Recently Scott Gordon who is the President of FairMormon, one of the main Mormon Apologetics organizations was interviewed on a Christian Podcast called Issues Etc. You can find that particular episode here.
I am doing this post to invite Mormons who read this article to give that episode a listen, and let me know what you think. Gordon is asked a number of questions on the beliefs of Mormons, and many things he said particularly with regards to the LDS view on the nature and origin of God really surprised me. I will say from the start that I appreciate that Gordon does not speak officially for the LDS church so he is welcome to have his own view on these issues, however he does preside over what is probably the most well established and well known institution seeking to defend the truthfulness of the LDS Church, so you you would expect him to give some honest good answers, I feel that this is far from the case.
At around 21:00 Gordon says that he really does not know that the LDS Church teaches that God was once a man, the interviewer quotes this Joseph Smith in his King Follet sermon where he says this:
We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, ……
The interviewer asks what does Joseph Smith mean if not, God was once a man? Gordon says this:
“The answer is, we dont know, the reason we dont know is because he was killed shortly after that, since then much speculation has jumped up about that, you will get quotes from people that talk about similar kind of things.”…….”That gets into speculative theology because we really dont know.”
This is amazing to me, its almost history repeating itself if you remember a certain interview of past Mormon Prophet Gordon B Hinckley. Where in time magazine when asked about this same thing he said:
‘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,’”
It seems that to the outside world Mormons just back away from this, yet lets see what one of their own Official Church manuals: ‘Achieving a celestial marriage’ 1992, which I own a copy of says this at the top of page 4.
God was once a man who, by obedience, advanced to his present state of perfection; through obedience and celestial marriage we may progress to the point where we become like God.
2nd Mormon Prophet Brigham Young said:
“The doctrine that God was once a man and has progressed to become a God is unique to this Church. How do you feel, knowing that God, through His own experience, ‘knows all that we know regarding the toils [and] sufferings’ of mortality?” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Brigham Young, p. 34. Brackets in original).
And of course 5th Mormon Prophet Lorenzo Snow Said:
“As man is now, God once was; as God is now, man may be” (The Teach- ings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 2. Italics in original. See also The Life and Teachings of Jesus and His Apostles manual, 1979, p. 59)
This has been reinforced in this years LDS Teaching manual which this blog has been going through as well.
Feeling that he had received “a sacred communication” that he should guard carefully, Lorenzo Snow did not teach the doctrine publicly until he knew that the Prophet Joseph Smith had taught it.2 Once he knew the doctrine was public knowledge, he testified of it frequently.
In addition to making this truth a theme for many of his sermons, he adopted it as the theme for his life. His son LeRoi said, “This revealed truth impressed Lorenzo Snow more than perhaps all else; it sank so deeply into his soul that it became the inspiration of his life and gave him his broad vision of his own great future and the mighty mission and work of the Church.”3 It was his “constant light and guide” and “a bright, illuminating star before him all the time—in his heart, in his soul, and all through him.”4
So it is simply amazing to me that Gordon backtracks from this so much, it seems that sometimes what is said in house is very different to what some Mormons want to tell the outside world. These are not abstract comments from nobodies in the LDS Church that I have quoted. Rather they are held as “Prophets” who the LDS Church teaches are those that speak for God today. Please give the interview a listen for yourself.
Also Bill Mckeever of Mormonism Research Ministry has been on this podcast since sharing his thoughts on Gordons comments, you can find that here.
James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries has also spent two episodes of his podcast on this, please check those out below, they go into a lot more depth than I have here and are really worth the time.
I just cannot understand how someone in the position Scott Gordon is in can simply say “I dont know” in light of the absolute wealth of information from the LDS Church on this issue. Many of the answers he gives in this interview are very light and do not seem to reflect what Mormon Authorities have said. I appreciate there will be many LDS people who will very much disagree with what Scott Gordon said on this interview and some will agree, which one are you?