Mormonism, whose adherents are known as Mormons or Latter-day Saints (LDS), is a pseudo-Christian cult founded by Joseph Smith in the nineteenth century. One of their teachings is the doctrine of exaltation or theosis, the belief that man can become god.
According to Smith’s testimony, God charged him with the task of restoring the true Christian church, which had fallen into apostasy. LDS beliefs include the idea that God is an exalted man and Jesus is the spirit brother of Lucifer. The Jesus of Mormonism is a false christ who bears only a superficial resemblance to our Savior, and Mormons are purveyors of a false gospel. We should not consider Latter-day Saints as brothers and sisters of another Christian denomination, for Mormonism, at its core, is a heretical movement that cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Bible.
Mormonism teaches that God is an exalted man. In contrast, the Bible says God is spirit who does not dwell in a corporeal body (John 4:24). Joseph Smith claimed, “It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God. . . . He was once a man like us; . . . 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, 1976, pp. 345 –46). Pseudo-Christian cults and isms usually begin with a misconception of the person and nature of God, and Mormonism is no exception.
The ultimate goal of the Latter-day saint is exaltation; that is, the goal is to become like God. Mormon literature explains, “Exaltation is eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation” (Gospel Principles, chapter 47, “Exaltation,” Intellectual Reserve, Inc., 2011,). But this is a false teaching, for God was never a mere mortal, and we will never be His equals.
Exaltation in Mormonism is further explained in Doctrine and Covenants: “[The children of God] shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. 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” (132:19–20).
According to a past LDS president, Joseph Fielding Smith, “The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to His commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom, and power, going from grace to grace, until the fulness of the perfect day shall burst upon them” (Doctrines of Salvation, Bruce McConkie, ed., Bookcraft, 1955, 2:36).
The Mormon doctrine of exaltation involves human deification and the possibility of exalted Mormons creating their own worlds. The LDS Church teaches that men and women are the offspring of celestial parents and are thus composed of the same eternal substance (see D&C 93:33–35). Every person has the potential to be divine. Exalted humans will have an existence like that of God with the power to create new worlds and populate those worlds with their own spirit children.
The Bible teaches that God the Son became human at the Incarnation, and we know Him as Jesus Christ. But the Son has always been and will forever be God—He is eternal in nature, self-existing, immutable, and fully divine (John 1; Philippians 2:5–6; Colossians 2:9–10). Additionally, our Heavenly Father was never a human man, and we will never become gods. No created being will ever be an equal to its Creator. It was the ambition to be like God that fueled Lucifer’s rebellion (Isaiah 14:13–14) and led to mankind’s fall (Genesis 3:5).