Critics of the Church enjoy digging through the statements of early Church leaders to find seemingly outrageous comments. Sometimes these quotes really are bizarre and seem to teach doctrines that don’t jive with any official doctrines of the Church. For such statements, I just have to shrug my shoulders and say I really don’t know what that particular person was thinking. If it’s something outside of real LDS doctrine, I don’t have to justify it.
Congrats to the National Champs!
The Ohio State-Florida game was amazing. Though I respect Ohio State, it was exciting to watch an underdog beat the favored powerhouse, resulting in a new national champion rising to the top. And yes, I predicted who that national champion would be. Congratulations, Boise State!
More difficult to deal with are statements that do jive with official doctrine but, when presented without explanation or in a negative context, can really shake people up. Here are two examples from one early Church leader which could get a Christian investigator all stirred up, if presented without explanation. Can you guess which leader made these statements?
Quotation 1: But if thou dost not believe the prophets, . . . the Lord Himself shall speak to thee, “who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled Himself” . . . yea, I say, the Word of God became man, that thou mayest learn from man how man may become God. Is it not then monstrous, my friends, that while God is ceaselessly exhorting us to virtue, we should spurn His kindness and reject salvation?
Quotation 2: It [the knowledge of the Gospel] leads us to the endless and perfect end, teaching us beforehand the future life that we shall lead, according to God, and with gods; after we are freed from all punishment and penalty which we undergo, in consequence of our sins, for salutary discipline. After which redemption the reward and the honors are assigned to those who have become perfect; when they have got done with perfection, and ceased from all service, though it be holy service, and among saints. They become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits their restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the appellation of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior.
In the first quote, this Church leader spoke of learning from the example of Christ how man may become God. And then in the second quote, he teaches the concepts of eternal progression, of the need for obedience on our part to access the gift of grace from Christ, and of the exaltation of the righteous to be “gods” among other “gods” who will be with God (the God of all), thanks to the gift of eternal life made available to us by Christ.
These statements, in the hands of some of our vocal Christian critics, could have genuine shock effect and might be used to make others think we are a deranged non-Christian “God maker” cult. Perhaps the quoted leader should have toned things down a bit, but it’s way too late now to change what he wrote. And unlike some of the puzzling statements from some leaders, we can’t deflect these statements by saying that he was quoted second hand or months after his speech, since this leader apparently wrote these statements himself and was not a careless writer. Yes, I’ll admit it: I believe what he wrote and cannot deny it. But like some of the other things this leader said, the above statements can disturb our friends in mainstream Christianity if offered without explanation.
Can you name the leader who gave us such “outrageous” statements? And can you name the source of these quotes? Brigham Young, perhaps? No, try again. . . . And no, it wasn’t Lorenzo Snow, though he said some similar things.
The answer is near the beginning of my Mormon Answers page on Theosis (the Christian Doctrine of the Divine Potential of Man).