Is it possible that Heavenly Father was once a sinner?

What are Mormons saying?

"Sure, it's very possible. It says... you know, with God it is one eternal round. I think it's the same process that keeps going on and on and on through eternity. And so yeah, it's very possible he was just a normal man like us at some point in time on another world."
"I think that making mistakes is an essential part of a learning process. So, if you follow logic and reason, then I definitely think that is a distinct possibility. It doesn't make him any less powerful or anything... It makes me more comfortable... in the sense that we have hope to overcome if he could overcome and become as great as he is. Then certainly we have hope to overcome all our trials and sinful natures as well."
"He's like us, I guess. There's a lot more to that than what's upfront... I actually look more toward worshiping a God that we can become like... Look where he's at now, that's all that matters."
"At one point before his progression, I'd say that it's maybe possible, but I don't think there's anything I've ever read or heard that's reliable that would say that, but I think it's a possibility... It would make sense to me, knowing that it's not unreachable to be like that, knowing that he was once like we are."
"I think that's one thing that really attracts me to Mormonism, the whole how we can become like God. And God being a sinner, that's really complicated because if there was a savior then, and his sins were washed clean through that savior, then he wouldn't have been a sinner. Kind of like us. If we repent of our sins then we become clean. So it's a complicated question... I don't know enough about it really, I'm not going to say that I would be shocked or horrified if that was the case if God ever did anything wrong. I wouldn't be shocked or horrified by that... If he ever was a sinner it would have been a long time ago, and he's definitely progressed past that obviously, and I don't know the steps that he would have to do to progress past that or exactly what happens... So, it doesn't affect my worship in anyway, just because I don't know enough about it. Really, complicated stuff like that, I just don't know enough about it to let it distract me, so I just try to focus on the more simple stuff of just trying to live better every day. Because that's really what the teachings are, just try to be better the next day than you were before."
"A sinner like us? I've heard a lot of things about that, and Lorenzo Snow did say that, so I'd say that God experienced many things much like the Savior did... To what extent? I don't know. That's not something our Church really focuses on. We try to focus on what we’re doing here in this life, about Jesus Christ... We do believe we have the potential to be like our Heavenly Father, but I think what we're trying to focus on is being good Christians, followers and disciples of Christ."
"Absolutely. He went through the same things we did. He knows what we're going through. And he obviously lived his life right because he became a God... It assures me that I can always do better and become like unto God, like the scriptures tell us to. And that's absolutely an inspiration to my life more according to the ways of the Church. Because that's obviously where we all want to eventually get."
"I don't think it really matters. If he was a sinner, then great. It doesn't really matter. The atonement of Jesus Christ provided for us here on earth---who are all sinners---allows us to be cleansed. Through his blood, through his saving grace, allows us to be cleansed from all of that. So to me it doesn't really matter whether or not God was ever a sinner, because if he was, if that was the case, then the very existence of him as a God means that he overcame those sins. And if there was a situation where he he had a redeemer as we have Christ, then he overcame it, and he was blessed by the grace of that redeemer."
"I believe in eternal progression... I believe that everything is matter and spirit. And therefore God probably was a sinner, probably he repented of his sins, and somehow he made his way up there, where he is right now. If he sinned or not, that's not my concern... It kind of makes me feel more closer to him in a way, that I know that he felt the same things I'm feeling right now while I'm alive. He went through similar things that I'm going through right now. And that eventually through practice and through perfecting myself and whatever skills develop I can eventually become like him. It gives me hope for the future."

What do Mormon apologists and academics say?

"A correct understanding of the development of Israelite theology clearly does not preclude God having once been a sinner... The Bible leaves open the idea that God was once a man, and that he was once imperfect like the rest of us." Daniel O. McClellan, Walter Martin Boards
"Before he received his exaltation, he lived on a world and it's possible [that God sinned]. But he also could have been a savior on his world as Jesus is a savior on this world. And therefore he could have lived a sinless life, and therefore not have. So we don't have his records. We don't have information about his life. So we don't know... There's no doctrine statement by the Church about his life." Craig Ray, Foundation for Apologetics and Information Research
"Does my lack of knowledge of God's past cause me to go so far as to speculate that he might have been a sinner on another world---you mentioned the specific sin---I would say a sinner of any kind---I just don't know enough about that. All I can say is that the only God I know is the God I know now. Your question, though fascinating, all I can say is, I don't know anything about it. Do I think that it is possible that God was a practicing homosexual on another world? No. But that's just a personal response, that's not a Church response. God is God, he possesses all the attributes of godliness and perfection, and as far as I know, he's been God forevermore. What we are to understand by Joseph Smith's statement and Lorenzo Snow's statement, and beyond what is made by those two people, I know not. I wish I could say more, but that's all my answer." Robert Millet, 2007 Interfaith Dialog
"So in our view it doesn’t matter one bit that a person sinned at some point in their existence prior to becoming a god. It doesn’t preclude the possibility of being divine, because atonement can be made and the sin can be totally eradicated. In this sense I think we have a much more robust doctrine of atonement than mainstream Christianity. Our view of atonement is powerful enough to make gods out of sinners, theirs isn’t. . . . It doesn’t frustrate our sense of existence to speculate that God the Father was once like us." James Stutz (Source)
"The idea that God may once have been a sinner is speculation. Many Latter-day Saints find the idea impossible, while others consider it a possibility. Latter-day Saints do not generally speculate on events that happened prior to the war in heaven. The details of God's mortality and existence before the war in heaven are largely unknown and have not been revealed. We do not have an exact answer to this question. For some, however, the idea that God may have once been a sinner like us gives added hope and faith in the atonement, and its ability to ultimately make us without sin regardless of what we may have done. But the question to ask is: 'Does it really matter all that much?' Whether it is true or it is not, does anything change? Knowing details of God's previous mortality doesn't change the fact that our Heavenly Father is still our Heavenly Father, who loves us very much. He has perfect knowledge, flawless character, and all power, and we can therefore have perfect faith in his ability to save and exalt his children. He sent His first born son, Jesus Christ, to sacrifice Himself for us. He wants us to be 'heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.'" If God was once like us, does that mean that God was once a sinner?", The FAIR Wiki. Nov. 1, 2012.

Why do Mormons think this way?

On April 7, 1844, Joseph Smith preached what is called the King Follett Discourse. In it he taught,

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens... 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 veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some; but they are simple... 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..."

The Lorenzo Snow couplet summarizes the big idea:

“As man is God once was, and as God is man may be.”

According to Mormonism, man is in a probation, a state of mortality. The test is to see if we will be worthy and keep all the commandments, and the goal is to be as God is. What is God? According to Mormonism, God is an exalted man. What did God accomplish? He became a God. What can we accomplish according to traditional Mormonism? We can likewise become a God.

So, as we live out this mortal probationary experience, who is our example? Who succeeded in doing what we are attempting? Mormonism says, Heavenly Father. What was God? He was as man is.

When a Mormon says, "God never sinned", what do they really mean?

Mormonism culture fosters an acceptance of equivocation and obfuscation. It is a soft "leftover" of the past culture of hard secrecy that Mormonism used to practice in the earlier polygamy era. Mormons often see their obfuscation as a kind of benevolent deception, a giving of "milk", lest we choke on "meat."

Because of this, it is important to ask follow-up questions. If a Mormon says, "God never sinned", it often does not mean what you think it means.

This is why you should always ask follow-up questions. One easy way to make sure a person isn't using one of the above obfuscations is to ask, "If you met another Mormon who said that God never sinned, in this eternity as God, but perhaps he sinned as a mortal in a prior eternity, how would you respond?" And so forth.

As a Christian, I am not simply looking for Mormons to give me the "right answer." I am looking for a heart that beats for God. In other words, I don't merely want Mormons to believe that God never sinned, I want them to love and experience and know and worship the God that never sinned. I want them to share in the same passion for the Most High, and share in the same brokenhearted outrage over idolatry.

What kind of sins did a Mormon god once perhaps commit?

Any sin that doesn't permanently disqualify or disable a person from achieving full Celestial exaltation unto godhood is a sin that a Heavenly Father in Mormonism may have committed.

The fact remains that Mormonism suggests God the Father was perhaps a sinner and most Mormons (in my experience) seem willing to tolerate the idea as a real possibility. This begs another particularly unsettling question.

If our Heavenly Father (or any Heavenly Father in ultimate reality) was once perhaps a sinner, only sins which permanently disqualify or disable a person from achieving full Celestial exaltation unto godhood are sins that he absolutely never committed. Or to put it another way, any sin that doesn't permanently disqualify or disable a person from achieving full Celestial exaltation unto godhood is a sin that a Heavenly Father in Mormonism may have committed. The only sins which traditional Mormonism says permanently disqualify or disable a person from achieving godhood are murder (some Mormons even limit this to post-temple-covenant murder) and blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

Think about it. What are some sins that you find especially gross and heinous that a person can repent over unto Celestial exaltation and godhood? Those are the sins that the God of Mormonism may have committed, and those are sins that other Gods (either in the past ancestry of the Gods or the future lineage of Gods) may have committed. The exalted Gods of Mormonism (including ours) may have one been involved in:

  • Adultery
  • Arrogance
  • Bestiality
  • Blasphemy
  • Bitterness
  • Bribery
  • Callousness
  • Child abuse
  • Coveting
  • Cowardice
  • Cruelty
  • Drunkenness
  • False prophecy
  • Gossip
  • Hatred
  • The practice of homosexuality
  • Idolatry
  • Laziness
  • Leading children astray 
  • Lovelessness
  • Lust
  • Lying
  • Pedophilia
  • Pornography
  • Rape
  • Resentment
  • Spousal abuse
  • Stealing, ponzi schemes
  • Unfaithfulness
  • Unjustified anger
  • Violence
  • Voyuerism
  • Witchcraft
  • 13 reasons to believe that God never sinned

    1. Because God has always been God

    "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God." Psalm 90:2

    2. Because we shouldn't limit our worship of God

    Are you embarrassed by God's past?

    Sin is not worthy of worship. But there is absolutely nothing about God’s past that isn’t worthy of our uttermost worship. There is nothing about our God’s past to be ashamed of. There is nothing that you need to turn you head away from in embarrassment.

    If there were a library in heaven full of books describing everything God has ever done, you wouldn’t need to ban, or suppress, or censor, or filter, or sanitize any of those books as non-faith-promoting material. It’d be all ultimately faith-promoting.

    You don’t need to limit your worship of God in a way that excludes parts of his past. There is nothing but beauty and glory and purity in his past.

    Nothing about God is ultimately embarrassing, and everything about God is ultimately worthy of worship. Think about it, everything about God—his past, present, and future—is worthy of praise and adoration and awe. He has always been pure, and holy, and admirable. Don’t limit your worship of God to who he is now and who he will be in the future. Let your worship of God confidently encompass all of who he was, is, and will be.

    3. Because God is maximally reliable

    God is the Rock of Ages. You can trust him.

    "Are you not from everlasting, O Lord my God, my Holy One? We shall not die." Habakkuk 1:12

    4. Because God is the Most High

    "It was when I was happiest that I longed most...The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing... to find the place where all the beauty came from." C.S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces
    "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen."Romans 11:34-36

    5. Because the power of the atonement is not in an impersonal principle that trancends the gods

    Sometimes Mormons object that I am “devaluing the power of the atonement,” since I am denying that the atonement can turn a sinner into a God. I remember talking with one student at BYU, in which we spoke at length on the issue of whether God sinned. I was told that I was blaspheming the power of the atonement by insisting that Heavenly Father never was a sinner. The argument goes like this: If Heavenly Father was a sinner, then we ought not think it consequential, because the power of the atonement would have wiped his sins away, to be "remembered no more", etc. In other words, since our God treats his forgiven, atoned-for people *as though* they never sinned, ought we to assume a once-redeemed Heavenly Father should be treated as though he never sinned? There are a number of problems with this.

    If God the Father was a sinner, then he was redeemed by another savior than Jesus Christ.

    This turns "salvation" and the "power of the atonement" into an abstraction, a source-less principle, an impersonal law that governs the genealogy of the Gods, rooted in no ultimate personal being. If God the Father was a sinner, and was redeemed, who would have saved him? Who would have atoned for the sins? The answer is: another savior than Jesus Christ. In other words, "salvation" and the "power of the atonement" here are not referring to something accomplished exclusively by Jesus Christ, but rather to a _principle_ that is implemented by a multitude of unidentified saviors across the genealogy of Gods. In Heavenly Father's case, it would have been accomplished by another savior in the cosmos than Jesus, a sibling of our Heavenly Father.

    I hope you can identify the irony here with me. Mormonism has criticized the God of the Nicene Creed as a cold, abstract, impersonal principle. It's a selling point that God the Father himself is an exalted human, of the human species. That is what makes him personal according to Mormonism. The irony is that Mormonism has inadvertently paid homage to a set of principles, an eternal law that governs the genealogy of Gods. God himself is God because he abides by these external laws, which sound eerily like Platonic forms.

    But abstract principles and abstract objects have no power. They have zero causal relationships. If eternal law and eternal principles, including the principle of the "power of the atonement", are ultimately co-eternal with God and independent of an ultimate God, saying that I devalue the "power of the atonement" is like saying that I devalue the abstract mathematical principle of the number two. It's like saying I blaspheme the cold, impersonal, abstract principles that govern the Gods. The very caricature that Mormons make out of the Nicene Creed is a caricature that Mormonism has come to fulfill.

    6. Because Jesus is the King of Kings

    If we become Gods and send our own "firstborn sons" to atone for the sins of our own spirit children, "salvation" and the "power of the atonement" will refer to an implementation of principles by yet another savior. What do you call the siblings of your father? Aunts and uncles. What would our Heavenly Father relationally be to our future spirit children? What would our elder brother Jesus relationally be to our future spirit children? In a family reunion of the genealogy of Gods, our Heavenly Father would be their Heavenly Grandfather, and our Jesus Christ would be... their spirit-uncle. If God the Father was saved by his own elder brother, then he was saved by our spirit-uncle.

    Abstracting the "atonement" across a potentially infinite number of saviors across the genealogy of the Gods turns the King of Kings---the Lord of Lords, the God of gods, the Most High Jehovah God, the Alpha and Omega---into an uncle Jesus.

    7. Because "remembered no more" means forgiveness, not literal forgetting

    Something else worth addressing is a profound misunderstanding of what it means for sins to be "remembered no more." In Jeremiah 31:34 God says, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more." But does this mean that God will literally forget that we have sinned? Does this mean that God will no longer relate to us as a God who has forgiven us for past wickedness? Does this mean that we will put out of our mind the glorious fact that we were sinners who were forgiven? I submit to you the Biblical idiom means that God will not hold our sins over us in condemnation.

    Let us put to rest any notion that we will someday forget that we were sinners, redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Heaven is not a place for forgetting that we were redeemed. It is a place for celebrating that we were redeemed. In Revelation 5:9-14 the "four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fall down before the Lamb", singing,

    “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth. 

Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice,

Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!”

 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:9-14

    8. Because of the nature of boasting and thanksgiving

    A sinner saved by grace cannot rightly boast in himself:

    "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

    If Heavenly Father is a forgiven sinner, he ought to say, “I have been blessed by one more blessed than me.” If God was forgiven for past sins, he would publicly thank and praise and worship and celebrate the one who forgave him. He would boast in another. But God does not give thanks to anyone for anything. He boasts in himself. Therefore God never sinned. If Heavenly Grandfather was redeemed by the blood of another lamb, then he ought to being forever singing to this uncle of ours, as it were, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” But he doesn't. Instead, we have a God who says things like:

    "Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord, or what man shows him his counsel? Whom did he consult, and who made him understand? Who taught him the path of justice, and taught him knowledge, and showed him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are like a drop from a bucket, and are accounted as the dust on the scales; behold, he takes up the coastlands like fine dust... To whom then will you compare me, that I should be like him? says the Holy One." Isaiah 40:13-15,25
    "I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other... Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants. Let the desert and its cities lift up their voice... let the habitants… sing for joy, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord, and declare his praise in the coastlands." Isaiah 42:8,10-12
    "Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me." Isaiah 43:10
    "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god... Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any." Isaiah 44:6,8
    "For my name's sake I defer my anger, for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off... For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." Isaiah 48:9,11

    The argument may be summarized as follows:

    If God was forgiven for sins, he would publicly thank the one who forgave him.

    If we ever meet the god of Mormonism, we ought to ask him:

    "What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?" 1 Corinthians 4:7

    9. Because of the eternal relationship between the Father and the Son

    10. Because even Mormon scripture agrees

    "By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God..." D&C 20:17
    “From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.” D&C 76:4
    "A correct idea of his character, perfections and attributes" is "necessary, in order that any rational and intelligent being may exercise faith in God unto life and salvation.... 'Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, you are God.' [Psalm 90:2] ... "He changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday to-day and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation." Lectures on Faith, lecture 3
    "God knowing all things, being from everlasting to everlasting..." Moroni 7:22
    "God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity."Moroni 8:18

    Much has changed in Mormonism since its early days; the Mormon Church has essentially apostatized from its own early scripture. You can read more about this at

    11. Because even Mormon children agree

    Mormon children They know that God never sinned. They innocently, and rightly, and beautifully know that God never sinned. And I tell them, don't let the Church take that away from you. Someday you will grow up, and someone will explain some very strange things about God, which suggest that maybe even God was once a sinful man. Don't buy into it. Don't ever give up the belief that God never sinned.

    Mormon adults, I plead with you, do not let your Church take that away from them. Do not let your children "graduate" from childhood to the belief that God was once perhaps a sinner. Jesus said:

    "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:2

    12. Because Jesus is our sympathetic high priest

    Jesus is a sufficient sympathetic high priest, and is so as a sinless savior. Therefore looking to the Father as a sympathetic high priest as a once-sinner is to belittle Christ as an inadequately sympathetic high priest.

    "Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16
    "No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. A silly idea is current that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is. After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting against it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of a wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down. A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in. We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because he was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means--the only complete realist." C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, p. 142

    13. Because of Revelation 4:8

    I remember one conversation at Temple Square with a Mormon lady about the nature of God. She asked me,

    "Why does all this really matter? Why does it matter whether God sinned? Why does it matter that God be the first God?"

    I answered that the greatest purpose we have in life is to know, and love, and enjoy, and praise, and worship God. She replied,

    "It's not like God wants you to worship forever."

    Let's answer her question by looking at Revelation 4:1-8:

    "After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, 'Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.' At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God, and before the throne there was as it were a sea of glass, like crystal. And around the throne, on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with the face of a man, and the fourth living creature like an eagle in flight. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, 'Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!'"

    God doesn't sing "Amazing Grace"

    We could also answer her in song:

    When we've been here ten thousand years

    Bright shining as the sun
    We've no less days to sing God's praise

    Than when we've first begun

    And what praise will be essentially be singing to God?

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound

    That saved a wretch like me
    I once was lost but now am found
    Was blind, but now I see

    My God doesn't sing that song. God was never a wretch. He was never blind. He doesn't praise a God above himself for "amazing grace." If he does, then he is a sham, and we ought to worship his God instead.

    "It's not official."

    It is common to hear the objection, "That's not 'official' Mormon doctrine." It as though Mormons feels like they have two categories of beliefs:

    1. That which Mormons feel like they have an obligation to publicly confess and testify to.
    2. That which Mormons feel encouraged to consider or believe, yet don't feel obligated to publicly confess, or defend, or testify to.

    One example would be the idea of a Heavenly Mother. It is common Mormon belief, it is a natural logical extension of what Mormon leadership teaches, and it is something the LDS Church knows its members believe or at least find acceptable. Yet it is not something Mormons feel obligated to publicly confess and testify to. You can ask a Mormon, "Do you believe in Heavenly Mother?", and the answer will often be dictated not by what the individual personally believes, but what the individual feels obligated to publicly own. As Helen Whitney, producer of the PBS special on the Mormons, said to Mormons,

    "Own those beliefs. Don't shave off the rough edges so they fit the mainstream. Otherwise, the criticism will still be out there, however understandable, and the smell of evasiveness will linger." Helen Whitney

    Mormonism has set up a protective layer of plausible deniability around its leaders, tradition, and belief system. Leaders have essentially been given a free pass to say, foster, and tolerate anything. Mormon apologist Stephen Smoot was asked about a hypothetical scenario:

    What if Thomas Monson in General Conference said that it was his opinion that Jesus was once a sinner?

    What if 90% of the lay membership, because of his influence, then believed it? What if there was near-unanimity among the leadership on this? What if the Church taught it via correlated, institutional channels of influence: in the manuals, in the magazines, in the booklets, in the videos? Would you then consider Monson's statement to be blasphemy, and to be the kind of fruit that disqualifies him as a true prophet?

    He answered, "No", because it did not fit the condition of what qualifies as "official doctrine", that it was not yet blasphemy, and not yet a disqualifying fruit. Whether it was "official" mattered more to him than whether it was true.

    Whereas Mormon leaders have taught, "The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to lead us astray", this seems to have been reduced to, "The Lord will never allow the President of the Church to lead us officially astray." Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) He did not follow that with, "You will recognize them by their fruits but only when they are officially canonized as publicly binding doctrines by the LDS Church." No, he simply said, "You will recognize them by their fruits." (Matthew 7:16)

    The honor of "The Church" ought not be defended at the expense of the honor of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    The content of the fruit matters more than the officiality of the fruit. A rotten, black banana is still rotten, with or without the Dole sticker. Biblically, we have a responsibility to inspect the fruits of the LDS Church. What they teach, and foster, and tolerate as acceptable teaching and belief among their members matters. They are shepherds over sheep. The honor of "The Church" ought not be defended at the expense of the honor and glory and beauty of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

    Mormonism claims to be the most clear and bright beacon of doctrinal clarity, particularly on things that matter. Yet Mormonism's traditional worldview has fostered confusion on the most important thing in all of reality. Mormonism has historically taught, "As man is God once was, as God is man may be." The traditional and majority Mormon view (to which Mormons lean, without definitively affirming) is that while Jesus is unique and special for obtaining godhood in pre-mortality and for living a mortal life sinlessly, Heavenly Father obtained godhood more like we can: he experienced a mortality replete with sin, yet still progressed unto exaltation and godhood. Some Mormon authors essentially appeal to this "one eternal round" as a point of comfort for members. Whether or not the Mormon institution has an official position on the issue, it still bears responsibility for letting such blasphemy persist among members. Individual Mormons still bear responsibility for acquiescing to the institution's lack of repentance over the issue.

    Questions for Mormons

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