I’ve been writing on Mormonism and mentioning that my roommate and I do have Mormon missionaries visiting us. Today, one of the topics we talked about was the idea of eternal progression. For those who don’t know, the idea is that God was once a man like we ourselves are now and that he progressed until he reached Godhood. In his famous King Follett Discourse, Joseph Smith said the following:
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; and I will show it from the Bible. [endquote]
Note this. This is the first principle. This is what surprised me when the Mormons I were talking to today said that this was deep. One of them said he’d only been in the church for three years. I had to say though that this is a first principle. Please keep in mind what Smith himself says in the discourse:
It is necessary for us to have an understanding of God himself in the beginning. [endquote]
It is NECESSARY! It’s not that it’s a nice thing. It’s not that it will give us a deeper walk. It’s necessary. Shouldn’t this be something the whole church is familiar with? However, it seems this doctrine is being shied away from. Former President Gordon Hinckley was asked about this in the August 4th, 1997 issue of TIME magazine and said this:
‘I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it,’” [endquote]
Honestly, when I hear the president of the church saying “I don’t know if we teach that,” then it makes me wonder “If the president doesn’t know this, who would? If anyone ought to know what a church is teaching, it ought to be the president of the church!” Could it be that Mormonism is trying to shy away from this doctrine in order to appear more Christian?
How can the doctrine be true is the main question I have though. There are so many problems with this. The biggest one is the impossibility of transversing an infinite. However, God is described in the BOM as one who does not progress to Godhood but is unchangeable. See what Moroni 8:18 says:
For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity. [endquote]
Note also from all eternity to all eternity. How could such be the case and yet a moment of time came when the unchangeable changed into being the unchangeable? If he did such, then he is not unchangeable and it is certainly not from all eternity to all eternity. Could it possibly be the case that this doctrine is a doctrine Smith came up with later on after writing the Book of Mormon?
There is also the problem that the finite simply cannot be come infinite. It would mean that there was some amount added to the finite that made it become infinite. But how can you add something and get infinity? There is no point where you have one more and then you have infinity. Infinity is a totally different concept from that.
Why bring this up? Because a worldview to be true has to be philosophically tenable and that is a problem I have with the BOM worldview. Mormonism is not a worldview that is logically consistent. It is most especially seen in this doctrine of eternal progression. If it contains an essential contradiction at heart, then the worldview must be false.
Remember also that this is a first principle. Smith pointed out that we must start out right. Thus, if the first principle is right, what does that say about the whole thing? The answer is clear to me, and I hope to an honest seeker, they will be willing to look at this and see if maybe Mormonism really is a false worldview and it’s time to give a second look at orthodox Christianity.