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The object of this existence is to learn, which we can only do a little at a time DBY, The whole mortal existence of man is neither more nor less than a preparatory state given to finite beings, a space wherein they may improve themselves for a higher state of being DBY, The first great principle that ought to occupy the attention of mankind, that should be understood by the child and the adult, and which is the main spring of all action, whether people understand it or not, is the principle of improvement.

The principle of increase, of exaltation, of adding to that we already possess, is the grand moving principle and cause of the actions of the children of men.

No matter what their pursuits are, in what nation they were born, with what people they have been associated, what religion they profess, or what politics they hold, this is the main spring of the actions of the people, embracing all the powers necessary in performing the duties of life DBY, We are placed on this earth to prove whether we are worthy to go into the celestial world, the terrestrial, or the telestial or to hell, or to any other kingdom, or place, and we have enough of life given to us to do this DBY, This is a world in which we are to prove ourselves.

Hear it, all ye Latter-day Saints! Will you spend the time of your probation for naught, and fool away your existence and being? You were organized, and brought into being, for the purpose of enduring forever, if you fulfil the measure of your creation, pursue the right path, observe the requirements of the celestial law, and obey the commandments of our God DBY, Human beings are expected by their Creator to be actively employed in doing good every day of their lives, either in improving their own mental and physical condition or that of their neighbors DBY, We are here to live, to spread intelligence and knowledge among the people.

I am here to school my brethren, to teach my family the way of life, to propagate my species, and to live, if in my power, until sin, iniquity, corruption, hell, and the Devil, and all classes and grades of abominations are driven from the earth.

Eternal Progression

That is my religion and the object of my existence. Are we to go yonder to obtain it? No; we are to promote it on this earth DBY, The Latter-day Saints throughout the valleys in these mountains and throughout the world ought to be learning what they are on this earth for. They are here to increase and multiply, to enlarge, to gather the House of Israel, redeem Zion, build up the Zion of our God, and to promote that eternal intelligence that dwells with the Gods, and begin to plant it in this earth, and make it take root downward and bring forth fruit upward to the glory of God, until every obnoxious principle in the hearts of men is destroyed, and the earth returns to its paradisiacal state, and the Lord comes and dwells with this people, and walks and talks with them as he did with Father Adam.

That is our business, and not to suffer all our energies to be expended in merely preparing to die DBY, The purpose of our life should be to build up the Zion of our God, to gather the House of Israel, bring in the fulness of the Gentiles, restore and bless the earth with our ability and make it as the Garden of Eden, store up treasures of knowledge and wisdom in our own understandings, purify our own hearts and prepare a people to meet the Lord when he comes DBY, Photograph of the Logan Temple.

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This work is a progressive work, this doctrine that is taught the Latter-day Saints in its nature is exalting, increasing, expanding and extending broader and broader until we can know as we are known, see as we are seen DBY, We are in the school and keep learning, and we do not expect to cease learning while we live on earth; and when we pass through the veil, we expect still to continue to learn and increase our fund of information. That may appear a strange idea to some; but it is for the plain and simple reason that we are not capacitated to receive all knowledge at once.

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We must therefore receive a little here and a little there DBY, He gives a little to his humble followers today, and if they improve upon it, tomorrow he will give them a little more, and the next day a little more. He does not add to that which they do not improve upon, but they are required to continually improve upon the knowledge they already possess, and thus obtain a store of wisdom DBY, Simply to take the path pointed out in the Gospel by those who have given us the plan of salvation, is to take the path that leads to life, to eternal increase; it is to pursue that course wherein we shall never, never lose what we obtain, but continue to collect, to gather together, to increase, to spread abroad, and extend to an endless duration.

Those persons who strive to gain eternal life, gain that which will produce the increase their hearts will be satisfied with. Nothing less than the privilege of increasing eternally, in every sense of the word, can satisfy the immortal spirit DBY, We can still improve, we are made for that purpose, our capacities are organized to expand until we can receive into our comprehension celestial knowledge and wisdom, and to continue, worlds without end DBY, Shall we ever be learning and never be able to come to a knowledge of the truth?

This is my hope and anticipation, and this is my joy DBY, 90— We have the principle within us, and so has every being on this earth, to increase and to continue to increase, to enlarge and receive and treasure up truth, until we become perfect DBY, For example, the Book of Mormon first published in seems to teach a strongly Judaic monotheism with modalistic God is only one person manifesting in three modes overtones see Alma , 38; Moroni ; Mosiah ; ; , while the equally authoritative Pearl of Great Price first published in clearly teaches that more than one God exists see Abraham This is why a number of Mormon scholars have argued that their theology evolved from a traditional monotheism to a uniquely American polytheism.

Though there is certainly disagreement among Mormon scholars concerning some precise points of doctrine, I submit that the church currently teaches that God is, in effect, 1 a contingent being, who was at one time not God; 2 finite in knowledge not truly omniscient , power not omnipotent , and being not omnipresent or immutable ; 3 one of many gods; 4 a corporeal bodily being, who physically dwells at a particular spatio-temporal location and is therefore not omnipresent like the classical God respecting His intrinsic divine nature — we are not considering the Incarnation of the Son of God here ; and 5 a being who is subject to the laws and principles of a beginningless universe with an infinite number of entities in it.

No doubt there are individual Mormons whose personal views of God run contrary to the above five points. But since both the later writings of Joseph Smith and current Mormon orthodoxy clearly assert these five points, Mormons who dispute them are out of step with their church. The modern Mormon concept of God can best be grasped by understanding the overall Mormon world view and how the deity fits into it.

Mormons appear to be divided, however, on the meaning of omniscience. It seems that some Mormons believe omniscience to mean that God has no false beliefs about the past, present, and future. This view is consistent with the classical Christian view. But the only things that can possibly be known, traditional Mormons say, are the present and the past, since the former is occurring and the latter has already occurred. Therefore, the Mormon God is omniscient in the sense that he knows everything that can possibly be known, but he nevertheless increases in knowledge as the future unfolds and becomes the present.

Fernando Castro: “Repentance: A Disciple’s Pattern for Eternal Progression”

Mormon scholar Hyrum L. Andrus explains:. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be. The Mormon God, by organizing this world out of preexistent matter, has granted these organized spirits the opportunity to receive physical bodies, pass through mortality, and eventually progress to godhood — just as this opportunity was given him by his Father God. Consequently, if human persons on earth faithfully obey the precepts of Mormonism they, too, can attain godhood like Elohim before them.

Eternal Progression

Comparing the Mormon concept with the classical Christian concept of God see the chart for a breakdown of this comparison 17 , Mormon philosopher Blake Ostler writes:. Hence, unlike the Necessary Being of classical theology who alone could not not exist and on which all else is contingent for existence, the personal God of Mormonism confronts uncreated realities which exist of metaphysical necessity.

Mormonism therefore teaches a metaphysical pluralism in which certain basic realities have always existed and are indestructible even by God. In other words, God came from the universe; the universe did not come from God although he did form this planet out of preexistent matter. It follows from what we have covered that in the Mormon universe there are an infinite number of intelligent entities, such as gods exalted humans and preexistent intelligences. If this is denied, however, the Mormon must somehow reconcile a finite number of these beings with an infinite past.

For instance, if there is only a finite number of gods in a universe with an infinite past, then there was a time when no gods existed which Joseph Smith denies For a finite number of gods coming into being cannot be traced back infinitely. Moreover, if there is only a finite number of gods, then the continually repeated scenario of a god organizing intelligences so that they can begin their progression to godhood would have never begun. This is so because in Mormonism one needs a god in order for another to become a god, and no being has always been a god.

An infinite amount of time is certainly sufficient to use up a finite number of preexistent intelligences. At any rate, in order for Mormonism to remain consistent, it must teach that there is an infinite number of gods and preexistent intelligences in an infinitely large universe.

Suggestions for Study

In our two books, Dr. Parrish and I deal with a number of philosophical problems with the Mormon concept of God. Because of space constraints, however, I cannot reply to all the possible Mormon responses to these problems. For this reason, I refer the reader to the detailed replies in my two books. It is evident from what we have covered that Mormonism teaches that the past series of events in time is infinite or beginningless. In contrast, traditional Christian orthodoxy maintains that space and time, along with everything else except God, exist because God created them.

Philosopher William Lane Craig has developed four arguments — two philosophical and two scientific — along these lines. Premise 2 It is impossible to traverse an infinite number or distance. Conclusion Therefore, the Mormon universe is not true. Premise 1 is certainly true. We have seen already that the Mormons fully acknowledge that the past is infinite.

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  • And if it is infinite, then certainly an infinite number of events has been traversed to reach today. But can an infinite number actually be traversed, as premise 2 denies? I think it is clear that it cannot. Consider the following example. The distance is miles. All things being equal, I would eventually arrive in Salt Lake. But suppose the distance was not miles, but an infinite number. The fact is that I would never arrive in Salt Lake, since it is by definition impossible to complete an infinite count.

    Hence, a traversed distance by definition cannot be infinite. Consequently, if I did eventually arrive in Salt Lake City, this would only prove that the distance I traveled was not infinite after all. That is to say, since I could always travel one more mile past my arrival point, arriving at any point proves that the distance I traveled was not infinite.

    Now, let us apply this same logic to the Mormon universe. If the universe had no beginning, then every event has been preceded by an infinite number of events.

    Fernando Castro: “Repentance: A Disciple’s Pattern for Eternal Progression”

    But if one can never traverse an infinite number, one could never have arrived at the present day, since to do so would have involved traversing an infinite number of days. In order to better understand this, philosopher J. Moreland provides this example:. Suppose a person were to think backward through the events in the past. In reality, time and the events within it move in the other direction.

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    But mentally he can reverse that movement and count backward farther and farther into the past. Now he will either come to a beginning or he will not. If he comes to a beginning, then the universe obviously had a beginning. But if he never could, even in principle, reach a first moment, then this means that it would be impossible to start with the present and run backward through all of the events in the history of the cosmos. Remember, if he did run through all of them, he would reach a first member of the series, and the finiteness of the past would be established.

    In order to avoid this conclusion, one must hold that, starting from the present, it is impossible to go backward through all of the events in history. But since events really move in the other direction, this is equivalent to admitting that if there was no beginning, the past could have never been exhaustively traversed to reach the present moment. It is clear, then, that premises 1 and 2 are true.

    Given the fact that the argument is valid, the conclusion therefore follows: the Mormon universe is not true. And if the Mormon universe is not true, then the Mormon God does not exist, since his existence is completely dependent on the existence of the Mormon universe.

    In this second objection, unlike the first, I am arguing that even if we assume that the past series of events in time is infinite, it is impossible for the Mormon doctrine of eternal progression to be true.