Latter Day Saint's Goal
Godhood as an Eternal Family
The eternal family is what is publicly in the spotlight today. It's what the Mormon church is highlighting in its advertising. It's a very attractive message. But in these public pronouncements they do not mention that only gods can have eternal families. That however, is what they teach:
Marriage and the family unit are the central part of the plan of progression and exaltation. All things center in and around the family unit in the eternal perspective. Exaltation consists in the continuation of the family unit in eternity. Those for whom the family unit continues have eternal life; all others have a lesser degree of salvation in the mansions that have been prepared." 15
Such statements help us see why Mormons value the family so highly. How important is family in Mormonism? A single person cannot become exalted. Neither can one person of a celestial marriage become exalted without his or her spouse. Because of this emphasis on the family, Mormons can easily give the impression that family is more important than God. And for many Mormons, family has taken the place of God. Christmas is a holiday that for Mormons is celebrated at home, with family taking center stage. There are no special church services. Mormons express surprise when they learn that Christians not only celebrate Christ's birth at home with a family perspective, but also attend special worship services centered on Christ. When Christmas falls on a Sunday, Mormon churches are closed, services are cancelled, so that members can spend Christmas at home with their families.
An article in the Ensign written by one of the Mormon twelve apostles emphasizes the importance of families:
How do you determine your priority? Ask yourself, What do I really want most of all? Compare your answer with the high standard revealed by your Creator. He said you are to "seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness; and all... things shall be added unto you" (Joseph Smith Translation, Matt. 6:38; see KJV, Matt. 6:33, footnote a) You build up the kingdom of God as you place your family first. A husband's highest priesthood duty is to love and care for his wife, to bless her and their children. 16
Some explanation of the JST is required. If you look up Matthew 6:38 in your Bible, you won't find it. There are only 34 verses. In the LDS edition of the King James Bible, verse 33 is footnoted and Matt 6:38 of the Joseph Smith Translation (JST) is supplied. This verse, quoted above, is Joseph Smith's 'divinely' revealed translation of Matthew 6:33. Below is Matthew 6:33 from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 KJV
In this article we see the words of Matthew 6:33 twisted to place family as the highest priority. Christians recognize that "seek ye first the kingdom of God" places Christ, and an individual's relationship with Christ, above family - a Christian foundational belief emphasized by Matthew 10:37:
"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." Matthew 10:37
In spite of that, Mormonism often places family first.
What is really important is having and eternal family. An essential requirement for having an eternal family is a celestial marriage:
Our Heavenly Father and mother live in an exalted state because they achieved a celestial marriage. As we achieve a like marriage we shall become as they are and begin the creation of worlds for our own spirit children. 17
Celestial marriages can only occur in one of the Mormon temples. As a consequence of this marriage, husband and wife can become gods and procreate spirit children for all eternity. It is these spirit children that will populate the world that these new gods will rule. This procreating of spirit children is also called "having eternal increase" or "gaining eternal lives." These children will be to them as we are to our God:
We shall stand in our relationship to them as God our Eternal Father does to us, and thereby this is the most glorious and wonderful privilege that ever will come to any of the sons and daughters of God."18
From current Mormon doctrine we see that today's emphasis on the eternal family does not mark a changing of goals within Mormonism -- only a different description of that goal. However, this different description is causing confusion for many Mormons. Many Mormons do not make the connection between becoming a god and having an eternal family. Many feel they will have an eternal family; but few claim they will become a god. Once they think about it though, and consider the doctrine of their church as cited above, they realize they can't have one without the other. Having an eternal family means becoming as their God is now, "As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be".Godhood as a Hidden GoalGod as Man / Man as God