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This question discusses the LDS teaching that

“As man now is, God once was; as God is now man may be.” ( The Teachings of Lorenzo Snow, ed. Clyde J. Williams [1984], 1.)

The teaching is partially motivated by the passage from John5:19,

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

Joseph Smith himself said:

As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life and taken it again

-- History of the Church 5:426

I want you to pay particular attention to what I am saying. Jesus said that the Father wrought precisely in the same way as His Father had done before Him. As the Father had done before? He laid down His life, and took it up the same as His Father had done before. He did as He was sent, to lay down His life and take it up again; and then was committed unto Him the keys. I know it is good reasoning.

-- History of the Church 6:373

From LDS.org:

The Prophet Joseph Smith himself publicly taught the doctrine the following year, 1844, during a funeral sermon of Elder King Follett: “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! … 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.”

As to this notion in the modern LDS church, President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles Joseph Fielding Smith said in an address in 1971:

“This is a doctrine which delighted President Snow, as it does all of us. Early in his ministry he received by direct, personal revelation the knowledge that (in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s language), ‘God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens,’ and that men ‘have got to learn how to be Gods … the same as all Gods have done before.’

So, in summary:

  • God the Father was once a man who became exalted to Godhood, and created us in his own creation.
  • The man who is exalted now will be God of his own creation, as God is God of this one.
  • All Gods have endured this process.

My question is:

If God was once a man who had a God of his own, then from a Mormon perspective, why don't we worship the God of that previous Earth who created the man that is now our God, and who therefore is the God of our God, instead the God who created the Earth we inhabit? In other words, is the Creator of our Creator not also worthy of our worship?


Edit re. close vote due to duplicate question: I'm not asking about monotheism or polytheism, or asking Mormons to reconcile the claim with monotheism. I'm simply asking why we are directed to worship this God in particular, and not the God who created the Earth from which he was exalted. These are clearly very different questions.

  • possible duplicate of How does LDS doctrine reconcile monotheism with men becoming gods? – Matt Jul 12 '15 at 20:51
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    @Matt I'm not asking about polytheism, I concede that we have one God. I'm asking why we are directed to worship this God in particular, and not the God who created the Earth from which he was exalted. – Andrew Jul 12 '15 at 21:12
  • I think this and your other question are the same and one should be closed as duplicate. I don't understand how they are different? – Matt Jul 12 '15 at 21:21
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    @Matt 1) "Why must we worship this God?" and 2) "Does God worship his God?" are two different questions, though their implications may be the similar. – Andrew Jul 12 '15 at 21:26
  • I agree with Andrew that this is not a question about polytheism. The question, as I see it, after years of looking into LDS theology, is WHO is this God that LDS worship? Some interesting insights here: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/73997/… – Lesley Nov 1 at 18:09
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Consider any reason a Christian would worship God:

  1. He created us.
  2. He (through his Son) saved us.
  3. He has commanded that we worship him and pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ.
  4. We know and love him.
  5. We fear the consequences of not reverencing him.

All apply, and specifically to God.

2

As is often helpful when addressing questions such as these, the definition of "worship" should be considered. According to the NOAD, worship means:

  • show reverence and adoration for (a deity); honor with religious rites
  • treat (someone or something) with the reverence and adoration appropriate to a deity

Notice the words reverence and adoration, which have much to do with respect and love. Now consider the prominent LDS doctrine that all people on earth are children of God. Assuming there is a succession of Gods as implied by the quotes given in the question, God the Father has his own father, who is also a god, and who also has a father who is a god, and so on.

The Gospel Topic Essay titled "Becoming Like God" offers more insight in this matter. Specifically, the following excerpt is relevant:

Does belief in exaltation make Latter-day Saints polytheists?

For some observers, the doctrine that humans should strive for godliness may evoke images of ancient pantheons with competing deities. Such images are incompatible with Latter-day Saint doctrine. Latter-day Saints believe that God’s children will always worship Him. Our progression will never change His identity as our Father and our God. Indeed, our exalted, eternal relationship with Him will be part of the “fulness of joy” He desires for us.

One way to understand this (my opinion) is as follows: generally, young children on earth respect and love their fathers (and mothers) more than their grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on. They have a closer relationship with their fathers, spend more time together, and work through more problems together. This is not to say their fathers are somehow better or worse than their grandfathers or great-grandfathers; rather, the fathers are closest to their children and most directly responsible for their care, upbringing, and protection, and are therefore given the most attention.

Similarly, all people on earth as children of God love and respect Him more than His father or others who came before Him because He is the most relevant to us. He has the responsibility of raising His children on earth to one day return to His presence and live with Him forever. He requires His children to respect and love Him as He is their Father—the God most closely related to them.

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    +1 for the reference to parents and grandparents. I hasn't thought of it that way and its a great analogy. – 1990clb Aug 23 '15 at 11:22
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    " Generally, children on earth respect and love their fathers (and mothers) more than their grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on." Perhaps in modern American families, but you certainly can't make such general statements about all "children on earth". – Andrew Mar 15 '16 at 12:20
  • @Andrew agreed, I would actually say it is more common in cultures around the world, historically, for the elders to be more respected and revered than the parents. – Joshua Mar 15 '16 at 13:20
  • @Andrew that's a good point. It's probably better to think of the children in question as being very young, probably less than 5 years old (this would more accurately describe the gap between us and God). I think even around the world children at such a young age would have a closer relationship with their direct parents than grandparents or deceased ancestors. In addition, they would barely start to comprehend the idea of additional predecessors. – intcreator Mar 15 '16 at 16:51
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    @brandaemon I always thought of us more like spiritual teenagers personally :p Dad is clueless, I know better what's good for me than him. – Joshua Mar 15 '16 at 19:13
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A few things I can think of:

When you are a child, let's say 7, do you obey your parents, and the things they tell you to do, or the things your grandparents say.

We have been given no commands by our "grand-heavenly-father" to be worshiped, nor have we ever been instructed by our God or him to worship him, the only reason we know he must exist is because of light indirect mentioning in the scriptures

Dave DeLong shares the following here:
"it's pretty simple. Mormons worship God the Father, through the Son. While we believe that there are other gods out there, they are not our God. I find that an analogy helps me think about this clearly: At work, I have one boss. He is my boss and no one else is. There are other bosses, but I do not report to them, they do not affect my quarterly reviews, and I don't really interact with them in any sort of manager-underling relationship. The same goes for God."

  • Thank you for your answer. This answer presumes a unique cultural perspective. In some cultures it might be considered alien for the parents not to yield to the grandparents on any matter. Can you offer a similar answer using LDS literature or teaching as support? – Andrew Mar 15 '16 at 12:18
  • So you would like me to also add to my answer based on lds literature? – That One Actor Mar 16 '16 at 16:33

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