Abrahamic / Middle Eastern Christianity Heavenly Father: Deity, Loving Parent, Author of Our Eternal Destiny Mormons Believe That We Have the Potential To Progress to His Exalted Level Share Flipboard Email Print jaminwell / E+ / Getty Images Christianity Latter Day Saints Beliefs and Teachings Scriptures Christianity Origins The Bible The New Testament The Old Testament Practical Tools for Christians Christian Life For Teens Christian Prayers Weddings Inspirational Bible Devotions Denominations of Christianity Funerals and Memorial Services Christian Holidays Christian Entertainment Key Terms in Christianity Catholicism View More By Krista Cook LDS Expert Ph.D., Public Administration and Public Affairs, Virginia Tech M.L.S., Library and Information Science, Emporia State University M.P.A., Political Science and Public Administration, Brigham Young University B.A., Political Science, Brigham Young University Krista Cook is a seventh-generation Utah Mormon and a graduate of Brigham Young University who covers LDS topics. our editorial process Krista Cook Updated June 25, 2019 Heavenly Father is God the Father, He is the creator of the universe, the father of all of ours spirits, the literal father of Jesus Christ and much more. He is an omniscient, omnipotent and glorified being. He is the being we pray to and He is the source of all truth. Mormons believe that He, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost make up the Godhead. They are all separate and distinct entities, while being united in purpose. Heavenly Father is the supreme being. He holds an elevated status over Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. They are offspring of Him. In scripture and teachings it is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether it is Heavenly Father acting or the other two are acting under His direction. All three are deity and can accurately be termed God. Heavenly Father is Known as God and Many Other Names In LDS practice, Heavenly Father is always known as Elohim. This name is distinct to Him. However, in the Hebrew Bible, the name Elohim does not always refer to God, the Father. Modern LDS scripture suggests that He can also be referred to as Ahman. Jesus referred to himself as the Son of Ahman. This is stated more strongly in the Journal of Discourses; but this source's credibility is often questionable. Beliefs About Heavenly Father Shared With Christianity Mormons share the basic beliefs of all Christianity. Heavenly Father is the ruler and the creator of the universe. He is our father and loves us all. He created a plan for our salvation and our salvation is anchored in grace not works. Others assert Mormons believe we are saved by works, not grace. This is not accurate. Mormons believe in grace. We must repent and be forgiven by Heavenly Father, who is both merciful and just. Beliefs About Heavenly Father That Are Unique to the LDS Faith When Joseph Smith experienced what is known as the First Vision, he was visited and seen by both Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. This established God as a distinct and different entity than Jesus Christ. This is at odds with mainline Christianity and its version of the Trinity. Mormons believe that God is literally our Father, the Father of our spirits. He has a body and our bodies look like His. He and our Mother in Heaven, who we know nothing about, are our heavenly parents. Our differences can be explained by our different levels of current development. Heavenly Father is a more exalted being than any of us on earth. Mormons believe that what we experience as time here on earth is not the same concept of time to Heavenly Father. His realm is determined by the time of Kolob, a location close to where God resides. We know this from the book of Abraham in the Pearl of Great Price. See Abraham 5:13 and 3:2-4. The idea that we can be like Him and someday have worlds of our own stems from the belief that we are literally His children and can someday be like Him. However, we have no teachings that suggest how this might be accomplished. Former President and Prophet Lorenzo Snow recited this now famous couplet: As man now is, God once was: as God now is, man may be. Joseph Smith also taught this basic doctrine after the accidental death of a man named King Follett. Smith delivered what is now known as the King Follett Discourse on April 7, 1844, shortly before his own death in June. Portions of it were preserved in the notes of four men: Willard Richards, Wilford Woodruff, William Clayton and *Thomas Bullock. All four are luminaries in early Church history. Wilford Woodruff later became the fourth President and Prophet of the Church. Since Smith spoke for over two hours, we know only fragments were recorded in these men's notes. The four accounts differ from each other somewhat. Since Smith had no opportunity to record his discourse himself or edit his remarks made by others, the notes cannot be wholeheartedly embraced as doctrine. Enemies and commentators have made much more of these ideas than Mormons ever have. They purport that we believe that we can become gods one day and be rulers of our own planets. The conjecture does not stop there and they often make other, sometimes outlandish, inferences that they attribute to Mormons. Heavenly Father has told us we can become like Him. Mormons take this literally but we have no specifics. *Thomas Bullock is Krista Cook's great-great-great-grandfather.