Selected Teachings on
Man Has the Potential to Become Like God

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Joseph Smith (President)                                      

What was the design of the Almighty in making man? It was to exalt him to be as God. (The Words of Joseph Smith, p. 247)


God himself, finding he was in the midst of spirits and glory, because he was more intelligent, saw proper to institute laws whereby the rest could have a privilege to advance like himself. The relationship we have with God places us in a situation to advance in knowledge. He has power to institute laws to instruct the weaker intelligences, that they may be exalted with himself, so that they might have one glory upon another, and all that knowledge, power, glory, and intelligence, which is requisite in order to save them in the world of spirits. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.354)


God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!… It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did….

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, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and 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 burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p.345-346)

Brigham Young (President)

The least, the most inferior spirit now upon the earth, in our capacity, is worth worlds.... If to all eternity you could praise God, through being the means of saving one soul—I may say the least or most inferior intelligence upon the earth, pertaining to the human family—if you could be the means of saving one such person, how great would be your joy in the heavens! Then let us save many, and our joy will be great in proportion to the number of souls we save. (Journal of Discourses, 9:124)

Lorenzo Snow (President)

I had a direct revelation of this. It was most perfect and complete. If there ever was a thing revealed to man perfectly, clearly, so that there could be no doubt or dubiety, this was revealed to me, and it came in these words: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be.” (Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p.5)

First Presidency (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund)

Man is the child of God, formed in the divine image and endowed with divine attributes, and even as the infant son of an earthly father and mother is capable in due time of becoming a man, so the undeveloped offspring of celestial parentage is capable, by experience through ages and eons, of evolving into a God. (Messages of the First Presidency, 4:205)

Gordon B. Hinckley  (President)

The whole design of the gospel is to lead us, onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith in the King Follet sermon (see Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-62) and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is a grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become! (See The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, p. 1) (Ensign, November 1994, p. 48; also Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [1997], p. 179)

Bruce R. McConkie (Quorum of the Twelve)

God himself, the Father of us all, ordained and established the plan of salvation to enable us, his children, to advance and progress and become like him. Salvation consists in becoming as God is. (The Mortal Messiah 3:33)

Brigham Young (President)

Intelligent beings are organized to become Gods … to dwell in the presence of the Gods, and become associated with the highest intelligences that dwell in eternity. [Discourses of Brigham Young, p.245]

Dallin H. Oaks (Quorum of the Twelve)                                        

A parable illustrates this understanding. A wealthy father knew that if he were to bestow his wealth upon a child who had not yet developed the needed wisdom and stature, the inheritance would probably be wasted. The father said to his child:

“All that I have I desire to give you--not only my wealth, but also my position and standing among men. That which I have I can easily give you, but that which I am you must obtain for yourself. You will qualify for your inheritance by learning what I have learned and by living as I have lived. I will give you the laws and principles by which I have acquired my wisdom and stature. Follow my example, mastering as I have mastered, and you will become as I am, and all that I have will be yours.”

This parable parallels the pattern of heaven. The gospel of Jesus Christ promises the incomparable inheritance of eternal life, the fulness of the Father, and reveals the laws and principles by which it can be obtained. (Ensign, Nov. 2000, pp. 32-34)