Becoming gods (like Christ)

LDS believe that God ordained and established a plan of salvation whereby his spirit children might advance and progress and become like Him.  After you become a LDS, you have the potential of becoming a god (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pages 345-347, 354).

According to their formula, “God became man that man might become God.” LDS believe that early Christians “were invited to ‘study’ to become gods” (note the plural).

Note:

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

Although this is the only “scriptural” reference to deification of man, many of the church elders, members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and their first prophet Joseph Smith, teach this doctrine.  The Quorum of Twelve Apostles have the responsibility for making policy and the President or Prophet is responsible for correctly interpreting the “scriptures”.  Therefore, since the Quorum of Twelve Apostles believe and teach this doctrine it is safe to say it is LDS doctrine.  The explanation of this doctrine comes from the interpretation of D&C 132:19-20 from those that have the authority in the LDS church to interpret correctly the “scriptures”.  They reference the following verse from the Bible to support their argument: Exodus 7:1; Psalm 82:1-6 and John 10:34-36. 

They explain their view by stating that even a cursory glance at early Christian thought reveals, the idea that man might become as God—known in Greek as theosis or theopoiesis —may be found virtually everywhere, from the New Testament through the writings of the first four centuries. Church members take seriously such passages as Psalm 82:6 [Ps. 82:6], John 10:33-36, and Philippians 2:5-6 [Philip. 2:5-6], in which a plurality of gods and the idea of becoming like God are mentioned.

Heaven

There are three levels of heaven: telestial, terrestrial, and celestial, (Mormon Doctrine, p. 348).

The lowest level is the telestial glory, reserved for those who were wicked in the flesh but who in some sense and to some degree turned to Christ in their suffering between death and resurrection (D&C 76: 81-113).

The next highest level, the terrestrial kingdom, is reserved for the honorable men and women of the earth, the “righteous”, who rejected the fullness of the gospel and the witness of the Holy Spirit during their mortal lives but changed their minds in the spirit prison (D&C 76: 71-80).  Their lot in eternity is to dwell with Jesus in glory forever, but without enjoying the separate presence of the Father and continuing family relationships.

The highest level is the celestial kingdom, which is reserved for LDS members, children who died before the age of 8 years old, the mental handicapped who have the mind of a child under 8 years old and those good people of every religious belief who never heard and understood the gospel during their lives or who never felt the Spirit bear witness to it (D&C 76: 50-70).

Note:

D&C 76:50-113

50 And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—
51 They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—
52 That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;
53 And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true.
54 They are they who are the church of the Firstborn.
55 They are they into whose hands the Father has given all things—
56 They are they who are priests and kings, who have received of his fullness, and of his glory;
57 And are priests of the Most High, after the order of Melchizedek, which was after the order of Enoch, which was after the order of the Only Begotten Son.
58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God—
59 Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
60 And they shall overcome all things.
61 Wherefore, let no man glory in man, but rather let him glory in God, who shall subdue all enemies under his feet.
62 These shall dwell in the presence of God and his Christ forever and ever.
63 These are they whom he shall bring with him, when he shall come in the clouds of heaven to reign on the earth over his people.
64 These are they who shall have part in the first resurrection.
65 These are they who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just.
66 These are they who are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly place, the holiest of all.
67 These are they who have come to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of Enoch, and of the Firstborn.
68 These are they whose names are written in heaven, where God and Christ are the judge of all.
69 These are they who are just men made perfect through Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, who wrought out this perfect atonement through the shedding of his own blood.
70 These are they whose bodies are celestial, whose glory is that of the sun, even the glory of God, the highest of all, whose glory the sun of the firmament is written of as being typical.
71 And again, we saw the terrestrial world, and behold and lo, these are they who are of the terrestrial, whose glory differs from that of the church of the Firstborn who have received the fullness of the Father, even as that of the moon differs from the sun in the firmament.
72 Behold, these are they who died without law;
73 And also they who are the spirits of men kept in prison, whom the Son visited, and preached the gospel unto them, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh;
74 Who received not the testimony of Jesus in the flesh, but afterwards received it.
75 These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men.
76 These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness.
77 These are they who receive of the presence of the Son, but not of the fullness of the Father.
78 Wherefore, they are bodies terrestrial, and not bodies celestial, and differ in glory as the moon differs from the sun.
79 These are they who are not valiant in the testimony of Jesus; wherefore, they obtain not the crown over the kingdom of our God.
80 And now this is the end of the vision which we saw of the terrestrial, that the Lord commanded us to write while we were yet in the Spirit.
81 And again, we saw the glory of the telestial, which glory is that of the lesser, even as the glory of the stars differs from that of the glory of the moon in the firmament.
82 These are they who received not the gospel of Christ, neither the testimony of Jesus.
83 These are they who deny not the Holy Spirit.
84 These are they who are thrust down to hell.
85 These are they who shall not be redeemed from the devil until the last resurrection, until the Lord, even Christ the Lamb, shall have finished his work.
86  These are they who receive not of his fullness in the eternal world, but of the Holy Spirit through the ministration of the terrestrial;
87 And the terrestrial through the ministration of the celestial.
88  And also the telestial receive it of the administering of angels who are appointed to minister for them, or who are appointed to be ministering spirits for them; for they shall be heirs of salvation.
89 And thus we saw, in the heavenly vision, the glory of the telestial, which surpasses all understanding;
90 And no man knows it except him to whom God has revealed it.
91 And thus we saw the glory of the terrestrial which excels in all things the glory of the telestial, even in glory, and in power, and in might, and in dominion.
92 And thus we saw the glory of the celestial, which excels in all things—where God, even the Father, reigns upon his throne forever and ever;
93 Before whose throne all things bow in humble reverence, and give him glory forever and ever.
94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fullness and of his grace;
95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.
96 And the glory of the celestial is one, even as the glory of the sun is one.
97 And the glory of the terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one.
98  And the glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so differs one from another in glory in the telestial world;
99 For these are they who are of Paul, and of Apollos, and of Cephas.
100  These are they who say they are some of one and some of another—some of Christ and some of John, and some of Moses, and some of Elias, and some of Esaias, and some of Isaiah, and some of Enoch;
101 But received not the gospel, neither the testimony of Jesus, neither the prophets, neither the everlasting covenant.
102 Last of all, these all are they who will not be gathered with the saints, to be caught up unto the church of the Firstborn, and received into the cloud.
103 These are they who are liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie.
104 These are they who suffer the wrath of God on earth.
105 These are they who suffer the vengeance of eternal fire.
106 These are they who are cast down to hell and suffer the wrath of Almighty God, until the fullness of times, when Christ shall have subdued all enemies under his feet, and shall have perfected his work;
107 When he shall deliver up the kingdom, and present it unto the Father, spotless, saying: I have overcome and have trodden the wine-press alone, even the wine-press of the fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God.
108 Then shall he be crowned with the crown of his glory, to sit on the throne of his power to reign forever and ever.
109 But behold, and lo, we saw the glory and the inhabitants of the telestial world, that they were as innumerable as the stars in the firmament of heaven, or as the sand upon the seashore;
110 And heard the voice of the Lord saying: These all shall bow the knee, and every tongue shall confess to him who sits upon the throne forever and ever;
111 For they shall be judged according to their works, and every man shall receive according to his own works, his own dominion, in the mansions which are prepared;
112 And they shall be servants of the Most High; but where God and Christ dwell they cannot come, worlds without end.
113 This is the end of the vision which we saw, which we were commanded to write while we were yet in the Spirit.

The LDS church teaches that through the grace of God exalted humans, husbands and wives sealed to one another forever, will participate in the divine nature and exercise divine powers, including the power of creation – through remaining subordinate always to God.

Jesus clearly stated that there will be no marriage in Heaven (Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 20:35), but LDS doctrine disagrees and teaches that couples married in one of their temples are seal together for all eternity, even if the man has multiple wives. 

Joseph Smith claims that the Lord revealed to him that the “same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there [in eternity], only it will be coupled with eternal glory” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:2).

Hell

LDS believe that there is a hell, but it will be lightly populated.  After all, once someone gets a taste of hell, only a fool would reject a second chance.

These sons of perdition (perhaps only few in number) will be resurrected but will not be redeemed from the power of Satan because they are still filthy; as the prophet Alma said of them: “… they shall be as though there had been no redemption made; for they cannot be redeemed according to God’s justice; and they cannot die, seeing there is no more corruption.” (Alma 12:18.)