Separate Entities, Several Gods

The Cincinnati Enquirer online recently published an article about various topics related to Mormonism. A sidebar to the article, titled “What they believe,” included this bullet point:

” There is no trinity. Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate entities.”

LDS Godhead (two of three)It struck me as odd that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost were described as “entities” rather than as “Gods.” It looked to me like the information in this sidebar was supplied by the LDS Church. In fact, at the bottom of the box the newspaper had helpfully supplied a link to the official LDS web site intended for non-member investigators of the Mormon faith, mormon.org.

Following the link I went to the mormon.org glossary and looked up “Trinity.” The word wasn’t there, but why should it be? So I looked up “Godhead,” which said,

“Our Father in Heaven; His Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost.”

As I explored the mormon.org web site further, I couldn’t find any explanation that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost were recognized within Mormonism as Gods; only Heavenly Father was identified as a God.

So I looked at the lds.org web site under the section titled “Core Beliefs: Why and How are Mormons Different?” Regarding the Godhead it says:

Trinity

“Among the most important differences with other Christian churches are those concerning the nature of God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Together, these form what is commonly referred to as the Holy Trinity in many churches and as the Godhead by Latter-day Saints…

The Godhead

“The Trinity of traditional Christianity is referred to as the Godhead by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While the same terms are used by Latter-day Saints and other Christians for the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost), Latter-day Saint understanding of the three members of the Godhead is significantly different from that of traditional Christianity.”

Following this paragraph on lds.org is a short definition of each member of the Godhead; again only the Father is identified as a God.

The Cincinnati Enquirer article, typical of many articles I’ve seen, suggested traditional Christianity rejects Mormonism because Mormons believe Jesus visited America and because Joseph Smith claims he was visited by an angel. I’m sure these concerns appear fairly minor to most people. Many never get a glimpse of the bedrock separator between Mormonism and Christianity: one true God vs. many true Gods.

The LDS Bible Dictionary states:

God.

“The supreme Governor of the universe and the Father of mankind…

“When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim. All mankind are his children. The personage known as Jehovah in Old Testament times…is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God….The Holy Ghost is also a God and is variously called the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, etc.”

We can argue till the cows come home about whether the Christian Trinity or the LDS Godhead is the true representation of God/the Gods as He/They really is/are, but what is really disturbing me about this is the avoidance of the LDS Church in publicly stating — clearly and candidly — what it really believes and teaches about the nature of its Gods.

When the LDS Church describes the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as “separate entities” it is not being overtly deceitful, but neither is it being entirely honest according to the Church’s own definition of honesty. In 1994 the official LDS magazine, Ensign, ran a series of articles about the Ten Commandments. The article dealing with the ninth commandment, bearing false witness, said,

“Thus, the ninth commandment is a strong declaration against covenant breaking, oath breaking, and all forms of untruth, including exaggeration, gross understatement, fabrication, or the willful giving of any explanation not supported by the facts. Even sharing the truth can have the effect of lying when we tell only half-truths that do not give a full picture. We can also be guilty of bearing false witness and lying if we say nothing, particularly if we allow another to reach a wrong conclusion while we hold back information that would have led to a more accurate perception. In this case it is as though an actual lie were uttered…

“Lying and misrepresentation in all of their forms are wrong, no matter how they may be rationalized, and those who silently let these evils pass unchallenged are also doing wrong…

“All that we know of our Heavenly Father and his kingdom teaches us that nothing false is acceptable to him—not lying, not withholding the truth, not manipulating facts in our favor. All such actions are unworthy of his children, and unworthy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who was our beacon of truth. We must be true witnesses at all times and in all things and in all places (see Mosiah 18:9) if we would be among those that our Lord and Savior will count as his own when he comes again.” (Robert J. Matthews, “‘Thou Shalt Not Bear False Witness’,” Ensign 10/1994, 53)

Since a foundational and essential doctrine of traditional Christianity is the belief in and worship of one true God, the LDS doctrine of belief in three true Gods for this world and worship of at least two of them constitutes a very critical distinction. If this doctrinal divergence was more widely known, I think people would recognize and better understand why Christians resist identifying and accepting Mormonism as a Christian faith.

That increased foundational knowledge of this difference between Mormonism and traditional, orthodox Christianity would be good for the Christian church, a welcome change. But perhaps such widespread knowledge and understanding about the Mormon Godhead wouldn’t be as welcome within the LDS Church.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
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42 Responses to Separate Entities, Several Gods

  1. Interested says:

    Sharon thank you for this article. For a long time I have tried to see the difference between mormon and Christian doctrine. This really has helped me to understand an important difference.

    My daughter and her family are mormon and I will show her this article in the hope that she too can find understanding.

  2. Lou W. says:

    This was the “deal breaker” for me when i was exploring whether i wanted to convert to LDS.

  3. rick b says:

    I think I am one Lucky Guy, I happen to own an 1883 edition of Doctrine and Covenants with the Lectures of faith bound into it, when it was originally part of the D and C.

    I believe it was removed from the D and C because the LDS doctrine has changed, and does not line up with the early beliefes.

    Anyway, my point is, the Lectures on faith taught (ONE GOD) From Eternity, not 3 seperate gods,Lectures pg 22-23.

    Pg 46 of Lectures says,

    For I AM GOD, and their is none else.

    So it seems God forgot, his father before him was/is a god, his son and the Holy Spirit are gods and as Joseph smith taught, in the King F, Discourse their are millions of gods. How could God not know this?

    Under Lecture Fifth pg 54, Joseph Smith only speaks about the Father and the Son being God, no mention of the HS. Then over on PG 55 and 60 Joseph Smith says the Holy Spirit is the (Mind of God). So, is the Holy spirit, A God or is He a Mind? And also lets remember, Joseph Smith was using these lectures to teach “Prophets”. So was Joseph Smith raising up “FALSE PROPHETS” Or was he teaching them the truths of God? Rick b

  4. Alex D. says:

    This all strikes me as very interesting, especially Rick B’s examples from the Lectures of Faith.

    If you’re LDS, how do you offer a competent rebuttal when there is plain evidence shooting down your argument coming from your own church?

    Great article, Sharon.

  5. On the issues that Rick brought up there is a great article by esteemed Mormon historian and author Thomas G. Alexander. He wrote it when “Professor of History and Associate Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University”.

    The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology

    Sunstone 5:4 (July-August 1980) pp. 24-33

    It’s a great article and I recommend that everyone read it.

  6. Geoff J says:

    Sharon: but what is really disturbing me about this is the avoidance of the LDS Church in publicly stating — clearly and candidly — what it really believes and teaches about the nature of its Gods.

    Hehe. The fact is that the LDS Church has no formal systematic theology. Rather, what we have is a collection of sacred texts.

    I know this drives critics of the church crazy but that is the way it is. (Something about nailing Jell-o to a wall right Aaron?). So it is easy for me to deal with these kinds of tri-theism criticisms by pointing out that our sacred texts refer to the members of the Godhead as One God. We don’t claim to know all the mysteries of God yet. In fact our 9th Article of Faith says:

    9 We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.

  7. john f. says:

    Latter-day Saints aren’t confused about this. Correctly understanding the Bible, and basing beliefs about the nature of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost on the Bible rather than on the creeds, Latter-day Saints understand that the Godhead consists of three separate beings, two of whom have a resurrected physical body, and one of which (the Holy Ghost) is a being of Spirit so that he can dwell within each person. The Godhead is one God in purpose — with Jesus resolved entirely to do the will of the Father in all things — but consisting of three separate beings.

    Because of this correct understanding of the Godhead, Latter-day Saints can confidently speak of Jesus being the Son of God in a real sense, and understand humanity’s relationship with God better, which includes a more correct understanding of the nature of humanity and the purpose of life.

    One thing is certain, Latter-day Saints do not believe that people are damned to hell or chosen to be saved before they are born and with no choice of their own. Since Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father really is our Heavenly Father, and that human beings are the same species as God, as taught by the Bible, it is no wonder that free agency/free will is so central to the beliefs of Latter-day Saints.

  8. John F. said…

    “Latter-day Saints aren’t confused about this.”

    John, I think you are missing the point here. The blog entry was not to show that LDS leaders are confused about what they teach. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The article was to highlight the issue that the church tends to tell half truths and continues to make ambiguous statements.

    Example:

    The investigator of the Mormon church may ask, “Is it true that Mormons hope to become gods when they die?”

    The Mormon answers, “Well, we desire to become like God.”

    This is a perfect example of the vague answers church members/leaders/missionaries give when asked direct specific questions like this. You can become like God how? In what way? I don’t think this is an issue of being confused, but more so an issue of not being entirely honest and forthright with LDS teachings.

    John F said…

    “…with Jesus resolved entirely to do the will of the Father in all things — but consisting of three separate beings.”

    John, according to the LDS faith, would it be safe to say that Jesus is a god apart from his father? Would it be safe to say that the Holy Ghost is also a god apart from Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father? Would it be safe to say that they are three entirely different and separate gods who make up one Godhead?

    In Christ,
    -Eric

  9. Geoff J says:

    Eric Hoffman: The article was to highlight the issue that the church tends to tell half truths and continues to make ambiguous statements.

    Making ambiguous statements does not in any way mean that someone is telling a half truth. Uncharitably ascribing motives to others like that is not going to score you any debate points.

    The Bible along with out other sacred texts make several statements that can be hard to rectify concerning the Godhead/Trinity. The three members of the Godhead/Trinity are sometimes referred to as one God and at other times described as separate persons. Creedal Christianity has struggled with this issue for thousands of years with some people pushing toward modalism on one side of the debate (which is considered heresy) and others leaning toward tritheism on the other side of the debate (which is also considered heresy).

    So there is some mystery about God still — but who among us is surprised by that fact?

  10. Andy F says:

    I am a member of the LDS faith, and I don’t see the confusion that I believe the author is trying to illustrate. For me, believing that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings seems obvious from a scriptural sense, no better illustrated than at Jesus’ own baptism.

    Now, to the author’s point, were I to say they are all three Gods depends on the connotation of the word gods. To call them gods plural for some people implies a sense of wiccan orthodoxy, as if I pray to one god in the winter, another in the summer, and so forth.

    I believe when I pray to God I am talking with my Heavenly Father. I believe Christ has risen above all and is a resurrected perfect being, a God. I don’t believe that means He now replaces his Father, God has given Him a different role. I also believe that through the atonement of Jesus I can overcome sin and become perfected through the resurrection as well. I don’t believe that means I’m trying to usurp God’s throne or downplay the role of my Savior, since it’s only through His sacrifice that I CAN overcome sin.

  11. john f. says:

    Honesty is certainly a required trait (and calling for it also implies that works matter). Latter-day Saints are entirely honest with investigators when they tell them that Latter-day Saints believe that the purpose of life is to return to live with God and indeed to become like God. There is no obfuscation on this point.

    Evangelical Calvinists, on the other hand, should begin to take an honest approach when preaching their Gospel. Innuendo and implication should be jettisoned for straight talk. What does the disproportional emphasis on certain proof-texted verses from Paul really mean for humanity? What does it mean that billions of people were born and died in Africa, India, China, and other places in the world untouched by Christianity until only very recently? What does it mean that only Europe enjoyed Christianity for much of the last two millennia?

    Rejecting free will and embracing the predestination of dark Calvinism has its consequences. A little honesty about what this actually means for the majority of people ever born or to be born on this earth is called for. But for those already saved because God chose them to be saved before they were ever born, the sin of lying or dishonesty can not conceivably be much of an issue.

    A discussion of Calvinism is clearly off-topic. Please get the conversation back on topic.

  12. rick b says:

    In the Book of Isaiah we read God saying, I KNOW OF NO OTHER GODS. How can He say that their are no other Gods but Him, if their are other gods. I know many LDS try and say, what that verse really means is, God the father is saying, there are no other gods us humans can worship or have anything to do with.

    But that is not what God said, He clearly says, I KNOW OF NO OTHER GODS, Not their are no other gods you can follow or worship.

    If there are no other gods, then it seems God the father lied or is very forgetful. How can He forget or not know His father before him is a god. How can he forget or not know His Son Jesus is a God. Or the Holy Spirit is a God. Then as I said before, the False “prophet” Joseph Smith, once taught only TWO gods, Jesus and the Father, remember, the Holy Spirit is the Mind of God. know he is a god. Strange how the LDS doctrine changes often. Rick b

  13. John F said:
    “Evangelical Calvinists, on the other hand, should begin to take an honest approach when preaching their Gospel.”

    I’m not a Calvanist, so your arguement does not apply to me. You still have failed to answer the question as to whether or not it is safe to call Jesus Christ “a god.”
    Secondly, you have proven my point to it’s fullest extent…”You desire to become like God.”
    Like Him how, John?

  14. rick b says:

    We read in the Bible that Satan was kicked out of heaven for trying to be like God and trying to exalt himself above God.

    Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

    Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

    Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

    Isa 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

    One goal of the LDS is to be gods someday. Why is it different from what Lucifer did? Lucifer wanted TO BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH, he was thrown out of heaven, LDS want to be gods like god, how can you be sure you wont be throw out like Lucifer was? Rick b

  15. Geoff said:
    ” The three members of the Godhead/Trinity are sometimes referred to as one God and at other times described as separate persons.”

    You are right! And that is the trinity. Three seperate persons make up ONE GOD.

    Geoff also said:
    “…some people pushing toward modalism on one side of the debate (which is considered heresy)…”

    Please include Joseph Smith in this category as he penned:
    “Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very aEternal Father of heaven and of earth…”
    -Alma 11:38-39

    In His name,
    -Eric

  16. Geoff J says:

    Eric: You are right! And that is the trinity. Three seperate persons make up ONE GOD.

    Excellent. We have found more common ground then.

  17. Geoff said:
    “Excellent. We have found more common ground then.”

    Well, in reality not even close. I don’t think there are three gods controlling this universe. On the other hand, you do.

    Actually, before I make any possible accusation on what you believe, Geoff; perhaps I should ask you.
    Does the trinity consist of three gods?

  18. Geoff J says:

    It’s a matter of semantics isn’t it Eric? Certainly scriptures tell us that there are three divine persons who make up the “one God” that is the Godhead/Trinity.

    Don’t you also refer to them God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost? Or are you a modalist/Sabellianist?

  19. john f. says:

    Imagine approaching the Bible with the liberty to read it without the limiting lens of the trinitarian creeds. The Godhead — God the Heavenly Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost — is in the Bible; the philosophical Trinity as defined beginning in the fourth century in the creeds is not. When reading the Bible without restricting oneself by the creeds — that is, reading the Bible without forcing the words of the Bible into the concept of later-created creeds — is very enlightening.

    Latter-day Saints, as Eric well knows, believe that becoming like God means participating with Him in the creative process in the future. Eric also knows of the much speculation that this has generated among Latter-day Saints about what exactly that means. One thing remains certain, God remains God and will always be sovereign to all of us. By choosing to accept Jesus Christ, men and women can open their hearts to the saving power of the Atonement. By being baptized by someone holding the priesthood found in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one is cleansed from sin. Only through the Atonement can a person become a being that is cleansed of sin and capable of dwelling in God’s presence.

    Now, Eric, assuming you are someone who has judged yourself as saved based on accepting Christ in your heart, what do you believe you will be doing for eternity?

  20. Geoff said:
    “It’s a matter of semantics isn’t it Eric? Certainly scriptures tell us that there are three divine persons who make up the “one God” that is the Godhead/Trinity.”

    This provides further evidence to this entire blog entry’s claim of LDS not being completely forthright with their beliefs. When asked direct questions that simple “yes or “no’s” will clearly answer, LDS continue to spin into the cosmos of ambiguity.

    I will ask you again, Geoff. This time let’s pretend you are answering a simple true of false question on some type of questionnaire.

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a separate god apart from his father.

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a god who was created by his father.

    Are those clear enough?

    John F asked:
    “Now, Eric, assuming you are someone who has judged yourself as saved based on accepting Christ in your heart, what do you believe you will be doing for eternity?”

    Let me make an example here of how to answer a question with clear and precise words.

    First off, I did not judge for myself whether or not I am saved. Jesus Christ promised me in His word.
    I will be in fellowship amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ, forever giving praise to God and enjoying his eternal glory and love. I will sing praises to His name and giving worship to His glory.
    But hey, I would be just fine being a doorkeeper there. God is good!!

    Clear answer? I don’t know what it has to do with this article though. I see you make attempts to derail topic quite a bit, John.

    In His precious and glorious…
    -Eric

  21. d allison says:

    It is an interesting FACT that the Bible has more warning(s) about the mission of false prophets than any other demonic counterfeit. Here are just the New Testament texts: (KJV)
    Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
    Matt 24:11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
    Matt 24:24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
    Mk 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.
    Lk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.
    Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:
    2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
    1 John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
    Rev. 16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
    The Bible is filled with warnings so that God’s people will not be deceived by these people masquerading as the oracles of God. Yet today, sadly, many of God’s people have itching ears and are running as fast as they can to hear the latest “word” from the mouth of one claiming to be a prophet of our Lord –
    May God give you wisdom to understand the truth and eyes to see the many false creeds and prophets of our time.

  22. john f. says:

    I will be in fellowship amongst my brothers and sisters in Christ, forever giving praise to God and enjoying his eternal glory and love. I will sing praises to His name and giving worship to His glory.

    Sounds like a long eternity. Have fun with that.

    The post accuses Latter-day Saints of dishonesty. Latter-day Saints are not being dishonest in saying that the three members of the Godhead are three separate entities. That is what Latter-day Saints really believe — that God the Father is a separate being with his own physical body, as is His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, and that the Holy Ghost is a separate being with a body of Spirit so that he can dwell within each person.

    It is unclear why this is being construed as obfuscation, dishonesty, or derailment of a blog thread.

  23. Geoff J says:

    Eric: This provides further evidence to this entire blog entry’s claim of LDS not being completely forthright

    Wrong. I simply see theological nuance where you see none. That is a matter of discernment (or lack thereof); not a matter of forthrightness.

    If you are trying to show that I don’t believe exactly the same things in the same way that you do you won’t find any arguments from me. I do however believe God and the Bible.

    As for your true or false questions; I persoanlly see them as more evidence of what appears to be a remedial and ham fisted variety of Christian theology but I’ll take a whack at answering them anyway.

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a separate god apart from his father.

    It sort of depends on what you mean. If you mean that Jesus could be God without being “one” with the rest of the Godhead then my answer is “false”. If you mean that Jesus has a separate resurrected body and an individual mind that nevertheless freely chooses oneness with the Godhead then my answer would be “true”.

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a god who was created by his father.

    Depends on what you mean by “created”. If you mean that the Father is in one way or other the creator of the mortal body of Jesus then my answer is true. If you mean that the Father created Jesus or anything at all ex nihilo then my answer would be an emphatic “false”.

  24. d allison says:

    Sounds like a long eternity. Have fun with that.
    WOW!!! May God open your heart a fill it with something other than your lack of respect for our God.
    Good luck with your creating your own world with people who don’t want to worship you. “LOL”.

  25. Geoff J says:

    d allison: It is an interesting FACT that the Bible has more warning(s) about the mission of false prophets than any other demonic counterfeit.

    Amen sista! (I assume you are female at least…) The difference between us is we disagree on where the false prophets are. We Mormons see them having gained control of Christian theology within a few hundred years of the resurrection and thus corrupting the gospel thousands of years ago. You defend a variety of that very theology and call us Mormons (and specifically our leaders) false prophets. Either way, I don’t see how bringing that up and such name-calling helps the dialogue move forward here…

  26. John F. said:
    “It is unclear why this is being construed as obfuscation, dishonesty, or derailment of a blog thread.”

    You are right, John. the LDS church does indeed believe that the Godhead is made of three separate “entities.”
    But what you are not seeing here is the fact that Mormon officials clearly choose to use words like “entities” rather than “gods” because that hides the possibility of polytheism. Most of the secular world is aware that Christians believe in only one God. John, you must admit that there is a language barrier that must be scaled when talking to Mormons. According to Mormon theology “Entities”=”gods” when describing the Godhead…Am I correct?
    But, to the potential convert who is under the false pretense that Mormonism is a Christian denomination and who is unaware of the language barrier, things can be misleading.

    Let me give you an example…
    When I started to study the LDS faith, I requested LDS Missionaries to come visit my wife and I. I knew little of your doctrine and was curious of why the body of Christ rejected Mormonism as a part of it.
    I asked one of the two elders, Do you guys believe in the trinity?”
    He answered, “Yes, we do.”
    His companion quickly corrected him and said, “Well, not in the sense that I think you are asking. We believe in a God head that works for the same cause and purpose, but we do not think Jesus and the Father are the same person. But yes, it is a trinity in a sense, just not the trinity that the creeds invented.”

    Now, John…
    Don’t you think it was important that this was cleared up by the companion? Don’t you see why the vague terms are not effective in describing your faith? Come on, dude! At least be fair to yourself! You believe Jesus is a god who was created in addition to His father. Do you think the thousands who read the article in the “The Cincinnati Enquirer” thought to themselves, “Hmm, I had no idea Mormons believed in three gods acting in one purpose!”

    Peace,
    -Eric

  27. Geoff answered the questions with:

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a separate god apart from his father.

    It sort of depends on what you mean. If you mean that Jesus could be God without being “one” with the rest of the Godhead then my answer is “false”. If you mean that Jesus has a separate resurrected body and an individual mind that nevertheless freely chooses oneness with the Godhead then my answer would be “true”.

    True or False…
    Jesus Christ is a god who was created by his father.

    Depends on what you mean by “created”. If you mean that the Father is in one way or other the creator of the mortal body of Jesus then my answer is true. If you mean that the Father created Jesus or anything at all ex nihilo then my answer would be an emphatic “false”

    Thanks for answering the questions.
    Let me ask you another True or False question…
    True or False,
    According to Mormon theology, the Godhead consists of only One God.

    In Christ,
    -Eric

  28. Geoff J says:

    Eric,

    Click on the link in my first comment in this post. We have all sorts of scriptures like this one:

    Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen. (D&C 20: 28)

    But it is also considered appropriate to refer to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit as “God”. Our scriptures do that at times as well.

    34 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? (Mosiah 13: 34)

    So let me ask you this: On your view is the God the Son really God? Is God the Father really God? Is God the Holy Spirit really God? If so how do you go about rectifying this issue?

  29. Geoff J says:

    Eric,

    Click on the link in my first comment in this post. We have all sorts of scriptures like this one:

    Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen. (D&C 20: 28)

    But it is also considered appropriate to refer to the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit as “God”. Our scriptures do that at times as well.

    34 Have they not said that God himself should come down among the children of men, and take upon him the form of man, and go forth in mighty power upon the face of the earth? (Mosiah 13: 34)

    So let me ask you this: On your view is the God the Son really God? Is God the Father really God? Is God the Holy Spirit really God? If so how do you go about rectifying this issue?

  30. One God huh? Click Here.

    Make sure you read the third paragraph aloud to yourself.

    Geoff asked:

    “On your view is the God the Son really God? Is God the Father really God? Is God the Holy Spirit really God? If so how do you go about rectifying this issue?”

    I rectify the the issue here…Genesis 1:1; Deuteronomy 4:39; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 96:5; Isaiah 40:12-20; 43:10; 44:6, 8, and 24; Jn. 1:1-3; and 17:3.

    Also read Colossians1:15-18
    1He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

  31. Geoff J says:

    Eric,

    Are you avoiding my questions? Simply listing scriptures is not answering my question. I’ll make it easier for you by paring the question down: On your view is the God the Son really God or not?

  32. Geoff J says:

    By the way Eric, I am very familiar with that sermon by Joseph Smith. As I just said God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost could be referred to individually as God or the perfectly unified Godhead could be called the one God.

  33. Geoff said:

    ” Simply listing scriptures is not answering my question. I’ll make it easier for you by paring the question down: On your view is the God the Son really God or not?”

    I did not know that giving you the word of God would not suffice for you.

    The Son is God, yes!

    “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!”

    -Philippians 2:5-8

    That link I gave you does not coincide with your statement.
    Joseph said:
    “…the three constitute three distinct personages and THREE GODS.”

    VS.

    Joseph said:
    “Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.”

    Geoff,
    You seem to like the latter when open to the public. But inside those temples, it’s the former.

    I think we are abusing the blog for us to get off topic and dialogue amongst ourselves. Would you be willing to do this over a phone call? I can shoot you my number in an email. Or you can check out our website and get contact info there.
    What do you say, Geoff?

  34. Geoff J says:

    Eric,

    You seem to be implying that there is some massive difference between our views on the Godhead/Trinity. But unless you are a modalist I don’t see it. We both agree that the Godhead/Trinity is composed of three divine persons. You just said “The Son is God, yes!” so I assume that means you also think the Father and Holy Spirit are God too. So each person in the Trinity is able to be called God individually in both of our views. Whether you call that “three Gods” or three divine persons that can be called God is simply semantics. We agree that when combined they comprise what the scriptures call the one God. So where is the difference you are seeing? Are you a modalist after all or something?

  35. Dave says:

    Forgive me if ive lost track of all the arguments, but can anyone, LDS or otherwise explain Mosiah 14? It seems that Jesus is described as first the Son, then the Father, and then the Spirit. Wouldn’t this imply that they are the same god?

    Maybe Christian trinitarian doctrine should say the Trinity is one God with 3 parts, and LDS could have the Godhead is 3 Gods who make up one part? Maybe i just havnt slept in far too long and im rambling.

  36. d allison says:

    So where is the difference you are seeing?
    I believe
    There is only one God (Isaiah 43:11; 44:6,8; 45:5)
    Mormon’s
    And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light: and there was light (Book of Abraham 4:3)
    I believe
    God has always been God (Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 57:15)
    Mormon’s
    “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!!! . . . We have imagined that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 345
    I believe
    God is a spirit without flesh and bones (John 4:24; Luke 24:39)
    Mormon’s
    “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” Doctrine and Covenants 130:22. Compare with Alma 18:26-27; 22:9-10) “Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body . . . of flesh and bones.” (Articles of Faith, by James Talmage, p. 38).
    I believe
    Jesus is the eternal Son. He is second person of the Trinity. He has two natures. He is God in flesh and man (John 1:1, 14; Col. 2;9) and the creator of all things (Col. 1:15-17)
    Mormon’s
    Jesus is the literal spirit-brother of Lucifer, a creation. (Gospel Through the Ages, p. 15)

    Just to name a few….difference

  37. d allison says:

    Andy F
    God is a trinity of persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are all the one God. Each has a will, can speak, can love, etc., and these are demonstrations of personhood. They are in absolute perfect harmony consisting of one substance. They are coeternal, coequal, and copowerful. If any one of the three were removed, there would be no God.
    Jesus, the Son, is one person with two natures: Divine and Human. This is called the Hypostatic Union. The Holy Spirit is also divine in nature and is self aware, the third person of the Trinity.
    There is, though, an apparent separation of some functions among the members of the Godhead. For example, the Father chooses who will be saved (Eph. 1:4); the Son redeems them (Eph. 1:7); and the Holy Spirit seals them, (Eph. 1:13).

    A further point of clarification is that God is not one person, the Father, with Jesus as a creation and the Holy Spirit is a force (Jehovah’s Witnesses). Neither is He one person who took three consecutive forms, i.e., the Father, became the Son, who became the Holy Spirit. Nor is God the divine nature of the Son (where Jesus had a human nature perceived as the Son and a divine nature perceived as the Father (Oneness theology). Nor is the Trinity an office held by three separate Gods (Mormonism).
    The idea of a composite unity of persons is spoken of by God in Genesis (Gen. 2:24).
    The first step is to establish how many Gods exist: one! Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; 45:5,14,18,21,22; 46:9; 47:8; John 17:3; 1 Cor. 8:5-6; Gal. 4:8-9

  38. rick b says:

    originally

    A problem I see for the LDS on the trinity issue is this, The Original BoM taught the trinity, but those verses have since been changed. Here is what the original said, First book of Nephi

    And the Angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, yea even the Eternal Father

    Notice the lamb of God who is Jesus, is called the eternal father. Now here is the change, this is from my 1920 edition,

    Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the son of the eternal father

    Notice the change from added words, Jesus went from being God the father to (a) god.

    Here is another serious Change. 1st book of Nephi

    that the Lamb of God IS THE ETERNAL FATHER, and the SAVIOUR of the world.

    That has been since changed to, 1st Nephi 13:40

    and shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father, and the Savior of the world;

    We go again from Being the father, to the Son of the father. And if the LDS want to give a good reason why I am wrong, can you while your at it explain why the change from the BoM and why their are no footnotes explain the change? That goes along with the question of, what Eric said

    Eric Hoffman: The article was to highlight the issue that the church tends to tell half truths and continues to make ambiguous statements.

    Not making the changes know in the foot notes is a half truth and lie in my book, Subtle deception. Rick b

  39. d allison says:

    Is the teaching of the LDS Church today consistent with that of the early 1830’s? If the Mormon Church’s claim to be the “only true church on earth today” is to be believed, one would expect consistency in teaching from the beginning until today. However, based on the earliest works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (then “The Church of Christ”), the answer to the above question is an emphatic no. Since the first version of the Book of Mormon was published (1830), an evolution of theological thought can be clearly traced.
    A departure from the monotheistic view established with the B.of M. can be traced to the 1851 version of the Pearl of Great Price.
    So when did the doctrines in these important areas change to present day LDS beliefs? In the middle to late 1830’s Joseph Smith’s beliefs about God changed tremendously. He developed the concept that “God was once a man.” This great swing in belief created a ripple affect in the Mormon concept of the attributes of God.

    So where does one turn to determine the very character of God? Does one stand with the beliefs of the LDS Church in the early 1830’s, or does one stand with the attributes of God as presented by the current church doctrine? And if God were to have chosen Joseph Smith to be a prophet, why would that prophet teach such utterly contradictory concepts of God within the space of less than twenty years?

  40. Mike L says:

    The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is simply not biblical. When one truly internalizes the doctrine of the Bible (both the local and global context), it becomes obvious to an objective reader (objectivity is extremely rare in Christendom) that the LDS (Mormon) understanding of the Godhead is the only correct interpretation. The Bible is NOT monotheistic as claimed by orthodox Christianity…the Bible espouses the doctrine of monolatry, which is the worship of one God, without claiming he is the only god.

    Now Christians will immediately jump to Isa 43 or 44…to which I respond with: “utterly irrelevant”. Look at the commandment: Thou shalt have no other gods before me…and anyone who has read ALL of the ISA 40s would know that this is God’s powerful RANT against the worship of idols and that is it. PERIOD. In essence, God is saying: “would you idiots please stop building and worshiping these stupid, worthless golden images…I’m it! I’m the only one you are commanded to be worshiping! How many others have you been commanded to worship? NONE. How many others are there? NONE. I’m the only one.”

    Here, let me give you an example: From Isa 44: 8 …Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
    9 ¶ THEY THAT MAKE A GRAVEN IMAGE are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.

    How many biological Fathers do each of us have? ONE. Simple. How many “Heavenly Fathers” do I know of? ONE. PERIOD. As Christ (who is obviously a God and the same yesterday, today, and forever) says AFTER his resurection: I ascend to MY Father and YOUR Father, to MY God and YOUR God. As Paul says: to us there is but one God, the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ. Monalatry. Seperate and Distinct Gods. One and only one is worshiped. Anything else is ‘preaching another gospel’. Read it, weep, and join the LDS Church. ML

  41. Bob V says:

    d Allison, let’s look at the doctrine of the plurality of Gods, which you say dates to 1851. Such a position cannot be sustained by any credible history:
    1832:
    D&C 76:58 Wherefore, as it is written, they are gods, even the sons of God–

    From 1835 onward we have clear statements by Joseph Smith that Jesus and the Father were two personages, and he claimed, in front of the entire Church, (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, selected and arranged by Joseph Fielding Smith, p.370): “I will preach on the plurality of Gods. I have selected this text for that express purpose. I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preach on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. It has been preached by the Elders for fifteen years.”

    No one stepped forward to say “That’s false!” This is 1844, so 15 years previously goes back to 1829.

    Times and Seasons. February 15, 1845. the Living God., vol. 6 (January 15, 1845-February, No. 3. Nauvoo, Illinois, Feb 15, 1845 Whole No. 111, page 808) “It will then be necessary to treat the subject of the `Living God,’ in contra distinction to a (dead God), or, one that has, `no body, parts, or passions,’ and perhaps, it may be well enough to say at the out set, that Mormonism embraces a plurality of Gods, as the apostle said, there were `Gods many and Lords many.’ In doing which, we shall not deny the scripture that has been set apart for this world, and allows one God; even Jesus Christ, the very eternal Father of this earth; and if Paul tells the truth, `by him the worlds were made.’”

    Lastly, the BofM (1829) teaches LDS doctrine about the Godhead, including a plurality of gods, the oneness of god, and the exaltation of men (3 Nephi 28:10-11).

    Stop reading the critics who love to sensationalize, but withhold the truth. From 1829, and worst case 1832, we have the explicit and modern doctrine of LDS theology taught in the Church.

  42. Aaron Shafovaloff says:

    I recommend the thoughts of Thomas G. Alexander, a Mormon who was the president of the Mormon History Association, and, when writing the following, “Professor of History and Associate Director of the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies at Brigham Young University”:

    The Reconstruction of Mormon Doctrine: From Joseph Smith to Progressive Theology (PDF) – Sunstone 5:4 (July-August 1980) pp. 24-33

    There are more pink unicorns in the Book of Mormon than there are instances where the plurality of gods is taught. Heck, you can count more steel swords that were used in the pre-Columbian New World.

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