Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell: Is the True Mormon Gospel Becoming a Secret?
(Gordon B. Hinkley Doesn’t Seem to Know!) An honest analysis by Marshall Almarode
The Key to the Mormon Gospel is Eternal Progression. It appears Mormons are now ashamed of their god and their gospel. The reason I say this is that Mormons deny the identity of their god and their gospel when asked. My experience is that if I ask any Mormon at random, “Was God once a man?” or “Can men become gods?” I get an immediate answer of “No” (from the Mormon missionaries and my Mormon friends). By saying “No,” they are denying the Mormon god and the Mormon gospel.
Nowhere in their six missionary discussions will they tell you that they teach and believe that men can become gods or that they believe God was once a man or that they believe that there are many gods existing in space somewhere. In over twenty years of asking thousands of Mormons in the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California, the question, “Do you believe that you can become a god?” I have almost always received that answer, “No.”
They usually say things like, “We believe that you can become like God.”
When I ask, “Was God ever a man?” I usually get something like, “We don’t really know.”
When I ask them if they believe that there are many gods existing in space somewhere, they almost always answer, “No, We only worship one God.”
The only way that I can get them to admit the truth about their God and gospel seems to be to quote their founding prophet Joseph Smith or other key Mormon apostles and prophets. It’s as if Mormons are ashamed to admit the attributes of their gospel principle of Eternal Progression.
Their founder, Joseph Smith Jr., clearly stated in his most famous sermon, “I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. What sort of a being was God in the beginning? … God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … 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.” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse, General Conference, April 1844, p. 345)
The second Prophet, Brigham Young, stated, “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.” (Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 22-23, from Journal of Discourses, vol. 7, p. 333)
The fifth Prophet, Lorenzo Snow, is famous in Mormon circles for his couplet, “As man is, God once was, as God is, man may be.” (Apostle James Talmage, Articles of Faith, p. 430)
As we can see, early Mormon prophets and apostles were bold in their gospel proclamations. They knew the Law of Eternal Progression. They were not ashamed nor confused concerning the key elements of their gospel.
However, the Former Prophet of the Mormon Church, Gordon B Hinkley, gives the public two good examples of denying the LDS gospel. Hinkley was interviewed in his room at the Santa Clara Marriott Hotel just before he delivered an address to the World Forum of Silicon Valley:
“Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don’t Mormons believe that God was once a man?
A: I wouldn’t say that. There was a little couplet coined, ‘As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.’ Now that’s more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don’t know very much about.
Q: So you’re saying the church is still struggling to understand this?
A: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We’re trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can.”
Q: One of the other things I think people are curious about in the Mormon Church are the temple rites, and why they are kept so secret.
Q: Sacred, but closed off to outsiders. I can’t think of any other religion that has such secrecy about its temple rites.
A: When we build a temple, we invite people to come. They come in large numbers. We’ll be dedicating the St. Louis temple this coming May. Before we dedicate that, we’ll have an open house. There will be hundreds of thousands of people go through that temple. Anybody and everybody. (Laughter) The curious and everybody else. And they are free to ask any questions about it, anything they’d like to ask. After its dedicated, then it becomes endowed with a particular sanctity, as we view it. And it becomes available then only to those who are qualified to enter the temple.” (The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, Sunday, April 13, 1997, * Page 3/z1)
Notice that Hinkley’s first answer is, “I wouldn’t say that.” Rather than affirm his gospel of Eternal Progression, Hinkley immediately denies it. It is interesting that the current prophet of the Mormon Church would admit that “we don’t know very much about [deep theology.]”
“In an interview with Time [Magazine], President Hinkley seemed intent on downplaying his faith’s distinctiveness. At first Hinkley seemed to qualify the idea that men could become Gods, suggesting that ‘It’s of course an ideal. It’s a hope for a wishful thing,’ but later affirmed that, ‘Yes of course they can.’ (He added that women could too, ‘as companions to their husbands. They can’t conceive a king without a queen.’) On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he sounded uncertain, ‘I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it … I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don’t know a lot about it, and I don’t think others know a lot about it.'” (Interview by David Van Beima, Time, August 25, 1997, p. 56).
With leadership like this, it’s no wonder that Mormons everywhere are denying the keys to their gospel publicly. Why not just be honest? Did Paul ever use lies or deception to gain converts? Is this God’s method?
Mormon Scripture – Unashamed!
Doctrine and Covenants, section 71, verse 5, God speaks, “whoso readeth, let him understand and receive also.” Verses 7-8 state, “Wherefore, confound your enemies; call upon them to meet you both in public and in private; and inasmuch as ye are faithful their shame shall be made manifest. Wherefore, let them bring forth their strong reasons against the Lord.” Early Mormon leaders were unashamed and proudly proclaimed the LDS gospel both publicly and privately. Early Mormons took their scriptures seriously when it commanded them to “call upon them to meet you both in public and in private.” They didn’t just go to Fast and Testimony meetings. They testified boldly in public because they strongly believed that their gospel was true, and all others were false.
Mormons Ashamed of their Keys?
I have been searching for a Mormon with boldness and courage to stand for his God and his gospel in public for over fifteen years. No Mormon has ever taken me up on my offer. Why are most Mormons so ashamed to state their true faith in public? Could it be that the Book of Mormon does not contain the teaching of Eternal Progression? Have they lost the keys?
My Personal Challenge
Is there no one in the Mormon faith who has the faith and courage to stand up for their god and their gospel in public like Elijah did with the false prophets of Baal? Elijah stood up in public and glorified God and his gospel. God was glorified with Job’s stand. He will be glorified if we stand also. If there is a Mormon Priesthood holder out there, with courage to stand for his gospel boldly in public, my phone number follows. Call me. Let’s glorify God in public with truth.