What Do Mormons Believe? – Becoming Gods and Ruling Planets

September 6, 2008

Our whole goal in life is to become more Christ-like.

Q. Do LDS members believe that they will become gods of their own planets in the afterlife?

What an excellent question. It is my hope to lay the foundation so that you can better understand what we do believe. However, I urge you to focus on the core of our beliefs: the atonement of Jesus Christ, because with that our other doctrines will be more understandable.

First, in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount he says: “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). The Greek word used here means complete, finished, fully developed, rather than simply error-free or sin-free. Therefore, I want to pose a question to you: what does it mean to be perfect as Heavenly Father is perfect? You might respond that perfection means keeping all of the commandments, or in other words, to make no mistakes in life. While God does keep all of the commandments and is perfect in that sense, he is much more than that. God is completely perfect, he is omnipotent, omniscient, perfectly just, perfectly merciful, perfectly honest, perfectly wise, he doesn’t change, and he is perfect in his love for all of us. If we are going to become perfect as Christ commanded us to be, then not only do we need to keep the commandments, but we need to acquire all of the attributes above. This can only be accomplished through the atonement of Jesus Christ.

The meaning of the word atonement is to set at one (at-one-ment). In the case of the atonement of Jesus Christ, with whom is he setting us at one? The Father. As a result of the Fall of Adam, Adam and Eve became imperfect and were removed from the presence of God. Since Adam and Eve acted contrary to the commandment of God, they were unclean and their bodies also became imperfect. Furthermore all of their children were in the same state. Thus, the need for a Redeemer—someone who could make our bodies perfect and also cleanse us from the imperfection of sin (both of these events are accomplished by the resurrection and atonement of Jesus Christ). Therefore, God in his infinite mercy prepared a way that we could be delivered from this combined imperfection. The only way that this ‘setting at one’ could happen was through the sacrifice of one who had not sinned; therefore, God sent his Son to give all men and women the opportunity to be redeemed from the Fall (John 3:16, John 14:6, 1 Corinthians 15:20-22).

The next question arises, what does it mean to be at one with God? In Jesus’ intercessory prayer (John 17:20-23) in the Garden of Gethsemane, he prays to the Father:

20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me.

22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them, as thou has loved me.

Christ is saying that he and the Father are one, because they are perfect and he is pleading with the Father to give us the opportunity to become like him and his Father—perfect in every way. The atonement of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe in him, regardless of who they are (see Romans 1:16). However, the atonement of Jesus Christ extends beyond the concept of forgiveness of sin. It extends into much holier spheres, allowing us to become fully developed, as the Father and Christ are, and allowing us to fulfill Christ’s commandment. This sanctifying power is available to all if they are willing to take upon them the name of Jesus Christ in his prescribed manner and live their lives according to the doctrines and principles that he and his prophets teach.

Christ said that he is preparing a place for us in his Father’s mansion (John 14:2-3), but what will we do when we get there? I highly doubt that we will sit on clouds strumming our harps. Certainly, when we exit this life we won’t know as much as God does, nor will we have all of his other perfection. If we are to become perfect like he is, we have a lot to learn. The continuation of this growth and progression once we graduate from earth leads to the complete, fully developed, and perfect state that Christ was talking about.

We can grow up to be like our Father.

Now that the foundation has been laid, I would like to share a few verses of scripture that highlight this progression to becoming perfect in the way that God and Jesus are perfect:

Psalm 82:6 (italics added)

6 I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.

John 10:33-34 (italics added)

33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

Revelation 3:21 (italics added)

21 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.

Doctrine and Covenants 76:94-95 (italics added)

94 They who dwell in his presence are the church of the Firstborn; and they see as they are seen, and know as they are known, having received of his fullness and of his grace;

95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.

I hope that you will take a few things away from these verses. First, we are children of our Heavenly Father; therefore, there is a seed of divinity within us (Romans 8:16-17). Second, if we nourish that seed and live our lives according to the plan Christ and his prophets have outlined we are granted the opportunity to rule with Christ and his Father in their kingdoms. Third, being able to rule with Christ and the Father also entails that we will be made equal in power, might and dominion.

Now to answer your question with the foundation being laid, do we believe that we will become gods, ruling our own planets? We believe that through Christ all men and women can be made perfect as God and his son Jesus Christ are perfect. Nowhere in scripture does it explicitly say we will rule our own planets. Truth is, we don’t know exactly what will happen in heaven, except that we will continue growing and learning. We will just have to wait until after this life is over to find out what it means to become perfect like God and Jesus are perfect.

I hope that you can now see how beautiful our doctrine is and how much hope there is in our beliefs. This Church does not confine itself with only this life, but it’s doctrine stretches across all eternity and affords all of us the opportunity to see ourselves as God sees us—with divine potential. There is a purpose to our existence and it buoys up the soul to learn that God knows us and in his infinite wisdom He has prepared a way that you and I might become perfect. What is the problem with believing that?

The most important part for you and I at this time is to be baptized by one who holds the authority from God, to take upon ourselves the name of Christ and to commit to serve him until the end of our days, striving daily to live our lives according to his plan. We cannot comprehend the glory of God, nor can we comprehend what it means to be perfect, but I do believe in the promises of Christ. I know that Jesus is the Christ and that his Father is God and that through Christ I can become perfect. Therefore, I will worry myself with preparing myself to meet God and let God take care of the rest. I encourage you to do the same. Thank you for your inquiry.

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60 Responses to “What Do Mormons Believe? – Becoming Gods and Ruling Planets”

  1. Rich

    I was just thinking….so in the end of John 14 Jesus is talking about the Councelor (The Holy Spirit) will come after and teach you all things and reminding you of everything I have said.

    From this, coupled with what Joseph Smith has said, it would appear he thought he was the Councelor or Holy Spirit. How else could you put yourself on that level when Jesus clearly states no one else is? In fact in the next verses state that I am going to the Father for he is greater than I so, again, Joseph speaks out of line…….not to mention Ephesians…Ye are saved through faith, not of yourselves: It is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    It appears that he is breaking all kinds of rules here….boasting of his works not to mention others now believe they can’t be in the presence of God without his approval? WOW!

    Enough said!

  2. Thaddeus

    It would be a shame if someone were to read those quotes out of context and without reading the other 99.9% of things Joseph Smith said. Might give them a skewed impression of the man! Take a look at these explanations:

    No man … will ever enter into the celestial kingdom … without the consent of Joseph Smith?

    Did Joseph Boast of Keeping the Church Intact?

    Joseph Smith’s History

  3. Thaddeus

    Rich, I responded to your first quote when you mentioned it below another article.

  4. Thanks Thaddeus, those are interesting articles. 
    I see that Joseph might have been trying to draw a parallel between himself and Paul from 1 Corinthians, but if that is true, I think he missed the point.  Paul begins his entire discussion with this, “we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles”, and then goes on to describe how some were trying to discredit the gospel by discrediting him.  So he agreed!  In fact, he said, “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise”. 
    Paul then goes on to say that “Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. What anyone else dares to boast about–I am speaking as a fool–I also dare to boast about.  If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”  and “If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.”  His boasting is designed to emphasize the contrast between his own weaknesses and the powerful gospel of Christ.
    Joseph, by contrast, boasts of his strength in keeping the church together, a statement that focuses on his strength, not his weakness as Paul does.

  5. Fred

    Thanks for sharing Ben.  I think it is a beautiful doctrine.  I read the other comments and am disappointed that the writers of those comments focus on finding some extraneous reason why it can’t be true.  Thaddeus attempts to discredit the doctrine by discrediting Joseph Smith, something that he mentioned was done anciently to Paul.  I researched his sources and there is no credibility to the statement attributed to Joseph Smith that no one enters into heaven without the approval of Joseph Smith.  Fred

  6. Ben

    Fred, I am glad that you enjoyed the article.  It is a beautiful doctrine and it makes complete sense to me.  I hope others will let this beautiful teaching sink into their hearts.

    If you understood Thaddeus as trying to discredit Joseph Smith, you misunderstood him.  

  7. It sounds rhetorically beautiful.  But, God The Almighty, the maker of the Universes Seen and Unseen is Perfect.  He is Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnipresent.

    “I am What I am! or I am Who I Am ”   you will have no gods before me”  (The name Jehova is an  Invention during times of Martin Luther.

    The Creator Name is Sacred, That is Why he gave us the one to pronounce, to heal, to Cast evil, to bless….The Name of Our Lord Jesus Christ.  

     He made this Earth for us to live on it eternally. Not gods on other planets,  Few will be the chosen.  But, The Majesty of God will be personified  by His Human Form The Lord Jesus Christ. Who will Rule for Eternity.

    The sea of souls in front of this Throne will be picked from those that have fought the good battle of Salvation.

    Be Kind to one Another, without prejudices or Self-righteousness. We are His Best Creation. The Human Race!  

    Please read Mat 24:24  In Spirit and Truth! 

  8. afrigeek

    I was following along and actually liking the exegesis until we got to the part where you quote Mormon scripture and it says:
    95 And he makes them equal in power, and in might, and in dominion.
    and you go on to justify it in this way:”Third, being able to rule with Christ and the Father also entails that we will be made equal in power, might and dominion.”
    The scriptures are very clear in expressing that even Christ did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. (Philippians 2:5-8) And they go on to state that When Christ has brought all things under himself, then he in turn shall submit himself to the father. (1 Cor 15:27-28).
    In fact the scriptures clearly show that Christ himself is subject to the father. ( 1 Cor 11:3, John 14:28,) In Ephesians 1, paul says he prays to the father the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly showing a subordinate relationship.

  9. Melinda

    I am suprised that no one brought this up, but to understand Psalm 82:6 we have to read the entire Psalm. A phrase taken out of context can be misused to say much that it doesn’t really mean.

    The Psalm is talking about God judging men who act unjustly. People who set themselves up as gods and judge the poor and needy unjustly will be punished by God. The full sentence in question says, “I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.” In other words, you think you are like gods but you shall die like men. Don’t set yourselves up as higher than you really are.

    The word used in the passage is Elohim, which is usually translated as “gods.” In Genesis it is one of the words used to denote the true God. In other places, however, it is properly translated as “judges,” referring to human judges. So the verse could be translated “ye are judges.”

    There is also some question as to who the “I” is when it says, “I have said, ye are gods.” Is it God calling them gods or is it the psalmist? It appears that it is a person or persons saying it, and not God.

    Yet, in John 10:33-34 (which you also quoted) when Jesus was accused of blasphemy for claiming to be God, he used this verse to defend himself. “The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods? If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?” (John 10:33-36) His argument is that if the psalmist could say, “ye are gods,” then how could they stone him for claiming to be the Son of God and yet they praise David for calling mere men gods.

    Are we gods? Not in the sense of immortal beings with the ability to judge absolutely righteously or the power to create and destroy. We are judges within the limited scope of our feeble knowledge. But we are never to set ourselves up as equals to God. As the psalm says, “ye will die like men.”

    As for Revelation 3:21-again we are talking about the authority to judge. We know this because also in Matthew 19:28 he tells his disciples that they will sit in authority to judge the tribes of Israel with Him. Also in Revelation 20:4 an 6 here again-seated on the thrones are those that overcame and will sit with Jesus in a place of judgment.

    All of these passages you have tied to being “gods” are merely about being judges and nothing more. No where does he promise them their own kingdom or that they will become gos like the One true and only God.

    I can’t defend the scripture reference you gave for the D&C because I reject it as an authority of any kind since it goes directly against the Bible and while I realize you believe the Bible is true so far as it is correctly translated,you would have to believe that all of these verses have been mistranslated on purpose to mislead people, otherwise, how could three separate scriptures say the same thing and all be mistranslated? one Bible was not translated by the same exact person, so you would have to assert that if it was mistranslated by at least 3 different people, then only a spiritual force such as Satan would be able to pull that off. And if you are wrong, then that is blasphemy to give credit to Satan for God’s work. I would not take that lightly.

  10. Thaddeus

    Melinda, I appreciate your thoughtful response. You say that “gods” ought to be better translated as “judges” in Psalm 82, but in the sense that Jesus uses it (in the context of blasphemy), it *must* mean “gods” otherwise his argument with the Pharisees makes no sense.

    Pharisee: “We [want to] stone thee…for blasphemy; and because that thou being a man, makest thyself God.”
    Jesus: “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, Ye are [judges]’? If he called them [judges], unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?”
    Pharisee: “Huh?”

    Jesus’s argument only makes sense if he and the Pharisees interpreted the word elohim to refer to deity. If it’s just “judge,” the whole thing is a non-sequitur and Jesus can be rightly accused of blasphemy. After all, Jesus isn’t claiming to be a mortal judge.

    Jesus is not only using the scriptures to defend his position, he is teaching something important: that there are more gods than one, a notion that was believed by ancient Israelites, but was changed during the reforms of King Josiah. Read these articles for more information on this topic.
    http://www.templestudies.org/home/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/MormonismAndTheTemple.pdf (starting on page 19)