Reason #136: Current LDS leaders teach God was once a man, man can become a god


Christians have long opposed the LDS teaching about the nature of God and man. The Bible consistently affirms that there is only one God, who has always existed as God. Yet Joseph Smith instituted the doctrine that God progressed from a mortal state to the position of a god.

For further references to these teachings, see:

The following quotes from official LDS teaching manuals demonstrate that the LDS Church is still teaching that God was once a mortal on another earth, he and his wife progressed to godhood, and that mortals on this earth are their literal spirit children, with the same ability to progress to godhood. Even though the LDS Church has removed many references to these doctrines from their current manuals, the teachings are still there.
Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, 2007, p.40

“God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret.”
“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,

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997, p.29

God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead. President Brigham Young taught the Latter-day Saints to worship God the Father and address prayers to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. He taught further that God the Father was once a man on another planet who “passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality.”

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?
Gospel Principles, 2009

All men and women are literally the sons and daughters of God. “Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph F. Smith [1998], 335).”
p. 10
We were not all alike in heaven. We know, for example, that we were sons and daughters of heavenly parents–males and females. . .
p. 11
Our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present His plan for our progression . . . We learned that if we followed His plan, we would become like Him. We would be resurrected; we would have all power in heaven and on earth; we would become heavenly parents and have spirit children just as He does (see D&C 132:19-20).
p. 16
By following His teachings, we can inherit a place in the celestial kingdom. He did His part to help us return to our heavenly home. It is now up to each of us to do our part and become worthy of exaltation.

When we lived with our Heavenly Father, He explained a plan for our progression. We could become like Him, an exalted being. . . . Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. . . . He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation.
p. 277
Our Heavenly Father is perfect, and He glories in the fact that it is possible for His children to become like Him . . .
Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom . . . will become gods . . . They will be united eternally with their righteous family members and will be able to have eternal increase. . . . They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have–all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (see D&C 132:19-20).

p. 279
Joseph Smith taught: “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God. . . . He was once a man like us; . . . God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith [1976], 345-46).

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.

Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, 2001. pp 2-3

In one point of view, man appears very poor, weak, . . . In another point of view, we look at him as emanating from the Gods—as a God in embryo—as an eternal being who had an existence before he came here, … He [man] is a God in embryo, and possesses within him a spark of that eternal flame which was struck from the blaze of God’s eternal fire in the eternal world, and is placed here upon the earth . . . And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity, he will be like his Father—a God, being indeed His offspring.

Doctrines of the Gospel: Student Manual, Religion 430 & 431, 2004, p.8

“God made man in his own image and certainly he made woman in the image of his wife-partner” (Spencer W. Kimball…)

“All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.”

“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” (The First Presidency…)

Eternal Marriage: Student Manual, Religion 234 and 235, 2003, p.167

[Repeats the same quote from the First Presidency as quoted above] “Man is the child of God,…capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” . . .

“Mortal persons who overcome all things and gain an ultimate exaltation will …have spirit children, thus becoming Eternal Fathers and Eternal Mothers.”
Your fatherhood is, in a sense, an apprenticeship to godhood.
Ensign 2009 November – pp. 21-24
“The Love of God” by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency
We are created in the image of our heavenly parents; we are God’s spirit children. Therefore, we have a vast capacity for love—it is part of our spiritual heritage.

“Each Sister Is a Beloved Daughter of Heavenly Parents and Has a Divine Destiny,” Liahona, Aug 2008, 25

What Does It Mean to Be a Beloved Daughter of Heavenly Parents?

Julie B. Beck, Relief Society general president: “You are literally spirit daughters of Deity, ‘offspring of exalted parents’ with a divine nature and an eternal destiny. You received your first lessons in the world of spirits from your heavenly parents. You have been sent to earth to ‘prove’ yourselves. …
Ensign > June 2009

“Our Refined Heavenly Home” By Elder Douglas L. Callister, Of the Seventy

I imagine that our heavenly parents are exquisitely refined. In this great gospel of emulation, one of the purposes of our earthly probation is to become like them in every conceivable way so that we may be comfortable in the presence of heavenly parentage and, in the language of Enos, see their faces “with pleasure” (Enos 1:27).

Boyd K. Packer, “Counsel to Young Men,” Ensign, May 2009, 49–52

You are a son of God. You lived in a premortal existence as an individual spirit child of heavenly parents. At the time of your birth, you received a mortal body of flesh and blood and bone in which to experience earth life. You will be tested as you prepare yourself to return to our Heavenly Father.

Cheryl Esplin, “We Believe the Family Is Ordained of God,” Liahona, Oct 2009, F4–F5
Sharing Time Ideas
• 1. “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is modern-day revelation. Have the children listen for how many times they hear the words “reveal” or “revealed” as they repeat the ninth article of faith together. Teach that God continues to reveal His will to His children. This communication from God is called revelation. Give a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” to each child, and explain that the proclamation is revelation given in our day through God’s chosen servants.

[Note–In the Proclamation we read:
“All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny. Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.” ]
Dennis E. Simmons, “But If Not …,” Ensign » 2004 » May
The world is a testing place for mortal men and women. When we understand that it’s all a test, administered by our Heavenly Father, who wants us to trust in Him and to allow Him to help us, we can then see everything more clearly.
His work and His glory, He told us, is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” He has already achieved godhood. Now His only objective is to help us—to enable us to return to Him and be like Him and live His kind of life eternally.

Compiled by Sandra Tanner
Utah Lighthouse Ministry
1358 S. West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84115


For more information, see The Mormon Mirage 3rd Edition:  A Former Member Looks at the Mormon Church Today(Zondervan, 2009). Also available as an audiobook and as an expanded-text E-book for Nook, Kindle and other reading devices.

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