1. larryco_

    Another parallel between Eastern Orthodox doctrine and LDS is a belief in becoming like God. This was first brought to my attention from a blurb from Eighth Day Books on a book entitled “Deification in Christ: Orthodox Perspectives on the Nature of the Human Person” by Eastern Orthodox historian Panayiotis Nellas. The blurb says: “From St. Irenaeus on, the Fathers expressed the ultimate destiny of the human person in the astounding – yet scripural – language of deification: we are ‘called to be gods, partakers of the divine nature.’ Here is a thorough study of patristic anthropology , and as such, an exploration of the awesome destiny of humankind expounded by the Fathers”.
    Sounds more than a little familiar, huh? On reading the book, I found that Nellas interprets deification, or becoming divine, somewhat different than a Latter-day Saint might, but it is a very interesting read. As to original sources, I find the writings of Justin Martyr (cir. 160 a.d.)
    filled with many parallels to LDS belief.

  2. Thanks for your commentary Larry. You are absolutely correct. Deification or theosis was a widespread belief in the early Christian church, as several scholars have shown, and looks like it made its way into Eastern Orthodoxy. The apostasy did not have the same effect in all areas of the Old World.

    I particularly like the quotes by Saint Athanasius who said, “The Word was made flesh in order that we might be enabled to be made gods…. Just as the Lord, putting on the body, became a man, so also we men are both deified through his flesh, and henceforth inherit everlasting life.” And, “He became man that we might be made divine.”

    Thanks for the book reference. I’ll have to add it to my list of books to read.

  3. Carol Petranek

    Reading VanDam’s article in today’s Meridian Magazine was edifying and enlightening for me. I am of Greek descent and am a convert to the LDS Church of 30 years. As a child, I attended the Greek Church and Sunday School on occasion and Greek school weekly. Unfortunately, we were not encouraged to learn much about the doctrines of the Orthodox faith — indeed, my earliest memories were asking questions and being told “it’s a mystery, and if you ask those questions, it is proof that you do not have faith.” I have seen some similarities between Orthodox and Mormon worship rites, but this article is the first time I have read anything that compares and contrasts doctrine. I appreciate the previous posts – and will look for the Nellas book. Thanks.

  4. Zach Jones

    I am a scholar of Mormonism and editor of a European journal that studies Mormonism, the International Journal of Mormon Studies, and am looking to get into touch with S. G. Antonenko who was featured in this article. I would be so grateful if someone could put me in touch with him. Please have him contact me at zachhistory ‘at’ yahoo.com. Thanks again and I would be most grateful for you help.
    Zach Jones

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