|Is God An Exalted, Glorified Man/Part 3|
|By: Marvin W. Cowan; ©2005|
|Mormons believe that the President of their Church is a living Prophet who speaks for God now. Marvin Cowan explains that Mormons believe that God is a resurrected, glorified man because all 15 LDS Prophets have taught that doctrine!|
Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, gave seven Lectures on Faith which were part of LDS scripture in the Doctrine & Covenants from 1835 until 1920. In his fifth Lecture Smith said that God the Father was a “personage of spirit, glory and power.” He also said that “the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, [is] a personage of tabernacle... and is called the Son because of the flesh.” He clearly taught that God the Father was a personage of spirit different from the Son who had a body of flesh. But on April 2, 1843 Joseph Smith declared that God “the Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (Doctrine & Covenants [D & C], Sec. 130:22). Both of Smith’s teachings about God were in the same book of LDS scripture!
One reason for removing Smith’s Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine & Covenants in 1920 was because of the confusion they caused. Smith was obviously in the process of changing his view of God when he wrote D. & C. 130:22 because it was a year later that he gave his “King Follett Discourse” in which he said “God the Father was once a man like us and is a resurrected, glorified man now.”
Mormons believe that the President of their Church is a living Prophet who speaks for God now. Mormon scripture says this about their Prophet: “Wherefore, meaning the (LDS) church, thou shalt give heed unto all his words and commandments which he shall give unto you as he receiveth them, walking in all holiness before me; For his word ye shall receive as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith” (Doctrine & Covenants, Sec. 21:4-5). While this was written about Joseph Smith, LDS leaders apply it to all Mormon Prophets.
Teachings of the Living Prophets is a manual for Mormon Seminary and Institutes of Religion students which is published by the LDS Church and copyrighted by the LDS President. On page 17 it says,
- For members of many religious denominations, the word scripture refers only to the Bible. For Latter-day Saints the term has a much broader meaning. The ninth Article of Faith declares, “We believe all that God has revealed, all that he does now reveal, and we believe that he will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of
God.” While Latter-day Saints revere the Bible as the word of God, they also have other scriptures. In addition to the Bible, any message given by God’s prophets through the power of the Holy Ghost is scripture.
The Articles of Faith just mentioned is in the Pearl of Great Price and is Mormon scripture too. So, Mormons have five scriptural sources from which they can receive God’s message: their four books of written scripture plus the teachings of their living Prophets.
Mormons believe that God is a resurrected, glorified man because all 15 LDS Prophets have taught that doctrine! Many people in other faiths think that if something isn’t in one of the four books of LDS scripture, it isn’t official Mormon doctrine, but that isn’t true. Whatever the LDS Prophet says has the same influence on devout Mormons as their written scripture. That is why Joseph Smith’s King Follett Discourse, which is not in any of the four LDS books of scripture, has become the basis of the current Mormon teaching about God. Once a doctrine has been taught by an LDS Prophet, other LDS leaders expound about the details of that doctrine.
Achieving a Celestial Marriage is the title of a current student manual published by the LDS Church for their Seminaries and Institutes of Religion with a copyright by the LDS Prophet. On page 132 it says,
- 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 that we call exaltation or godhood. In such a condition, He and our Mother in heaven were empowered to give birth to spirit children whose potential was equal to that of their heavenly parents. We are those spirit children.
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie was the son-in-law of Joseph Fielding Smith, the 10th LDS Prophet. He wrote,
- God the Eternal Father, our Father in Heaven, is an exalted, perfected, and glorified Personage having a tangible body of flesh and bones (D. & C. 130:22). The designation Father is to be taken literally; it signifies that the Supreme Being is the literal Parent or Father of the spirits of all men (Heb.12:9). All men, Christ included, were born as His children in preexistence [ie. the pre-mortal world] (Mormon Doctrine, p. 278).
On page 84 of the same book McConkie said, “By the ordained procreative process our exalted and immortal Father begat his spirit progeny in pre-existence. ‘All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity.’”
Mormonism also says that when Jesus was born physically here on earth, “He came into the world as the Son of a mortal mother and an Immortal Father” (ibid. p. 85). McConkie further explained on page 742 of the same book,
- God the Father is an immortal, glorified, holy Man, an immortal Personage. And Christ was born into the world as the literal Son of this Holy Being; He was born in the same personal, real and literal sense that any mortal son is born to a mortal father. There is nothing figurative about his paternity; He was begotten, conceived and born in the normal and natural course of events, for He is the Son of God, and that designation means what it says.
McConkie also said, “Christ was begotten by an immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (ibid. p. 547). And on page 471 McConkie said that Jesus’ mother, Mary “was one of the noblest and greatest of all the spirit offspring of the Father” (in the pre-mortal world). Then he said that here on earth Mary “gave birth to a Son whose Father was the Almighty God.” Notice that he said that Mary’s Father in the pre-mortal world (who is a resurrected, glorified, Holy Man) was also the Father of her Son (Jesus) in this mortal world. Is it any wonder that Bible believing Christians say that the Jesus of Mormonism is not the Jesus of the Bible?
Those who wish to read more about the LDS concept may do so in Religious Truths Defined by Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. Our next article will consider the Holy Spirit and His relationship to the Father and Son according to Mormonism.