Then I'd like to quote the early Christian authorities on the issue:
...we have not been made gods from the beginning, but at first merely men, then at length gods...
(Irenaeus of Lyons, ca. A.D. 115-202, Against Heresies, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:522)
If the Word became a man, it was so men may become gods ... our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself.
(Ibid., Against Heresies 5:Preface, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:526)
[In the beginning, men] were made like God, free from suffering and death ... all men are deemed worthy of becoming gods, and of having power to become sons of the Highest...
(Justin Martyr, d. ca. A.D. 163, Dialogue With Trypho 124, in Ante-Nicene Fathers 1:262)
Yea, I say, the Word of God became a man so that you might learn from a man how to become a god.
(Clement of Alexandria, A.D. 160-215, Exhortation to the Greeks 1)
Heraclitus, then, rightly said, Men are gods, and gods are men. (Ibid., The Instructor 3:1, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers 2:271)
[God] made man for that purpose, that from men they may become gods.
(Jerome, ca. A.D. 347-419, The Homilies of Saint Jerome Vol. 1 (FC 48), translated by M.L. Ewald (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1964, p. 106)
In the same strain Lactantius affirms that the chaste man will become identical in all respects with God.
(Angus, The Mystery-Religions 106-107.)
And now I'll quote some non-LDS scholars, as Mag did, thought I actually took the time to type up what they said...
[Ancient Christians] taught that the destiny of man was to become like God, and even to become deified.
(G.L. Prestige, God in Patristic Thought 73)
One can think what one wants of this doctrine of progressive deification, but one thing is certain: with this anthropology Joseph Smith is closer to the view of man held by the Ancient Church than the precursors of the Augustinian doctrine of original sin were, who considered the thought of such a substantial connection between God and man as the heresy, par excellence.
(Benz, E.W., Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God, in Madsen, ed., Reflections on Mormonism 215-216)
<<& "If the Book Of Mormon is such a good book, why aren't the people who claim to believe in it better people?" &>>
Better than what? We cannot be expected to be perfect, that was Jesus' job. And how about Christians using the Bible to justify the Salem Witch Trials (and all other such trials), The Crusades, The Persecutions of the Reformation, The Inquisition, and Anti-Mormon mobs?
And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever. Daniel 12:3
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