How to become a God (according to Mormons)

What is Mormon cosmology?

Mormon cosmology is the description of the history, evolution and destiny of the physical and metaphysical universe according to Mormonism. It is the core of Mormon teaching, which its followers, or as they are also known, ‘Saints’ structure their lives around. It draws on ideas from biblical cosmology, as two distinct theological threads of agency and atonement run through these beliefs. In other words, sin and human responsibility for it.

Mormon cosmology involves a divine Plan of Salvation, in which salvation can be attained as the ultimate goal of human existence by its members. This entails obedience to church doctrine and self-progression and development both on earth and in the celestial world after death. Through their own ethical endeavor, members can redeem themselves and reap the endless rewards of living a ‘good’ life both on this mortal plain and beyond it. This departs from broader Christian teachings that Heaven is a place of rest, as instead Saints believe in the afterlife as a place of activity on this journey of improvement. As a result, in its constructions of the universe, encompassing premortal, mortal and afterlife existences, Mormon cosmology helps create a distinct Mormon ethic of ‘good work’ to achieve this salvation.

Founder of Mormonism Joseph Smith was influenced by the hypothesises of 19th century astronomer William Herschel, whose theories on nebulae as composed of stars and proposals of stellar evolution represented the universe as an ever-expanding, eternal progression. Scholars have agreed that these theories of never ending, eternal progression are clear in Mormon cosmology. Academic Terryl Givens states these conceptions of the cosmos as one of ‘flux, upheaval and transformation on a colossal scale’, which necessitate the becoming and progression of the believer to cosmic salvation (Givens, 2014).

Mormonism denies creation ‘ex nihlio’, positing an eternal universe in which a ‘Plan of Salvation’ was presented by God the Father (Elohim) as present amongst Jehovah (premortal Jesus) and Lucifier (Satan). This ‘Plan of Salvation’ is also called the plan of ‘happiness’ or ‘redemption’ by Mormons. It states that our spirits have always existed as the children of Heavenly Fathers and Mothers, the family being of essential importance to our salvation.

What is the Plan of Salvation?

Mormon Plan of Salvation Diagram by Ricardo630 on Wikipedia Commons.


Stage 1: Pre-Mortal Existence

We begin as intelligences, which have always existed. The only beings with body are the Heavenly Father (Elohim), the Heavenly Mother, Lucifer and Jehovah (Jesus Christ). Joseph Smith believed the Heavenly Father must have been created by a higher spirit, seeing the universe as a cycle of endless creation, similar to Plato’s advocation of a ‘world of forms’.


  • Elohim gathers the ‘Great Council of Heaven’
  • Jesus Christ proposes the creation of earth, in which all intelligences will be given agency and good and evil will come to exist
  • Lucifer argues that many of these souls will be lost in the transition so we should remove their free will
  • The ‘War of Heaven’ takes place in which followers of Lucifer do not get bodies on earth, Brigham Young (the second President of the Mormon Church) argued that these people were cursed with black skin which is repudiated by the Mormon church today
  • Michael is the first to receive his body form the earth, he becomes Adam.


Stage 2: The veil

The souls/intelligences pass through into mortality, forgetting their divine origins. Mormons believe if we knew of where we come from, we could not grow and progress. As a result, we start the world as a blank slates, just like we have drank from Plato’s river of forgetfulness.


Stage 3: Earth

We use our lives to learn the gospel and undergo symbolic ordinances. These have the power to determine where we go later on in the celestial afterlife. They can involve baptism (at the age of 8), confirmation, higher priesthood (men only), endowment and, perhaps the most important, sealing (ceremonies in which man is sealed to woman, those to their children so families are together eternally).


Stage 4: Death

The Plan of Salvation sees death simply as another transition.


Stage 5: Spirit world

The spirit world is divided into paradise and spirit prison, in which the bad and those who have not experienced or learnt the faith reside. This includes the disabled. Yet Mormons believe that earth dwellers can help those in spirit prison and the spirits themselves can learn the faith and progress, mostly due to help learning the gospels from spirits in the paradise. For example, a Mormon may believe that a disabled person who has not been able to complete ordinances in life is no longer constrained by their physical body or mental condition. In their spirit form they can come to learn the Mormon faith, reinforcing this theme of eternal progression.


Stage 6: Resurrection

This is split into two days, morning and afternoon on the first day and then the second day.


Stage 7: Judgement

Mormons believe this tells you where your heart lies.


Stage 8: Final destiny

  1. Celestial Kingdom (sun) – a place for the best people. Salvation is not ultimate and everyone is resurrected, but Mormons believe if you are not sealed, you cannot achieve the celestial kingdom in which you have the power to create worlds and live as a God.
  2. Terrestrial Kingdom (moon) – a second place for good people, but for those who are blinded. These people do not repent and practice the faith as much as possible.
  3. Telestial kingdom (stars) – the lowest celestial kingdom, but it still defies all imagination and description of the earth. This is a place for people who do not know about the gospel and do not wish to.
  4. Outer darkness – the unknown. A place of Satan.


Ultimately, Mormon cosmology fascinatingly conceives of mortal human life as but one step in a greater chain of being. Unlike broader Christian notions, it privileges becoming over being and process over perfection in an eternal universe expressed by founder Joseph Smith,

‘The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and re-organized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end.’ – Joseph Smith, King Follett Discourse


Image: Cosmos via Greg Rakozy on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Our YouTube Channel