"...[LDS Mormons] believe we existed prenatally as God's "spirit children," that our earthly life is an interlude for learning and testing and that we continue developing after death. The best Mormons may become in the afterlife parents to their own batch of spirit children...The return to God is accomplished by heterosexually founded families, not individuals, and only as a partner in a procreative relationship can a soul eventually create spirit children." (TIME magazine, June 22, 2009)
While the above is the theology of both the LDS and FLDS churches, in our three previous lessons we have shown that none of these ideas were ever taught by Joseph Smith--the founder of Mormonism. They are not found in Mormon scripture, nor can they be found in any of the writings or sermons of Joseph Smith.
In fact, as we have shown, in his final and greatest sermon "The King Follett" discourse, Joseph Smith actually laid out a theology regarding the eternal nature of the human mind and spirit that contradicts the above LDS theology in every single aspect.
It was in his "King Follett Discourse” that Joseph publicly revealed his vision of humanity’s divine potential and the means by which humans might become Gods.
Nowhere did he mention marriage (monogamous or polygamous) as the means to becoming a God.
Nowhere did he ever mention the sexual production of spiritual offspring (having “spirit children”) as either the means of becoming a God, or the function of being a God.
But toward the end of the discourse, he laid out a vision of the nature of Gods that so contradicts mainstream LDS theology regarding marriage and sex, that the LDS Church, LDS General Authorities s and mainstream LDS publishing companies have deleted the paragraph from the discourse whenever they have published it.
In this lesson we will reveal this long censored paragraph and show how it completely undermines LDS theology—and consequently, LDS theology and attitudes towards marriage, gender roles, human sexuality in general and homosexuality in particular.
KNOWLEDGE—NOT MARRIAGE AND HETEROSEXUALITY--LEADS TO GODHOOD
Joseph Smith taught that one thing—and one thing alone—could exalt humanity to Godhood: knowledge:
“”Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge….if man has a knowledge, he can be saved; although, if he has been guilty of great sins he will be punished for them…a man is his own tormentor and his own condemner…the torment of disappointment in the mind of man is as exquisite as a lake burning with fire and brimstone. I say, so is the torment of man.”
Joseph Smith went on to explain that all sins would be forgiven; that opening one’s mind to further knowledge was key in overcoming the effects of sin. He further explained that only one sin—which he referred to as “the sin against the Holy Ghost”—could not be forgiven. The reason why it couldn’t be forgiven? Because this particular sin was a rejection of knowledge itself; it consisted of knowing something with complete certainty and still refusing to admit it. Joseph explained that someone “has so say that the sun does not shine while he sees it.”
When these ideas are put in context of the discourse’s main subject (which Joseph explained was the nature of “the mind of man”), there can be no reasonable debate regarding the following: the individual’s ability and willingness to continually embrace new knowledge—and this alone—is what leads to Godhood.
“The glory of God is intelligence,” Joseph had taught in a scripture he dictated years before the discourse. Godhood and the glory of Godhood reside in human intelligence—in the mind’s capacity to comprehend increasingly complex ideas, and to embrace and act upon advanced levels of knowledge. The potential for Godhood does not reside in the human genitals and reproductive system, but in human intelligence.
As Joseph taught:
“…you have got to learn to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burning, and to sit in glory, enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me.” (Joseph Smith, “The King Follett Discourse.”)
In the final portion of his “King Follett Discourse,” Joseph laid out a vision of the resurrection of the dead and the final state of human beings exalted, by virtue of knowledge, as Gods.
Joseph Smith taught:
“A question may be asked—"Will mothers have their children in eternity?" Yes! Yes! Mothers, you shall have your children; for they shall have eternal life, for their debt is paid. There is no damnation awaiting them for they are in the spirit. But as the child dies, so shall it rise from the dead, and be forever living in the burnings of God. It will never grow; it will still be the child, in the same precise form as it appeared before it died out of its mother's arms, but possessing all the intelligence of a God. Children dwell in the mansions of glory and exercise power, but appear in the same form as when on earth. Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children, reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature.”
The vision of eternity described above completely undermines the LDS and FLDS doctrine that “Celestial Marriage” and the ability to sexually produce “spirit offspring” in eternity are required for Godhood.
Joseph Smith clearly taught that small children—who had not reached an age of sexual maturity, and who were not married—would exist as Gods because they possessed “all the intelligence of a God.” While remaining children in physical stature and sexual development, their minds would continue to develop, grow and progress eternally. (This brings an entire new depth of meaning to Jesus saying regarding children: “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.”)
The above paragraph is completely out of harmony with the entire LDS and FLDS “plan of salvation”—which requires physical and sexual maturation to adulthood, as well as marriage for Time and Eternity in order to become a God. Thus, this offending paragraph has been censored from LDS Church published editions of the King Follett Discourse for over one hundred years—even though it is an essential aspect of the discourse’s visionary climax.
Famed Mormon theologian and LDS Church General Authority B.H. Roberts (who more than any other LDS Church leader of his time, was dedicated to preserving the Discourse and promoting it among Mormons and non-Mormons) was compelled to find some justification for why he and the LDS Church deleted the above paragraph. While never reproducing the paragraph in his footnotes to the discourse, Roberts simply wrote:
“ The omitted paragraph indicated by the dots refers to the exaltation and power that will be wielded by children in the resurrection before attaining the stature of men and women; but which development will surely come to those who are raised from the dead as infants. It was quite clear that there was some imperfection in the report of the Prophet’s remarks at this point and hence the passage is omitted.”
Despite his valuable service in the development of Utah Mormon theology, Roberts clearly and deliberately misleads his readers on two important issues.
First, nowhere in the Discourse or the censored paragraph did Joseph speak about “the power that will be wielded by children in the resurrection before attaining the stature of men and women; but which development will surely come to those who are raised from the dead as infants.”
In fact, Joseph Smith’s entire point in the censored paragraph was that a child who dies will be resurrected as a child, that he/she will become a God while still a child, and that the child “will never grow; it will still be the child, in the same precise form as it appeared before it died out of its mother's arms, but possessing all the intelligence of a God.”
Because Joseph’s doctrine contradicts the LDS/FLDS doctrine on marriage created by Orson Pratt (after Joseph Smith’s death) and adopted by Brigham Young as official LDS doctrine in 1852, later Utah Mormons developed the doctrine that those who died as infants and children would be resurrected as infants and children; they would then physically grow until they reached sexually maturity, at which time they were then be sealed as a husband or wife in a Celestial Marriage; then, as sexually mature, exalted human beings, they would sexually produce spiritual offspring, over which they would then rule as Gods.
But this is completely at odds with Joseph Smith’s vision of Godhood, for he quite plainly taught: “Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children, reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature.”
By contrast, LDS and FLDS theology teaches that one cannot be enthroned as God until after one is married and has sexually produced (or is in the process of sexually producing) “spirit children” over which one may then “reign” as a Heavenly Father or Mother.
B.H. Roberts also deliberately misleads his readers by saying that “it was quite clear that there was some imperfection in the report of the Prophet’s remarks at this point.”
(Above) B.H. Roberts
The only thing “imperfect” in any of these accounts is that they undermine the theology developed after the death of Joseph Smith by the LDS Church in order to justify first polygamous marriage and later monogamous marriage (and thus heterosexuality) as pre-requisites for Godhood.
REFORM MORMONISM, HUMAN SEXUALITY, INDIVDIUALITY AND THE HUMAN MIND
Reform Mormonism rejects the theology of the LDS and FLDS Churches—as well as any of the denomination that have splintered from them—that regards marriage and sexual reproduction as essential to Godhood.
Reform Mormonism is founded upon the ideas that Joseph Smith introduced during his Nauvoo-era reformation of Mormonism—a reformation that was cut short by his untimely murder.
Reform Mormons hold that knowledge and increased intelligence constitute the path to Godhood; that the human mind—being eternal, uncreated and “co-equal with God”—holds within itself the keys to communion with God, a restoration to the presence of God and progression toward Godhood itself.
Human sexuality is good—and for mature, adult human beings may be essential to achieving joy in this life and in eternity. But that is quite different from the LDS and FLDS position—which is that sexuality within the confines of a Church/LDS Priesthood sanctioned “Eternal Marriage” is required for exaltation for ALL human beings. Nowhere did Joseph Smith ever teach such a thing.
In the LDS and FLDS churches, single adults and homosexuals are quite literally locked out of the Celestial Kingdom. Under the LDS and FLDS systems, children, too, are barred from Godhood until they grow up and become sexually mature, married adults. When all is said and done, in the LDS and FLDS systems, the potential for and means of attaining Godhood are in the genitals and reproductive system.
In Reform Mormonism no such obstacles exist. All individuals—regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or marital status—exist in the image and likeness of God. If the single adult, the small child, the woman, the man, the homosexual were to see God, they would see a being such as themselves.
The one attribute that all humans—regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation—share with one another and with God is that of the human mind and human intelligence.
The mind is eternal, uncreated, without beginning or end—“co-equal with God” as Joseph Smith taught.
It is through the life of the mind and the exercise of human intelligence, the human beings can cast aside the superstitions, prejudices and bigotries that have, since time immemorial, been a burden on and a cursing to the human family.
It is through the life of the mind and the exercise of human intelligence, that unions between human beings—and with the Gods—are established.
It is through the life of the mind and the exercise of human intelligence, that each individual may better understand human sexuality, and integrate it into his or her own life so that it might bring to pass greater joy and happiness.