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Broker

Children of "A" Heavenly Father

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Recent events have caused me to reflect (again) on the Church's teaching that we are literally children of Heavenly Parents. 

While many of the Church's doctrines set it apart from other Bible based religions, I think the belief that we are literal spirit children of God is the most fundamental difference we have with other religions, and is the foundation for all other major doctrines of the  Church. I believe this single belief enables a potential for faith among Church members that far exceeds what any other Christian religion has to offer. (which is easy for me to say, since I have very limited  knowledge of what other religions teach 😊). 

I am curious, though, what others think it means to be a "literal" child of God, and what does the church actually teach as specific doctrine, as opposed to what many members may infer. 

I also wonder (no belief, just wonder...) if we, maybe, do not all have the same "Father in Heaven".  When I look around my small part of the world, there are an awful lot of people...and I'm just seeing a tiny fraction of the current world population. I understand God the Father is capable of more than we can possible imagine, but still....that's a lot of children.  

The Church teaches that we have the possibility of becoming like God and creating (begetting ?) our own spirit children. If I ever got to that point, I would like to have spirit children...but not sure I'd want ( or ever be ready) to take on all the responsibilities of being "The God" that has to keep everything together through perfect Justice and Mercy. I would be open to the idea of sending my "spirit children" to a world where they could grow and learn and where I could hear their prayers and help them as permitted...but allowing "The God" to run the whole thing.

So two questions I be curious to see responses for:

1) What do you think the Church means by "literal" children of God....or what do you think that means.

2) Any possibility there are a few "Heavenly Fathers" out there, who have children on this earth ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Take it as you will but I’ve recently had similar thoughts on this. One reason is because of the way some of the scriptures are worded. In the Book of Moses there are two similair creation accounts. We can assume one is from God’s (the Father) point of view, and the other Jehovahs. They refer to themselves respectively as God and the Lord God in this two accounts. It’s only the second account where the the scriptures mention the creation of first spiritual and second material.

“For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken, spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth. For I, the Lord God, had not caused it to rain upon the face of the earth. And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men; and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth, neither in the water, neither in the air;” (Moses 3:5)

So from this perspective it wash the Son who brought our spirits forth. Not sure if this is a correct reading, but something to chew on! After all, even though we know Christ was the means whereby the Father creates the world we still refer to the Father as the creator of all things. 

Food for thought!

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Posted (edited)

I see a couple problems with the idea of multiple Heavenly Fathers (or Mothers for that matter).

  1. We could not all be literal spirit brothers and sisters. We would be at best half- brothers/sisters, cousins, or even 5th or 6th or 8th cousins.
  2. Jesus would not be the first born of all spirit children and would only be a spiritual "Elder Brother" to some of the inhabitants of the earth. There would be multiple first-born children, at least spiritually speaking.

I've seen nothing in the scriptures or the words of the prophets or anywhere else to make me think that there's more than one Father, at least as far as this earth goes. Besides, I've heard that once you get past the first 1,000 spiritual children, it doesn't get any harder after that. 😉

Edited by rchorse
Clarified some wording.
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7 hours ago, Broker said:

1) What do you think the Church means by "literal" children of God....or what do you think that means.

We are the same "type" as He is: have the same positional, and He leads us along the way.  As we don't know how "spiritual genetics" work, past then is really hard to say.

 

Another useful thing is to compare this to Creedal Christian beliefs: in Creedal Christianity, God and man are two entirely different "types" of creatures -- God being that forever immovable mover, and man being a flawed pitiful creation.  In Creedal Christianity, a person isn't literally a child of God, rather they are adopted by benevolent benefactor (God)--- somewhat* similar to the way a human would adopt a dog.  The master loves the dog, and fights for the dog, and even dies  for the dog.   But the dog's never going to be human-- it's not literally their child.   It's forever only a flawed mutt that the benevolence adopted.     (*somewhat = this is a very imperfect analogy). 

7 hours ago, Broker said:

2) Any possibility there are a few "Heavenly Fathers" out there, who have children on this earth ?

No.  

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, Broker said:

😊1) What do you think the Church means by "literal" children of God....or what do you think that means.

2) Any possibility there are a few "Heavenly Fathers" out there, who have children on this earth ?

I see the story of the human family on this earth as the story of one heavenly family that we are all a part of. There may be many other divine beings out their with their own families but we are not a part of them.  They are on other world and probably other universes.  So one Father but possibly more than one mother but all part of one of one spiritual family unit.  As to being literal children.  I think we became literal children of this one family at the time our intelligence was clothed with a spiritual body. How and when that happened don't know.  The family came together as a whole over a long period of time.  Once that occurred we where a part of this grand family together.

Edited by carbon dioxide

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Posted (edited)

I used to think this was about a heavenly version of mortal creation and gestation.   Once I fully processed that it requred both Mary's mortal body in soe kind of union with Heavenly Father to get mortal body to Jesus that allowed Him to redeem us and allow resurrection, I got that my former thought could not be right.   If Heavenly Mother (I happen to believe that it is likely that there is more than one) and Heavenly Father created spirit children together anything like the mortal way, They would convey all characteristics that Their resurrected body have, which would mean they didn't need mortal bodies, and would prevent them from getting a fully mortal body and learning to submit its appetites and passions to God.    So the process of creating spirit children from intelligence has to be different than the process for creating mortal children.

Further, there is the difference of God's time and ours which would allow a lot more mortal time to create all those spirit children (who were all there at the Heavenly Council and agreed with it (I've always thought because otherwise how would they have been able to choose without knowledge that would be included in that choice?).

Edited by rpn

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I begin with the case that there are innumerable beings living for an innumerable length of time.  These beings are all of one cloth, which we might term human or persons.  All and each of these beings have neither beginning nor have they an end.  I am one of Them.  So are you.

If one begins with this case, it will lead one to certain possible corollary cases within that ground case and make other possible corollaries not possible or at least less likely (I'm not a fan of impossibility, strictly speaking).  If there is any part of that case that one does not think is so, and would state alternative cases or elements of case, then that is going to lead to another set of possibilities/impossibilities.

I am interested in what is actually the case for the universe and for myself.  I personally am not interested in maintaining a (religious) narrative for the sake of the narrative/religion itself.  I am fine with engaging with the wisdom that exists in scriptures, books of all kinds, revelation, experience, thoughts, feelings, cultures and traditions, etc, to see what I may draw out of that in order to point my understanding to what may be the case in the universe.  But the base of what I know IS what is experienced first hand by me and reports of others' firsthand experiences that I carefully evaluate.  This is a process of choosing for myself; and I am responsible to myself for my choices and the outcome they yield, becoming who I am, what I create, and what/how I experience what I created.

Oddly enough, I haven't met, or do not recall meeting, each and every one of the innumerable beings.  I have not been too many places, much less innumerable places (I haven't even been to New York, yea?).  I have no recollection of experience (innumerable time) beyond this world.  On the other hand, everyone I have met has been a person.  (Leaving aside for the moment animals and such; that would be an expanded discussion or case.)

So the case that I accept that there are innumerable beings, places, and times is my choice of interpreting what I do experience.  The artifact of myself is as much an artifact of eternity as it is of time in the world.  In fact, all I can say 'experientially' is that the artifact of myself is only 'proof' of the RIGHT NOW--because past is not here and future is not here.  I can't even recollect or prove I was born.  I have to rely on my mother's report that it took place.  And rely on analogy by witnessing others' births and giving birth to a few humans myself.

There are other analogies I rely on that cause me to (currently) trust that the case is: innumerable persons, innumerable places, innumerable time.  But I will not say all those elements/analogies here.  I will simply ask you to ask your self if you find that to be the case as well.  And if yes, then that is the place from which to ask further questions including the one you set forth now about 'heavenly fathers'.

I also understand the case to be that each of these persons is an agent for themselves (choice-making), thus a creator.

So if I had no beginning and will have no end, then I have no father and no mother.  Literally.  I have not been created; but I do create.

So there is spoken of a Father, and what the interpretation of this is . . . this is not to say that there was not some experiential process where one of Us became my father and mother in some timeline within eternity . . . since that is exactly what has happened for the experience of this planet.  And I have no problem of speaking of the woman who gave birth to me on this planet as my Mother, she is fully my mother.  And yet I also know that she is my Sister, fully, if I expand the perspective to beyond this world experience.  She and I are both one of the innumerable hosts (i.e. sisters and brothers).  And then one could even point to bishops as Father of the ward--when that man is not my father at all, and indeed the place is taken by a succession of individuals, but the office remains.  I am not at this point suggesting what Father in heaven is, but only that there is more than one way to conceive of father-ness and to ask ourselves in what way Father in heaven is or is meant to signify.  (Which you have done; great question!)

But to land on the 'literal-ness'.  If we begin with the case I stated, then the 'literal-ness' cannot be my actual coming into existence.  The 'literal-ness' may be some other experiential or signifying process.

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14 hours ago, Broker said:

So two questions I be curious to see responses for:

1) What do you think the Church means by "literal" children of God....or what do you think that means.

2) Any possibility there are a few "Heavenly Fathers" out there, who have children on this earth ?

I think what we construe to be literal for this life is but a dream to those in heaven, and vice-versa (not that either isn't real). Both are real. By covenant, our word is as good as our deed, and things, as complex as they might seem to be, also might as well be as plain and as simple as the scriptures teach.

So I believe or discern that we are literally children of Heavenly Parents (Father and Mother), brothers and sisters. Given what the Book of Moses says, I believe He is the one Eternal Father of all the souls inhabiting of all the worlds He has created, and of all those spirits He has cast out, wherever they may be.

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1 hour ago, Maidservant said:

But to land on the 'literal-ness'.  If we begin with the case I stated, then the 'literal-ness' cannot be my actual coming into existence.  The 'literal-ness' may be some other experiential or signifying process.

I think this is why we tend to use the world "organize," or take "create" to mean "organize. We are not created, but organized. We do not create, but organize things that always were. So I think it safe to say we were literally organized and literally organize.

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6 hours ago, 3DOP said:

I cannot be comfortable with saying that to be adopted is not to be literally God's child given the privileges that are bestowed upon the adopted children. But I know what you mean. God's only begotten Son receives all that the Father Is and has, naturally, apart from adoption. My objection to diminishing the adopted child, is because God only adopts children so that He can give them Himself. It is of another kind than the only Begotten Son, of a lesser kind, of course. But it still seems improper to diminish such a wonder as the adoption of sons and daughters by the Father, to imply that it is perhaps only figurative, or symbolic. There is too much active reality, too much that is miraculous to say that it is not literal. God makes them in to Himself. How about this? Could we agree on the expression that the adopted children of God are "literal adopted children of God"? I agree that there needs to be a qualification that distinguishes the only begotten Son from the adopted children. But certainly they are literally adopted? They are literally deified. Anyway, that is what is believed. The literally adopted child of God realizes like the dog, that they cannot begin to comprehend God, but the literally adopted child perceives that God is elevating them to become Him.

Of course no dog is literally a man's child. A dog is not made in a man's image and likeness and we would never say that a dog is literally a man's adopted child. We might call a beloved dog a man's child, but it would be symbolic. Because, like none of the other animals, humans have free will, as opposed to instinct in the animals, we are already more godlike before adoption. We are closer in respect to our spiritual capacity to be changed in to God, than the dog has to be changed in to a human. It is still a very useful analogy.

If I have expressed myself as though I was asserting "truths" to which you all give assent, I would like to make it clear that I am only trying to present what I think Catholics are required to believe about this subject. Often this leads to discussion. If so, fine. If not, maybe even better, even though I enjoy debate. I have been happy to recognize in you Jane_Doe, and indeed in many Mormons here, a desire to better understand what non-LDS believe.

Coming from the LDS perspective, I don't really understand what you seem by "literal" adoption here.  

LDS Christian believe in literal sonship -- you are literally a son/daughter of God.  While right now we don't remotely understand God, we will eventually completely understand and eventually completely become like Him.  Literally.

Creedal Christianity ... even in the eternities you're still a (metaphorical) dog.  A very beloved dog, has been taught the best manners, that spends every day with the master, sleeps in His bed with Him, and has everything a beloved dog could ever dream of.  But due to the Creedal doctrine of consubstantiality: they are forever a dog.  There is no literally becoming completely like God.

 

Sorry if that sounds downplaying-- I'm trying to be respectful here.  But from an LDS standpoint...honestly I find that Creedal Christians have a much more negative or lesser view of man than LDS Christians (speaking both of present-day man and eventual perfected man).  

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

Coming from the LDS perspective, I don't really understand what you seem by "literal" adoption here.  

LDS Christian believe in literal sonship -- you are literally a son/daughter of God.  While right now we don't remotely understand God, we will eventually completely understand and eventually completely become like Him.  Literally.

Creedal Christianity ... even in the eternities you're still a (metaphorical) dog.  A very beloved dog, has been taught the best manners, that spends every day with the master, sleeps in His bed with Him, and has everything a beloved dog could ever dream of.  But due to the Creedal doctrine of consubstantiality: they are forever a dog.  There is no literally becoming completely like God.

 

Sorry if that sounds downplaying-- I'm trying to be respectful here.  But from an LDS standpoint...honestly I find that Creedal Christians have a much more negative or lesser view of man than LDS Christians (speaking both of present-day man and eventual perfected man).  

Jane...no worries...I don't think we mean the same thing by "literally". I think you have good will, mean well. God bless.

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33 minutes ago, 3DOP said:

Jane...no worries...I don't think we mean the same thing by "literally". I think you have good will, mean well. God bless.

I hope to clarify rather than make more confused, but let me try this:

No we are not "adopted" by heavenly Father but fully literal SPIRIT children.  Our spirits are His children.  Literally.

Christ on the other hand is the "only begotten in the flesh" meaning that God is both the father of Christ's spirit as well as his flesh

We are begotten by mortals but still literal children of God

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19 hours ago, SettingDogStar said:

Take it as you will but I’ve recently had similar thoughts on this.....

So from this perspective it wash the Son who brought our spirits forth. Not sure if this is a correct reading, but something to chew on! After all, even though we know Christ was the means whereby the Father creates the world we still refer to the Father as the creator of all things. 

Food for thought!

Your response yields a bit of support to my radical theory, therefore I like it!😊

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15 hours ago, rchorse said:

I see a couple problems with the idea of multiple Heavenly Fathers (or Mothers for that matter).

  1. We could not all be literal spirit brothers and sisters. We would be at best half- brothers/sisters, cousins, or even 5th or 6th or 8th cousins.
  2. Jesus would not be the first born of all spirit children and would only be a spiritual "Elder Brother" to some of the inhabitants of the earth. There would be multiple first-born children, at least spiritually speaking.

I've seen nothing in the scriptures or the words of the prophets or anywhere else to make me think that there's more than one Father, at least as far as this earth goes. Besides, I've heard that once you get past the first 1,000 spiritual children, it doesn't get any harder after that. 😉

If my brothers and I ever become gods ourselves and create spiritual children....wouldn't those children be cousins?

In my theory, Jesus was the first born of the "The God". All other first born sons would be the first born of a lesser god (like me).

Your're correct of course that there is no scriptural basis for my theory, but then I suppose that the scriptures we've been given provide only the tiniest part of what really goes on in the Universe, Time and Space.

 

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11 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

We are the same "type" as He is: have the same positional, and He leads us along the way.  As we don't know how "spiritual genetics" work, past then is really hard to say.

 

Another useful thing is to compare this to Creedal Christian beliefs: in Creedal Christianity, God and man are two entirely different "types" of creatures -- God being that forever immovable mover, and man being a flawed pitiful creation.  In Creedal Christianity, a person isn't literally a child of God, rather they are adopted by benevolent benefactor (God)--- somewhat* similar to the way a human would adopt a dog.  The master loves the dog, and fights for the dog, and even dies  for the dog.   But the dog's never going to be human-- it's not literally their child.   It's forever only a flawed mutt that the benevolence adopted.     (*somewhat = this is a very imperfect analogy). 

 

I think you hit the doctrinal heart of what sets the Church apart from most Christian beliefs. Many or most seem to believe that man is fallen creature, deserving of hell and the full wrath of God...saved only by a benevolent Christ.

The Church seems to stand well apart in its belief in a benevolent Father in Heaven that has the ultimate parental love for His children.

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9 hours ago, carbon dioxide said:

I see the story of the human family on this earth as the story of one heavenly family that we are all a part of. There may be many other divine beings out their with their own families but we are not a part of them.  They are on other world and probably other universes.  So one Father but possibly more than one mother but all part of one of one spiritual family unit.  As to being literal children.  I think we became literal children of this one family at the time our intelligence was clothed with a spiritual body. How and when that happened don't know.  The family came together as a whole over a long period of time.  Once that occurred we where a part of this grand family together.

I like your thinking , it mirrors our  mortal birth where we became mortal children of mortal parents once our spirits became clothed in a mortal body.

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9 hours ago, 3DOP said:

PS:  Broker, I have a hard enough job as it is. How am I going to defend you guys from my Catholic friends when the LDS start allowing that you all have different Heavenly Fathers? Don't you all need to have the same one Father as Jesus? Just the other day I was debating John 14:9 here where Philip asked our Lord to show them the Father. He who sees me has seen the Father, said Jesus (paraphrasing). Did all twelve Apostles just coincidentally have the same Father? Shoot, isn't that the Father you want? Is there something in Latter-day revelation, that would make us need to modify this passage in the Gospel that we share to allow, that "the Father", rather than appearing to be one, might be two, three, or more?   

 

As far as Catholic vs LDS beliefs, i guess the perspective depends on which side of the fence you are on. I can understand Catholics having a very hard time understanding LDS beliefs. From the LDS side, I think it must require some Catholics to have an extraordinary amount of faith to accept some of their own doctrines.

If we hold to LDS theology, there will absolutely be multiple "Fathers"...the only question I'm raising is could they be sharing the same earth? (under the authority of "The Supreme Father")

 

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37 minutes ago, mfbukowski said:

I hope to clarify rather than make more confused, but let me try this:

No we are not "adopted" by heavenly Father but fully literal SPIRIT children.  Our spirits are His children.  Literally.

Christ on the other hand is the "only begotten in the flesh" meaning that God is both the father of Christ's spirit as well as his flesh

We are begotten by mortals but still literal children of God

I think this is exactly what most Latter-day Saints believe. I'm not sure you can find it explicitly taught in the scriptures this way, but this doctrine does appear to be  most clearly taught in the Proclamation on the Family.

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1 minute ago, Broker said:

I think this is exactly what most Latter-day Saints believe. I'm not sure you can find it explicitly taught in the scriptures this way, but this doctrine does appear to be  most clearly taught in the Proclamation on the Family.

 I think that is a distinction without a difference.  It is the most reasonable explanation.  It doesn't matter to me personally, we are to have our own testimonies of everything and that is mine anyway.

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45 minutes ago, Broker said:

Your response yields a bit of support to my radical theory, therefore I like it!😊

I think we need to embolden the fact that even you think that it is a "radical" theory.

And it is radical- I see no necessity for it nor have I ever seen it before.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Broker said:

If my brothers and I ever become gods ourselves and create spiritual children....wouldn't those children be cousins?

In my theory, Jesus was the first born of the "The God". All other first born sons would be the first born of a lesser god (like me).

Your're correct of course that there is no scriptural basis for my theory, but then I suppose that the scriptures we've been given provide only the tiniest part of what really goes on in the Universe, Time and Space.

 

The scriptures are in no way about "science" as we know it today, they are about giving meaning to our lives.  And of course neither do they discuss all the possibilities we can imagine coming to be or what will become "science" in the future

There are billions of fathers on this planet but YOUR father will always be YOUR father.

Yes he may now have grandchildren or great grandchildren.  They are part of his descendants and honor him properly as such.  But they have other Fathers.

The object of exaltation is to grow our Father's kingdom as we grow our own.   Read that again until it makes sense.  We all progress together as a FAMILY with our Father at our head.   We have taken on covenants of obedience to HIS path, not the path of another

There is no functional need for a theory accounting for other possibilities.

Edited by mfbukowski

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On 7/6/2019 at 12:20 AM, Broker said:

...........................1) What do you think the Church means by "literal" children of God....or what do you think that means.................

Occasionally someone like Pres Lorenzo Snow will say: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”  Which makes it sound like all humans are of the genus and species of God.  However, the details are murky at best.  Perhaps we are all literal sons and daughters of one Father in Heaven, with His Only Begotten as our elder brother (primus inter pares).  Not only do we not know the specifics on that assertion,but we also do not know whether God the Father has multiple wives as our mothers.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Occasionally someone like Pres Lorenzo Snow will say: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.”  Which makes it sound like all humans are of the genus and species of God.  However, the details are murky at best.  Perhaps we are all literal sons and daughters of one Father in Heaven, with His Only Begotten as our elder brother (primus inter pares).  Not only do we not know the specifics on that assertion,but we also do not know whether God the Father has multiple wives as our mothers.

Shall we make a list of all the possibilities that we don't know about?

;)

I for one want to know where Zeus fits into all of this ;)

And then we have all the Slavic gods and goddesses..... it could be a pretty long list.

On the other hand in my view a single paradigm roughly explaining the idea of us becoming like our father and mother works just fine for now.

It's not like we're about to climb into a space vehicle to verify all of this with photographs and videos. ;)

We can make up mythology all day or get on with life.

 

 

Edited by mfbukowski
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Thou art my son. This day have I begotten thee.

/potstirring

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