website:

“That God was once a mortal being is in no way inconsistent with the fact that he now has all power and all knowledge and possesses every virtue, grace, and godly attribute. He acquired perfection through long periods of growth, development, and progression, “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,” as Joseph Smith explained. “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.” (quoting History of the Church, Volume 6, pages 306-307)

 

How, then, do Latter-day Saints reconcile the scriptural description of God as being “from everlasting to everlasting” with the idea that he has not always been God? For one thing, they believe that biblical passages that speak of God’s eternality and of his being the same yesterday, today, and forever make reference to his divine attributes-his love, constancy, and willingness to bless his people (see, for example, Psalm 102:27; Hebrews 1:12; 13:8). Such passages are also found in the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants and, again, refer to God’s divine nature (see 1 Nephi 10:18-19; 2 Nephi 27:23; Alma 7:20; Mormon 9:8-11, 19; Moroni 8:18; 10:7; D&C 3:2; 20:12, 17; 35:1).

Not much has been revealed about this concept beyond the fact that God was once a man and that over a long period of time he gained the knowledge, power, and divine attributes necessary to know all things and have all power. 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. President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that “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.””

The above information is found at Click Here. What makes this information useful is that it gives an answer to the question from a Mormon perspective. This information confirms the following:

  1. The doctrine of God once being a man comes from the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith.

  2. Mormons believe that God was once a man because this is what Joseph Smith taught.

  3. Mormons believe that God was once a man because this is what the Mormon Church teaches.

  4. Mormons also believe the Scriptures teach that God has always been God from eternity, but they have a different theological view on what eternal, eternity, and everlasting means.

  5. Mormons agree, “Not much has been revealed about this concept beyond the fact that God was once a man”, therefore Mormons really don’t understand this doctrine nor can they prove it.

Mormons have been deceived on the eternal nature of God

 

From the Mormon apologetic website they agreed that the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and Doctrines & Covenants teach that God has always been God. Now the doctrine of God once being a man will be shown to be un-Biblical and in error. The heart of the issue is what Joseph Smith said: I will prove that the world is wrong, by showing what God is. I am going to inquire after God; for I want you all to know Him, and to be familiar with Him; and if I am bringing you to a knowledge of Him, all persecutions against me ought to cease. You will then know that I am His servant; for I speak as one having authority.” Did Joseph Smith prove the world wrong? Did Joseph Smith prove he was a true servant of the Lord?

“The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.” (Deuteronomy 33:27)

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” (Psalms 90:2)

“Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.” (Psalms 93:2)

“Hast thou not known? Hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding.” (Isaiah 40:28)

“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:” (Romans 16:26)

These Scriptures are all from the King James Version and all prove that God has always been God. Examining the argument that “eternal” simply means from the spirit world and that we are all eternal in that sense in no way proves God was first a man who then became a God over a long period of time. Common sense says if you were at one time not God and over time became a God, than you were not eternally God! The reasoning behind what Mormons have been taught to believe is degrading to the intelligence of one’s mind. The Bible is clear that God the Father did not have to become a God, but that He has always been by nature the eternal God.

“…the Lord your God… that I may prove unto many that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; and that I speak forth my words according to mine own pleasure…”(2 Nephi 29:7& 9, Book of Mormon)

“For behold, God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting…For I know that God is not a partial God; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.” (Moroni 7:22; 8:18, Book of Mormon)

“For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and to him there is no variableness neither shadow of changing?” (Mormon 9:9, Book of Mormon)

“Thereby showing that he is the same God yesterday, today, and forever…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 in them are.” (Doctrines and Covenants 20:12&17)

The above references are from Mormon resources which are considered to be official revelation for doctrines. The above references prove the following:

  1. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

  2. God is from everlasting to everlasting.

  3. God is not one who changes from one stage to another, but is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

  4. With God there is no variableness neither changing. God is God period!

  5. The God of all creation, framer of heaven and earth is infinite, eternal, and from everlasting to everlasting, the same unchangeable God!

These points prove that God has always been! Mormons have been deceived with a different theological view of God’s eternal nature and identity.

 

This information is to give an accurate, theological, and Biblical response to what Mormons have been taught to believe. Joseph Smith said that his teaching on what kind of being God is would prove he is a true servant of the Lord, but the opposite has been shown. Joseph Smith is not a true servant of the Lord, and any person who claims to be a Mormon needs to consider this information very seriously. Joseph Smith did not know the God of the Bible and has taught many sincere people his un-Biblical views, and if you are one of them and are wanting to get Biblical and know the truth concerning these issues then contact us. May God give you guidance and discernment concerning the God of Mormonism compared to the God of the Bible.

2 Comments on -What Do Mormons Believe About God? Was God Once A Man?

  1. Mark Parker // March 26, 2008 at 6:06 pm //

    It’s good to see a discussion on this, it is important.
    I’d also like to leave a reply;
    Joseph Smith wasn’t just giving his opinion on the correctness of the churches and their creeds, he was testifying to what he’d experienced and to what he’d been told. How could he tone it down to be more politically correct? Surely he had no right to do that, it would have then become misleading, and not the word of God.
    From my own experience I can truthfully say there is a direct connection between the powers of heaven and Joseph Smith. I know the ‘Book of Mormon’ is true.
    Joseph Smith has been such a blessing to this world, in that he’s set an example to show that any ordinary man or woman can approach God and know for themselves.
    There is no church who’s doctrine is more perfectly supported by the Bible than that which Christ restored through Joseph Smith.

    Why do you have a problem with this statement?
    “As man now is, God once was; as God now is man may become.”
    It can also be written this way:
    “As man now is, Christ once was; as Christ now is man may become.”

    These are some scriptures;

    Of Christs pre-earth state, the firstborn of our Heavenly Fathers spirit children;
    John describes Christ;
    ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
    2 The same was in the beginning with God. ‘

    ’14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. ‘

    What did Jesus believe in regard to a pre-earth existence?

    5 ‘And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. ‘

    Do the scriptures mention other spirit children ‘sons of God’ waiting on coming to earth?

    This is from Job 38;

    ‘4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.
    5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?
    6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;
    7 When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy? ‘

    This from Heb 12;
    9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

    This is from Ecclesiastes 12, explaining the separation of spirit and body at death;

    ‘7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.’

    This is how John described Christ after his resurrection;

    ‘And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
    14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire;
    15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.
    16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.
    17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
    18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.’

    Paul tells us looking forward to the resurrection:

    ’20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:
    21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. ‘

    And how much like God can man become by living according to God’s law?

    Rev 21;

    7 ‘He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.’

    Rev 3;

    21 ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’

  2. In spirit life “beyond the vail” time does not exist. So, when the Bible says God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, it just means, for all intents and purposes, He always lived and will always live. However, since, in the eternal realms, there is no time, it is meaningless to say he was always God according to Earth time and discount the idea he may originally have been a man like us. As spirit children of the Father, our spirits were created, but when that actually occurred in Earth time is meaningless–we have always lived as spirits and will always live as spirits, with or without bodies. When I had an operation and was sedated, I had no concept of time: one minute, one hour, one day, one year. That’s what it’s like in God’s non-time.

    Your concept of God is the un-Biblical one. If God was never a man, are you saying Jesus Christ was not a man who had previously lived as a spirit Son of God, then lived and died on Earth and obtained an eternal resurrected body? Is Jesus Christ then not God? Is Jesus Christ the invisible God who no one has ever seen? When Jesus said “I go to my God and your God,” was he going to himself? Did not Steven see Jesus on the right hand of the Father? Did Jesus not progress in this life and prove himself as the true Son of God? Was he not the first born of spirits and the only begotten Son of God in flesh?

    What does the Bible say? The God of the Bible is actually three beings, one in purpose: The Father (in the express image of the Son as seen by Steven with Jesus on His side), the Son (with a resurrected body of flesh and bones as he said before his ascension), and the Holy Ghost (a personage of spirit who could “dwell within us”). Jesus said the Father would send the Comforter (the Holy Ghost). Jesus prayed to the Father that He would make them, the Apostles, one, “as thou and I art one.”

    In the Bible, Jesus never said he was the Father, nor did he ever say he was the Comforter (Holy Ghost). The Bible only says Jesus was the Son of God, the first born of spirits, by whom the Father made the universe. Thus, the Bible says Jesus (as a spirit Son) was with the Father from the beginning, but the “beginning” is not a term referring to Earth time. It just means he has always existed in non-time terms. But, he was originally a spirit Son of God, then a begotten son in the flesh, then a resurrected Son of the Father, “the first fruits of the resurrection.”

    Jesus is our advocate with the Father and our Savior. With him, we will become joint heirs of the Father. Thus, we will gain, with Jesus, God-like powers as joints heirs of the Father. Does not the Bible say this?

    As I studied the Bible to know the nature of God, I searched countless churches and have never found a church with the Biblical concept of God as clear as the Mormons. Your concept of God is not as”Biblical” as you infer. Instead of taking time to run down Joseph Smith, why not tell us which IS the true church on the earth–the church as described in the Bible, not the “historical” Christian church with countless varieties, divisions, and confusions. How un-Christian to ridecule and judge Joseph Smith. Perhaps you would have also judged Paul as having “un-Biblical” views.

    Instead of telling us Joseph Smith is not a true prophet, tell us why your Christian concepts of God are so different from the Bible.

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