The fundamental difference between Mormonism and Christianity is the LDS doctrine of “many Gods.” Polytheism (i.e., the belief that more than one true God exists) is roundly condemned in biblical theology (e.g., Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8; 45:5). It is this belief alone that excludes Mormons from being Christian. Mormons assert that God the Father (and Jesus) was once a man that lived on an earth, similar to this one, whereby He worked His way up and earn His Godhood (salvation), by obedience to the law (just as did Jesus). This entire process: spirit child (pre-existence) to mortal man (on earth)- to a God (of His own planet(s) sometime after the final resurrection) is termed by Mormons as “Eternal Progression.”
Thus, the ultimate goal for the Mormon male is “Exaltation.” Exaltation is the heart of Mormon theology. Exaltation in LDS vernacular, simple means: man progressing to the status of Godhood (salvation in its truest sense). Hence, exaltation is the ultimate future goal of most every devoted Mormon male.
Of course, exaltation is future. That is, worthy Mormon candidates may, become a God in the after-life (after the resurrection). However, they must, here on earth, first prove themselves worthy by obeying the mandates of the LDS Church, which includes marrying and being sealed in their Temple. In LDS teaching, there are no single Gods. And since men cannot become Gods presently, Mormons refer to men as “Gods in embryo.”
Mormons often quote this vexatious phase, “As man is, God once was, as God is man may become” (coined by LDS Apostle and later fifth president Lorenzo Snow), this LDS maxim sums up the teaching of exaltation. First Prophet and President of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith first annunciated this teaching:
Here then is eternal life- to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power (Joseph Fielding Smith ed, Teachings of The Prophet Joseph Smith, 346-47).
In the same sermon,1 Smith goes on to say:
When you climb up the ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step, until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principals of the Gospel- you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principals of exaltation (ibid., 348).
In his book: Doctrines of Salvation, under the subject: ALL EXALTED MEN BECOME GODS, tenth President and Prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith teaches:
To believe that Adam is a god should not be strange to any person who accepts the Bible. When Jesus was accused of blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God, he answered the Jews: “Is it not written in your law, I said Ye are gods? . . . Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods 2 and that man by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a god (97-98; emphasis added).
Teaching on exaltation, Twelfth President, Spencer W. Kimball says:
Brethren 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225, 000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do it. I think he could make, or probably have us help make, worlds for all of us, for every one of us 225,000 (The Ensign, Nov. 1975, 80; emphasis added).
In his book: A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, after quoting Doctrine and Covenants, 132:4-6, 15-17, 19, 212, LDS Apostle Le Grand Richards writes:
From this revelation, it will be seen that men can become Gods and enjoy a “fullness and a continuation of the seeds fore ever and ever,” only by observing the new and everlasting covenant of marriage. . . . (313).
LDS General Authority and LDS Apostle, Bruce R. McConkie states:
Exaltation grows out of the eternal union of a man and his wife. Of those whose marriage endures in eternity, the Lord says, “Then shall they be gods” (D. & C. 132:20); that is, each of them, the man and the woman, will be a god.3 As such they will rule over their dominions forever (Mormon Doctrine, 613; cf. 257).
This is the basic tenet of Mormon doctrine. In fact, all those who do not make this elite status are “damned,” in Mormon teaching.4 And, of course, Godhood is only available in the highest level of the celestial kingdom.
In Scripture, God has much to say concerning polytheism (many true Gods) and the false idea that that men can become a God. Keep in mind, Mormons believe that God was once a man, hence, Mormons are taught that God is not the eternal God from everlasting to everlasting (cf. Ps. 90:2), for God had to become God
Isaiah 43:10 and 44:6, 8
Isaiah 44:6, 8:
First, keep in mind that in the OT, the Mormons are taught that the “LORD” (Heb. Yahweh or, as the Mormons pronounce, “Jehovah”) is the pre-incarnate Christ and “God” (Heb. Elohim) is the Father.
With that in mind, Isaiah 44:6, 8 reads:
44:6: Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.
44:8: Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
Note first that it is the LORD speaking–who the Mormons think is Jesus, not the Father, the Father is Elohim (“God”). So how is it that the Son (LORD) can say “beside me there is no “God” [Elohim, the Father]? Does He deny His Father’s (Elohim) existence?
And how is it that the Son can affirm that “there is no God [Elohim]” and that He knows of “not any.”? This passages in light of Mormon theology is quite problematic.
Further, the LORD asks, “Is there a God beside me?” In LDS theology, there are many Gods, so, how is it that the LORD would ask, “Is there a God beside Me?”? Is not the LORD omniscient, knowing all things?
“Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me” (Isa. 43:10).
Notice, God affirms: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. Also we read:
“for I am God, and there is none else” (Isa. 45:22; emphasis added).
Mormons usually respond to this verse and others by asserting that either (a) the translation is corrupt or (b) God here, as in Isa. 43:10; and 44:6, 8 is speaking of false gods or idols. However, this line of reasoning is flawed.
First, virtually every manuscript, and translation that contains Isaiah 43:10 and 44:6, 8 whether Hebrew or the Septuagint (LXX; i.e., the Gk. Translation of the OT, which Jesus and the apostles frequently used) essentiality reads the same. What is more, the oldest complete manuscript of Isaiah (extant) contained in the Dead Sea Scrolls also reads the same!: “before me there was no God [Heb. El] formed, neither shall there be after me.”
Secondly, in Isaiah 43:10 God is not saying: ” No other false Gods exist but Me,” for He is the true God. Hence, there are no other true Gods that exist but the one true God of Scripture, Creator of Heaven and earth (cf. Is. 44:24).
But the LORD [is] the true God, he [is] the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, [even] they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens (Jer. 10:10-11).
Exaltation (i.e., man becoming a God) is an utterly pagan doctrine, which, by the way, did not originate with the Mormons but rather was quite pervasive among the pagans, centuries before Mormonism. Hence we find a clear and pointed refutation in the book of Isaiah: “BEFORE ME THERE WAS NO GOD FORMED, NEITHER SHALL THERE BE AFTER ME” (43:10; emphasis added).
You have been taught that the LORD alone is God – there is no other besides him (Deut. 4:35).
1,One of Smith’s greatest sermons, Mormons tell us, called: The King Follett Discourse. Joseph Smith delivered this discourse before about twenty thousand LDS at the April conference of the church, 1844, being the funeral sermon of Elder King Follett. LDS writers and General Authorities, frequently quote portions of this sermon when teaching and discussing official LDS doctrine.
2, Doctrine and Covenants, 132:20 reads: “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.”
3, Not implying that women would be the man’s equal (according to LDS theology), however, they teach that women will be “queens” (goddesses) to their King (their husband) in full submission. Hence, they will not be the head God, that position is only relegated for men. As one LDS writer put it: “women will be eternal birth-machines.”
4, Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 669.