The Mormons - Doctrine of Exaltation


THE DOCTRINE OF EXALTATION

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (or Mormons) do not believe in the tradition of apotheosis, but rather in the Christian tradition of divinization or deification (which in Mormonism is usually referred to as 'exaltation', or eternal progression) which to Mormons is the belief that mankind may live with God in families and become "gods".
Mormon Christians believe that the main purpose for Christ's mission and for His atonement is the exaltation  of man.
The third Article of Faith of Mormon Christianity states that all men may be saved from sin through the atonement of Jesus Christ and Mormon Gospel Doctrine (as published) states that all men will be saved and will be resurrected from death. However, only those who are sufficiently obedient and who accept the atonement and the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ before the resurrection and final judgment will be "exalted" and, thereby, receive a literal deification.
Exaltation is often referred to in Mormon Christianity as "eternal progression" and is believed to be what God desires for all humankind. The Mormon Church teaches that, through the atonement of Jesus Christ, believers may become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
The objective of adherents is to strive for purity and righteousness and to become one with Jesus as Jesus is one with the Father (God).
In the Doctrine and Covenants is found a verse that states that those who are exalted will become like god and, thus, will inherit God's glory through Christ's atonement.

Overview of the Doctrine

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints believe that human beings can grow and progress spiritually until, through the mercy and grace of Christ, they can inherit and possess all that the Father has.
In essence this means that human being can become 'gods'.
As the primary source for this doctrine, Mormon Christians look largely to the teachings of their 'prophets'.
When discussing the Mormon belief in eternal progression, various Mormon and non-Mormon scholars generally refer to a couplet written by Lorenzo Snow, the fifth president of the Church, which states as follows:
'As God now is, man may be.'
This doctrine is generally referred to by scholars both inside and outside Mormonism as 'deification'.

Mormon scholars point out that there are no limitations on these biblical passages and declarations; those who become as God shall inherit all things.
Mormons believe that, in that glorified state, those who overcome the world through the grace and mercy of Christ will be as Christ; they will receive his glory and be one with him and with the Father (see 1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:49; 2 Corinthians 3:18; John 17:21—23; Philippians 3:21).


Ordinances

According to Mormon beliefs, certain ordinances, such as baptism, are required of all those who hope to obtain exaltation.
For those who have lived and died throughout history without having performed these 'ordinances', it is believed that exaltation will be available through Mormon Church vicarious temple work.
Mormon doctrine teaches that all individuals will have an equitable and fair opportunity to hear the 'fullness of the gospel' as taught in this life, or in the life to come, and will subsequently have the opportunity to either accept the message of Jesus Christ and His gospel or reject it.
Some 'ordinances' are performed in Mormon Temples (all ordinances done vicariously on behalf of deceased persons; 'endowment' and 'sealings' for living persons).
Latter-day Saints are taught that they can become rulers in God's kingdom through performing 'ordinances' such as the 'endowment', and by doing their best to be faithful to the covenants that the 'ordinances' represent.
'Celestial marriage', or 'sealing', is also part of the requirement for being exalted.
Members of the LDS Church perform 'ordinances' vicariously on behalf of those who have died without the opportunity of hearing the LDS gospel.
They feel obligated to perform 'ordinances' so that all may have an equal opportunity to receive the blessings of the Celestial Kingdom if they choose to do so through their faith in Jesus Christ as their redeemer.
It is their belief that those who have died without these 'ordinances' need them in order to progress beyond this life.
Acceptance of the 'ordinances' by those who have died is entirely voluntary in the spirit world, and in no way takes away the agency of those individuals.
Should an individual who is in the spirit world subsequently reject 'ordinances' performed for them, it would be as if these 'ordinances' were never performed.
It is taught that some will accept them, and others will reject them.

Many Kingdoms

Those who reject the 'ordinances' are still believed to have the opportunity to inherit a kingdom of glory distinct from, and of less glory, than the Celestial Kingdom: either the Terrestrial Kingdom or the Telestial Kingdom.
Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom is the ultimate goal of faithful Mormon Church members.
In a Mormon scripture, the 'Book of Moses' 1:39, God tells Moses, "this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."
God shows Moses a vision depicting some of His vast creations including a vast number of worlds created for other people - a sampling of what God created in the past and what he will continue to do forever.
Each world was prepared and peopled by God for the purpose of bringing to pass the immortality and eternal life of all of His children.
Immortality refers to personal resurrection by which each individual can continue to enjoy a perfect, physical body forever.
Exaltation refers to living in the presence of God and Jesus Christ; to becoming like God both in terms of holiness or godliness and sharing in God's glory.
It is commonly believed by members of the Church that, as God's children, mankind may, through the merits and mercy accorded all through the Atonement of Christ, become 'gods' like God the Father.
As Paul taught the Romans, "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."
Eternity will be spent in a process of eternal progression becoming more like the Father (God).
Latter-day Saints posit that not only does God have the power to exalt mortal man, but without the possibility, there is little reason for mortality.
They also point to comments made by Christ and Psalmists among others that refer to the Divine nature and potential of humans as children of God.
They include passages in the Book of Revelation that describe the joint heir-ship with Christ of those who overcome by faith in Jesus Christ.


No comments:

Post a Comment