God was once a man and man can become like God

Many anti-Mormons claim that we believe that our God was once a man on another god’s planet.  Allegedly, we believe he became a god by being a good Mormon, and we too can become gods of our own planets by being good Mormons.  This is not true!

Let me explain what Mormons actually believe.  Romans 8:17 says that Christians are joint-heirs with Christ.  What is a joint-heir?  It is someone who inherits something equally with all the other joint-heirs.  So being joint-heirs with Christ means that we will inherit, to an equal degree, whatever it is that Jesus inherited from God the Father.  And it was godhood that Jesus inherited from God.  In John 8:58, Jesus calls himself “I am,” which is God’s name in the Old Testament.  He is claiming to be God!

So we too will inherit godhood from God the Father.  Just like Jesus, if we are faithful Christians and receive all the saving ordinances of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we will return to God’s presence.  If God is everywhere, and we are with God, then we are everywhere too.  Being in God’s presence makes you god-like.

It doesn’t mean that you will become a god over your own planet like anti-Mormons claim.  You will still be subject to the one and only God.  But God will share the secrets of eternity with you.  You will be all-knowing just like God is.  God wants to share everything he has with us for we are his beloved children.

So if we can be like God, was God once a man.  Well, yes.  But he wasn’t a man on another God’s planet as anti-Mormons claim.  You see, in the beginning, God was just a spirit surrounded by nothing.  God knew everything because he knew that he existed and that’s all there was to know.  So the Bible is correct in declaring that God always existed and was always an all-knowing being.  But we know through latter-day revelation that, in order for God to know everything he knows now, he had to learn everything.  He had to progress.

In order for God to learn everything about mortality and the human condition, he created a body for himself and dwelt on an earth that he created similar to ours.  He learned everything there was to know about being human.  And then he created our world and the billions of souls that would be born here.  Our God didn’t have another god who gave him a body of flesh and bones.  God learned to make for himself a body of flesh and bones all by himself.

Mormons do believe that there are many gods because many Christians have accepted the saving ordinances of the LDS Church and have been exalted to become god-like.  But they are under God, even though they are gods themselves.  It doesn’t mean we believe that there are many gods who each have their own planet.  There is only one God who makes worlds without number.  Our God is the god of all the planets in existence.  There is only one God.

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Priesthood Makes Us More Like Jesus

What makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints different than other churches is that we offer the priesthood to all males.  I would like to discuss this blessing.

Today, in Elders Quorum, we discussed living a life like Jesus’.  I mentioned that magnifying your priesthood calling is a step in the direction of imitating the life of the Savior.

Practicing the priesthood means acting in the name of God, our Heavenly Father.  Jesus did this all throughout his ministries among the New Testament peoples and the Book of Mormon civilizations.

In the Old Testament, all males of the tribe of Levi were to have it.  In the New Testament, Jesus allows even Gentiles to have the priesthood.  In the latter-days, God wanted all males who join His church to have this authority.

The priesthood brings us closer to God because it allows us to act in His name.

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

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Understanding John 8:58 (“I am”)

Here goes an amateur bible study of one of the greatest verses in the New Testament (if not the greatest one).

58: Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

The secret to this passage is that “I am” is half of God’s name in the Old Testament.  “I am” is God’s name in Hebrew.  When Moses asked God what his name was, he said it was “I am that I am,” or in other words “I am the one who is.”  God says to call Him “I am.”

In verse 58, when Jesus said that he lived before Abraham and that “I am,” he is claiming to be not only the Son of God, but god himself.

I love latter-day revelation how it tells us that “I am” of the Old Testament is really Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, “I am” is translated as “Jehovah.”  Because it’s some European method of saying “Yahweh,” which is how you say “I am” in Hebrew.  Ancient Jews thought it was a sin to think or write all the letters that make up the word “Yahweh,” or “I am.”  For it is God’s name.  The God who Jesus would call “Father.”  Our Heavenly Father.  They thought it was outrageous when Jesus claimed to be the Eternal Father that Isaiah prophesied he would be.  Perhaps the Jews had forgotten that scripture.  Latter-day Saints are uniquely Christians in believing that the Heavenly Father of the Jews was really Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I think it makes us extra Christian to believe that Jesus was greater than other religions would have you believe.  The beginning of John’s Gospel claims that everything that was created was created by Jesus.  And the 58th verse of the 8th chapter drives home this idea that Jehovah is Jesus.  Why won’t other religions accept this biblical truth?

Read just a few verses back and you’ll hear Jesus claim that Abraham was joyous of the day of Jesus.  He could see this future Messiah in the days of the Old Testament.  Perhaps Abraham knew that Jehovah was the Messiah.

At the end of verse 58, Jesus is claiming that He existed as God before Abraham was even born.  Did Abraham know that the Messiah came before him even though he would be born as a human after him.  Did he know that the Messiah was the Firstborn spirit child of God?  The one who helped him create the heavens and the earth?  I testify to you that just like our Heavenly Father is literally the father of our souls, Jesus, the Son of God, is our spirit brother as we are all children of God.  We should love him like one loves their eldest brother.  And, ultimately, as much as one loves their dad.

John 8:58.  Beautiful verse if you understand “I am.”  It confirms so many Gospel truths revealed in latter days.

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Going back to school (sort of)

I registered for financial aid through my old private school, Carrington College, but wanted to find out if the community colleges I used to go to would still accept all my old credits from 10 years ago.  So I didn’t automatically sign on for the Associate’s Degree from Carrington.  Even though I did earn a certificate from them in Medical Billing and Coding.  I got straight A’s.

Turns out the community colleges will accept all my credits but Carrington only accepts some of them.  However, they do accept my credits from Medical Billing and Coding whereas the community colleges do not.

Anyway, it was a lot cheaper to sign up for a semester at Mesa Community College than all the money Carrington was requiring up front to pay for the Associate’s Degree.

I decided I wanted to get an Associate’s Degree in Business from Chandler-Gilbert Community College.

But my previous failed classes and withdrawls from when I was a dumb kid 10 years ago are flagging my financial aid.  I have to appeal in writing and by submitting an application to get them to accept my financial aid award that Carrington was willing to accept in a multiplied amount.  I have nothing but A’s with the private school.  I think it’s because I’m Republican.

So, unfortunately, I’m not technically going back to school.

But there’s always Institute classes which are free!  The problem is that it is geared for singles of ages 18-30.  I’m an older single of 31 years.  So I have to get a bishop’s letter to be able to apply.  Had I been accepted to MCC I would’ve been automatically eligible.  But my financial aid woes require this supplication to my priesthood leader.

Even if I don’t get the letter by next week, when registration for Institute closes, I will still have a chance to talk to the principal of the school to explain why I would like to take classes there.

For those who don’t know, Institute is a religious school that the Mormons put next to a college.  It’s like seminary but for those who have already graduated from high school.  Seminary is a religious school put next to high schools.  I think this is a good fruit of the LDS Church.  It shows how much they value religious education.  What other church does that?

Most of the classes cover a half or more of a book of Scripture.  I want to study The Book of Acts onward in the New Testament, the first half of the Book of Mormon, and the second half of the Doctrine and Covenants.  This would be 3 classes, though.  And I’m not even sure if they’re going to let me take even one class.

But if they do, I will sort of be going back to school.  Religious school that is.  Church-operated education.  Allowed to thrive in a free state.  Though not providing education of the state as opposed to the church.

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Why We Thank God

Some people feel like they are the ones who work for everything they have.  If they put food on the table, they chalk it up to their own merits.  After all, they are the ones who go out and work.  Having a job is how they make money to eat.  Why thank God for anything then?

The reason why we thank God for our food is because God made us require food to live.  But God also created many things to eat.  God could’ve been cruel by not creating anything to eat.  We would be doomed to die of starvation.  Mortal life in a body of flesh and bones would be a harsh existence with no food.

And any money we earn by working is because of talents that God instilled in us even before birth.  So by earning money we are using the skills and powers that God blessed us with.

So we should thank God that He created so many things for us to eat.  And we should thank Him for giving us talents that allow us to get jobs so we can earn money to buy food.

We should thank Him for all our blessings.  Family and friends are something to be thankful for.

We should also thank God for sending His Firstborn Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.  God sees the blood shed by Jesus and feels better about the sins we commit (if we pray unto repentance).

Be sure you thank God for all your blessings this holiday season.  Thank Him for the food you eat.  Thank Him for the talents he gave you.  Thank Him for family and friends.  Be thankful that you have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep on.  God even made sure that water would be abundant on this planet so we would always have something to drink.  He was not a cruel God by making us needing food and water but with nothing to eat and drink.  God is perfectly loving.

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My Visit To Primary

Primary is where I saw kids as young as 5 years old go during the second hour of church services at an LDS service.  I usually go to a Sunday school class but on one particular occasion the teacher of my class wasn’t there.  Most of the people in my class weren’t at church either.  it was just me and our ward’s 2 missionaries.  So they let us visit the kids in Primary.

I sat down and watched them give talks and prayers.  They’re pretty smart.  They even read something out loud from the Articles of Faith that was posted on the wall.  This is pretty difficult reading for a 5-year-old.  I was impressed.

I know these kids are really blessed.  They are learning how to pray properly at such an early age.  And it must make them feel good to give talks just like they see their grown-up parents and family do.

The missionaries said something about prayer, and the kids really seemed to listen.  The missionaries asked them what they pray about.  And one of the kids said it was private stuff.  I laughed.  That was a hint to me that these kids really do pray.

I feel like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints really knows how to teach young children.  I testify that Primary is truly a blessing for all the kids involved.

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Mormons and the Trinity

I received a testimony of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit being separate personages when I read the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ baptism. Jesus is present, and the Holy Ghost appears in the form of a dove, and the voice of the Father is heard when he says, “This is my beloved Son.” So all 3 members of the Godhead appear as separate personages in the baptismal accounts.

Knowing God’s true nature has given me great spiritual power. I feel like I am closer to God as I worship him as the 3 separate personages that he is. For they are all equally God. There is only one God, as the Book of Mormon clearly states time and time again.

By Common Consent, a Mormon Blog

“More than any other group in America, and despite very large theological differences with orthodox Protestants or Catholics (Mormons are not Trinitarians, to name just one basic belief), the LDS church is far more effectively passing on classic Christian cultural beliefs, attitudes, and practices about marriage.”
(http://www.nationalreview.com/article/394510/mormon-advantage-maggie-gallagher)

Do we agree with Maggie Gallagher that “Mormons are not Trinitarians”? (see, http://bycommonconsent.com/2012/03/12/mormonism-a-trinitarian-religion/)

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