As Mormons we believe that all human beings have the capability to become like God. Part of this is based in the notion that we are the spirituatl offspring of God (in other words we were “born” and “begotten” in a pre-existence and “reared” accordingly). In this life we are gods in embryo learning what it means to become like him (and her). Indeed this is part (if not all) of our human nature.
One of the questions I’ve been thinking about lately is whether this God-like nature is something “discovered” or “recovered”. From the discovery perspective this nature is something given to us by God; and we “discover” it as it is revealed to us by the Holy Ghost. It is made available to us because we are actively seeking to know God and cultivate a relationship with him. From the recovery perspective, this God-like nature is already within us and what we must do is to “look within” and live our lives in such a way that it shines forth.
Not that these two models are mutually exclusive, but I think which one we gravitate toward will shape our world-view. For instance, with the discovery model the things I do such as reading the scriptures, participating in the ordinances, etc. are about gaining knowledge that is not necessarily inherent in me, and they are done so that God will reveal to me, my role in his plan. Texts (such as the BoM or Bible) play a vital role because they serve as the “keys” for unlocking the mysteries of God which they hold.
In the recovery model, the same actions (ordinances, etc.) are done, but not for the sake of receiving some external knowledge about what one should do. Instead these actions serve to align the self in such a way that one’s god-like nature can shine through. Texts play a rather different role in this theory because the mysteries they unlock are actually mysteries that are already contained within the self.