For my one or
two (thanks Mom) loyal readers I must apologize for the delay in putting this post together. A paper which I recently presented at the American Academy of Religion’s Mid-Atlantic regional meeting has taken up most of my free time between school and work. For those of you who have an interest in learning more of my own personal views on Joseph Smith’s teachings about apotheosis, please do read my paper.
In previous posts here and here, I have answered, as best I can, why the Biblical text does not consistently present a form of strict monotheism. In particular, I have illustrated that early Israelite religion was most likely henotheistic and that strict monotheism came as a result of late theological developments. This post will focus on Mormonism’s actual teaching on the plurality of gods.
Tomorrow I will be presenting a paper at the American Academy of Religion’s Mid-Atlantic regional meeting. The topic is Mormonism’s unique theology of gender. In my paper, I offer up a perspective on Joseph Smith’s teachings regarding exaltation and sexuality which may seem foreign to some “modern” Latter-day Saints.
Essentially, I argue that Joseph Smith’s teachings — both public and private — as well as his own practice of plural marriage show no indication of celestial procreation. In my view, Smith’s teachings and practices make much more sense when viewed within the context of individuals becoming part of the larger Abrahamic covenant. My argument’s strengths are that it relies on contemporary sources and gives them primacy over later recollections of Smith’s teaching.
The biggest challenge to my line of reasoning is the Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt. Pratt claims that in 1840, Smith explained that celestial offspring was the purpose of plural marriage. I am skeptical of Pratt’s account for reasons given in the endnotes of my paper.
In any case, if you would like to read the paper in its entirety, you can find it here: