Theories: Part One

19 Oct

I originally wrote this post speaking of this thought as a heresy.  I have since decided that this was an error, as I do not have the authority to make such a proclomation regarding any idea or theory.  So I have altered this blog to reflect a more understanding and less judgmental attitude.  In it I address a question that many people raise, and that I know some in the LDS church believe in.  I do not think it is a prevelant thought, but it does exist.  I give only my opinion, and this should be taken as just that, and only that.

So, here is the Question:  Did Heavenly Father Ever Sin?

Some people among the LDS have expressed the opinion that at some point in the distant past our Heavenly Father, the great Elohim, the Head of the Gods might have sinned. Their reasoning is simple. It is based in two simple concepts.
1. It is taught that God once lived a mortal life, and through his diligence and obedience to his father was exalted and became God.
2. It is also taught that if we are diligent and obedient to him we will become exalted and become gods.
Putting these two concepts together they reach the conclusion that since we, who are sinful, can become gods, then it stands to reason that our Heavenly Father, who was once as we are, also sinned while living in mortality.
This sounds reasonable enough, but hits a little snag when our Heavenly Father is described as being perfect. Those who cling to this view address this issue with the simple reasoning that since it is taught that all our sins will be washed away and forgotten, making us perfect, than it is not a problem to say the same of our Heavenly Father.

I wish to point out that there are actually few in the church who even bother to think of such things, and even less of those who actually form any kind of opinion regarding them.  However, it does seem generally accepted among those who do consider such topics that, since we really know so little concerning the eternal worlds, the possibility, however slim it is, is there.  Beyond this any thought on the subject is basically pointless as we will never really know until all things are reveal, and whether it is true or not makes very little difference when it comes to the plan of salvation and our progression.

Now, I do not recall any of the leadership addressing this specifically, or directly.  It seems that they are content to let the members believe as they choose.  This is fine with me, as some do receive comfort in the idea that since it is possible that Heavenly Father sinned, there is hope for us.  I am content to let people believe this, and will not argue the point too strenuously.

However, I will give my opinion regarding this matter, which is that I do not believe he ever did, as I believe he was the Christ, or savior of his generation, and thus he would have had to live a perfectly sinless life, just as Jesus Christ did.  I draw this conclusion from two different passages; one from the Testimony of John in the New Testament, and the other from the King Follett discourse, as delivered by Joseph Smith April 1844 conference.

John 5: 19-20
“Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the son likewise.
“For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth…”

Here I take note of the statement that the Son only does what he saw his Father do previously.
Christ, as is clearly taught by all the prophets throughout time, lived a perfectly sinless life. From the day he was born till the day he died he did nothing that was contrary to the will of his Father in Heaven. If he did only what he saw his Father do then it stands to reason that his Father also lived a perfectly sinless life.

King Follett Discourse
Section: Power of the Father and the Son
“The Scriptures inform us that Jesus said, As the Father hath power in Himself, even so hath the Son power — to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious — in a manner to lay down His body and take it up again.”

This seems to make it clear that our Heavenly Father was the savior of his generation.  He had the needed power to perform the atonement, and did so, just as Jesus had that power and performed the atonement for us. This goes in hand with John 5: 19; one informs us that Jesus lived the same kind of life in mortality that the Father did, and the other shows us that he has the same power as his Father.

When I consider all this I think it clear that the idea that our Heavenly Father could have sinned at any time in the past is false.  However, it is not really important, and so I will not actively seek to correct anyone who disagrees with me.  I would question anyone who teaches he sinned in our church meetings, but not one who held the private belief that it may be possible.

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5 Responses to “Theories: Part One”

  1. JR March 23, 2013 at 7:28 am #

    I cringe when I hear members say Heavenly Father could have sinned or did sin. I believe as you do. He was the Christ of His generation and therefore perfect. He does understand what we go through. There are a lot of things that members say is doctrine that is not doctrine and it is frustrating. I have even had members argue with me about what is doctrine and what is not. In my ward 99% of the members do not bother to do additional studying outside of Sunday instructions. I am glad someone spoke about this topic. What you wrote was very clear.

    • shematwater March 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm #

      I have the same reaction, but then nothing has ever been stated directly. There are other things that people try to teach that are more worth our attention, as long as no one is trying to teach this in our church meetings.
      You know, my older sisters had a seminary teacher who told them that if Christ had failed that Joseph Smith would have performed the atonement. My mother had some complaints about this.

      • cattyjane May 17, 2013 at 2:37 am #

        @Shem,
        I really hope that is not true about LDS believing that Joseph Smith would have provided the atonement. For one thing the only way that he could have done that would be if he lived a perfect spotless life and for another thing he would have had to fulfill messianic prophesy which would mean he would have had to be born in Bethlehem among many other things that the messiah is required to fulfill. That is so wrong in soo many ways!

      • shematwater May 30, 2013 at 12:17 am #

        No, Catty, this is not doctrine of the church. It is wild speculation that a single member had decided to believe, and then to teach without authority. My mother complained, showed the teacher their error, and the problem was solved.
        My point in mentioning it is to show that a person’s personal belief or acceptance of an idea is not really damaging to other until they take it upon themselves to teach it, especially if they claim it as doctrine. If it is just a personal belief that they keep to themselves, or share in moments of private communication than it is usually better to let it be, letting God judge. But when it is taught as doctrine, especially in a class set up by the church, then it is dangerous and must be dealt with swiftly.

  2. theoldadam March 1, 2014 at 4:57 am #

    I think it is important that we believe that Christ did not sin. Therefore he was faithful, in every way, to the Father. And therefore He has the authority to forgive sinners.

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