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Introduction to the Lorenzo Snow Couplet

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Nathan Kelp

on 4 March 2013

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Transcript of Introduction to the Lorenzo Snow Couplet

Introduction to the Lorenzo Snow Couplet What is the Lorenzo Snow Couplet? "As man now is, God once was:
As God now is, many may be." CHURCH DOCTRINE The Lorenzo Snow couplet has since been an essential doctrine that has been taught by Church Presidents and Church authorities since articulated by Lorenzo Snow and affirmed by Joseph Smith. LDS Church Manuals Even within the various Church manuals that are published, the "Lorenzo Snow Couplet" is taught and affirmed as doctrine. When Lorenzo Snow told Joseph Smith of his new formed couplet, Smith told Snow that it was a true revelation from God. This was in 1843 but the "doctrine" was not taught until 1844. On April 7th, 1844 Joseph Smith said the following in what is called the King Follett Discourse: "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, - I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form - like yourselves in all person, image, and very form as man...These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. 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; and I will show it from the Bible." Teacher Support Consultant for the Church education system, Gerald N. Lund answers the following question: Is President Lorenzo Snow’s oft-repeated statement – “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be” – accepted as official doctrine by the Church?
Lund says:

“This particular doctrine has been taught not only by Lorenzo Snow, fifth President of the Church, but also by others of the Brethren before and since that time…President Snow’s son LeRoi later told that the Prophet Joseph Smith confirmed the validity of the revelation Elder Snow had received…It is clear that the teaching of President Lorenzo Snow is both acceptable and accepted doctrine in the Church today.”

"I Have a question," Ensign, February 1982, p. 38 https://www.lds.org/ensign/1982/02/i-have-a-question?lang=eng Robert L. Millet, Professor of Ancient Scripture said:

“Knowing what we know concerning God our Father – that he is a personal being; that he has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as our own; that he is an exalted and glorified being; that he was once a man and dwelt on an earth – and knowing that his knowledge was had by many of the ancients, should we be surprised to find legends and myths throughout the cultures of the earth concerning gods who have divine power but human attributes and passions?...

The Eternal Gospel, Ensign, July 1996 https://www.lds.org/ensign/1996/07/the-eternal-gospel?lang=eng Former LDS President Paul H. Dunn said:

“It is certainly healthy to want to make something useful of your life. It is the object and design of the gospel for us as God’s children to become more like him. The Lord has admonished us to ‘be ye therefore perfect.’ We are expected, then, to act upon and strive to obtain that objective.
The oft-quoted couplet, ‘As man is, God once was – as God is, man may become,’ suggests that we develop a desire to achieve something high and great. I do not consider this wrong. In fact, it is our prime purpose in life. The various organizations and programs of the Church are designed and aimed at the realization and fulfillment of that divine injuncture.”

Q&A: Questions and Answers Ensign April 1971 http://www.lds.org/new-era/1971/04/qa-questions-and-answers President Spencer W. Kimball made the following remarks at the General conference in April 1977:

“Perhaps there is something else that we will learn as we perfect our bodies and our spirits in the times to come. You and I – what helpless creatures are we! Such limited power we have, and how little can we control the wind and the waves and the storms! We remember the numerous scriptures which concentrated in a single line, were said by a former prophet, Lorenzo Snow: ‘As man is, God once was once was; and as God is, man may become.’ This is a power available to us as we reach perfection and receive the experience and power to create, to organize, to control native elements. How limited we are now! We have no power to force the grass to grow, the plants to emerge, the seeds to develop.”

Our Great Potential by Spencer W. Kimball April 1977 General Conference http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1977/04/our-great-potential?lang=eng&query=%22as+god+is+man+may+become%22
Ensign Magazine also printed this same speech in there magazine in May 1977 http://www.lds.org/ensign/1977/05/our-great-potential?lang=eng&query=%22as+god+is+man+may+become%22 Side note:

All Church publications are planned, prepared, reviewed, and implemented under the direction of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve.

(Doctrine and covenants and Church History: Gospel Doctrine Teacher's Manual Lesson 42 p. 245 1999)

"So I repeat again, what the presidency say as a presidency is what the Lord would say if he were here, and it is scripture. It should be studied, understood, and followed, even as the revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants and other scriptures." - President Marion G. Romney

(Teaching from the Living Prophets Student Manual Chapter 4 p. 53 2010) The First Presidency, 18 September 1898; George Q. Cannon, Lorenzo Snow, and Joseph F. Smith In 1840, Lorenzo Snow was preparing to leave on his first mission to England and was in the home of Elder H. G. Sherwood. Elder Sherwood was telling a parable and during this time, Lorenzo Snow received a revelation from God. He States: "While attentively listening to his (Elder Sherwood's) explanation, the Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me - the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noon-day, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man. I formed the following couplet which expresses the revelation, as it was show to me:
As man now is, God once was;
As God now is, man may be." (Presidents of the Church Student Manual, Religion 345, Chapter 5, p. 88, 2003) (Presidents of the Church Student Manual, Religion 345, Chapter 5, p. 89, 2003) In this Church manual, it is taught that "There is a nature of deity in the composition of our spiritual organization..."

"We have divinity within ourselves; it cannot be destroyed; it cannot be annihilated. We will live from all eternity to all eternity..."

"Through a continual course of progression our Heavenly Father has received exaltation and glory and he points us out the same path and, inasmuch as he is clothed with power, authority and glory he says, 'walk ye up and come in possession of the same glory and happiness that I possess.'" (Teachings of the President of the Church: Lorenzo Snow, Chapter 5, p. 84, 2012) This book is being used in the 2013 Sunday school curriculum. In regards to the teaching of exaltation it states the following under the heading of "Blessings of Exaltation:"

Those who receive exaltation in the celestial kingdom through faith in Jesus Christ will receive special blessings. The Lord has promised, "All things are theirs" (Doctrine and Covenants 76:59). These are some of the blessings given to exalted people (this is not an exhaustive list):

They will become gods (See D&C132:20-23).

They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have - all power, glory dominion, and knowledge (See D&C 132:19-20). President Joseph Fielding Smith wrote: "The Father has promised through the Son that all that he has shall be given to those who are obedient to His commandments. They shall increase in knowledge, wisdom, and power, going from grace to grace, until the fulness of the perfect day shall burst upon them." (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols. [1954-56], 2:36). (Gospel Principals, Chapter 47, p. 277, 2009) According to Joseph Smith:

"Here then is eternal life - to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to become gods yourselves, and to be kings and priest to God,...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..."

"To inherit the same power, the same glory and the same exaltation, until you arrive at the station of a god, and ascend the throne of eternal power, the same as those who have gone before."
(Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 18, p. 221-22) "...and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever."

"Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power and the angels are subject unto them. Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye abide my law, ye cannot attain to this glory" (D&C 132:19-21).
(Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 42, p. 481 2007) In the first chapter of this manual it states:

"When one realizes the vastness, the richness, the glory of that 'all' which the Lord promises to bestow upon his faithful, it is worth all it costs in patience, faith, sacrifice, sweat and tears. The blessings of eternity contmeplated in this 'all' bring men immortality and everlasting life, eternal growth, divine leadership, eternal increase, perfection, and with it all, godhood."

(Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Spencer W. Kimball, Chapter 1, p. 9, 2006) The following dialogue is recorded in the 2003 edition of Presidents of the Church Student Manual, Religion 345, Chapter 5, p. 90. It took place at Brigham Young University. The dialogue is between President Brimhall and Lorenzo Snow.

"President Brimhall had reached the door and was about to open it and go on when President Snow said: 'Wait a moment, President Brimhall, I want you to see these children at work; what are they doing?' Brother Brimhall replied that they were making clay spheres. 'That is very interesting,' the President said. 'I want to watch them.' He quietly watched the children for several minutes and then lifted a little girl, perhaps six years of age, and stood her on a table. He then took the clay sphere from her hand, and, turning to Brother Brimhall, said: "'President Brimhall, these children are now at play, making mud worlds, the time will come when some of these boys, through their faithfulness to the gospel, will progress and develop in knowledge, intelligence and power, in future eternities, until they shall be able to go out into space where there is unorganized matter and call together the necessary elements, and through their knowledge of and control over the laws and powers of nature, to organize matter into worlds on which their posterity may dwell, and over which they shall rule as gods.'" (Snow Improvement Era, June 1919, 6548-59). (Presidents of the Church Student Manual Religion 345, Chapter 5, p. 90, 2003) Exaltation Exaltation is further defined in Gospel Principles: eternal life, the kind of life God lives. He lives in great glory. He is perfect. He possesses all knowledge and all wisdom. He is the Father of spirit children. He is a creator. We can become like our Heavenly Father. This is exaltation. (Gospel Principles Chapter 47, p. 275, 2009) (Presidents of The Church Student Manual, Religion 345, Chapter 5, p. 88, 2003) This couplet would eventually become part of the LDS teaching of eternal progression or Exaltation. Exaltation is defined by the LDS Church website as the highest state of happiness and where one resides - namely, in the celestial kingdom.1 Exaltation also refers to the state at which a faithful follower will "become as God."2 https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/exaltation?lang=eng

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/man-men.man-potential-to-become-like-heavenly-father?lang=eng 1. 2. God was once a man. Through progression, God went from manhood to godhood and is now exalted in yonder heavens. Conclusion To catechize every statement made and/or affirmed by the LDS in this presentation would take time. So here we will focus on the teaching that men will one day achieve the status of godhood in relation to what the Bible teaches and what Christianity affirms. One of the more popular scriptures LDS will use to support their case is John 10:34 and Psalm 82:6 "Jesus answered them, 'Is it not written in your law, I said, you are gods?'" - John 10:34 "I said, 'You are gods, sons of the Most High.'" - Psalm 82:6 John 10:34: LDS will use this verse to say that there are many gods within the scope of the universe and eternity. "That is, there are many exalted, perfected, glorified personages who reign as gods over their own dominions." (Daniel H. Ludlow, A Companion to Your Study of the New Testament: the Four Gospels (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book Co., 2002), page 402)

Bruce McConkie states that although there is only one God which the LDS worship, men will be able to become gods themselves. In the context of 10:34, the Jews are angered by Jesus claiming that he is the Son of God. McConkie goes on to say that Jesus' argument is essentially that any "righteous person" who hears the word of God and obeys the word and the law of the Lord will become like God himself in that they too will become a god. (Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, Volume 1: the Gospels (volume 1) (publication place: Bookcraft, 1976), page 491-92) To summarize, the LDS believe that through the keeping of all the sacred ordinances and through eternal progression, LDS men will one day be able to attain a status of godhood. However, LDS will be quick to note that nowhere do they suggest that God becomes lower in status, nature, quality, or being. The will always affirm that God the Father will be the only God the Father which they worship. They will always be firm in that they do not worship any other god than God. The issue that many Evangelicals will raise is not that LDS some how lower God to a lesser status or that God becomes less in his divine nature (although there are many aspects of the LDS God the Father that are different from the Evangelical God); instead, the issue is that mere men are raised to a level of divinity and are, according to LDS teaching, able to attain a status of godhood equal to that of the Father in heaven. Because fundamentally this doctrine takes man and makes him equal to God in merely every respect, it is in direct conflict with that of Biblical Christianity. And because this is a fundamental doctrine for the LDS Church, it is one that creates a divide between the two worldviews.

So then, let the dialogue continue and may the Truth prevail. Psalm 25:4-5 "Make me to know your ways, or Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long."
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