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When the Prophet Joseph Smith was instructed to begin the restoration of the gospel in 1820 one of the core doctrines revealed to him was the concept of mortal deification — man becoming like God. The term “theosis” is often used to describe this belief and many of the Christian faiths in the world today find this to be an unthinkable doctrine.
In his book, “To Become Like God: Witnesses of Our Divine Potential,” Andrew Skinner takes this belief of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and shows how it was and is, in truth, a teaching of many of the ancient and modern Christian leaders of the world.
Skinner does a masterful job of showing that, despite a reluctance to accept the doctrine, there are Christian communities who still teach and fully believe that God has prepared a way for men and women to become gods.
Additionally, citing scriptures from the Bible and quoting Christian leaders of the first and second centuries, Skinner guides readers in understanding how God and Christ prepare men and women to become gods in their own rights. One example used by Skinner is the message of the Beatitudes. While the attributes given are a nice list of ways to live in righteousness, Jesus’ words make it clear that these are the actual attributes which will allow mortal beings to become like him.
Written in a clear, easy to understand style, “To Become Like God” is a thoughtful journey examining the process of changing and growing into what God has offered to all His children. Intended primarily for Latter-day Saints, the message of this book will also be of help for those trying to understand Mormon doctrine on the subject.
Skinner is a professor of ancient scripture and Near Eastern studies at Brigham Young University. He and his wife have six children and live in Utah.
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