Post Author: Darrell
The nature of the Mormon Godhead bears some similarity to the Arian heresy of the early Christian church. Arius taught that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two separate beings distinct in nature, with Christ being a subordinate God. In similar respects, Mormonism teaches that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are literally three separate beings with three distinct natures. James E. Talmage explained the nature of the Mormon Godhead in A Study of the Articles of Faith when he said, “Three personages composing the great presiding council of the universe have revealed themselves to man: (1) God the Eternal Father; (2) His Son, Jesus Christ; and (3) the Holy Ghost. That these three are separate individuals, physically distinct from each other, is demonstrated by the accepted records of divine dealings with man.”
The belief that the three persons of the Godhead have separate and distinct natures originated with Joseph Smith’s First Vision claim. According to his writings in The Pearl of Great Price, Smith was visited by God the Father and Jesus Christ in the spring of 1820 in answer to a prayer regarding which church to join. Smith said:
I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other – This is My Beloved Son, Hear Him!
Mormons believe that these two beings were God the Father and Jesus Christ. As a result, they believe that Christ and the Father are separate beings and that the traditional Christian teaching on the nature of God, i.e., one God in nature who eternally exists in three persons, is a false, late development of Christianity that is foreign to the Bible.
Further derived from the First Vision is the belief that God the Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone just as man. In 2007, former Prophet of the LDS Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, said, “And so in 1820, in that incomparable vision, the Father and the Son appeared to the boy Joseph. They spoke to him with words that were audible, and he spoke to Them. . . . They were beings tabernacled in flesh. And out of that experience has come our unique and true understanding of the nature of Deity.” This belief is detailed out in the Mormon scripture titled The Doctrine and Covenants, where it says, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also.” Talmage said, “Therefore we know that both the Father and the Son are in form and stature perfect men; each of them possesses a tangible body, infinitely pure and perfect and attended by transcendent glory, nevertheless a body of flesh and bones.”
The belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate beings creates numerous problems for the LDS claim to be following the God of the Bible, for it is in utter conflict with the Bible on numerous counts. Deut. 6:4 says, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.” This verse is known as the Shema and is the basic confession of the Jewish faith. With this statement, Israel acknowledged the unity of God and placed their belief in stark contrast with that of their polytheistic Near East neighbors. There is little doubt that the Jewish belief in the unity and oneness of God, which the Shema clearly communicates, is utterly incompatible with the tri-theistic nature of the Mormon Godhead.
There are a multitude of other scriptures that can be cited to demonstrate that the Mormon idea of three separate Gods existing in the Godhead is completely foreign to the nature of God as taught in the Bible; however, space will only permit me to mention a few. Isa. 44:8 says, “Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.” Deut. 4:35 says, “To you it was shown, that you might know that the Lord is God; there is no other besides him.” As if stating this once was not strong enough, in Mark 12, a Scribe cited Deut. 4:35 when commenting on one of Christ’s answers to the Pharisees where Jesus referenced Deut. 6:4. Jesus’ citation of the Shema as part of the greatest commandment underscores its importance and is further declaration of God’s unity. In addition, the Scribe’s acknowledgement that Christ’s answer was good, and his use of Deut. 4:35 to support this fact further emphasizes the biblical declaration of the unity of God, a fact that is completely devastating to the Mormon belief in a tri-theistic Godhead.
In the next post, we will look at the problems created by the LDS decleration that God the Father has a body of flesh and bone. Stay tuned.