Bob Millet has made the same point to many of us, and Stephen Robinson insisted, in the book he co-authored with Craig Blomberg, that this is not an official Mormon teaching, even though it can be found in non-canonical Mormon writings.
This is a self-defeating argument. You discount "non-canonical Mormon writings" as non-authoritative, yet accept Millet and Robinson's non-authoritative comments as gospel. Can you show me some canonical Mormon writings that verify what Millet and Robinson have said? Let me present to you some official LDS publications that contradict Millet and Robinson, neither of which are general authorities.
GOD WAS ONCE A MORTAL MAN
(1-2) He Lived on an Earth like Our Own
"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power was to make himself visible,-I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form-like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another." (Smith, Teachings, p. 345.)
(1-3) He Experienced Conditions Similar to Our Own and Advanced Step by Step
"Remember that God, our heavenly Father, was perhaps once a child, and mortal like we our selves, and rose step by step in the scale of progress, in the school of advancement; has moved for ward and overcome, until He has arrived at the point where He now is. 'Is this really possible?' Why, my dear friends, how would you like to be governed by a ruler who had not been through all the vicissitudes of life that are common to mortals? If he had not suffered, how could he sympathise with the distress of others? If he himself had not endured the same, how could he sympathise and be touched with the feelings of our infirmities? He could not, unless he himself had passed through the same ordeal, and overcome step by step." (Orson Hyde in JD, 1:123.)
(Achieving a Celestial Marriage, Student Manual, 1976 Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. pg. 129)
You may recognize that some of this material is from the King Follet discourse. The fact that the LDS Church quotes this discourse in its official manuals gives it more credibility and authority.
The 1981 edition of the Gospel Principles manual states on pages 289-290, "Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life that God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become Gods like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation." Interestingly, in the 1992 edition of the same book, the second to the last sentence in the paragraph says, "We can become like our Heavenly Father." The word "Gods" was taken out. The question we must ask ourselves is, did the doctrine change, or was the book changed for another reason? If the doctrine changed, I would expect some sort of official announcement regarding such a serious change in a fundamental Mormon doctrine. Bear in mind that the Gospel Principles manual is a basic book on doctrine that is often given to new converts of the LDS Church. The 1992 edition of the manual goes on to say;
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught: "When you climb up a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel-you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the veil [died] before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world; it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 348).
This is the way our Heavenly Father became God. Joseph Smith taught: "It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God He was once a man like us; . . . God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-46).
Our Heavenly Father knows our trials, our weaknesses, and our sins. He has compassion and mercy on us. He wants us to succeed even as he did. (Gospel Principles, 1992 Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. pg. 305)
These quotes are so clear that one must wonder about the sincerity of Millet and Robinson's statements. It is hard to believe they have not read this information. I will quote one last Church manual on this subject.
God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost constitute the Godhead. President Brigham Young taught the Latter-day Saints to worship God the Father and address prayers to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. He taught further that God the Father was once a man on another planet who "passed the ordeals we are now passing through; he has received an experience, has suffered and enjoyed, and knows all that we know regarding the toils, sufferings, life and death of this mortality" (DBY, 22).(Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, 1997 Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. pg. 29)
If these quotes will not persuade you to see the error of what Millet and Robinson have told you, then nothing will. The last two books I quoted can be found on www.LDS.org. My question to you is, will you continue to believe Mormons who admittedly do not speak for the LDS church, or will you believe what the LDS Church says in their own official manuals?
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