In his book, Exploring Mormon Thought: The Attributes of God, Blake wrote the title of this post.
The Mormon scriptures also teach that divinity can be communicated to humans. “Divinity” is not viewed as a logically distinct nature or set of mutually exclusive properties apart from humanity. Rather, “divinity” is a fullness of what it is to be human. “Humanity” and “divinity” refer to the sets of properties which are severally necessary and jointly sufficient to be human and divine respectively. However, they are not distinct sets but are rather sets describing what the other can become when fully developed. For example, an acorn looks very different than an oak. However, an acorn is not of a different natural kind than an oak; it is simply [not] a fully mature oak. Similarly, a son grows into what his father is. In this same sense, divinity is humanity fully matured in a relationship with God the Father. This relationship between divinity and humanity was made clear in an 1833 revelation: (p. 456, I am adding a word in brackets for accidental word omitted by publishers?).
Blake, touches on a topic that hits very close to home for my family.
(1) Our family verse is Isaiah 61:3.
To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.
Do you see the word, “trees” in the KJV? Elon is the Hebrew root word, meaning “oaks”. My son has this name. I have this name. My father has this name. My father’s father has this name. It goes back to the 1700’s in my family tree. Now, combine Elon with our last name of Wood. Interesting, eh?
(2) Our family motto is “Growing Oaks for God’s Glory”.
My wife, Kristie, married into the Wood family, and she is the chief nurturer in our home for fleshing out this motto.
(3) Outgrowing our square footage, we needy oaks needed an “oak room” as an addition to the home.
Joe’s brother, Jason, carved this plaque for our family.
So you can see, I am keenly in tune with the oak analogy in Isaiah. Yet unlike Blake and Gordon B. Hinckley, I do not see that the scriptures teach that I am the same kind as Yahweh. Though I am able to partake of the divine nature because of Christ, I don’t create and plant oaks as God to glorify/beautify myself. Neither do I uproot (Matthew 15:13) as God Almighty. I am the oak growing through grace (O help me, Lord, please). But not God. Never God. Christ did not need the incarnation nor death to progress in personal divinity. John’s Gospel does not teach that Christ needed “grace for grace” like us.
(4) Only oaks need grace. And they will live on that divine grace throughout eternity.
But the one Branch is not grace watered and fed like all the other trees for survival. Please know this. Believe this.
We are not God (never will be) as Father, Son, and Spirit . . . just growing oaks, clothed in divine righteousness through divine grace alone.
thanks for letting us see this beautiful family tradition.
Todd: Your discussion of the issue of deification is muddled. Neither I nor any LDS claim that we simply become identical to God. We do claim that we become fully divine by the grace of God. We are one just as the Father and the Son are one and we share the same glory that the Son enjoys with the Father (that’s what John 17 says). So we share full divinity, we don’t simply “become God,” whatever that could mean.
I should add that I also enjoyed the intimate look into your family and home!