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Deification


Bill Hamblin

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Those on this board who dismiss the doctrine of Deification will no doubt be surprised by ongoing scholarly interest in the subject. In the past year we see:

Stephen Thomas

Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition

(Gorgias, 2007)

ISBN 1593333242

Michael J. Christensen and Jeffery A. Wittung (Editors)

Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions

(Baker, 2008)

ISBN-10: 080103440X

Daniel A. Keating

Deification and Grace

(Sapientia, 2007)

ISBN-10: 1932589376

Nancy Hudson,

Becoming God: The Doctrine of Theosis in Nicholas of Cusa

(Catholic U, 2007)

ISBN-10: 0813214726

PS These two aren't new, but I hadn't seen them before

Emil Bartos

Deification in Eastern Orthodox Theology

(Paternoster 1969)

ISBN-10: 0853649561

Veli-Matti Karkkainen

One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification

(Liturgical Press, 2005)

ISBN-10: 0814629717

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Don't forget

Norman Russell, The Doctrine of Deification in the Greek Patristic Tradition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004).

David Vincent Meconi, "The Consummation of the Christian Promise: Recent Studies on Deification," New Blackfriars 87 (January 2006): 3â??12,

Mary Elizabeth Martin, "Orphans, widows and Sons of God : An Exegetical Investigation of Augustine's Concept of Adoption and Deification" (Ph.D Diss., Union Theological Seminary, 2002).

Veli-Matti Karkkainen, One With God: Salvation as Deification and Justification (Collegeville, Min..: Unitas, 2004).

Mark D. Nispel, "Christian Deification and the Early Testimonia," Vigiliae Christianae 53.3 (August 1999): 289â??304

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All of these people must be adherents of some obscure heresy, since it cannot POSSIBLY be mainstream Christian thought (as has been consistently -- and vehemently -- pointed out here).

Come on Bill, fess up. Tell us they all wrote for FARMS Review or JBMS, and not for some respected scholarly journal.

Beowulf

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All of these people must be adherents of some obscure heresy, since it cannot POSSIBLY be mainstream Christian thought (as has been consistently -- and vehemently -- pointed out here).

Come on Bill, fess up. Tell us they all wrote for FARMS Review or JBMS, and not for some respected scholarly journal.

Beowulf

What the poor benighted anti-Mormons don't get is that we have secret crypto-Mormons running all the major scholarly journals and publishers.

Oxford

Union Theological Seminary

Thames and Hudson

Vigiliae Christianae

Liturgical Press

Catholic University

They're all run by crypto-Mormons. So, the fact that Givens has published a book on the BOM (By the Hand of Mormon) with Oxford University Press that cites numerous FARMS publications to make his case should not disturb the world view of the anti-Mormons in the slightest, because Oxford is run by Mormons!

O the insidious plan of those Mormons!

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Who can dispute the fact that the saints who overcome will have the same power and authority as God (making them Gods in their own right) according to Revelation 3:21?

What is the purpose/symbology of sitting on the throne of God? Part of a guided tour?

:P

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Bill Hamblin,

Those on this board who dismiss the doctrine of Deification will no doubt be surprised by ongoing scholarly interest in the subject. In the past year we see:

Is this interest the same as the Mormon teaching of doctrine of Deification?

Below are a couple of articles that describe that Mormon's doctrine of Deification differs from orthodox Christian theology:

Theosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

The doctrine of theosis or deification in the Mormon Church differs significantly from that of orthodox Christian theology (note, not only Eastern Orthodox). In Mormonism it is usually referred to as exaltation or eternal life. Exaltation is to become, through the sacrifice of Christ, a co-inheritor with Jesus in all that the Father possesses. As children of God we are enabled to become one with God as Jesus is one with God, inheriting their divinity and perfection, eternally acting under their guiding influence and authority. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on salvation through the atonement of Jesus Christ, exaltation goes beyond mere salvation. All mankind will be saved from death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but only those who are sufficiently obedient because of their faith, who receive specific saving ordinances, and who accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the judgment will be exalted. In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic theology, theosis, meaning divinization (or deification or, to become god), is the call to man to become holy and seek union with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the resurrection.

Can Human Beings Become God?

http://www.affcrit.com/pdfs/2002/02/02_02_a2.pdf

The Mormon concept of deification must be rejected: God is God both outside of creation and within creation; human beings can at best be joined to God and thereby become God within the confines of creation, but even here, they will not usurp the unique identity that the sole God has. Human beings will never lose their attributes as creatures, they will never be the Creator or the creative and boundless power of the Creator. Human beings will forever posses the human form and the human nature; thus, they will be limited to the confines of the created universe and never be omnipresent as the unique God is.

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BCSpace,

Who can dispute the fact that the saints who overcome will have the same power and authority as God (making them Gods in their own right) according to Revelation 3:21?

I would dispute the Mormon teaching of deification that men can become a creator like the Heavenly Father.

Humans, creatures created by God, do not become a creator like God. God did not need a spouse to create a child like a human does. When God created the first human, he was alone and by himself. God makes the soul, he forms the spirit within the body. God is the Father of all things, he is the Father of spirits. Men are the offspring of God, the spirit of God is in a manâ??s nostril.

God did not a heavenly wife to create the first man. Adam was not born of heavenly parents. The first man became a living soul after God breathed the breath of life into the body formed from the dust. The Spirit of God made man, and the breath of the Almighty gives man life. With a command God first created the heaven of heavens then the hosts of heaven. The hosts of heaven were not born of a heavenly mother.

Men can become â??godsâ? only in a very limited way. When Adam and Eve become like "one of us" they were like God in only in a limited way. Adam and Eve did not become a creator like God. Adam needed a wife to make another man.

Men can become divinized. Those whom the word comes to can become gods. They can become sons of God by being born again and partake of the divine nature. Humans are born again or begotten through the gospel. Those who believe in Jesus are born of God, they are born again by the word of God; those whom the Word comes to are called gods. Men can become like God in terms of immortallity, perfection, righteousness and holiness but they don't become a creator like our Heavenly Father.

A human is not a God in embryo because they are adopted sons of God. As adopted sons of God they do not naturally inherit divine qualities of heavenly parents. As adopted Sonâ??s they will be made heirs and shall inherit all things. They will inherit the kingdom, they will have the right to the tree of life. They will have eternal life and reign with the only natural Son of God.

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BCSpace,

I would dispute the Mormon teaching of deification that men can become a creator like the Heavenly Father.

Humans, creatures created by God, do not become a creator like God. God did not need a spouse to create a child like a human does. When God created the first human, he was alone and by himself. God makes the soul, he forms the spirit within the body. God is the Father of all things, he is the Father of spirits. Men are the offspring of God, the spirit of God is in a manâ??s nostril.

God did not a heavenly wife to create the first man. Adam was not born of heavenly parents. The first man became a living soul after God breathed the breath of life into the body formed from the dust. The Spirit of God made man, and the breath of the Almighty gives man life. With a command God first created the heaven of heavens then the hosts of heaven. The hosts of heaven were not born of a heavenly mother.

Men can become â??godsâ? only in a very limited way. When Adam and Eve become like "one of us" they were like God in only in a limited way. Adam and Eve did not become a creator like God. Adam needed a wife to make another man.

Men can become divinized. Those whom the word comes to can become gods. They can become sons of God by being born again and partake of the divine nature. Humans are born again or begotten through the gospel. Those who believe in Jesus are born of God, they are born again by the word of God; those whom the Word comes to are called gods. Men can become like God in terms of immortallity, perfection, righteousness and holiness but they don't become a creator like our Heavenly Father.

A human is not a God in embryo because they are adopted sons of God. As adopted sons of God they do not naturally inherit divine qualities of heavenly parents. As adopted Sonâ??s they will be made heirs and shall inherit all things. They will inherit the kingdom, they will have the right to the tree of life. They will have eternal life and reign with the only natural Son of God.

CFR Cite a Biblical reference which states definitively that God had no spouse and that mankind is merely adopted.

BTW, Christ as the only begotten does not qualify. Because that is referring to in the mortal realm, where every other person had a mortal father and mother (save Adam and Eve, and they were created, not begotten)

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charity's child,

CFR Cite a Biblical reference which states definitively that God had no spouse and that mankind is merely adopted.

I don't know of any Bible reference that states definitively that God has no spouse.

There are Bible references that God did not need a spouse to make the first man. Mankind is created, mankind was not born of a heavenly spouse. Men can become adopted by being born again.

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As adopted sons of God they do not naturally inherit divine qualities of heavenly parents.

Are you implying that an all-powerful being is not really all-powerful and cannot change the nature of his own creations? This is the same God who you believe, ex-nihlio, created the heavens and the Earth right? Or is he only very very very close to all-powerful but incapable of creating one like unto himself? Would not this mean that God does not comprehend his own nature, thus keeping him from being omniscient? Or if he does comprehend himself fully, does have power to create one like unto himself, but chooses not to, is this not either selfishness or pride in one's nature such that you by sheer will remain alone and impregnable?

Just some questions running through my mind. I do not claim them to be perfect, only interested in non-LDS views. I can think of a few rebuttals myself, but I would rather hear from others... especially as I should be in a meeting in five minutes. :P

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Theosis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosis

The doctrine of theosis or deification in the Mormon Church differs significantly from that of orthodox Christian theology (note, not only Eastern Orthodox). In Mormonism it is usually referred to as exaltation or eternal life. Exaltation is to become, through the sacrifice of Christ, a co-inheritor with Jesus in all that the Father possesses. As children of God we are enabled to become one with God as Jesus is one with God, inheriting their divinity and perfection, eternally acting under their guiding influence and authority. While the primary focus of Mormonism is on salvation through the atonement of Jesus Christ, exaltation goes beyond mere salvation. All mankind will be saved from death through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but only those who are sufficiently obedient because of their faith, who receive specific saving ordinances, and who accept the atonement of Jesus Christ before the judgment will be exalted. In Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic theology, theosis, meaning divinization (or deification or, to become god), is the call to man to become holy and seek union with God, beginning in this life and later consummated in the resurrection.

Oh no! If wikipedia says it, it's true! :P

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johnny:

Can Human Beings Become God?

Non-LDS scholar Ernst W. Benz thought so:

One can think what one wants of this doctrine of progressive deification, but one thing is certain: with this anthropology Joseph Smith is closer to the view of man held by the ancient Church than the precursors of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin. ("Imago dei: Man as the Image of God," FARMS Review 17/1 (2005): 223â??254)

And so did Catholic scholar Father Jordan Vajda:

The Mormons are truly "godmakers": as the doctrine of exaltation explains, the fullness of human salvation means "becoming a god." Yet what was meant to be a term of ridicule has turned out to be a term of approbation, for the witness of the Greek Fathers of the Church, described in chapter two, is that they also believed that salvation meant "becoming a god." It seems that if one's soteriology cannot accommodate a doctrine of human divinization, then it has at least implicitly, if not explicitly, rejected the heritage of the early Christian church and departed from the faith of first millennium Christianity. However, if that is the case, those who would espouse such a soteriology also believe, in fact, that Christianity, from about the second century on, has apostatized and "gotten it wrong" on this core issue of human salvation. Thus, ironically, those who would excoriate Mormons for believing in the doctrine of exaltation actually agree with them that the early church experienced a "great apostasy" on fundamental doctrinal questions. And the supreme irony is that such persons should probably investigate the claims of the LDS Church, which proclaims that within itself is to be found the "restoration of all things." (Found here)

Oh... and so did non-LDS scholar David Waltz:

Before proceeding, I must say that as one who is not LDS, I have been somewhat "troubled" by the immense quantity of references in the Church Fathers which promote the doctrine of deification...unless one is willing to completely ignore and throw away the unified teaching of the early Church Fathers on the doctrine of deification, the honest reader must seriously look at either the LDS Church, or the Eastern Orthodox Church as maintaining the truly "historic" teaching on this important doctrine. (Found here)

There are many more that I could add if I had the time, but this will suffice for now.

DispensatorMysteriorum wrote:

Oh no! If wikipedia says it, it's true!

:P;)

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BCSpace,

Those who believe in Jesus are born of God, they are born again by the word of God; those whom the Word comes to are called gods. Men can become like God in terms of immortallity, perfection, righteousness and holiness but they don't become a creator like our Heavenly Father.

So it will be sort of like a celestial honorary degree, with no real meaning?

T-Shirt

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I remember when I was a Freshman at Utah State, I went to a Campus Crusades for Christ party to broaden my horizons, and the kind folks there suggested I read Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis to learn what real Christianity was about. A few days latter I received a visit from them. Apparently, after I left they remembered that C.S. Lewis talks about deification in that book, and they became a bit frantic that I would interpret this as a validation of the Mormon doctrine. They brought me a photocopy of a magazine article that explains that Christian deification and Mormon deification are not the same thing. Not even close it assured.

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Those on this board who dismiss the doctrine of Deification will no doubt be surprised by ongoing scholarly interest in the subject. In the past year we see:

Stephen Thomas

Deification in the Eastern Orthodox Tradition

(Gorgias, 2007)

ISBN 1593333242

Michael J. Christensen and Jeffery A. Wittung (Editors)

Partakers of the Divine Nature: The History and Development of Deification in the Christian Traditions

(Baker, 2008)

ISBN-10: 080103440X

Daniel A. Keating

Deification and Grace

(Sapientia, 2007)

ISBN-10: 1932589376

Nancy Hudson,

Becoming God: The Doctrine of Theosis in Nicholas of Cusa

(Catholic U, 2007)

ISBN-10: 0813214726

PS These two aren't new, but I hadn't seen them before

Emil Bartos

Deification in Eastern Orthodox Theology

(Paternoster 1969)

ISBN-10: 0853649561

Veli-Matti Karkkainen

One with God: Salvation As Deification and Justification

(Liturgical Press, 2005)

ISBN-10: 0814629717

There are, of course, two basically opposing views of theosis in world religions --

One view is that of becoming a god -- the other, is that of uniting with God.

Although there are numerous variations of the two viewpoints, the most literal

statement of the former view is that the cosmos is populated by divine and

semi-divine beings who are confined to physical bodies of flesh and bone --

and that human beings have an opportunity to become one of these exalted

entities by means magical, supernatural, scientific, etc.

The other view point includes the precept of mystical union with God, and is

found in many cultures, throughout history, world-wide. By extension, this

viewpoint even covers the non-theistic professions of Buddhism, Taoism, etc.

In this second view of theosis, we, as spiritual beings, can become defied

by approaching closer and closer to God, either through our own surrender,

or by God's grace (or by a combination of both). While this second view may

include the religious trappings of heavenly beings, personal exaltation, etc.,

most expressions of mystical spirituality go beyond that, to articulate a

realization transcending the physical cosmos -- encompassing or surpassing

time-space. In this explanation of things, physical "gods" are not the ultimate

reality/possibility, but rather, they fall short of the Ground of All Being.

Mormons would do well to understand the differences here. A quick consultation

of Elder McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine," first edition, will perhaps help them

to make that differentiation.

Dale Broadhurst

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Matthew J. Tandy,

Are you implying that an all-powerful being is not really all-powerful and cannot change the nature of his own creations?

He is the Almighty, those born again are changed to "a new creature". They put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Even though they are a "new creature", they are still a creature created by God their Creator. God created them for his glory, He formed them, and He made them.

Or is he only very very very close to all-powerful but incapable of creating one like unto himself?

He is capable of creating "a new creature", He is the Almighty.

Would not this mean that God does not comprehend his own nature, thus keeping him from being omniscient?

It means that a creature does not know the mind of their Creator.

Or if he does comprehend himself fully, does have power to create one like unto himself, but chooses not to, is this not either selfishness or pride in one's nature such that you by sheer will remain alone and impregnable?

There is none other God but one, though there be that are called gods. The Lord says, before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

rommelator45,

Non-LDS scholar Ernst W. Benz thought so:

The ancient Church did not teach Mormon's view of Deification which teaches that men can become a creator like the Heavenly Father.

And so did Catholic scholar Father Jordan Vajda:

The Catholic Church DOES NOT teach deification like the Mormon Church teaches, it teaches:

318 - No creature has the infinite power necessary to "create" in the proper sense of the word, that is, to produce and give being to that which had in no way possessed it

460 - The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature": [2 Pt 1:4] "For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God." "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God." "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods

398 - Constituted in a state of holiness, man was destined to be fully "divinized" by God in glory. Seduced by the devil, he wanted to "be like God", but "without God, before God, and not in accordance with God".

1988 - [God] gave himself to us through his Spirit. By the participation of the Spirit, we become communicants in the divine nature. . . . For this reason, those in whom the Spirit dwells are divinized.

T-Shirt,

So it will be sort of like a celestial honorary degree, with no real meaning?

It will have real meaning but this honour won't include being a Creator like the Heavenly Father. Men need a wife to pro-create. God did not need a wife to create the first man.

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In this second view of theosis, we, as spiritual beings, can become defied

by approaching closer and closer to God, either through our own surrender,

or by God's grace (or by a combination of both). While this second view may

include the religious trappings of heavenly beings, personal exaltation, etc.,

most expressions of mystical spirituality go beyond that, to articulate a

realization transcending the physical cosmos -- encompassing or surpassing

time-space. In this explanation of things, physical "gods" are not the ultimate

reality/possibility, but rather, they fall short of the Ground of All Being.

It is true that theosis is a surd if one adopts the notion of the Ground of All Being and that that notion is God. That would seem to be a problem for traditions which utilize the concept yet teach theosis; a problem which, notably, the Church of Jesus Christ does not have.

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It is true that theosis is a surd if one adopts the notion of the Ground of All Being and that that notion is God. That would seem to be a problem for traditions which utilize the concept yet teach theosis; a problem which, notably, the Church of Jesus Christ does not have.

It is better to experience, than simply to "teach" or be "taught."

Mystical union with God, taught as a doctrine of religion

remains mere human words, opinions, speculation.

But those who do come closer to God -- as members of the

body of Christ -- as joint-heirs with Jesus -- as true saints,

know from experience, rather than simply from "teachings."

Any religionist who assumes the responsibility of describing

God -- of saying what God is and what God is not -- and what

our ultimate relationship to God can be, takes on a heavy burden.

Human words will always fall short of communicating the perfection

of God -- but in our coming closer to God we can get beyond

problematic teachings, and KNOW for ourselves.

UD

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QUOTE

Are you implying that an all-powerful being is not really all-powerful and cannot change the nature of his own creations?

He is the Almighty, those born again are changed to "a new creature". They put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Even though they are a "new creature", they are still a creature created by God their Creator. God created them for his glory, He formed them, and He made them.

Alright Johnnny, I accept that as we were not God from the beginning as you believe he was, then we could never be like him in nature. However, no where in the scriptures is there found the doctrine that being a creation of God makes it impossible to be a creator subject to God, whose creations and their creations give him eternal glory. While we might not become God uncreated, we may become subject to God, creators. In other words, endowed with god-like powers but never being able to be equal to God.

QUOTE

Or is he only very very very close to all-powerful but incapable of creating one like unto himself?

He is capable of creating "a new creature", He is the Almighty.

You are side-stepping the issue with mystery speak. Let us get a straight answer. Is God ALL powerful, beyond time, able to create anything as he sees fit, or is he only VERY VERY VERY CLOSE to being all powerful? It is one or the other. I am not looking for a definitive "this is how it is", only if your belief in the nature of God's power precludes God having the power to create one like himself or not. SO... a simple"Compeltely all-powerful" or "Very close to being All-powerful" at the beginning, then an explanation if you'd like. I am fine accepting as an explanation that we do not comprehend all things, though I may question more.

QUOTE

Would not this mean that God does not comprehend his own nature, thus keeping him from being omniscient?

It means that a creature does not know the mind of their Creator.

The answer, while true in the fact we do not know the mind of the Creator, does not adress the initial premise. If God, being from beginning to end eternal and all powerful, cannot create one like himeself, would that not mean he cannot figure out how to do so? That would mean either he cannot do it (not all powerful) or he does not know how (not all-knowing).

QUOTE

Or if he does comprehend himself fully, does have power to create one like unto himself, but chooses not to, is this not either selfishness or pride in one's nature such that you by sheer will remain alone and impregnable?

There is none other God but one, though there be that are called gods. The Lord says, before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

So God is selfish or prideful to the point of not wanting equals. I personally am quite fine with the scriptural statements of God being a jealous God, though many would explain them away or ignore them. However, this would imply that he can do it, he just won't. Which one is it?

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It is better to experience, than simply to "teach" or be "taught."

Mystical union with God, taught as a doctrine of religion

remains mere human words, opinions, speculation.

But those who do come closer to God -- as members of the

body of Christ -- as joint-heirs with Jesus -- as true saints,

know from experience, rather than simply from "teachings."

Any religionist who assumes the responsibility of describing

God -- of saying what God is and what God is not -- and what

our ultimate relationship to God can be, takes on a heavy burden.

Human words will always fall short of communicating the perfection

of God -- but in our coming closer to God we can get beyond

problematic teachings, and KNOW for ourselves.

UD

I affirm that the concerns you raise here constitute yet another strength of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ, through obedience to which one may, in this life, KNOW for ourselves, being made true saints and one with God and his Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

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I affirm that the concerns you raise here constitute yet another strength of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ, through obedience to which one may, in this life, KNOW for ourselves, being made true saints and one with God and his Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

And of course I affirm that sort of profession; so far as it goes.

It is only when a Mormon follows a line of religious deduction,

which leads him to conclude that a Reorganized LDS can never

come as close to God as he can, that I beg to differ.

If Mormons wish to cite various non-LDS writers on the subject

of theosis, or deification, or the plurality of gods, or becoming

one with God, that is fine with me.

It is only when Mormons conclude that all of those other, non-LDS

viewpoints amount to something less than Mormon teachings or

Mormon experience, that I again must state my opposition.

UD

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Mankind is created, mankind was not born of a heavenly spouse.

Your distinction between created and born is meaningless. It still takes male and female to create. I doubt many LDS are tied to the method behind creation.

When I first came on the internet the mockery was over the very idea of deification. Now the critics have had to retreat to "well, you don't believe in the right kind of deification!" The missing piece, of course, is that our critics from other religions still lack a developed let alone prominent theology of deification of any kind.

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