We send this book out with faith that you will soon discover that it is the book for you, your parents, your children, your friends, and all whom you know, and that you will do all you can to put it within their reach. If you have been blessed, encouraged, challenged, provoked, or made angry by the contents of this book, please write to me about how you feel.
God bless you!
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Jun 15, pm. Jun 9, pm. Latter-day Saints see all people as children of God in a full and complete sense; they consider every person divine in origin, nature, and potential.
This knowledge transforms the way Latter-day Saints see their fellow human beings. The teaching that men and women have the potential to be exalted to a state of godliness clearly expands beyond what is understood by most contemporary Christian churches and expresses for the Latter-day Saints a yearning rooted in the Bible to live as God lives, to love as He loves, and to prepare for all that our loving Father in Heaven wishes for His children.
Several biblical passages intimate that humans can become like God. New Testament passages also point to this doctrine. These passages can be interpreted in different ways. Many other Christians read the same passages far more metaphorically because they experience the Bible through the lens of doctrinal interpretations that developed over time after the period described in the New Testament.
Latter-day Saint beliefs would have sounded more familiar to the earliest generations of Christians than they do to many modern Christians. Many church fathers influential theologians and teachers in early Christianity spoke approvingly of the idea that humans can become divine. What exactly the early church fathers meant when they spoke of becoming God is open to interpretation, 15 but it is clear that references to deification became more contested in the late Roman period and were infrequent by the medieval era.
The first known objection by a church father to teaching deification came in the fifth century. Why did these beliefs fade from prominence?
Changing perspectives on the creation of the world may have contributed to the gradual shift toward more limited views of human potential. The earliest Jewish and Christian commentaries on the Creation assumed that God had organized the world out of preexisting materials, emphasizing the goodness of God in shaping such a life-sustaining order. It became important in Christian circles to assert that God had originally been completely alone.
Creation ex nihilo widened the perceived gulf between God and humans. It became less common to teach either that human souls had existed before the world or that they could inherit and develop the attributes of God in their entirety in the future.
But revelations received by Joseph Smith diverged from the prevailing ideas of the time and taught doctrine that, for some, reopened debates on the nature of God, creation, and humankind. Early revelations to Joseph Smith taught that humans are created in the image of God and that God cares intimately for His children. In , Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon experienced a vision of the afterlife. Joseph Smith continued to receive revelation on the themes of divine nature and exaltation during the last two years of his life.
He used the occasion in part to reflect upon the death of a Church member named King Follett, who had died unexpectedly a month earlier. Human nature was at its core divine.
The process would be ongoing and would require patience, faith, continuing repentance, obedience to the commandments of the gospel, and reliance on Christ. That was the last time the Prophet spoke in a general conference.