Mormon Authorities Teach Theosis

Mormon authorities teach that humanity should become God. This is the doctrine of theosis, also known as exaltation or deification. Overt examples are below. More examples of the doctrine of theosis are in The Book of Mormon and The Bible, and in teachings of early Christian authorities.

Joseph Smith (1805 to 1844 CE)

Joseph Smith

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret. If the vail was rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form - like yourselves, in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image, and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked, and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another. In order to understand the subject of the dead, for the consolation of those who mourn for the loss of their friends, it is necessary that we should understand the character and being of God, and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the vail, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but they are simple. 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. ... Here, then, is eternal life - to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, - namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; - from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me. These are the first principles of consolation. How consoling to the mourners, when they are called to part with a husband, wife, father, mother, child, or dear relative, to know that, although the earthly tabernacle is laid down and dissolved, they shall rise again, to dwell in everlasting burnings in immortal glory, not to sorrow, suffer, or die any more; but they shall be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. What is it? To inherit the same power, the same glory, and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a God and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before. What did Jesus do? Why, I do the things I saw my Father do when worlds came rolling into existence. My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory. He will then take a higher exaltation, and I will take his place, and thereby become exalted myself. So that Jesus treads in the track of his Father, and inherits what God did before; and God is thus glorified and exalted in the salvation and exaltation of all his children. It is plain beyond disputation; and you thus learn some of the first principles of the Gospel, about which so much hath been said. When you climb a ladder, you must begin at the bottom, and ascend step by step until you arrive at the top; and so it is with the principles of the Gospel: you must begin with the first, and go on until you learn all the principles of exaltation. But it will be a great while after you have passed through the vail before you will have learned them. It is not all to be comprehended in this world: it will be a great work to learn our salvation and exaltation even beyond the grave. ... The first principles of man are self-existent with God. God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits." (Joseph Smith. "Character and Being of God, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Asa Calkin. Vol. 6. Liverpool: Asa Calkin, 1859. 3-4, 7. Print.)

"As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life and taken it again; so He has a body of His own; each one will be in His own body; and yet the sectarian world believe the body of the Son is identical with the Father's. Gods have an ascendency over the angels, who are miistering servants. In the resurrection, some are raised to be angels; others are raised to become Gods. These things are revealed in the most holy place in a Temple prepared for that purpose." (Joseph Smith. "The Prophet's Discourse - The Purpose of the Gathering of Israel." History of the Church. Ed. B. H. Roberts. Vol. 5. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1909. 426-427. Print.)

Brigham Young (1801 to 1877 CE)

Brigham Young

"If this congregation could comprehend that the intelligence that is in them is eternal in its nature and existence; if they could realize that when Saints pass through the vail, they are not dead, but have been laying the foundation in these tabernacles for exaltation, laying the foundation to become Gods, even the sons of God, and for crowns which they will receive -- they would receive the truth in the love of it, live by it, and continue in it, until they receive all knowledge and wisdom, until they grow into eternity, and have the vail taken from before their eyes, to behold the handiworks of God among all people, His goings forth among the nations of the earth, and to discover the rule and law by which He governs." (Brigham Young. "Salvation." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 1. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855. 5. Print.)

"We are created for the express purpose of increase. There are none, correctly organized, but can increase from birth to old age. What is there that is not ordained after an eternal law of existence? It is the Deity within us that causes increase. Does this idea startle you? Are you ready to exclaim, 'What! the Supreme in us!' Yes. He is in every person upon the face of the earth. The elements that every individual is made of and lives in, possess the Godhead. This you cannot now understand, but you will hereafter. The Deity within us is the great principle that causes us to increase, and to grow in grace and truth. The operation once begun, strict obedience to the requirements of heaven is necessary to obtain the end for which we were created, therefore let us commence to do the will of God in earnest from this time henceforth. Let the child, when he comes to understanding, and the father communicates his will to him, say, 'Father, from this time, henceforth and forever, I will do thy will.' So it has been, beginning with Father Adam, and so it will continue to be the duty of his posterity who will be sanctified, and enter into the celestial kingdom. This will cause every person to do unto others as they would that others should do unto them, and will make them as pure and holy in their sphere as God is in His. Commence with it, go through the veil into eternity with it, and still continue, and the end thereof no man on earth knoweth, nor the angels in heaven." (Brigham Young. "March of 'Mormonism,' etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 1. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855. 93. Print.)

"As I have just stated, the Lord Almighty has organized every human creature for the express purpose of becoming independent, and has designed that they should be capable of receiving the principles of eternity to a fulness; and when they have received them unto a fulness, they are made perfect, like unto the Son of Man, and become Gods, even the Sons of God." (Brigham Young. "The Kingdom of God." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 2. Liverpool: F. D. Richards, 1855. 314. Print.)

"Man is made an agent to himself before his God; he is organized for the express purpose, that he may become like his master. You recollect one of the Apostle's sayings, that when we see Him, we shall be like Him; and again, we shall become Gods, even the sons of God. Do you read anywhere, that we shall possess all things? Jesus is the elder brother, and all the brethren shall come in for a share with him; for an equal share, according to their works and calling, and they shall be crowned with him. Do you read of any such thing as the Savior praying, that the Saints might be one with him, as he and the Father are one? The Bible is full of such doctrine, and there is no harm in it, as long as it agrees with the New Testament. I will continue the point I am now at. The Lord created you and me for the purpose of becoming Gods like himself, when we have been proved in our present capacity, and have been faithful in all things He puts into our possession. We are created, we are born for the express purpose of growing up from the low estate of manhood, to become Gods like unto our Father in heaven. That is the truth about it, just as it is. The Lord has organized mankind for the express purpose of increasing that intelligence and truth, which is with God, until he is capable of creating worlds on worlds, and becoming Gods, even the sons of God." (Brigham Young. "The Gospel of Salvation, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Orson Pratt. Vol. 3. Liverpool: Orson Pratt, 1856. 93. Print.)

"The man or woman of eighty, sixty, forty, twenty, or the child of two or five years of age, have something ahead of them to attain to, and which they are striving to accomplish. There is a principle in the feelings of people which is implanted in their organization expressly for them to become independent, to become Gods, and it is continually urging them to reach forward and to wish to do and perform that which they do not understand." (Brigham Young. "Disinclination of Men to Learn, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Orson Pratt. Vol. 3. Liverpool: Orson Pratt, 1856. 317. Print.)

"Mankind are organized of element designed to endure to all eternity; it never had a beginning and never can have an end. There never was a time when this matter, of which you and I are composed, was not in existence, and there never can be a time when it will pass out of existence; it cannot be annihilated. It is brought together, organized, and capacitated to receive knowledge and intelligence, to be enthroned in glory, to be made angels, Gods -- beings who will hold control over the elements, and have power by their word to command the creation and redemption of worlds, or to extinguish suns by their breath, and disorganize worlds, hurling them back into their chaotic state. This is what you and I are created for." (Brigham Young. "Disinclination of Men to Learn, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Orson Pratt. Vol. 3. Liverpool: Orson Pratt, 1856. 356. Print.)

"If this people will pursue the course they are bound by their obligations and covenants to take, they will obtain spirit enough to see and understand all things in heaven and on earth, that are sufficient for their salvation. The cobwebs of early traditions and antiquated superstitions will be brushed away, and they will plainly see that the world is just the world, and nothing but the world, and we are nothing but people on the world, designed to fill the measure of our creation, to bring to pass certain results that pertain to our exaltation. Let us seek the Lord with all our hearts, then shall we be weaned from the world; no man will love this, that, or the other thing, except to do good with it, to promote the eternal interests of mankind, and prepare them to be exalted in immortality. No man can be exalted unless he be independent. I will use a comparison to illustrate this idea. If you put an animal or being not endowed with intelligence on a throne, he would be nothing but an animal still; but put intelligence into that creature, to give him knowledge how to prepare himself to reign on that throne, and fortify it with strength, then he is exalted. Mankind are naturally independent and intelligent beings, they have been created for the express purpose of exalting themselves. When they apply their their hearts to wisdom, they will then get understanding. There is the fountain, go and drink at it, ask and receive all you wish, for there is an eternity of it, it will never become any less. It is for you and me to receive wisdom so as to be prepared for exaltation and eternal lives in kingdoms that now exist in eternity." (Brigham Young. "President B. Young's Journey South, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. S. W. Richards. Vol. 4. Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1857. 111. Print.)

"Then you have to admit that we are organized to inherit all glory, power, and excellency; to be filled with eternal salvation and exaltation, and to become the sons of God, as the Apostle says, to be 'gods, even the sons of God;' fathers who shall endure, and whose posterity shall never end; though the Apostle turned the point very quick, because the people were not prepared to receive it. You admit the fact that we are organized expressly for the purpose of being exalted with the Gods. You have the words of eternal life in your possession. What next? Take your own philosophy; if I am organized and capacitated to receive this glory and this exaltation, I must be the friend of Him who has brought me forth and instituted this exaltation for me; I must not be His enemy at any time. Again, you say, 'we are organized to become Gods, even sons of God; to act independently.' You expect to see the time when you will have at your control worlds on worlds, if your existence endures. Take Abraham, for instance, you can read the promise made to him, and again to Jesus. 'Now,' say you, 'we are to have kingdoms, thrones, principalities, powers, dominions, &c.' Can you read it in this book? This is the Old and New Testament, which you and I were taught, from our youth, to believe is the word of God. If I am to receive these blessings I will be an independent character, like those who dwell in eternity. If this is the case, let me pause for a moment and use my own natural philosophy. How can I prove myself the friend of God, who has placed all this glory within my reach, unless His influences are withdrawn from me, to see whether or not I will be His friend? At the time when you receive the greatest blessings by the manifestations of the power and Spirit of God, immediately the Lord may leave you to yourselves, that you may prove yourselves worthy of this exaltation." (Brigham Young. "Prophets Weep, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. S. W. Richards. Vol. 4. Liverpool: S. W. Richards, 1857. 198-199. Print.)

"After men have got their exaltations and their crowns -- have become Gods, even the sons of God -- are made Kings of kings and Lords of lords, they have the power then of propagating their species in spirit; and that is the first of their operations with regard to organizing a world. Power is then given to them to organize the elements, and then commence the organization of tabernacles. How can they do it? Have they to go to that earth? Yes, an Adam will have to go there, and he cannot do without Eve; he must have Eve to commence the work of generation, and they will go into the garden, and continue to eat and drink of the fruits of the corporeal world, until this grosser matter is diffused sufficiently through their celestial bodies to enable them, according to the established laws, to produce mortal tabernacles for their spiritual children. This is a key for you. The faithful will become Gods, even the sons of God; but this does not overthrow the idea that we have a father. Adam is my father; (this I will explain to you at some future time;) but it does not prove that he is not my father, if I become a God: it does not prove that I have not a father." (Brigham Young. "Necessity, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Asa Calkin. Vol. 6. Liverpool: Asa Calkin, 1859. 275. Print.)

"We have the words of eternal life, the holy Priesthood of the Son of God. We possess the keys of that Priesthood, and can prepare ourselves to becomes angels of God -- yea, more, to become Saints of God -- yea, more, to become Gods in eternity, and to be crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal life." (Brigham Young. "Extensive Character of the Gospel, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Asa Calkin. Vol. 6. Liverpool: Asa Calkin, 1859. 297. Print.)

"When I go to where Joseph is, he will be the President of this dispensation. If he is the God that stands there, and I do not see any other, it will be right; or if Peter is God, all right, for he never will become a God, unless he is duly exalted to that station. Joseph will not be God to this people, unless he is crowned a God; and if he is, he will be like the rest of the Gods, and what will be the difference? Suppose that Enoch, Abraham, or Moses be our God, or the Prophet Isaiah, what is the difference? Who cares?" (Brigham Young. "Wisdom Manifest, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Amasa Lyman. Vol. 7. Liverpool: Amasa Lyman, 1860. 47. Print.)

"You are organized independent beings, framed to become Gods, even the sons of God; and yet it is astonishing to see the use many make of their ability: they corrupt themselves and continue to do wickedly until they are prepared to go down to perdition. Why not turn away from their sins and love righteousness, that they may endure for ever, and that all things may be given into their hands?" (Brigham Young. "Government of God, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Amasa Lyman. Vol. 7. Liverpool: Amasa Lyman, 1860. 149. Print.)

"When you can thus feel, then you may begin to think that you can find out something about god, and begin to learn who he is. He is our Father -- the Father of our spirits, and was once a man in mortal flesh as we are, and is now an exalted being. How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and when men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. That course has been from all eternity, and it is and will be to all eternity. You cannot comprehend this; but when you can, it will be to you a matter of great consolation. It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being; and yet we are not in such close communion with him as many have supposed. He has passed on, and is exalted far beyond what we can now comprehend. Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive all the things of God. We are not capacitated to receive them all at once; but God, by his Spirit, reveals to our spirits as we grow and become able and capacitated to comprehend, through improving upon every means of grace placed within our power, until we shall be counted worthy to receive all things. 'All is yours,' says the Apostle. Do not become disheartened, give up your labours, and conclude that you are not to be saved. All is yours, if you will but live according to what you know, and increase in knowledge and godliness; and if you increase in these, you will also increase in all things pertaining to the earth; and by-and-by, you will be satisfied that all is the Lord's, and that we are Christ's, and that Christ is God's." (Brigham Young. "Progress in Knowledge, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Amasa Lyman. Vol. 7. Liverpool: Amasa Lyman, 1860. 333-334. Print.)

"Intelligent beings are organized to become Gods, even the sons of God, to dwell in the presence of the Gods, and become associated with the highest intelligences that dwell in eternity. We are now in the school, and must practice upon what we receive." (Brigham Young. "Diversity Among Men, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 8. Liverpool: George Q. Cannon, 1861. 160. Print.)

"Will the Latter-day Saints so live that they can enjoy the fulness of the heights, depths, glory, and intelligence in which the Father and the Son dwell? If they do not, they must go into another kingdom. He has designed that we should become Gods -- the sons of God -- fathers of eternal lives, like Abraham. This is the promise he received -- to be the father of endless lives, that his posterity and generation should never cease, in time nor eternity." (Brigham Young. "Light of the Spirit, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 8. Liverpool: George Q. Cannon, 1861. 179. Print.)

"Angels are those beings who have been on an earth like this, and have passed through the same ordeals that we are now passing through. They have kept their first estate far enough to preserve themselves in the Priesthood. They did not so violate the law of the Priesthood and condemn themselves to the sin against the Holy Ghost as to be finally lost. They are not crowned with the celestial ones. They are persons who have lived upon an earth, but did not magnify the Priesthood in that high degree that many others have done who have become Gods, even the sons of God. Human beings that pertain to this world, who do not magnify or are not capable of magnifying their high calling in the Priesthood and receive crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal lives, will also, when they again receive their bodies, become angels and will receive a glory. They are single, without families or kingdoms to reign over. All the difference between men and angels is, men are passing through the day of trial that angels have already passed through. They belong to the same family that we do; but they have proven themselves worthy only of an exaltation to the state of angels, whereas we have the privilege of obtaining not only the same exaltation they enjoy, but of going further until we become Gods, even the sons of God." (Brigham Young. "Sufferings of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 9. Liverpool: George Q. Cannon, 1862. 102-103. Print.)

"We love our wives and children - we love that which is calculated to make us happy and comfortable; but the divine spirit is to overcome the body and continue so to do, looking forth until the body also becomes divine; and then, when all has become divine, we may love all with a divine affection, but not till then. After the body and spirit are separated by death, what, pertaining to this earth, shall we receive first? The body; that is the first object of a divine affection beyond the grave. We first come in possession of the body. The spirit has overcome the body, and the body is made subject in every respect to that divine principle God has planted in the person. The spirit within is pure and holy, and goes back pure and holy to God, dwells in the spirit-world pure and holy, and, by-and-by, will have the privilege of coming and taking the body again. Some person holding the keys of the resurrection, having previously passed through that ordeal, will be delegated to resurrect our bodies, and our spirits will be there and prepared to enter into their bodies. Then, when we are prepared to receive our bodies, they are the first earthly objects that bear divinity personified in the capacity of the man. Only the body dies; the spirit is looking forth, as you read in the Bible concerning the souls or spirits of those who lay under the altar, as John saw on the Isle of Patmos, and they were crying to God to know how long it would be before they would again have their bodies. Were we turned out-of-doors, and not permitted to go into a house for six months or a year, we would look forward to the time when we could build a house, and reflect, "I wish I had a good house wherein I could be free from the inclemency of the weather, as I once had." When the body comes forth again, it will be divine, God-like, according to the capacity and ordinations of the Lord. Some are foreordained to one station, and some to another. We want a house, and when we get it and our spirits enter into it, then we can begin to look forth, for what? For our friends. We want them resurrected. Here is this friend and that friend, until by-and-by all are resurrected. And the earth is resurrected? Yes, and every living thing on the earth that has abided the law by which it was made. Then that which you and I respect, are fond of, and love with an earthly love, will become divine, and we can then love it with that affection which it is not now worthy of." (Brigham Young. "Gathering of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 9. Liverpool: George Q. Cannon, 1862. 139-140. Print.)

"We talk a great deal about our religion. It is not now my intention to deliver a discourse on this subject, enumerating facts and producing evidences in my possession which are unanswerable, but I will merely give a text, or make a declaration, that our religion is simply the truth. It is all said in this one expression — it embraces all truth, wherever found, in all the works of God and man that are visible or invisible to mortal eye. It is the only system of religion known in heaven or on earth that can exalt a man to the Godhead, and this it will do to all those who embrace its laws and faithfully observe its precepts. This thought gives joy and delight to the reflecting mind, for, as has been observed, man possesses the germ of all the attributes and power that are possessed by God his heavenly Father." (Brigham Young. "Tithing, Building Temples, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 10. Liverpool: Daniel H. Wells, 1865. 251. Print.)

"It is the word of the Lord, and I wish to say to you, and all the world, that if you desire with all your hearts to obtain the blessings which Abraham obtained, you will be polygamists at least in your faith, or you will come short of enjoying the salvation and the glory which Abraham has obtained. This is as true as that God lives. You who wish that there were no such thing in existence, if you have in your hearts to say: 'We will pass along in the Church without obeying or submitting to it in our faith or believing this order, because, for aught that we know, this community may be broken up yet, and, we may have lucrative offices offered to us; we will not, therefore, be polygamists lest we should fail in obtaining some earthly honor, character and office, etc,' -- the man that has that in his heart, and will continue to persist in pursuing that policy, will come short of dwelling in the presence of the Father and the Son, in celestial glory. The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy. Others attain unto a glory and may even be permitted to come into the presence of the Father and the Son; but they cannot reign as kings in glory, because they had blessings offered unto them, and they refused to accept them." (Brigham Young. "Beneficial Effects of Polygamy." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 11. Liverpool: B. Young, Jun., 1867. 268-269. Print.)

"When Jesus was preaching on these principles, and showing how strict and pure in their lives they must be who are counted worthy to be brought into the presence of the Father and the Son, be crowned with crowns of glory, immortality, and eternal life, and become Gods, even the Sons of God, I do not wonder that His disciples cried out, 'Who, then, can be saved?' Said Jesus, 'Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to the lives to come and few there be that find it.' This is the rendering in the new translation. As Jesus said to the disciples so I say to the Latter-day Saints -- 'Strait is the fate and narrow is the way that leads to the lives to come and few there be that find it.' I know you might turn around and say: 'Brother Brigham, do you expect to find it?' I expect to try; and when I get through I expect the Lord to do what He pleases with me. I have not asked where He is going to place me, nor what He will do with me, nor anything about my crown or mansion. I only ask God, my Father, in the name of Jesus, to help me to live my religion, and to give me ability to save my fellow-beings from the corruptions of the world, to fill them with the peace of God, and to prepare them for a better kingdom than this. That is all I have inquired about. What the Lord will do with me, or where He will place me, I do not know, neither do I care. I serve, and have implicit confidence in Him, and I am perfectly satisfied that we wil all receive all we are worthy of. May the Lord help us to live so that we may be worthy of a place in His presence. Amen." (Brigham Young. "Remarks on Revelation, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 12. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1867. 39. Print.)

"'Yes, there is my home, there is my family, there are my friends, there is my heaven, there is my Father, and I am going to dwell with Him to all eternity.' These are the hopes and aspirations of every heart, and the expressions of every faithful Saint; and they will learn more and more and be exalted from one degree of glory to another until they becomes Gods, even the sons of God. Then what is this earth in its present condition? Nothing but a place in which we may learn the first lesson towards exaltation, and that is obedience to the Gospel of the Son of God." (Brigham Young. "Our Present Life, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 14. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1872. 232. Print.)

"As for their labor and pursuits in eternity I have not time to talk upon that subject; but we shall have plenty to do. We shall not be idle. We shall go on from one step to another, reaching forth into the eternities until we become like the Gods, and shall be able to frame for ourselves, by the behest and command of the Almighty. All those who are counted worthy to be exalted and to become Gods, even the sons of God, will go forth and have earths and worlds like those who framed this and millions on millions of others." (Brigham Young. "Nothing Strange, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. David W. Evans. Vol. 17. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1872. 143. Print.)

"Having fought the good fight we then shall be prepared to lay our bodies down to rest to await the morning of the resurrection when they will come forth and be reunited with the spirits, the faithful, as it is said, receiving crowns, glory, immortality and eternal lives, even a fullness with the Father, when Jesus shall present his work to the Father, saying, 'Father, here is the work thou gavest me to do.' Then will they become gods, even the sons of God; then will they become eternal fathers, eternal mothers, eternal sons and eternal daughters; being eternal in their organization, they go from glory to glory, from power to power; they will never cease to increase and to multiply worlds without end. When they receive their crowns, their dominions, they then will be prepared to frame earths like unto ours and to people them in the same manner as we have been brought forth by our parents, by our Father and God. ... The great and grand secret of salvation, which we should continually seek to understand through our faithfulness, is the continuation of the lives. Those of the Latter-day Saints who will continue to follow after the revelations and commandments of God to do them, who are found to be obedient in all things, continually advancing little by little towards perfection and the knowledge of God, they, when they enter the spirit world and receive their bodies, will be able to advance faster in the things pertaining to the knowledge of the Gods, and will continue onward and upward until they become Gods, even the sons of God. This I say is the great secret of the hereafter, to continue in the lives forever and forever, which is the greatest of all gifts God has ever bestowed upon his children. We all have it within our reach, we can all attain to this perfected and exalted state if we will embrace its principles and practice them in our every-day life." (Brigham Young. "Philosophy of Man, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 18. Liverpool: Joseph F. Smith, 1877. 259-260. Print.)

"With regard to the ordinances of God, we may remark that we yield obedience to them because He requires it; and every iota of His requirements has a rational philosophy with it. We do not get up things on a hypothesis. That philosophy reaches to all eternity, and is the philosophy that the Latter-day Saints believe in. Every particle of truth that every person has received is a gift of God. We receive these truths, and go on from glory to glory, from eternal lives to eternal lives, gaining a knowledge of all things, and becoming Gods, even Sons of God. These are the celestial ones. These are they whom the Lord has chosen through their obedience. They have not spurned the truth, when they have heard it. These are they that have not spurned the Gospel, but have acknowledged Jesus and God in their true character; that have acknowledged the angels in their true character. These are they that work for the salvation of the human family." (Brigham Young. "The Work of the Priesthood, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 19. Liverpool: William Budge, 1878. 50. Print.)

John Taylor (1808 to 1887 CE)

John Taylor

"A passage of Scripture which he quoted attracted my attention. It is one of the sayings of David — 'What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?' In one point of view, man appears very poor, weak, and imbecile, and very insignificant: in another point of view, he appears wise, intelligent, strong, honorable, and exalted. It is just in the way that you look at a man that you are led to form your opinions concerning him. In one respect, he appears, as it were, as the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven. He is changeable in his opinions, in his thoughts, reflections, and actions. He is idle, vain, and visionary, without being governed by any correct principle. He comes into existence, as it were, like a butterfly, flutters around for a little while, dies, and is no more. In another point of view, we look at him as emanating from the Gods — as a God in embryo — as an eternal being who had an existence before he came here, and who will exist after his mortal remains are mingled and associated with dust, from whence he came, and from whence he will be resurrected and partake of that happiness for which he is destined, or receive the reward of his evil deeds, according to circumstances. ... 'What is man, that thou art mindful of him?' What is he? Let us look again and view him in another aspect. Why, he is an eternal being, and possessed within him a principle that is destined to exist 'while life and thought and being last or immortality endures.' What is he? He had his being in the eternal worlds; he existed before he came here. He is not only the Son of man, but he is the Son of God also. He is a God in embryo, and possesses within him a spark of that eternal flame which was struck from the blaze of God's eternal fire in the eternal world, and is placed here upon the earth that he may possess true intelligence, true light, true knowledge — that he may know himself — that he may know God — that he may know something about what he was before he came here — that he may know something about what he is destined to enjoy in the eternal worlds — that he may be fully acquainted with his origin, with his present existence, and with his future destiny — that he may know something about the strength and weakness of human nature — that he may understand the Divine law, and learn to conquer his passions, and bring into subjection every principle that is at variance with the law of God — that he may understand his true relationship to God; and finally, that he may learn how to subdue, to conquer, subject all wrong, seek after, obtain, and possess every true, holy, virtuous, and heavenly principle; and as he is only a sojourner, that he may fulfil the measure of his creation, help himself and family, be a benefit to the present and future generations, and go back to God, having accomplished the work he came here to perform. ... What is man? He is an immortal being. He is a part of the Deity. He is the Son of God, and God is his Father; and he has come here to work out his salvation and accomplish the thing he came into existence for. We have come here to build up the kingdom of God, to establish correct principles, to teach the world righteousness, and to make millions of the human family happy — even all who will listen to the principles of eternal truth. We are here to introduce correct doctrine, to introduce correct morals, to introduce correct philosophy, to introduce correct government and to teach men how to live and how to die — how to be happy in this world and in the world which is to come, and to lay the foundation for eternal lives in the eternal worlds. What is man? A god, even the son of God, possessing noble aspirations, holy feelings, that may be governed by virtuous principles, possessing elevated ideas, wishing to realize everything that God has destined to submit to all his laws, to endure every kind of privation and affliction and suffering, as seeing Him that is invisible, looking for a city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God - feeling to live for that purpose, and that alone. This is what man is, if he lives the religion of heaven, and performs faithfully those things God has appointed him to do, that he may increase from intelligence to intelligence, and go on with that eternal progression, not only in this world, but in worlds without end. What are we? Do we expect to immortalize our fame by demolishing cities, wasting countries, and destroying their inhabitants? No. Do we expect to have our name perpetuated by being embalmed and laid by, as the Egyptians were after they died? No. Do we expect to perpetuate our fame by building cities and monuments? No. What then? We expect to perpetuate our fame and our name by living and propagating correct principles — by the establishment of correct laws — by the building up of the kingdom of God — by imbibing and receiving light and intelligence from the living God — by living in the enjoyment of all the blessings that God has in reserve for his Saints — by driving back the dark cloud of error and superstition that has overspread the moral horizon of the world — by establishing a nucleus of truth, intelligence, light, morality, philosophy, religion, government, and everything else that is calculated to promote and exalt the human family in time and in all eternity; and then, like some of the ancient patriarchs — like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and many of the ancient Saints, enter into the New Jerusalem, and there live with our posterity, our friends, and relations; and then pass on by the eternal laws of progression to associate with the Gods, worlds without end, in all intelligence and perfection, and in promoting the happiness of all beings pertaining to this world and the world that is to come." (John Taylor. "Man." Journal of Discourses. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 8. Liverpool: George Q. Cannon, 1861. 1, 3-5. Print.)

"We have entered into eternal covenants with God that we will be his people and that he shall be our God, and that, for us and ours, we will serve the Lord; that as a people, as a Territory, as a Church, we will yield obedience to the laws of God, bow to his sceptre, acknowledge his authority, and do the things which he requires at our hands, so that, as God exists eternal in the heavens, the same principles of eternal life may dwell in us, that we may become gods, even the sons and daughters of God." (John Taylor. "The Holy Spirit, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 14. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1872. 188. Print.)

"Brother Folsom, who has just been speaking to you of his recent labors in the Manti Temple, says he never felt better in his life than when engaged there. What is the reason? He has been engaged in the service of God; and there is no happiness among men to be compared with the joy and satisfaction that the Gospel imparts; it lifts us up from the sublunary things of time and sense, and we feel that we are gods, even the sons of God, and that he is our Father; and we know that we have a hope that blooms with immortality and eternal lives, and we feel that we are in the hands of God, and that he will guide and direct us and sustain us and bear us off triumphant under all circumstances; and we feel joyous and happy in the contemplation of these things." (John Taylor. "Gathering, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 19. Liverpool: William Budge, 1878. 156. Print.)

"We are here laying the foundation for eternity, and for no other purpose. We are here that we may receive bodies, that in our bodies and spirits, and through them and through the powers of the priesthood and the everlasting Gospel, we may gain a position by and by, among the Gods in the eternal worlds, and with them possess a glory and dominion and authority, power and exaltation that has hardly entered into our hearts to conceive of." (John Taylor. "Sustaining the Authorities, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 21. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1881. 213. Print.)

"And why did you come here? Because you received that testimony and believed it and obeyed it and received the Holy Ghost, and associated with those who believed the same principles. There was something that propelled you forward, you hardly knew why or how, but you were desirous to come to Zion. Why? Because you are living in the dispensation of the fulness of times, when God will gather together all things in one, and the keys of the gathering dispensation had been introduced; and because you had received of that spirit, and you never felt easy until you got here. Well, how was that? What operated upon you? The Spirit of God. Was it a something that was craving after wealth and position and power and aggrandizement, to have a great and honorable name? No, it was as you first were taught and as you afterwards comprehended, it was how to learn to save yourselves, to save your progenitors, to save your posterity; it was that you might obtain a knowledge of the laws of life, fulfil the measure of your creation, and that while you felt as a man among men upon the earth, you might, by and by, through obedience to pure principles, stand among the Gods as a God, in the eternal worlds, and be exalted through the power of the Gospel." (John Taylor. "The Eternities Before the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 21. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1881. 347. Print.)

"A man, as a man, could arrive at all the dignity that a man was capable of obtaining or receiving; but it needed a God to raise him to the dignity of a God. For this cause it is written,'Now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him.' And how and why like Him? Because, through the instrumentality of the atonement and the adoption, it is made possible for us to become of the family of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; and that as He, the potential instrument, through the oneness that existed between Him and His Father, by reason of obedience to divine law, overcame death, hell and the grave, and sat down upon His Father's throne, so shall we be able to sit down with Him, even upon His throne." (John Taylor. The Mediation and Atonement. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co., 1882. 145. Print.)

"It was necessary and proper that there should be good and evil, light and darkness, sin and righteousness, one principle of right opposed to another of wrong, that man might have his free agency to receive the good and reject the evil, and by receiving the good (through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the principles of the Gospel, which he introduced, and which were advocated long before he himself appeared on the earth), they might be saved and exalted to the eternal Godhead, and go back to their Father and God, while the disobedient would have to meet the consequences of their own acts." (John Taylor. "Duties of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 22. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1882. 301. Print.)

"We believe in the resurrection of the dead and the life in the world to come; and not only in the resurrection of the male, but also of the female. We believe also in eternal unions, union on earth and in heaven. And as the heavens declare the glory of God, and the stellar universes roll on according to eternal laws implanted in them by the Deity, and perform their revolutions through successive ages, so will man progress and increase—himself, his wives, his children—through the eternities to come. Who is injured by this faith? Cannot a great and magnanimous nation afford the privilege to enjoy these principles without passing bills of pains and penalties for the belief and enunciation of such divine, ennobling and Godlike principles? Man is a dual being, possessed of body and spirit, made in the image of God, and connected with Him and with eternity. He is a God in embryo and will live and progress throughout the eternal ages, if obedient to the laws of the Godhead, as the Gods progress throughout the eternal ages. Is it a thing incredible in this generation that God shall raise the dead? Is it a thing incredible that the finest and most exalted ties and sympathies of humanity, sanctified by family relations—pure undefiled love, should continue in the resurrection?" (John Taylor. "The Gospel's Restoration, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 23. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1883. 65. Print.)

"But let me refer you to another blessing connected with Abraham, namely, that in him and his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed. Or, in other words, that God would honor him by making of him and his seed agents through whom He would communicate truth, intelligence and salvation to the world. It is said 'the glory of God is intelligence,' and He is desirous to impart this intelligence to the human family, that through it they may be exalted to the Godhead. Abraham's posterity were to stand as messengers of God, as legates of the skies, commissioned of the great Jehovah to proclaim His word to fallen man, even to His children; for God has made, we are told, of one blood all the families of the earth, and has given unto them a portion of His Spirit, if haply they would feel after Him, although He is not far from any one of us. For in Him we live, and move, and have our being." (John Taylor. "The Gospel Like Leaven, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 24. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1884. 125. Print.)

"There were certain great principles involved in the organization of this earth, and one was that there might be a place provided whereon the children of our Heavenly Father could live and propagate their species, and have bodies formed for the spirits to inhabit who were the children of God; for we are told that He is the God and Father of the spirits of all flesh. It was requisite, therefore, that an earth should be organized; it was requisite that man should be placed upon it; it was requisite that bodies should be prepared for those spirits to inhabit, in order that the purposes of God pertaining to His progeny might be accomplished, and that those spirits might be enabled, through the medium of the everlasting Gospel, to return unto the presence of their Heavenly Father, as Gods among the Gods. ... Suffice it to say that there are bodies celestial, bodies terrestrial, and bodies telestial; one glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars; but strait was the gate and narrow was the way that led unto the lives, and few there were at that time and few there have always been who have gone in thereat. And what was it that they sought? It was the Celestial Kingdom of our God, that they might come forth in the first resurrection and be one with the Father and one with Jesus, and belong to the Church of the First Born whose names are written in heaven, and become Gods among Gods, and participate in all the glory of the Celestial Kingdom." (John Taylor. "The Object of the Gospel." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 25. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1884. 303-306. Print.)

Wilford Woodruff (1807 to 1898 CE)

Wilford Woodruff

"If there was a point where man in his progression could not proceed any further, the very idea would throw a gloom over every intelligent and reflecting mind. God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end. It is just so with us." (Wilford Woodruff. "Blessings of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Asa Calkin. Vol. 6. Liverpool: Asa Calkin, 1859. 120. Print.)

"There are a few individuals in this dispensation who will inherit celestial glory, and a few in other dispensations; but before they receive their exaltation they will have to pass through and submit to whatever dispensation God may decree. But for all this they will receive their reward -- they will become Gods, they will inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities and powers through the endless ages of eternity, and to their increase there will be no end, and the heart of man has never conceived of the glory that is in store for the sons and daughters of God who keep the celestial law." (Wilford Woodruff. "Little Children Are Innocent, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 18. Liverpool: Joseph F. Smith, 1877. 39. Print.)

"I see nothing to tempt me or you to turn aside from the work given us to do. The Prophets have predicted that every weapon that is formed against Zion shall be broken, and this is in accordance with the revelations of God to us. He will continue this work and direct its onward course, but he expects us to continue to reclaim the waste places, and to continue to build Temples and also to impart of our substance. And I wish all Israel to understand that when we impart of our substance to build Temples that we do not do it to benefit the Lord at all, he had his endowments a long time before we were born, and also passed through his probation. We are his children, he wishes to exalt us back to his presence, and he knows very well we are obliged to walk in the same path and receive the same ordinances in order to inherit the same glory that surrounds him." (Wilford Woodruff. "The Blessings Realized by the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 19. Liverpool: William Budge, 1878. 299. Print.)

Lorenzo Snow (1814 to 1901 CE)

Lorenzo Snow

"In the Gospel we have received, by the light thereof and by the power thereof, we see that by-and-by we are coming into possession of those things that we have so long desired and labored for. Those who are not in possession of this Spirit do not understand that the Lord God of our fathers has revealed himself unto us; and although many of them have had a like opportunity, yet they have not made use of it to acquire that knowledge. Through a continual course of progression, our heavenly Father has received exaltation and glory, and he points us out the same path; and inasmuch as he is clothed with power, authority, and glory, he says, 'Walk ye up and come in possession of the same glory and happiness that I possess.' In the Gospel those things have been made manifest unto us, and we are perfectly assured that, inasmuch as we are faithful, we shall eventually come in possession of everything that the mind of man can conceive of — everything that heart can desire." (Lorenzo Snow. "The Blessings and Privileges of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. G. D. Watt. Vol. 5. Liverpool: Asa Calkin, 1858. 313. Print.)

"We were born in the image of God our Father; He begot us like unto Himself. There is the nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization; in our spiritual birth our Father transmitted to us the capabilities, powers and faculties which He Himself possessed -- as much so as the child on its mother's bosom possesses, although in an undeveloped state, the faculties, powers, and susceptibilities of its parent." (Lorenzo Snow. "Progression, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 14. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1872. 302. Print.)

"We learned an important and significant fact, that we were his offspring, inheriting, though only in infantile form, the same attributes he himself possessed, and that, through probationary experience, by passing the ordeals of earth, rejecting the evil and accepting the good, these attributes could be developed until eventually we might receive a fullness of the godhead, and dwell in the presence of the Father. We became acquainted with this fact, and were convinced in our hearts that the object which now appeared before us, was well worthy of all that we could bestow upon it. Hence we resolved that we would accomplish the undertaking, though at the sacrifice of our all. We well understood that in order to attain to that position that would entitle us to this exaltation, it would be necessary to submit ourselves wholly to the mind and will of God. We felt in our hearts to consecrate our wives, our children and our property, if we had any, and our time and abilities, to the service of God." (Lorenzo Snow. "Necessity for Effort, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 18. Liverpool: Joseph F. Smith, 1877. 373. Print.)

"While attentively listening to his explanation, the Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me -- the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noonday, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet which expresses the revelation, as it was shown to me, and explains Father Smith's dark saying to me at a blessing meeting in the Kirtland Temple, prior to my baptism, as previously mentioned in my first interview with the Patriarch. As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." (Lorenzo Snow. "Called on mission to England, etc." Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow. Ed. Eliza Snow. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co., 1884. 46. Print.)

"Purity, virtue, fidelity, and godliness must be sought ambitiously, or the crown cannot be worn. Those principles must be incorporated with outselves -- woven into our constitutions -- becoming a part of us, making us a centre, a fountain of truth, of equity, justice, and mercy, of all that is good and great: that from us may proceed the light, the life, the power, and the law to direct, to govern and assist to save a wandering world -- acting as the sons of God, for and in behalf of our Father in heaven. We expect, in the resurrection, to exercise the powers of our Priesthood -- we can exercise them only in proportion as we secure its righteousness and perfection. These qualifications can be had only as they are sought and obtained; so that in the morning of the resurrection we will possess those acquisitions only which we secure in this world! Godliness cannot be conferred, but must be acquired -- a fact of which the religious world seem strangely and lamentably unconscious." (Lorenzo Snow. “Address to the Saints, etc.” Biography and Family Record of Lorenzo Snow. Ed. Eliza Snow. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Co., 1884. 193. Print.)

"Dear Brother: Hast thou not been unwisely bold, Man’s destiny to thus unfold? To raise, promote such high desire, Such vast ambition thus inspire? Still, ’tis no phantom that we trace Man’s ultimatum in life’s race; This royal path has long been trod By righteous men, each now a God: As Abra’m, Isaac, Jacob too, First babes, then men -- to gods they grew. As man now is, our God once was; As now God is, so man may be, -- Which doth unfold man’s destiny. For John declares: When Christ we see Like unto him we'll truly be And he who has this hope within Will purify himself from sin. Who keep this object grand in view, To folly, sin, will bid adieu, Nor wallow in the mire anew; Nor ever seek to carve his name High on the shaft of worldly fame; But here his ultimatum trace: The head of all his spirit-race. Ah well, that taught by you, dear Paul, Though much amazed, we see it all; Our Father God, has ope'd our eyes, We cannot view it otherwise. The boy, like to his father grown, Has but attained unto his own; To grow to sire from state of son, Is not ‘gainst Nature’s course to run. A son of God, like God to be, Would not be robbing Deity; And he who has this hope within, Will purify himself from sin. You’re right, St. John, supremely right: Whoe’er essays to climb this height, Will cleanse himself of sin entire -- Or else ’twere needless to aspire." (Lorenzo Snow. "Apostle Paul to the Philippians." Juvenile Instructor. Ed. George Q. Cannon. Vol. 27. Salt Lake City: George Q. Cannon & Sons Co., 1892. 61. Print.)

"The reward for righteousness is exaltation. Godliness cannot be conferred, but must be acquired. We approach godliness as fast as we approach perfection. ... If we are faithful, we shall at some time do our own work, but for now we are doing the work of our Father. ... We have all the possibilities of God himself, and we should so act that every faculty shall be developed to the utmost. ... The glorious opportunity of becoming truly great belongs to every faithful elder in Israel; it is his by right divine. ... Man may become like his Father, doing the works which his Father did before him, and he cannot be deprived of the opportunity of reaching this exalted state. The destiny of man is to be like his Father -- a god in eternity. This should be a bright, illuminating star before him all the time -- in his heart, in his soul, and all through him. As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be. A son of God, like God to be, Would not be robbing Deity." (Lorenzo Snow. "Characteristic Sayings of President Lorenzo Snow." By LeRoi Snow. Improvement Era. Vol. 22. No. 8. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 1919. 652. Print.)

"President Brimhall, these children are now at play, making mud worlds, the time will come when some of these boys, through their faithfulness to the gospel, will progress and develop in knowledge, intelligence and power, in future eternities, until they shall be able to go out into space where there is unorganized matter and call together the necessary elements, and through their knowledge of and control over the laws and powers of nature, to organize matter into worlds on which their posterity may dwell, and over which they shall rule as gods." (Lorenzo Snow. "Devotion to Divine Inspiration." By LeRoi Snow. Improvement Era. Vol. 22. No. 8. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, June 1919. 658–59. Print.)

"Obedience and purity are requirements of godhood. That exalted position was made manifest to me at a very early day. I had a direct revelation of this. It was most perfect and complete. If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: 'As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.'" (Lorenzo Snow. The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow. Ed. Clyde J. Williams. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1984. 5. Print.)

Joseph F. Smith (1838 to 1918 CE)

Joseph F. Smith

"God has given laws to govern all his works, and especially has he given laws to govern his people, who are his sons and daughters. We have come to sojourn in the flesh, to obtain tabernacles for our immortal spirits; or in other words, we have come for the purpose of accomplishing a work like that which was accomplished by the Lord Jesus Christ. The object of our earthly existence is that we may have a fullness of joy, and that we may become the sons and daughters of God, in the fullest sense of the word, being heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ, to be kings and priests unto God, to inherit glory, dominion, exaltation, thrones, and every power and attribute developed and possessed by our heavenly Father. This is the object of our being on this earth. In order to attain unto this exalted position, it is necessary that we go through this mortal experience, or probation, by which we may prove ourselves worthy, through the aid of our older brother, Jesus. The spirit without the body is not perfect, it is not capacitated, without the body, to possess a fullness of the glory of God, and, therefore, it cannot, without the body, fulfil its destiny. We are foreordained to become conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ; and in order that we may become like unto him, we must follow in his footsteps, even until we sanctify ourselves by the law of truth and righteousness. This is the law of the celestial kingdom; and when we die, its power will bring us forth in the morning of the first resurrection, clothed with glory, immortality, and eternal lives. Unless we do keep the law that God has given unto us in the flesh, which we have the privilege of receiving and understanding, we cannot be quickened by its glory, neither can we receive the fullness thereof and the exaltation of the celestial kingdom." (Joseph F. Smith. "Age of Visitation and Revelation, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. D. W. Evans. Vol. 19. Liverpool: William Budge, 1878. 258. Print.)

"For this testimony of Brother Clayton will stand forever, though his body moulders into dust. And I am, and so was the deceased when living, at the defiance of the world to dispute those statements. They are made from personal knowledge derived from personal associations with the Prophet Joseph Smith himself, not with a view to gain notoriety, but rather to leave behind him his testimony with regard to this important principle. He has done so. And as he has here stated, as having some from the mouth of the Prophet, this doctrine of eternal union of husband and wife, and of plural marriage, is one of the most important doctrines ever revealed to man in any age of the world. Without it man would come to a full stop; without it we never could be exalted to associate with and become gods, neither could we attain to the power of eternal increase, or the blessings pronounced upon Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the fathers of the faithful." (Joseph F. Smith. "Law of Celestial Marriage, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 21. Liverpool: Albert Carrington, 1881. 10. Print.)

"Man is the direct offspring of Deity, of a being who is the Begetter of his spirit in the eternal worlds, and the Architect of his mortal tabernacle in this. God himself is an exalted man, possessing body, parts and passions, refined and developed to the highest state of perfection. He organized the world and all that it contains, from matter; from ever-living spirit and everlasting element, which exist co-eternally with himself. ... For man is the child of God, fashioned in his image and endowed with his attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable in due time of becoming a God." (Joseph F. Smith. "Man's Origin and Destiny." The Latter-day Saints' Millenial Star. Ed. John Henry Smith. Vol. 44. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1882. 298. Print.)

"Christ is the great example for all mankind, and I believe that mankind were as much foreordained to become like him, as that he was foreordained to be the Redeemer of man. Whom God did foreknow — and whom did he not foreknow? 'He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.' It is very plain, that mankind are very far from being like Christ, as the world is today, only in form of person. In this we are like him, or in the form of his person, as he is the express image of His Father's person. We are therefore in the form of God, physically, and may become like him spiritually, and like him in the possession of knowledge, intelligence, wisdom and power. The grand object of our coming to this earth is that we may become like Christ, for if we are not like him, we cannot become the sons of God, and be joint heirs with Christ. The man who passes through this probation, and is faithful, being redeemed from sin by the blood of Christ, through the ordinances of the Gospel, and attains to exaltation in the kingdom of God, is not less but greater than the angels, and if you doubt it read your Bible, for there it is written that the Saints shall 'judge angels,' and also they shall 'judge the world.' And why? Because the resurrected, righteous man has progressed beyond the pre-existent or disembodied spirits, and has risen above them, having both spirit and body as Christ has, having gained the victory over death and the grave, and having power over sin and Satan, in fact having passed from the condition of the angel to that of a God. He possesses keys of power, dominion and glory that the angel does not possess — and cannot possess without gaining them in the same way that he gained them, which will be by passing through the same ordeals and proving equally faithful. It was so ordained when the morning stars sang together, before the foundations of this earth were laid. Man in his pre-existent condition is not perfect, neither is he in the disembodied estate. There is no perfect estate but that of the risen Redeemer, which is God's estate, and no man can become perfect except he becomes like them. And what are they like? I have shown what Christ is like, and he is like his Father, but I will refer to an undoubted authority to this people, on this point, 'The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.' There is not time to refer to the many scriptural passages which might be cited in proof of these important facts, enough already has been referred to, to place the matter beyond a doubt." (Joseph F. Smith. "Man a Mortal and an Immortal Being, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 23. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1883. 172. Print.)

"It is absolutely necessary that we should come to the earth and take upon us tabernacles; because if we did not have tabernacles we could not be like God, or like Jesus Christ. God has a tabernacle of flesh and bone. He is an organized being just as we are, who are now in the flesh. Jesus Christ was born of His mother Mary. He had a fleshly tabernacle; He was crucified on the cross; and his body was raised from the dead. He burst the bonds of the grave and came forth to newness of life, a living soul, a living being, a man with a body, with parts and with spirit — the spirit and the body becoming a living and immortal soul. You and I have to do the same thing. We must go through the same ordeal in order to attain to the glory and exaltation which God designed we should enjoy with him in the eternal worlds. In other words, we must become like Him; peradventure to sit upon thrones, to have dominion, power, and eternal increase. God designed this in the beginning. We are the children of God. He is an eternal being, without beginning of days or end of years. He always was, He is, He always will be. We are precisely in the same condition and under the same circumstances that God our Heavenly Father was when He was passing through this or a similar ordeal. We are destined to come forth out of the grave as Jesus did, and to obtain immortal bodies as He did—that is, that our tabernacles are to become immortal as His became immortal, that the spirit and the body [p. 59a]may be joined together and become one living being, indivisible, inseparable, eternal." (Joseph F. Smith. "Desirable Condition of the Saints, etc." Journal of Discourses. Ed. Geo. F. Gibbs. Vol. 25. Liverpool: John Henry Smith, 1884. 58. Print.)

"Male and female enter heaven. No man will ever enter there until he has consummated his mission; for we have come here to be conformed to the likeness of God. He made us in the beginning in his own image and in his own likeness, and he made us male and female. We never could be in the image of God if we were not both male and female. Read the Scriptures, and you will see it for yourselves as God has said it. He has made us in his own form and likeness, and here we are, male and female, parents and children. And we must become more and more like him - more like him in love, in charity, in forgiveness, in patience, longsuffering and forbearance, in purity of thought and action, in intelligence, and in all respects, that we may be worthy of exaltation in his presence. It is for this that we have come to the earth. This is the work that we have to perform. God has shown us the way and given us the means by which we may consummate and fill our mission upon this earth and perfect our destiny; for we are destined and foreordained to become like God, and unless we do become like him we will never be permitted to dwell with him. When we become like him you will find that we will be presented before him in the form in which we were created, male and female. The woman will not go there alone, and the man will not go there alone, and claim exaltation. They may attain a degree of salvation alone, but when they are exalted they will be exalted according to the law of the celestial kingdom. They cannot be exalted in any other way, neither the living nor the dead. It is well for us to learn something about why we build temples, and why we administer in them for the dead as well as for the living. We do this that we may become like unto him, and dwell with him eternally; that we may become sons of God, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ." (Joseph F. Smith. Gospel Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1919. 346-347. Print.)

Heber J. Grant (1856 to 1945 CE)

Heber J. Grant

"If we examine the plan of life and salvation, if we examine the commandments that are given to us as members of the Church of God, we will find that each and every one of those commandments has been given for the express purpose that we may be benefited, that we may be educated, that we may be qualified and prepared to go back and dwell in the presence of our Heavenly Father. These duties and obligations are calculated to make us godlike in our dispositions. They are calculated to make Gods of us, and to fit and qualify us that we may become, as it is promised that we can become, joint heirs with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and dwell with Him in the presence of God the Eternal Father throughout all the countless ages of eternity. The object of our being placed upon this earth is that we may work out an exaltation, that we may prepare ourselves to go back and dwell with our Heavenly Father; and our Father, knowing the faults and failings of men, has given us certain commandments to obey, and if we will examine those requirements and the things that devolve upon us we will find that they are all for our individual benefit and advancement. The school of life in which we are placed and the lessons that are given to us by our Father will make of us exactly what He desires, so that we may be prepared to dwell with Him. Our children ofttimes feel to complain because of the duties that we require of them. They would sooner play marbles, or run after a hoop, or jump the rope, or do something else, than perform the labors that we as parents place before them. But in after years they discover that the tasks we gave to them, wherein we taught them to be industrious, were beneficial to them." (Heber J. Grant. "Remarks by Elder Heber J. Grant." Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star. Ed. Rulon S. Wells. Vol. 58. No. 1. Liverpool: Rulon S. Wells, 1896. 3. Print.)

George Albert Smith (1870 to 1951 CE)

George Albert Smith

"Being created in the image of God, we believe that it is not improper, that it is not unrighteous, for us to hope that we may be permitted to partake of the attributes of deity and, if we are faithful, to become like unto God; for as we receive of and obey the natural laws of our Father that govern this life, we become more like Him; and as we take advantage of the opportunities placed within our reach, we prepare to receive greater opportunities in this life and in the life that is to come." (George Albert Smith. "The Immortality of the Soul." Teachings of Presidents of the Church: George Albert Smith. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2011. 71. Web. 17 Jul. 2020.)

David O. McKay (1873 to 1970 CE)

David O. McKay

"Therefore, although God has created the universe and all therein, 'man is the jewel of God.' This is just another way of saying that the earth was created for man and not man for the earth. God gave to man part of his divinity. He gave man the power of choice, and no other creature in the world has it. So he placed upon the individual the obligation of conducting himself as an eternal being. You cannot think of any greater gift that could come to a man or woman than the freedom of choice. You alone are responsible, and by wielding and exercising that freedom of choice, you grow in character, you grow in intelligence, you approach divinity, and eventually you may achieve that high exaltation. That is a great obligation. Very few people appreciate it. The roads are clearly marked — one offering animal existence, the other life abundant. Yet, God's greatest creation — man — often is content to grovel on the animal plane." (David O. McKay. "Man, The Jewel of God." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1969. Web. 10 Feb. 2019.)

Joseph Fielding Smith (1876 to 1972 CE)

Joseph Fielding Smith

"At the close of a stake conference one time, a brother came up to me for counsel, which he did not follow when he got it. It wasn't counsel he wanted; it was confirmation. He said he and his wife had tired of each other. She was a good woman. She was living her religion. He claimed to be a good man. And the president of his stake, afterwards, when I spoke to him, said he was a good man. How could they be good and want to separate and throw into the discard all these glorious blessings that would bring to them the glory of godhood, as set forth in the revelations which I have read to you? How could they be good? I want to say to you, my brethren and sisters, there never could be a divorce in this Church if the husband and wife were keeping the commandments of God." (Joseph Fielding Smith. "Sacredness of the Eternal Marriage Covenant." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1949. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"God is an exalted man. ... Let me ask, are we not taught that we as sons of God may become like him? Is not this a glorious thought? Yet we have to pass through mortality and receive the resurrection and then go on to perfection just as our Father did before us. The Prophet taught that our Father had a Father and so on. Is not this a reasonable thought, especially when we remember that the promises are made to us that we may become like him? ... We all existed in the first eternity. I think I can say of myself and others, we are from eternity; and we will be to eternity everlasting, if we receive the exaltation. The intelligent part of man was never created but always existed. That is true of each of us as well as it is of God, yet we are born sons and daughters of God in the spirit and are destined to exist forever. Those who become like God will also be from eternity to eternity." (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 8-9. Print.)

"This mortal probation was to be a brief period, just a short span linking the eternity past with the eternity future. Yet it was to be a period of tremendous importance. It would either give to those who received it the blessing of eternal life, which is the greatest gift of God, and thus qualify them for godhood as sons and daughters of our Eternal Father, or, if they rebelled and refused to comply with the laws and ordinances which were provided for their salvation, it would deny them the great gift and they would be assigned, after the resurrection, to some inferior sphere according to their works." (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 43. Print.)

"Mortality is the testing or proving ground for exaltation to find out who among the children of God are worthy to become Gods themselves, and the Lord has informed us that 'few there be that find it.'" (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 44. Print.)

"All exalted men become gods. To believe that Adam is a god should not be strange to any person who accepts the Bible. When Jesus was accused of blasphemy because he claimed to be the Son of God, he answered the Jews: '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?' Paul said, writing to the members of the Church in Rome: 'For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.' And to the Galatians he said: 'And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.' Joseph Smith taught a plurality of gods, and that man by obeying the commandments of God and keeping the whole law will eventually reach the power and exaltation by which he also will become a god." (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 61. Print.)

"Sons of God become gods. If the faithful, who keep the commandments of the Father, are his sons, then they are heirs of the kingdom and shall receive of the fulness of the Father's glory, even until they become like the Father. And how can they be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect if they are not like him? ... Now, if they overcome all things, then there are not some things which they do not overcome. If these are to receive 'of his fulness and of his glory,' and if into their 'hands the Father has given all things,' then the Father has not withheld some of the fulness of his glory, or some things. And if they receive his fulness and his glory, and if 'all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs,' how can they receive these blessings and not become gods? They cannot." (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 243-244. Print.)

"Exaltation and the creation of worlds. Now, according to the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, we worship our Heavenly Father who governs in our universe, and we do all that we do in the name of the Son. We are informed that there are many earths or worlds which have been created, and were created by the Son for the Father, This was, of course, before he was born a Babe in Bethlehem. Evidently his Father passed through a period of mortality even as he passed through mortality, and as we all are doing. Our Father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a Father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father, until we come to a stop where we cannot go further, because of our limited capacity to understand. We are sons and daughters of God in the spirit. Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, we receive the resurrection, the spirit and the body being united inseparably, never to be divided, so that we will never die again. We thus become immortal, and if we keep the commandments which are given us, we will inherit celestial glory. When we receive this great blessing, we will be sons of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ. The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fulness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fulness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this." (Joseph Fielding Smith. Doctrines of Salvation. Ed. Bruce R. McConkie. Vol. 1. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954. 248-249. Print.)

"We are in the mortal life to get an experience, a training, that we couldn't get any other way. And in order to become gods, it is necessary for us to know something about pain, about sickness, and about the other things that we partake of in this school of mortality." (Joseph Fielding Smith. "Adam's Role in Bringing Us Mortality." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1967. Web. 9 Dec. 2018.)

"We believe in the dignity and divine origin of man. Our faith is founded on the fact that God is our Father, and that we are his children, and that all men are brothers and sisters in the same eternal family. As members of his family, we dwelt with him before the foundations of this earth were laid, and he ordained and established the plan of salvation whereby we gained the privilege of advancing and progressing as we are endeavoring to do. The God we worship is a glorified Being in whom all power and perfection dwell, and he has created man in his own image and likeness, with those characteristics and attributes which he himself possesses." (Joseph Fielding Smith. "Our Concern for All Our Father's Children." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1970. Web. 17 Jul. 2020.)

Harold B. Lee (1899 to 1973 CE)

Harold B. Lee

"The reasoning of Joseph Smith, in the partial statement from which he has quoted, 'that God was once as we are now,' is given additional strength if our brother will recall the words of the Master: 'The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever he [the Father] doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.' When we consider the fact that our Lord and Master, Jesus of Nazareth one of the Godhead, came to tabernacle in mortality, then this quoted statement, taken literally, is of great significance. ... Surely one must stop and ponder deeply the biblical account of the creation, where God declared: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.' And later, after Adam's act of transgression, the Lord God said to one other who was with him: 'Behold, the man is become as one of us.' If man, then, was created after the image and likeness of his glorified Creator, and afterward man became as one with those who had created him, then the doubts in my friend's mind must begin to be resolved, and he can then come to see the grandeur of this greater concept of the living God whom we worship. ... The sacred writings of the prophets speak of an exalted state to which man may attain, which is called eternal life, or life in the presence of God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. ... The ancient prophet was not speaking idly when he declared in exaltation, 'O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it.' Neither was the profound injunction to his disciples meaningless. 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' The Master was speaking of a state of ultimate perfection to which all might attain through their faithfulness." (Harold B. Lee. "To Know God." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1969. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

Spencer W. Kimball (1895 to 1985 CE)

Spencer W. Kimball

"The Lord gave us the impressive parable of the prodigal son. This squanderer lived but for today. He spent his life in riotous living. He disregarded the commandments of God. His inheritance was expendable, and he spent it. He was never to enjoy it again as it was irretrievably gone. No quantity of tears or regrets or remorse could bring it back. Even though his father forgave him and dined him and clothed him and kissed him, he could not give back to the profligate son that which had been dissipated. But the other brother who had been faithful, loyal, righteous, constant, retained his inheritance, and the father reassured him: 'All that I have is thine.' When one realizes the vastness, the richness, the glory of that 'all' which the Lord promises to bestow upon his faithful, it is worth all it costs in patience, faith, sacrifice, sweat and tears. The blessings of eternity contemplated in this 'all' bring to men immortality and everlasting life, eternal growth, divine leadership, eternal increase, perfection, and with it all — Godhood." (Spencer W. Kimball. "'Tis Not Vain to Serve the Lord." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1952. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we declare in all solemnity the reality of God the Eternal Father and his Son Jesus Christ, as like as any father and son, yet distinct individuals. On more than one occasion the Christ has made known that a knowledge and acquaintance with God is basic to exaltation. 'This is eternal lives — to know the only wise and true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent. I am he.' And then his command: 'Receive ye, therefore, my law.' Neither the Father Elohim nor the Son Jehovah would alienate himself from the children of men. It is they, the men, who cut themselves off if there be estrangement. Both the Father and the Son would gladly commune and associate with men. But men must be Godlike, pure, and perfected to attain such stature. Even with this high degree of worthiness, men must still be protected from the brilliance and glory of the heavenly personages. If I were to tell you that in your own back yard you could find an acre of diamonds, would you ignore the suggestion and take no trouble to search? Today, I am telling you that in easy reach there is a prize of inestimable worth. Diamonds can buy one food and shelter. Diamonds can sparkle and glitter. Diamonds can embellish and decorate. But the prize which is within your grasp is more brilliant than jewels. It will not tarnish nor be subject to market trends. I speak of the greatest gift — the gift of eternal life. It may not be obtained through mere wishing; it cannot be purchased with money; hopeful wishing will not bring it, but it is available to men and women the world over. There have been long periods of history when the total truth was not immediately available to the inhabitants of the earth. But in our day, the whole eternal program is here and can carry men to exaltation and eternal life all the way to Godhood." (Spencer W. Kimball. "For They Shall See God." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1964. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"How conclusive! How bounded! How limiting! And we come to realize again as it bears heavily upon us that this time, this life, this mortality is the time to prepare to meet God. How lonely and barren will be the so-called single blessedness throughout eternity! How sad to be separate and single and apart through countless ages when one could, by meeting requirements, have happy marriage for eternity in the temple by proper authority and continue on in ever-increasing joy and happiness, growth and development toward Godhood." (Spencer W. Kimball. "So Long as You Both Shall Live." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1964. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"The scriptures point clearly to the high purpose of man's existence. Abraham and Moses particularly were explicit on this matter, as is revealed by records made available to us through the modern Prophet Joseph Smith. That Prophet, having learned the drama and purpose of it all from the ancient records as well as from heavenly visitations, continued to receive through direct revelation further light and truth respecting man's great potential. Through him God has abundantly confirmed that man is the supreme creation, made in the image and similitude of God and his Son, Jesus Christ; that man is the offspring of God; that for man, and man alone, was the earth created, organized, planted and made ready for human habitation; and that, having within him the seeds of godhood and thus being a god in embryo, man has unlimited potential for progress and attainment." (Spencer W. Kimball. The Miracle of Forgiveness. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1969. 3. Print.)

"The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches men to live righteously, to make the family supreme, the home inviolate. It moves the characters of its adherents toward faultlessness. It is the true way. If lived rightly it will ennoble men toward Godhood." (Spencer W. Kimball. "Glimpses of Heaven." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1971. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"In each of us is the potentiality to become a God — pure, holy, true, influential, powerful, independent of earthly forces. We learn from the scriptures that we each have eternal existence, that we were in the beginning with God. That understanding gives to us a unique sense of man’s dignity." (Spencer W. Kimball. "Ocean Currents and Family Influences." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1974. Web. 6 Jan. 2019.)

"Brethren, 225,000 of you are here tonight. I suppose 225,000 of you may become gods. There seems to be plenty of space out there in the universe. And the Lord has proved that he knows how to do it. I think he could make, or probably have us help make, worlds for all of us, for every one of us 225,000. Just think of the possibilities, the potential. Every little boy that has just been born becomes an heir to this glorious, glorious program. When he is grown, he meets a lovely woman; they are married in the holy temple. They live all the commandments of the Lord. They keep themselves clean. And then they become sons of God, and they go forward with their great program -- they go beyond the angels, beyond the angels and the gods that are waiting there. They go to their exaltation." (Spencer W. Kimball. "The Privilege of Holding the Priesthood." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1975. Web. 9 Dec. 2018.)

"Perhaps there is something else that we will learn as we perfect our bodies and our spirits in the times to come. You and I — what helpless creatures are we! Such limited power we have, and how little can we control the wind and the waves and the storms! We remember the numerous scriptures which, concentrated in a single line, were said by a former prophet, Lorenzo Snow: 'As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.' This is a power available to us as we reach perfection and receive the experience and power to create, to organize, to control native elements. How limited we are now! We have no power to force the grass to grow, the plants to emerge, the seeds to develop. ... Then came the periods of time when souls were to be placed upon the earth and born to parents who were permitted to furnish the bodies. But no parent has ever yet on this earth been the parent of a spirit, because we are so far yet from perfection. Remember what was said a while ago, that 'As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.' They came with the definite understanding that they could return to become like God and go forward in their great development and progress. ... Let me mention one more thing. While we are in the mortal body we cannot 'fashion kingdoms [or] organize matter, for [that is] beyond our capacity and calling, beyond this world. In the resurrection, men who have been faithful and diligent in all things in the flesh, [who] have kept their first and second estate, and [are] worthy to be crowned Gods, even the sons of God, will be ordained to organize matter. How much matter do you suppose there is between here and some of the fixed stars which we can see? Enough to frame many, very many millions of such earths as this, yet it is now so diffused, clear and pure, that we look through it and behold the stars. Yet the matter is there. Can you form any conception of this? Can you form any idea of the minuteness of matter?' Can you realize even slightly how relatively little we know? As Paul said, 'Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.' We talk about the gospel in its fulness; yet we realize that a large part is still available to us as we prepare, as we perfect our lives, and as we become more like our God. Are we ready for it? In the Doctrine and Covenants we read of Abraham, who has already attained godhood. He has received many powers, undoubtedly, that we would like to have and will eventually get if we continue faithful and perfect our lives. ... My brethren, God bless you as we carry forward our lives toward perfection so that we may attain and receive the blessings that we are promised, that we may reach godhood eventually and have the blessings appertaining thereto." (Spencer W. Kimball. "Our Great Potential." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1977. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"This is a partnership. God and his creation. The Primary song says, 'I am a child of God.' Born with a noble birthright. God is your father. He loves you. He and your mother in heaven value you beyond any measure. They gave your eternal intelligence spirit form, just as your earthly mother and father have given you a mortal body. You are unique. One of a kind, made of the eternal intelligence which gives you claim upon eternal life. Let there be no question in your mind about your value as an individual. The whole intent of the gospel plan is to provide an opportunity for each of you to reach your fullest potential, which is eternal progression and the possibility of godhood." (Spencer W. Kimball. "Privileges and Responsibilities of Sisters." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1978. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

"First, let us pause to remind ourselves that we are the spiritual children of God, and that we are his supreme creation. In each of us there is the potentiality to become a God — pure, holy, true, influential, powerful, independent of earthly forces. We learn from the scriptures that we each have eternal existence, that we were in the beginning with God. That understanding gives to us a unique sense of man’s dignity." (Spencer W. Kimball. "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1980. Web. 6 Jan. 2019.)

Ezra Taft Benson (1899 to 1994 CE)

Ezra Taft Benson

"Life is eternal. We are eternal beings. We lived as intelligent spirits before this mortal life. We are now living part of eternity. Our mortal birth was not the beginning. Death, which faces all of us, is not the end. As eternal beings, we each have in us a spark of divinity." (Ezra Taft Benson. "Life Is Eternal." Liahona. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 1992. Web. 17 Jul. 2020.)

"As God's offspring, we have His attributes in us. We are gods in embryo, and thus have an unlimited potential for progress and attainment." (Ezra Taft Benson. The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988. 21. Print.)

Howard W. Hunter (1907 to 1995 CE)

Howard W. Hunter

"Our Father in Heaven wanted our growth to continue in mortality and to be enhanced by our freedom to choose and learn. He also wanted us to exercise our faith and our will, especially with a new physical body to master and control. But we know from both ancient and modern revelation that Satan wished to deny us our independence and agency in that now-forgotten moment long ago, even as he wishes to deny them this very hour. Indeed, Satan violently opposed the freedom of choice offered by the Father, so violently that John in the Revelation described 'war in heaven' over the matter. Satan would have coerced us, and he would have robbed us of that most precious of gifts if he could: our freedom to choose a divine future and the exaltation we all hope to obtain." (Howard W. Hunter. "The Golden Thread of Choice." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1989. Web. 3 Feb. 2019.)

Gordon B. Hinckley (1910 to 2008 CE)

Gordon B. Hinckley

"On the other hand, the whole design of the gospel is to lead us onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become! Our enemies have criticized us for believing in this. Our reply is that this lofty concept in no way diminishes God the Eternal Father. He is the Almighty. He is the Creator and Governor of the universe. He is the greatest of all and will always be so. But just as any earthly father wishes for his sons and daughters every success in life, so I believe our Father in Heaven wishes for his children that they might approach him in stature and stand beside him resplendent in godly strength and wisdom." (Gordon B. Hinckley. "Don't Drop the Ball." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1994. Web. 17 Jul. 2020.)

Russell M. Nelson

Russell M. Nelson

"If I were to ask which of the Lord’s commandments is most difficult to keep, many of us might cite Matthew 5: 48, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.' ... Jesus asked for more than mortal perfection. The moment he uttered the words 'even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' he raised our sights beyond the bounds of mortality. Our Heavenly Father has eternal perfection. This very fact merits a much broader perspective. Recently I studied the English and Greek editions of the New Testament, concentrating on each use of the term perfect and its derivatives. Studying both languages together provided some interesting insights, since Greek was the original language of the New Testament. In Matt. 5:48 the term perfect was translated from the Greek teleios, which means “complete.” Teleios is an adjective derived from the noun telos, which means 'end.' The infinitive form of the verb is teleiono, which means 'to reach a distant end, to be fully developed, to consummate, or to finish.' Please note that the word does not imply 'freedom from error;' it implies 'achieving a distant objective.' In fact, when writers of the Greek New Testament wished to describe perfection of behavior — precision or excellence of human effort — they did not employ a form of teleios; instead, they chose different words. Teleios is not a total stranger to us. From it comes the prefix tele- that we use every day. Telephone literally means 'distant talk.' Television means 'to see distantly.' Telephoto means 'distant light,' and so on. With that background in mind, let us consider another highly significant statement made by the Lord. Just prior to his crucifixion, he said that on 'the third day I shall be perfected.' Think of that! The sinless, errorless Lord — already perfect by our mortal standards — proclaimed his own state of perfection yet to be in the future. His eternal perfection would follow his resurrection and receipt of 'all power ... in heaven and in earth.' The perfection that the Savior envisions for us is much more than errorless performance. It is the eternal expectation as expressed by the Lord in his great intercessory prayer to his Father — that we might be made perfect and be able to dwell with them in the eternities ahead. The Lord’s entire work and glory pertains to the immortality and eternal life of each human being. He came into the world to do the will of his Father, who sent him. His sacred responsibility was foreseen before the creation and was foretold by all his holy prophets since the world began. The atonement of Christ fulfilled the long-awaited purpose for which he had come to the earth. His concluding words upon Calvary’s cross referred to the culmination of his assignment — to atone for all humankind. Then he said, 'It is finished.' Not surprisingly, the Greek word from which finished was derived is teleios. That Jesus attained eternal perfection following his resurrection is confirmed in the Book of Mormon. It records the visit of the resurrected Lord to the people of ancient America. There he repeated the important injunction previously cited but with one very significant addition. He said, 'I would that ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.' This time he listed himself along with his Father as a perfected personage. Previously he had not. Resurrection is requisite for eternal perfection. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ, our bodies, corruptible in mortality, will become incorruptible. Our physical frames, now subject to disease, death, and decay, will acquire immortal glory. Presently sustained by the blood of life and ever aging, our bodies will be sustained by spirit and become changeless and beyond the bounds of death. Eternal perfection is reserved for those who overcome all things and inherit the fulness of the Father in his heavenly mansions. Perfection consists in gaining eternal life — the kind of life that God lives." (Russell M. Nelson. "Perfection Pending." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Oct. 1995. Web. 27 Jan. 2019.)

"In the temple we receive an endowment, which is, literally speaking, a gift. In receiving this gift, we should understand its significance and the importance of keeping sacred covenants. Each temple ordinance 'is not just a ritual to go through, it is an act of solemn promising.' The temple endowment was given by revelation. Thus, it is best understood by revelation, prayerfully sought with a sincere heart. President Brigham Young said, 'Your endowment is, to receive all those ordinances in the house of the Lord, which are necessary for you, after you have departed this life, to enable you to walk back to the presence of the Father, ... and gain your eternal exaltation.' In preparing to receive the endowment and other ordinances of the temple, we should understand the sealing authority of the priesthood. Jesus referred to this authority long ago when He taught His Apostles, 'Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.' That same authority has been restored in these latter days. Just as priesthood is eternal — without beginning or end — so is the effect of priesthood ordinances that bind families together forever. Temple ordinances, covenants, endowments, and sealings enable individuals to be reconciled with the Lord and families to be sealed beyond the veil of death. Obedience to temple covenants qualifies us for eternal life, the greatest gift of God to man. Eternal life is more than immortality. Eternal life is exaltation in the highest heaven — the kind of life that God lives." (Russell M. Nelson. "Personal Preparation for Temple Blessings." General Conference. Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Apr. 2001. Web. 27 Jan. 2019.)