The Mormon vs. the Christian View of God

Introduction

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has done much P.R. work to get their religion to look as much like orthodox Christianity as possible (even increasing the font size on their signs to emphasize “Jesus Christ”). But does Mormonism simply add “another testament” to the Bible or are they following “other gods” (Dt. 13:2)?

The God of Christianity

Christians have traditionally professed belief in a God who has certain attributes:

  • God is the Only God That Exists (e.g., Isa. 43:10;  44:6; 45:22)
  • God is Self-Existent (e.g., Ps. 90:2 )
  • Transcendent (i.e., not a creature) (e.g., Num. 23:19; Ps. 50:21)
  • Immutable (e.g., Ps. 102:27; Isa. 46:10; Mal. 3:6)
  • Eternal (e.g., Ps. 90:2; 93:2)
  • Omnipresent (e.g., 1 Kings 8:27; Prov. 15:3; Is. 66:1; Jer. 23: 23, 24)
  • Incorporeal (e.g., Jn. 4:24; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17)
  • Trinitarian
    • Father God (warning against falsehood: Isa 45:21)
    • Jesus Christ (warning against falsehood: Mt. 24:24)
    • The Holy Spirit (warning against falsehood: 1 Tim. 4:1)

As will be shown below, Mormonism either rejects or redefines all of these attributes.

Nicene Creed

Further, as indicated by underlining below, knowledgeable Mormons would not be able to consistently affirm several points of Christian orthodoxy (namely the ones pertaining to deity), as shown in the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christthe only Son of Godeternally begotten of the Father, God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Fatherthrough him all things were made. . . .  We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father [and the Son], who with the Father and the Son is worshiped and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets.

Below are representative quotes from Mormon authorites showing that the above claims are the case.

MORMONISM: THE FATHER (Elohim)

The God of Mormonism was Once a Man

Mormon Founding Prophet and First President Joseph Smith Jr.

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 345).

“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret… [Y]ou have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you…” (King Follett Discourse”)

“If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also? I despise the idea of being scared to death at such a doctrine, for the Bible is full of it.” (Sermon on The Plurality of Gods, June 16, 1844.)

Mormon Apostle John Widtsoe

“God and man are of the same race, differing only in their degrees of advancement” (Gospel Through the Ages, pg. 107).

Mormon Apostle Parley P. Pratt

“God, angels, and men are all of the same species, one race, one great family…” (Key to the Science of Theology, 1978 ed., pg. 21).

Fifth President Lorenzo Snow

“As man is God once was, as God is man may be.”

The God of Mormonism is Not Self-Existent

Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt

“We were begotten by our Father in Heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, He was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so one, from one generation to generation” (The Seer, pg. 132).

The God of Mormonism is Not Eternally God.

Mormon Founding Prophet and First President Joseph Smith Jr.

“We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see” (Teachings, pg. 345).

The God of Mormonism is Not Incorporeal

Mormon Founding Prophet and First President Joseph Smith Jr.

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s” (D&C 130:22).

The God of Mormonism is Not Omnipresent

Second President Brigham Young

“Some would have us believe that God is present everywhere. It is not so” (Journal of Discourses 6:345).

LDS Apostle James Talmage

[Neither God the Father, nor] “any actual person of any one member of the Godhead can be physically present in more than one place at one time” (The Articles of Faith, pg. 39).

Note: The Mormon God’s “omnipresence” is just his power (the “Holy Spirit”) extended throughout space which is not to be confused with the persona of the Holy Ghost (Mormon Apostle John WidtsoeEvidences and Reconciliations, pp. 76-77). See below.

The God of Mormonism is One of Many Gods

Mormon Founding Prophet and First President Joseph Smith Jr.

“I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods” (History of the Church 6:474).

Second President Brigham Young

“How many Gods there are, I do not know. But there never was a time when there were not Gods…” (Journal of Discourses 7:333).

The God of Mormonism is Part of an Eternal Progression

Mormon Founding Prophet and First President Joseph Smith Jr.

“And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, …Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; …and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, …and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” (Doctrine and Covenants 132:19-22 )

Orson Pratt original member of the Quorum of Twelve

‘We would find, were we to carry this subject from world to world, from our world to another, even to the endless ages of eternity, that there never was a time but what there was a Father and Son. In other words when you entertain that which is endless, you exclude the idea of first being, a first world; the moment you admit of a first, you limit the idea of endless. ‘Says one, “this is incomprehensible.” It may be so in some respects. We can admit, though, that duration is endless, for it is impossible for man to conceive of a limit to it. If duration is endless there can never be a first minute, a first hour, or first period; endless duration in the past is made up of a continuation of endless successive moments—it had no beginning. Precisely so with regard to this endless succession of personages; there never will be a time when fathers, and sons, and worlds will not exist; neither was there ever a period through all the past ages of duration, but what there was a world, and a Father and Son, a redemption and exaltation to the fullness and power of the Godhead. (via B. H. Roberts, The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, p.276-284, quotes Orson Pratt’s view of heaven)

Encyclopedia of Mormonism 

Logically and naturally, the ultimate desire of a loving Supreme Being is to help his children enjoy all that he enjoys. For Latter-day Saints, the term “godhood” denotes the attainment of such a state—one of having all divine attributes and doing as God does and being as God is. Such a state is to be enjoyed by all exalted, embodied, intelligent beings (see Deification; Eternal Progression; Exaltation; God; Perfection). The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that all resurrected and perfected mortals become gods (cf. Gen. 3:22; Matt. 5:48). They will dwell again with God the Father, and live and act like him in endless worlds of happiness, power, love, glory, and knowledge; above all, they will have the power of procreating endless lives. (Vol.2:  GODHOOD)

Tenth President Joseph Fielding Smith Jr.

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.1, p.69 – p.70:
Mortality is the testing or proving ground for exaltation to find out who among the children of God are worthy to become Gods themselves, and the Lord has informed us that “few there be that find it.”

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.9:
What is eternal life? It is to have “a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” No one receives eternal life except those who receive the exaltation. Eternal life is the greatest gift of God; immortality is not.”

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.39:
“If the faithful, who keep the commandments of the Father, are his sons, then they are heirs of the kingdom and shall receive of the fulness of the Father’s glory, even until they become like the Father. And how can they be perfect as their Father in heaven is perfect if they are not like him? . . . And if they receive his fulness and his glory, and if “all things are theirs, whether life or death, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs,” how can they receive these blessings and not become gods? They cannot.”

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.44:
Parents will have eternal claim upon their posterity and will have the gift of eternal increase, if they obtain the exaltation. This is the crowning glory in the kingdom of God, and they will have no end. When the Lord says they will have no end, he means that all who attain to this glory will have the blessing of the continuation of the “seeds” forever. Those who fail to obtain this blessing come to the “deaths,” which means that they will have no increase, forever. All who obtain this exaltation will have the privilege of completing the full measure of their existence, and they will have a posterity that will be as innumerable as the stars of heaven.

Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.2, p.48:
“The Father has promised us that through our faithfulness we shall be blessed with the fulness of his kingdom. In other words we will have the privilege of becoming like him. To become like him we must have all the powers of godhood; thus a man and his wife when glorified will have spirit children who eventually will go on an earth like this one we are on and pass through the same kind of experiences, being subject to mortal conditions, and if faithful, then they also will receive the fulness of exaltation and partake of the same blessings. There is no end to this development; it will go on forever. We will become gods and have jurisdiction over worlds, and these worlds will be peopled by our own offspring. We will have an endless eternity for this.

Mormon Apostle Bruce R. McConkie

Of those who enter the Lord’s order of matrimony and who keep their covenants …, the Lord says: “They shall pass by the angels, and the gods, …to their exaltation and glory in all things, …which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” That is to say, eternal life consists of two things: (1) the continuation of the family unit in eternity, which means a continuation of the seeds or the everlasting begetting of children; and (2) the receipt of the fulness of the glory of the Father, which is all power in heaven and on earth.’ (The Millennial Messiah, p.708)

Orson Hyde – original member of the Quorum of the Twelve

When the servants of God and their wives go to heaven there is an eternal union, and they will multiply and replenish the world to which they are going. (Journal Of Discourses Vol.2, p.85 – p.86, October 6, 1854)

George Q. Cannon – 19th century Quorum of the Twelve

Every man and every woman who prays unto the Father, who is in the habit of doing so, expresses that desire in his or her prayer–that we may be counted worthy to receive celestial glory and exaltation in the presence of God and the Lamb. … When we talk about celestial glory, we talk of the condition of endless increase; if we obtain celestial glory in the fullest sense of the word, then we have wives and children in eternity, we have the power of endless lives granted unto us, the power of propagation that will endure through all eternity, all being fathers and mothers in eternity; fathers of fathers, and mothers of mothers, kings and queens, priests and priestesses, and shall I say more? Yes, all becoming gods. (Journal Of Discourses Vol.22, p.125, October 31, 1880)

MORMONISM: THE SON – Jesus Christ (Jehovah)

Mormonism Has A Different Jesus

Fifteenth President Gordon B. Hinckley

“In bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, President Hinckley spoke of those outside the Church who say Latter-day Saints ‘do not believe in the traditional Christ.’ ‘No, I don’t. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak’” (LDS Church News, week ending June 20, 1998, p.7).

LDS Seventy Bernard P. Brockbank

“It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” (, Ensign, May 1977, p.26 ).

The Mormon Jesus is Jehovah

Sixth LDS President Joseph F. Smith

Among the spirit children of Elohim, the first-born was and is Jehovah, or Jesus Christ, to whom all others are juniors” (Gospel Doctrine, p.70).

The Mormon Jesus is a Physical Son of God

The First Presidency of the Church

‘God the Eternal Father, whom we designate by the exalted name-title Elohim,’ is the literal Parent of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and of the spirits of the human race” (Messages from the First Presidency 5:26).

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is The Son, as they are sons and daughters of Elohim.”  (VOL 4:1676)

Gospel Principles 

All men and women are literally sons and daughters of Deity.” (2009, p. 9)

The Mormon Jesus is Lucifer’s Brother

Twelfth President Spencer W. Kimball

Long before you were born a program was developed by your creators … The principal personalities in this great drama were a Father Elohim, perfect in wisdom, judgment, and person, and two sons, Lucifer and Jehovah.” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, pp. 32-33).

The Mormon Jesus Became God

Encyclopedia of Mormonism

Latter-day Saints believe that Jesus Christ attained godhood (see Christology) and that he marked the path and led the way for others likewise to become exalted divine beings by following him (cf. John 14:3). (Vol.2: GODHOOD)

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie

He is the Firstborn of the Father. By obedience and devotion to the truth he attained that pinnacle of intelligence which ranked him as a God, as the Lord Omnipotent, while yet in his pre-existent state” (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pg. 129).

The Mormon Jesus’ Incarnation was Accomplished Sexually

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie

“For our present purposes, suffice it to say that our Lord was born of a virgin, which is fitting and proper, and also natural, since the Father of the Child was an immortal Being … He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers. It is just that simple” (The Promised Messiah, pp. 466, 468).

Sixth LDS President Joseph F. Smith

“Now, we are told in scriptures that Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God in the flesh. Well, now for the benefit of the older ones, how are children begotten? I answer just as Jesus Christ was begotten of his father … Jesus is the only person who had our Heavenly Father as the father of his body” (Family Home Evening Manual, 1972, pp.125,126).

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie

Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (Mormon Doctrine, pg. 547).

The Jesus of Mormonism is one of Many Saviors

Second President Brigham Young

Sin is upon every earth that ever was created … Consequently every earth has its redeemer, and every earth has its tempter; and the people thereof, in their turn and time, receive all that we receive, and pass through all the ordeals that we are passing through” (Journal of Discourses 14:71-72).

The Mormon Jesus was Married and a Polygamist

Mormon Apostle Orson Hyde

“It will be borne in mind that once on a time, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and on a careful reading of that transaction, it will be discovered that no less a person than Jesus Christ was married on that occasion. If he was never married, his intimacy with Mary and Martha, and the other Mary also whom Jesus loved, must have been highly unbecoming and improper to say the best of it.” (Journal of Discourses 4:259).

MORMONISM: THE HOLY SPIRIT (vs. THE HOLY GHOST)

The Holy Ghost

Joseph Smith Jr.

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit” (Doctrine and Covenants [D&C] 130:22).

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie

The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead. He is a Personage of Spirit, a Spirit Person, a Spirit Man, a Spirit Entity. He can be in only one place at one time” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 359).

Gospel Principles

“He [the Holy Ghost] has a body of spirit. His body of spirit is in the form and likeness of a man. He can be only in one place at a time…” (p. 34, 1988 edition)

The Holy Spirit

Sixth President Joseph F. Smith

‘The Holy Ghost as a personage of Spirit can no more be omnipresent in person than can the Father or the Son…. It is not the Holy Ghost who in person lighteth every man who is born into the world, but it is the light of Christ, the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the source of intelligence, which permeates all nature, which lighteth every man and fills the immensity of space. You may call it the Spirit of God, you may call it the influence of God’s intelligence, you may call it the substance of his power; no matter what it is called, it is the spirit of intelligence that permeates the universe and gives to the spirits of men understanding,….

Mormon Apostle Bruce McConkie

The Spirit of God which emanates from Deity may be likened to electricity,… which fills the earth and the air, and is everywhere present” (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 752-53).

Conclusion

There are major biblical, theological, philosophical, historical, and other problems with the deity of Mormonism, but those would require separate articles. Suffice to say for now that there simply can be no question that the Mormon deity is not that of orthodox Christianity.

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One thought on “The Mormon vs. the Christian View of God

  1. Pingback: Mormonism and the Apostasy Narrative | Soul Device

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