In some recent conversations with members of the LDS Church, I have been told that the Church does not teach that God was once a man. In fact, some members have said that they believe God has always been God and has never been a man, though they still acknowledge that God the Father does have a body of flesh and bones just like the Son and just like man.
How he got that body of flesh and bones is anyone’s guess, I suppose. I also suppose the reason why we needed to be born into a state of probation in this physical world in order to receive a body of flesh and bones ourselves, while God the Father did not, is also anyone’s guess. And I dare not ask how beings that have bodies of flesh and bones give birth to beings who do not.
It seems clear that at least some of the members of the LDS Church want to distance themselves from this teaching about God once being a man. And, as I recall, so did President Hinckley some years ago when he was interviewed by Time magazine (which I will come back to).
Given the fact that I have just recently been told by active members of the LDS Church that God is NOT “an exalted man,” I was a little bit surprised when I came across this video on Facebook this morning.
Note that this video is copyrighted 2013.
The page where I found this video posted a link to the same video on the LDS Church’s website, but that link no longer works, so I assumed the video had been removed. To find more information, I searched the website and found this article on “The Origin of Man”. As you can see it was published in the February 2002 issue of the Church’s Ensign magazine and it states:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme.”
(Upon further search I did find the video on the Church’s website, on a different page, and the video on YouTube, which I posted above.)
So now I was curious as to the date of that interview with President Hinckley. My search on that brought me to the article: “Does President Gordon B. Hinckley Understand LDS Doctrine?” on FairMomon.org.
In this apologetic piece, FairMormon tries to argue that President Hinckley did not deny the teaching, he only said that the Church does not emphasize the teaching today in it’s classes and public discussions, etc. FairMormon even seems to want to insist that this was the question being asked… not is this still a teaching of the church today, but are you actively teaching this in the church today (as if there is a real difference).
To be clear, the question asked was: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?”
Does anyone of even moderate intelligence actually think that anyone else of even moderate intelligence is going to believe that President Hinckley was not being asked (or did not understand that he was being asked or that FairMormon does not know that he was being asked) whether or not this is a current teaching or belief held by members of the LDS Church today?
I don’t know when this article on FairMormon was written, it is not dated. Perhaps it was written not long after this interview with President Hinckley, but in the words of FairMormon: “All one has to do is examine Conference talks to see the truth of the answer.” Why just Conference talks? Because that’s the one place we are sure not to find this teaching? (And I don’t even know if that is true.) What about other publications of the church, do they not count?
The author of this FairMormon article states: “Those who do not attend Sunday School, Sacrament meeting, priesthood meeting, Relief Society, Ward Conference, Stake Conference, General Conference, or read the Ensign, scriptures, nor study LDS manuals, have no right to define for those that do, just what the beliefs of the members of the Church are.”
Yet, no one tried to define anything. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was asked: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?” And as far as I am concerned, President Hinckley was not being honest and forthright with his answer. He was being deliberately evasive. And, no, I do not believe it was because he was uncertain about what the Church teaches, nor do I believe he didn’t understand LDS Doctrine. I think he was doing the same thing some members of the Church do everyday, for which Church Leaders have set a very good example: he was lying!
I suggest FairMormon (and every members of the Church who wants to deny this teaching of the church) do a much better job at searching and studying Church publications before claiming certain teachings cannot be found in them or are not being taught today. Even the FairMormon article itself provides a reference to page 9 of the Gospel Principles manual. The fact that they simply dismiss the reference by pointing to other statements found in the same lesson is laughable.
This article: The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation from 1989 indicates just how significant and important this teaching is to the “restored” Church and it clearly states:
“The Prophet explained that “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens”; that “he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did”; and that he “worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling.” Through the Prophet, we learn that we “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” and that Christ is the Firstborn. (D&C 76:24; see D&C 93:21–22; Heb. 12:7–9.) As God’s children, we may become gods ourselves through Christ’s atonement and the plan of salvation, being joint heirs of Christ of “all that [the] Father hath.” (D&C 84:38; see also Rom. 8:17; D&C 76:58–60; D&C 132:19–21.) Along with these concepts is the concept of divine parents, including an exalted Mother who stands beside God the Father.“
I am sure there are many other references in Church publications related to this teaching. I feel no need to provide dozens of references when just one should suffice and I have provided more than that.
My question is… IF THIS IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE, WHY DENY IT?
This is why I not only question Mormon Doctrine but the honesty and credibility of Church Leaders – and maybe even some members…