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The Mortal Probation Is Necessary For Exaltation To Godhood


cksalmon

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Follows an extension of an off-topic tangent from another thread.

One reads in Gospel Principles (GP):

Our heavenly parents provided us with a celestial home more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth. We were happy there. Yet they knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left them for a time. They wanted us to develop the godlike qualities that they have. To do this, we needed to leave our celestial home to be tested and to gain experience. We needed to choose good over evil. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies.(GP, 13)

I take from this that mortality is necessary to eternal the process of eternal progression.

Since we could not progress further in heaven, our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present his plan for our progression (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 348, 349, 365). We learned that if we followed his plan, we would become like him.(GP, 14)

I take from this that, in order to become like God, one must follow Godâ??s plan for us to pass through mortality. Without this step, further progress was impossible.

Yet, consider the following claims (and feel free to disagree with them):

(1) Jesus Christ progressed to the status of deity prior to taking on a mortal body

(2) The Holy Spirit progressed to the status of deity without ever having had a mortal body

And, perhaps most controversially, Elohim is considered by some LDS to never have been a mortal.

We might then, provisionally, add

(3) Elohim either has always been deity (having never passed through this mortal vale/veil) or perhaps progressed to the status of deity prior to his taking on a mortal body

If one accepts (3), then we apparently have something of an odd situation. Although the mortal probation is taught to be necessary to the process of eternal progression, all three LDS Gods (the only Gods of which we are aware and with which we have to do) had no need to experience the mortal probation prior to full divinization.

To underscore this point: there are no Gods in LDS theology who needed to experience mortality in order to obtain exaltation to godhood. Ex hypothesi, no LDS God experienced mortality prior to full divinization.

What would it mean for a full LDS soteriology if there exist (in the persons of Elohim, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) only exceptions to the general rule? If (3) holds (as well as [1] and [2]), then there are simply are no examples of the necessity of mortality to exaltation--there are only, in the cases of all known LDS Gods, exceptions to general rule described in GP.

I would suggest that "we" don't count as examples simply because none of us has achieved divinity and there is no guarantee that we will. Again, ex hypothesi, no LDS Gods have passed through mortality prior to divinization.

One way (among several) to resolve this tension is to posit that Elohim was once a man and passed through mortality as a necessary step along his path to exaltation. I haven't seen many LDS here willing to embrace that notion (though there have been notable exceptions). Then, at least, one of three LDS Gods would conform to the general rule.

Thoughts?

CKS

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It is absolutely necessary for us to gain a physical body to be exalted. Therefore, everyone has to get one in order to do that.

I think you don't understand our concept of Jesus' godhood prior to His resurrection.

And the Holy Ghost hasn't gotten a physical body yet, so His progression is not yet complete.

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**WARNING: Doctor Steuss is entering speculative heresy mode. His thoughts are often contrary to official LDS Doctrine (and he sometimes hears voices)**

Another way to resolve the tension is to think there may be some among us that reached a level of divinity prior to coming. I donâ??t think that divinity is the equivalent to â??perfection.â? I think that G-d is still increasing in glory (and of course, I heretically [even by LDS standards] also think that G-d is increasing in knowledge). What makes Him the â??Most Highâ? G-d is not that He is all, but that He is more than any other G-d and always will be. However, if He had not gone through a form of mortality (I personally think He may have been a Savior of sorts [John 5: 19]), He would have eventually reached a plateau in regards to glory, knowledge, power, etc.

Progress becomes stagnant without â??mortalityâ? (I believe that one day the HG will receive an anthropomorphic body of some sort). Itâ??s possible that some of us could have progressed to divinity during our pre-mortal life, as well as our â??intelligencesâ? may have already been divine (which I think is the case of Christ, and/or it was His by â??birthrightâ?). But, without going through this poop called â??mortality,â? our ability to progress would eventually reach a plateau.

You (and the LDS) may now stone me for my heresy.

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It is absolutely necessary for us to gain a physical body to be exalted. Therefore, everyone has to get one in order to do that.

I think you don't understand our concept of Jesus' godhood prior to His resurrection.

Feel free to enlighten me about the specifics as you understand them. I take it then that you believe that Jesus was not fully divine prior to his Incarnation.

And the Holy Ghost hasn't gotten a physical body yet, so His progression is not yet complete.

I take it, then, that you believe that the Holy Spirit is not currently fully divine.

I also take it that you believe Elohim passed through mortality prior to his exaltation to Godhood. It was "absolutely necessary" to the process.

Could you support these beliefs with textual evidence? Seriously. You're writing the things I previously assumed to be true. Kerry Shirts, however, assures me (on Blake Ostler's authority) that the Holy Spirit is currently fully divine--with no need for physical embodiment. I've also read several LDS state that Jesus was fully divine prior to Incarnation.

And I've come across few admissions that Snow was correct that "as man now is, God once was" (or, that Joseph Smith was correct in his King Follett sermon about the nature of God--i.e., that he was once a man, etc.).

You and I seem to be largely on the same page with regard to this issue. Others, however, disagree with us.

Best.

CKS

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Feel free to enlighten me about the specifics as you understand them. I take it then that you believe that Jesus was not fully divine prior to his Incarnation.

I take it, then, that you believe that the Holy Spirit is not currently fully divine....

Define what "fully divine" is and then I'll tell you. :P

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Same disclaimer as Dr Steuss posted, or about: those are my personal speculations and current understandings, nothing more.

Yet, consider the following claims (and feel free to disagree with them):

(1) Jesus Christ progressed to the status of deity prior to taking on a mortal body

The status, yet, but not necessarily the nature. He was God in the sense that He was working in perfect trio with God and the Holy Ghost, but not necessarily in the sense that he was a god, as in a glorified human being. He had to obtain a human body in order to become a god.

(2) The Holy Spirit progressed to the status of deity without ever having had a mortal body

Same explanation: status, yes, but not necessarily nature.

And, perhaps most controversially, Elohim is considered by some LDS to never have been a mortal.

Jesus was never "just" a mortal either, even while He was living on Earth. It could very well be that something similar happened to the Father "back then".

If one accepts (3), then we apparently have something of an odd situation. Although the mortal probation is taught to be necessary to the process of eternal progression, all three LDS Gods (the only Gods of which we are aware and with which we have to do) had no need to experience the mortal probation prior to full divinization.

That is true only if you equate the status of "God" with the nature of "god". I personally don't equate the two. But as I said, this is only my speculations and current musings.

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**WARNING: Doctor Steuss is entering speculative heresy mode. His thoughts are often contrary to official LDS Doctrine (and he sometimes hears voices)**

Another way to resolve the tension is to think there may be some among us that reached a level of divinity prior to coming. I donâ??t think that divinity is the equivalent to â??perfection.â? I think that G-d is still increasing in glory (and of course, I heretically [even by LDS standards] also think that G-d is increasing in knowledge). What makes Him the â??Most Highâ? G-d is not that He is all, but that He is more than any other G-d and always will be. However, if He had not gone through a form of mortality (I personally think He may have been a Savior of sorts [John 5: 19]), He would have eventually reached a plateau in regards to glory, knowledge, power, etc.

Progress becomes stagnant without â??mortalityâ? (I believe that one day the HG will receive an anthropomorphic body of some sort). Itâ??s possible that some of us could have progressed to divinity during our pre-mortal life, as well as our â??intelligencesâ? may have already been divine (which I think is the case of Christ, and/or it was His by â??birthrightâ?). But, without going through this poop called â??mortality,â? our ability to progress would eventually reach a plateau.

You (and the LDS) may now stone me for my heresy.

Hey Doc--

Well, I certainly won't stone you for heresy. But Bruce R. McConkie would have been inclined, at least, to give you a stern talking to. In fact, your heresy made No. 1 on his top-seven list:

Heresy one: There are those who say that God is progressing in knowledge and is Teaming new truths.

This is false-utterly, totally, and completely. There is not one sliver of truth in it. It grows out of a wholly twisted and incorrect view of the King Follett Sermon and of what is meant by eternal progression (Elder Bruce R. McConkie, "The Seven Deadly Heresies," June 1, 1980)

If memory serves, McConkie's position here is consistent with that advocated by Orson Pratt way back when (which position was subsequently denied and disavowed by President Brigham Young).

How should I understand Ostler's comments on the Holy Spirit. Wait, where can I find Ostler's comments on the Holy Spirit? I've been meaning to purchase his extant oeuvre.

Best.

CKS

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It seems to me that it would be valid to say this:

"Before one can learn Integral Calculus, one must first be taught arithmetic."

Now, is it possible that someone, without any assistance, may have mastered arithmetic without ever having been taught it? Sure it is. But such exceptional cases don't really invalidate the above claim. It's as the old saying goes: "There's an exception to every rule -- except this one."

I'm not entirely convinced that mortality, in and of itself, is an actual requirement. It is, rather, an opportunity for us to learn and progress without suffering the eternal consequences that we might otherwise face. Now, for those who have already mastered their thoughts, actions, and desires to the point that they need no such "probationary state," then it stands to reason that it might not, strictly speaking, be a requirement for them. But for most of us, since we've already messed up, we need it.

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WARNING: My answers/belief enters the speculation mode (as does everyone elses posts here as it just has not been revealed)

I personally believe both he Father and the Son were mortals on a different world, and my speculation about the HG is just too far out to mention.

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That is true only if you equate the status of "God" with the nature of "god". I personally don't equate the two. But as I said, this is only my speculations and current musings.

Hi Del March--

I guess my question would be as follows: how can one meaningfully distinguish between one's possessing the "status" of God and one's possessing the "nature" of God? On the face of it, this seems a distinction without a difference. I take both descriptors as indicative of an inherent quality: the possessor of either is the possessor of both. To be God in status (understanding status here as "the condition of a person or thing") is to be God in nature. You disagree. Can you elaborate?

Best.

CKS

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Hey Doc--

Well, I certainly won't stone you for heresy.

But... but... all the cool kids are doing it.

But Bruce R. McConkie would have been inclined, at least, to give you a stern talking to. In fact, your heresy made No. 1 on his top-seven list:

I recall the first time I mentioned my view. Selek was kind enough to point out that it made the top lists of heresies by both BRM and JFS.

If memory serves, McConkie's position here is consistent with that advocated by Orson Pratt way back when (which position was subsequently denied and disavowed by President Brigham Young).

It's quite possible. I just know how much I love to learn and discover new things. To me, knowing all (and thusly denying me the joy of discovery) would be equivelant to damnation. I'd like to think my Father feels the same.

How should I understand Ostler's comments on the Holy Spirit. Wait, where can I find Ostler's comments on the Holy Spirit? I've been meaning to purchase his extant oeuvre.

Best.

CKS

I honestly get lost about 60%+ of the time when reading Ostler's stuff. I'm still not sure I fully comprehend his little dilly titled "Re-vision-ing the Mormon Concept of Deity."

On a side note, I often wonder if the Archangels were more-or-less gods (i.e. Michael, et.al.). As far as Mormon theology is concerned, Iâ??d rather think they were/are. :P

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I guess my question would be as follows: how can one meaningfully distinguish between one's possessing the "status" of God and one's possessing the "nature" of God? On the face of it, this seems a distinction without a difference. I take both descriptors as indicative of an inherent quality: the possessor of either is the possessor of both. To be God in status (understanding status here as "the condition of a person or thing") is to be God in nature. You disagree. Can you elaborate?

I need an analogy... Let me see...

OK. This isn't really a great analogy, but hopefully it might give you an idea of what I'm trying to say. Fathers. Some men are biological fathers, but not legal fathers. Inversely, some men are legal fathers but not biological fathers. In my analogy, legal fathers would have the status of father, and biological fathers would have the nature of father. Most of the time, as you said, this is a distinction without a difference: most men have both the nature and the status of father. However, sometimes, the distinction is clearly there.

So. In the case of the Father, He possesses both the status and nature of God/a god: He is a god, and He is God. He has the "physical" attributes of a god, ie: He's a glorified human being. And He is acting in the role of our God.

But Jesus, before His incarnation, was in a different case. He was acting in the role of our God, but He didn't have the "physical" nature of a god. He was only spirit. He needed to come to Earth and obtain a body, in order to become a god.

I guess in order to understand my speculations, you really need to remember that for us LDS, there are multitudes of gods, but just one God. Any human being can become a god, but unless we one day work in complete association with God, we will never be God. So for us, to be a god is not the same thing at all as being God, and vice versa.

Not sure if this helps?

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The confusion in this thread results largely from misunderstanding about the Church and its position on what a "God" is, and the process of "becoming a God." It is viewed as a serial progression by our friend CK here; and I personally won't be held responsible for views he pushes onto the church which they don't believe as supposed puzzles of the mind.

CK, you undertook to discover or explain the nature of God in a few paragraphs on the internet. I'm sorry, but your view doesn't cut it.

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Some thoughts that you might like to consider:

We don't progress to "Godhood", or "godhood".

We were already and now are literally children of God, with some of us trying to be perfect like God (our Father).

Hence, we are already divine beings. We're just not as perfect as he is, or they are.

And that means that before our Lord came here to live as a mortal, he was already divine. He was God. (not our Father - he was a divine being, ie, God)

And he was a lot more perfect that all the rest of us, as well as being God (or divine).

God is a form of being, and that being exists as separate persons who are each God.

So, no, we didn't need to come to Earth to become God.

We just needed to go through this experience to become like or as perfect as our Father in heaven.

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The confusion in this thread results largely from misunderstanding about the Church and its position on what a "God" is, and the process of "becoming a God." It is viewed as a serial progression by our friend CK here; and I personally won't be held responsible for views he pushes onto the church which they don't believe as supposed puzzles of the mind.

CK, you undertook to discover or explain the nature of God in a few paragraphs on the internet. I'm sorry, but your view doesn't cut it.

Hi LOAP--

No, I haven't undertaken any such lofty goal here on the ol' Internet. I claim neither to have discovered nor to have explained the nature of God. I merely posited a few propositions (some about which I felt fairly confident; some merely ex hypothesi in response to other comments I've read here on MADB) and asked for comments.

But, pray tell, what is my "view?" If I knew that, I probably wouldn't have begun the thread. Charity and I are in (at least provisionally-)substantial agreement with regard to the issues I've raised in this thread (though we're worlds apart on many, many other issues).

I see no need for you to be held responsible for my views. Why on earth would I? I do, however, expect you to hold yourself responsible for your own views. What are they? You suggest that your views are in line with the good Doc's. But, the Doc is an admitted LDS heretic (at least with regard to some of his substantive views expressed in this thread. Certain restrictions apply. Contact your local dealer for details).

If my view doesn't cut "it," what view does cut "it?" (I assume "it" is "the mustard," but I could be wrong.)

And, just so as not to confuse the natives, I'm typically referred to as "CKS"; "CK," on the other hand, is some EV loser hailing from California.

The confusion in this thread results largely from misunderstanding about the Church and its position on what a "God" is, and the process of "becoming a God."

I'd greatly appreciate your clearing up my confusion in this regard as you understand it.

Best.

CKS

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God is a form of being, and that being exists as separate persons who are each God.

So, no, we didn't need to come to Earth to become God.

We just needed to go through this experience to become like or as perfect as our Father in heaven.

Hi Paul--

With no offense meant, I just really can't understand your comments here.

Here's my take on them, prior to your (assumed) clarification:

(1) We didn't need to go through the mortal probation to become God

(1') We could have become God without going through this mortal probation

(2) We just needed to go through this mortal probation to be like God

Therefore,

(3) We could have been God without this mortal probation, but we couldn't have been like God without going through this mortal probation

You seem to argue that absolute perfection is not requisite to Godhood. Thus, per your apparent view, persons can exist who are gods but are not yet perfect. Thus, there are imperfect gods.

Thus, God is not necessarily perfect.

Is that what you believe?

CKS

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I haven't read any of the posts yet (so i'm sorry if this has already been said) but LDS theology supports the idea that the only part of the mortal experience that was necessary for everyone to undergo was to get a mortal body.

Beyond that the degree that the mortal experience is necessary is different for all of us. After all, LDS believe that a newborn baby who dies will be exatled-even though their mortal experience was only a few minutes long.

The bible supports the idea though that perfection cannot be achieved without a resurrected body of flesh and bone-thus making the need to get a mortal body imperative.

The bible even tells us that Christ was not perfect until AFTER His resurrection.

:P

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Hi Paul--

With no offense meant, I just really can't understand your comments here.

Here's my take on them, prior to your (assumed) clarification:

(1) We didn't need to go through the mortal probation to become God

(1') We could have become God without going through this mortal probation

(2) We just needed to go through this mortal probation to be like God

Therefore,

(3) We could have been God without this mortal probation, but we couldn't have been like God without going through this mortal probation

You seem to argue that absolute perfection is not requisite to Godhood. Thus, per your apparent view, persons can exist who are gods but are not yet perfect. Thus, there are imperfect gods.

Thus, God is not necessarily perfect.

Is that what you believe?

CKS

Heh, nice twist. Try again to understand what I'm saying. :P

I will try to make it simpler by leaving out the word "God".

We are literally children of our Father in heaven, hence, we are already divine beings, literally.

We're just not as perfect as our Father is, and we're also not as perfect as our Lord was before he came to this Earth to live his life as a mortal being.

Our goal is, or I think should be, to become perfect like our Father and as perfect as our Lord is, literally.

You came pretty close before, but God (our Father) is perfect.

It's just the rest of us (divine beings) who aren't necessarily perfect. <_<

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Hi bluebell--

I'm curious as to your NT source for this.

Thanks.

CKS

Luke 13:32

"And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected."

The verse tells us that being perfect is much more than simply being without sin. Christ, who was sinless-was not perfected until after His resurrection.

:P

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One reads in Gospel Principles (GP):
Our heavenly parents provided us with a celestial home more glorious and beautiful than any place on earth. We were happy there. Yet they knew we could not progress beyond a certain point unless we left them for a time. They wanted us to develop the godlike qualities that they have. To do this, we needed to leave our celestial home to be tested and to gain experience. We needed to choose good over evil. Our spirits needed to be clothed with physical bodies.(GP, 13)

I take from this that mortality is necessary to eternal the process of eternal progression.

Since we could not progress further in heaven, our Heavenly Father called a Grand Council to present his plan for our progression (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 348, 349, 365). We learned that if we followed his plan, we would become like him.(GP, 14)

I take from this that, in order to become like God, one must follow Godâ??s plan for us to pass through mortality. Without this step, further progress was impossible.

Correct.

Yet, consider the following claims (and feel free to disagree with them):

(1) Jesus Christ progressed to the status of deity prior to taking on a mortal body

(2) The Holy Spirit progressed to the status of deity without ever having had a mortal body

Correct.

And, perhaps most controversially, Elohim is considered by some LDS to never have been a mortal.

And they are incorrect.

We might then, provisionally, add

(3) Elohim either has always been deity (having never passed through this mortal vale/veil) or perhaps progressed to the status of deity prior to his taking on a mortal body

Incorrect.

If one accepts (3), then we apparently have something of an odd situation. Although the mortal probation is taught to be necessary to the process of eternal progression, all three LDS Gods (the only Gods of which we are aware and with which we have to do) had no need to experience the mortal probation prior to full divinization.

That is one reason why (3) is not correct.

To underscore this point: there are no Gods in LDS theology who needed to experience mortality in order to obtain exaltation to godhood. Ex hypothesi, no LDS God experienced mortality prior to full divinization.

Exaltation always requires a mortal experience. IOW, some few individuals obtain the status of Godhood prior to obtaining exaltation, Christ and the Holy Ghost being two examples.

What would it mean for a full LDS soteriology if there exist (in the persons of Elohim, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit) only exceptions to the general rule?

Nothing.

If (3) holds (as well as [1] and [2]), then there are simply are no examples of the necessity of mortality to exaltation--there are only, in the cases of all known LDS Gods, exceptions to general rule described in GP.

As previously stated, this is one reason why (3) is incorrect.

I would suggest that "we" don't count as examples simply because none of us has achieved divinity and there is no guarantee that we will.

Correct.

One way (among several) to resolve this tension is to posit that Elohim was once a man and passed through mortality as a necessary step along his path to exaltation. I haven't seen many LDS here willing to embrace that notion (though there have been notable exceptions). Then, at least, one of three LDS Gods would conform to the general rule.

Which is what I believe Joseph Smith taught. In the KFD he taught:

What did Jesus say (Mark it, Elder Rigdon!) The scriptures inform us that Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son powerâ?? to do what? Why, what the Father did. that 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.
If The Father has never been mortal, then how did He lay down His body and take it up again?
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Kerry Shirts, however, assures me (on Blake Ostler's authority) that the Holy Spirit is currently fully divine--with no need for physical embodiment.

Ostler has a few good ideas. This one can be found in Chapter 12 of Exploring Mormon Thought: The Problems of Theism and the Love of God

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