by Matt Slick
According to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons), the Law of Eternal Progression is the teaching that men move from being spirit children of God in the pre-existence to gaining physical bodies here on earth, and finally after death, people enter into one of the three levels of heaven: Telestial, Terrestrial, and Celestial. In Mormonism, every person who exists first had an existence prior to being born here on earth. Depending on the behavior in that pre-existence, spirit beings are born here on earth--some to Mormon families and some to other families elsewhere on earth. According to Mormon teaching, the goal is to live a life worthy enough of being exalted to godhood.
Please consider the following quotes from Mormon sources.
- “Following the revelations he received, Joseph Smith taught with authority many truths recorded in the Bible which previously had not been understood. Some of these are: that we are spirit children of God, that we had a premortal existence, that we are in mortality to prove ourselves, and that if we are faithful we can return to live eternally in the presence of God and through eternal progression become Godlike,” (N. Eldon Tanner, “The Contributions of the Prophet Joseph Smith,” Ensign (Conference Edition), November 1979, p.52).
- "It is reasonable to believe, in the absence of direct revelation by which alone absolute knowledge of the matter could be acquired, that, in accordance with God's plan of eternal progression, advancement within each of the three specified kingdoms will be provided for; though as to possible progress from one kingdom to another the scriptures make no positive affirmation," (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, 1984, p.371).
- "The principal purpose of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the ultimate goal of eternal progression is to receive eternal life, i.e., to become as God is. It is thoroughly understood, however, that a vast majority of the human family will never become gods, because to do so they must accept the true gospel, receive all of the ordinances-including celestial marriage-and obey all of God's commandments faithfully to the end," (Milton R. Hunter, Christ in Ancient America, p.168).
LDS theology teaches the following as the process of becoming gods and goddesses in eternal progression.
- We pre-exist as intelligences.
- Intelligences move into "spirit form" through the process of procreation where god and his goddess wife, who have bodies of flesh and bones, produce spirit offspring.
- The spirit offspring are then born in mortal bodies here on earth.
- After death, we go to either paradise or spirit prison.
- At the judgment, we then are assigned one of three levels of heaven (Telestial, Terrestrial, Celestial), or we go to "outer darkness."
- Godhood is attained by those Mormons who kept Celestial Law. The rest become angels in the other two levels of heaven.
- The process of eternal progression continues as those who have become god and goddess then produce spirit offspring.
In summation, Mormonism teaches that we had a pre-existence, that we are born here on earth, and that if we are good enough Mormons, we can become gods and goddesses of our own worlds.
How Should Christians Respond?
The Christian should respond to Mormon teaching on eternal progression by first praying for the salvation of the Mormon people, and that they would be delivered from their false teaching. Second, even though they deny the sufficiency of the Bible, you must quote Scripture. Isaiah 55:11 says, "So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire." You must trust the power of the word of God and tell it to the Mormons. The following Scriptures are worth presenting.
- God was not exalted. He has always been God. "Before the mountains were born, or you gave birth to the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God." (Psalm 90:2).
- We cannot become gods. “You are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “And My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me, and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me." (Isaiah 43:10).
- There are no other gods. "‘Do not tremble and do not be afraid. Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it? And you are My witnesses. Is there any God besides Me, or is there any other Rock? I know of none.’” (Isaiah 44:8).
The members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons, have been seduced by the idea of becoming like God and having their own worlds. They fail to see that the prize in salvation is the Lord Jesus Christ and his presence--not self-exaltation to a godlike state. So pray for the lost people of Mormonism that God might grant them repentance that leads to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25).