Part 1: PERPETUAL PARENTHOOD AS A PERPETUAL JOY
Part 2: ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF YOUR CHOOSING UNTO EXALTATION OR DAMNATION
Part 3: HOW AN IMPERFECT MAN BECOMES A PERFECT GOD
Part 1: PERPETUAL PARENTHOOD AS A PERPETUAL JOY:
—-The parent who watches his children grow has joy and sorrow, joy at their progress, sorry at the days slipping away. Life would be depressing were it not for the assurance that we can be eternal parents.
—-When I say eternal parents I’m not just referring to being a steward over our handful of children forever though that is an important part. I’m referring to having the experience of raising babies and children of all stages over and over.
—-It would be most depressing if we believed that this was our one and only chance in eternity to raise babies and children. The gospel message is that God is a continuous parent, and he invites us his children to be like him in that and every other capacity.
—-Now I can look upon my children only with joy as I consider that they are growing up to experience fullness of joy, which they couldn’t have as children. As one child grows, I look forward to the next arrival.
—-Circumstances of this life usually limit us to having only a handful of children, and as we age, we watch others take the role of raising children and babies, and we take a secondary role. However, this is NOT how the heavens are structured.
—-In the heavens there is continual health for all persons, the body does not decay, and the capacity for siring children remains intact indefinitely.
Part 2: ADOPTION INTO THE FAMILY OF YOUR CHOISING UNTO EXALTATION OR DAMNATION:
—-It is no secret in the church that the children of God have the opportunity to become like God. It is plainly taught in the standard works, and plainly taught by the words of living prophets.
—-The bible says we are children and thus heirs of God. Romans 8:15-18 reads “15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. 18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
—-The D&C says that the way we become heirs of God is entering holy temples to make promises to God, and astonishing promises are made. D&C 132:37 also reads “Abraham … as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods.”
—-On this note of adoption from Romans 8 and elsewhere, though all are children of Heavenly Father, the followers of God enter a house called “Israel”, named after an earlier follower. Jesus Christ is the “father” of that house, the leader of that organization and way of life. Another family we can be adopted into is the family of the devil. John 8:37-47 reads “37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father. 39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham. 41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.” Also consider Alma 5:25, 38-41 on the topic of being adopted into the family of the devil, “25 I say unto you, Nay; except ye make our Creator a liar from the beginning, or suppose that he is a liar from the beginning, ye cannot suppose that such can have place in the kingdom of heaven; but they shall be cast out for they are the children of the kingdom of the devil. 38 Behold, I say unto you, that the good shepherd doth call you; yea, and in his own name he doth call you, which is the name of Christ; and if ye will not hearken unto the voice of the good shepherd, to the name by which ye are called, behold, ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd. 39 And now if ye are not the sheep of the good shepherd, of what fold are ye? Behold, I say unto you, that the devilis your shepherd, and ye are of his fold; and now, who can deny this? Behold, I say unto you, whosoever denieth this is a liar and a child of the devil. 40 For I say unto you that whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil. 41 Therefore, if a man bringeth forth good works he hearkeneth unto the voice of the good shepherd, and he doth follow him; but whosoever bringeth forth evil works, the same becometh a child of the devil, for he hearkeneth unto his voice, and doth follow him.”
Part 3: HOW AN IMPERFECT MAN BECOMES A PERFECT GOD:
—-How can a person who has a past of mistakes and error become like Heavenly Father? Joseph Smith taught that we are rough stones rolling, getting a rough edge knocked off here and there until we become polished. Once we are polished, those past rough edges have nothing to do with us. They are not a part of us. Isa. 54 repeated by the Savior in 3 Nephi 22:4 “Fear not, for thou shalt not be ashamed; neither be thou confounded, for thou shalt not be put to shame; for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.”
—-As we repent, we are truly born again. If we are born again, a clean creature, we are qualified to enter and help govern the kingdom of God. Moses 6:59 reads “That by reason of transgression cometh the fall, which fall bringeth death, and inasmuch as ye were born into the world by water, and blood, and the spirit, which I have made, and so became of dust a living soul, even so ye must be born again into the kingdom of heaven, of water, and of the Spirit, and be cleansed by blood, even the blood of mine Only Begotten; that ye might be sanctified from all sin, and enjoy the words of eternal life in this world, and eternal life in the world to come, even immortal glory;”
—-The scripture says that Jesus progressed from grace to grace.
—-The scripture says that we can grow into the fullness of the stature of Christ. Ephesians 4:11-16 reads “11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
—-As we become spiritually mature, our focus shifts from our needs to others’ needs. We learn that God will take care of our needs, and we start becoming like God in helping others.
-Service is the essence of God. We serve primarily our families, then others. Salvation is about what Christ did for you, exaltation is about what you’ve done for others.
-We’re not talking perfection, but we are talking progression. Our progress is not as fast as Christ, but may we progress nevertheless, doing the best we can. Christ progressed so much in pre-mortality that he attained the status of God even there. Thank God for His help in our journey.
—-Joseph Smith said, “I advise all to go on to perfection”. He also said “When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us.”
—-We need not only faith in grace, but works to be saved. Joseph Smith Translation of Romans 4:16 reads “Therefore ye are justified of faith and works, through grace, to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to them only who are of the law, but to them also who are of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,” The idea that works are not a part of salvation is a sectarian idea, and has never from the beginning of time been a principle of the gospel. Receiving grace is a principle of the gospel, but not eliminating works as a requirement.
-“the great universe of stars has multiplied beyond the comprehension of men. Evidently each of these great systems is governed by divine law; with divine presiding Gods, for it would be unreasonable to assume that each was not so governed.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Answers to Gospel Questions 2:144, 1980, ISBN 978-0-87747-004-5)
-The Prophet Joseph Smith stated: “God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with Himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits” (History of the Church, 6:312). (https://www.lds.org/manual/the-pearl-of-great-price-student-manual/the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng)
-“And for this cause ye shall have fulness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, even as the Father hath given me fulness of joy; and ye shall be even as I am, and I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one;” (3 Nephi 28:10 The Book of Mormon)
-The Prophet Joseph Smith himself publicly taught the doctrine the following year, 1844, during a funeral sermon of Elder King Follett: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and 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.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938, pp. 345–46.) (https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng)
-“Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so that undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God.” (“MORMON” VIEW OF EVOLUTION: A Statement by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) (http://biology.byu.edu/DepartmentInfo/EvolutionandtheOriginofMan.aspx)
-“I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.” Psalms 82:6
-“Jesus answered them, is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?” John 10:34
-“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:14
-“To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” (Rev. 3:21)
-“We believe in the dignity and divine origin of man. Our faith is founded on the fact that God is our Father, and that we are his children, and that all men are brothers and sisters in the same eternal family.
As members of his family, we dwelt with him before the foundations of this earth were laid, and he ordained and established the plan of salvation whereby we gained the privilege of advancing and progressing as we are endeavoring to do.
The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses.” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Conference Report, April 1970, p.4)