Mormon doctrine of God the Father and the Godhead
Consistency is an essential characteristic of truthfulness. We do not see consistency in the Mormon doctrine of Deity.
No illogical statement can be true, and no statement can be true IF it is not consistent with other statements that are known to be true, and declared to be true.
There are four major stages in the development of Joseph Smith’s doctrine of Deity. The earliest stage is presented in the Book of Mormon (1830), in the Book of Moses (Pearl of Great Price) (1830-1831), and in Joseph Smith’s translation of the Bible (1833). Up until this time, 1830-1833, he taught that the Father and the Son were the same person. Theologians call this “modalism”, two modes of God. (See: The Book of Mormon: Mosiah 15:1-3; 16:15; Ether 4:7, 12; Helaman 14:12.)
His second stage started to evolve in 1834-35, when Joseph Smith departed from The Book of Mormon teaching that God the Father and the Son are the same person, but he still maintained that there is only one God. This time he came closer to monotheism, but he said there are two persons in the Godhead, not three. Among theologians it is called “binitarianism“. This is taught in the Fifth Lecture of Lectures of Faith (1833-1835) that says there are two persons in the Godhead (not three), the Father, who is Spirit, and the Son, who has a body of flesh and bones. (See:Lectures of Faith, pp. 48-49.)
[These seven lectures were approved for the Doctrine and Covenants by a Conference vote of the Mormon Church, in August 17, 1835, and included in all English editions of the D&C until 1921, when they were, without explanation or vote, removed.]
Joseph Smith started to develop the doctrine of plurality of Gods in about 1839. Hints to it can be found in D&C 121:26, 28. His final stage of the doctrine of Deity, or plurality of Gods, was published in the Book of Abraham, chapters 4-5, in 1842. The Pearl of Great Price has two different creation stories: The Book of Moses (chapters 2 and 3, written in 1830, the same year as the Book of Mormon) speaks of God, singular, who created the heavens and earth, and the Book of Abraham ( chapters 4-5) speaks of a plurality of Gods who “organized”,“called” and “prepared” the heavens and the earth rather thancreated. (This later version is also taught in Mormon temples.) In the Book of Moses, expressions, “I, God, said“, “I, God, created”, “I, God, saw”, “I, God, caused”, appear 50 times in chapters 2-3. But the Book of Abraham reports as many as 48 times in chapters 4-5, that it was a plurality of Gods that formed or organized the heavens and the earth. These are totally different and contradictory teachings about Deity and of the creation. (We will come back to this in our lesson comparing Mormon scriptures.)
The Mormon Church has taught, from April 1844 to this day, that Father is an exalted man who Himself has a Father, and whose Father has a Father, ad infinitum. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 345-347; Mormon Doctrine, pp. 322-323.)
Joseph Smith again preached, on June 16, 1844 (just 11 days before his death), that there are many Gods, that Heavenly Father is an offspring of another Deity, who in turn is an offspring of a more ancient Deity. He said that he received this information from the Egyptian papyrus, his claimed source for the Book of Abraham. Joseph further claimed that he has “always and in all congregations when [he has] preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods.” (History of the Church, vol. 6:473-474; Mormon Doctrine, pp. 576-577; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370.)
As we have presented above, it was not so. His doctrine of God evolved from modalism to binitarianism and finally to a plurality of Gods.
At this time Joseph Smith also started to teach about pre-existence, elevating all mankind to “Gods in embryo”, saying that we all are literal spirit children of God and His many wives (Mormon Doctrine, pp. 750-751; Seer, pp. 37, 43, 172.), and that we too can become exalted gods and goddesses and organize our own worlds and populate them with our spirit children, who will in turn worship us. (For more information on exaltation, see Gospel Principals, chapter 47.)
According to the teachings of Mormonism, all mankind and angels are spirit children of God, Jesus being the eldest son of the Heavenly Father, and Lucifer/Satan one of the next ones, etc. (Gospel Through Ages, p. 15.)
The Mormon Church teaches that Jesus was chosen by the council of Gods and voted to be the one who pays Adam’s transgression and makes it possible for us to return to God. This caused Lucifer’s rebellion and he convinced 1/3 of the spirit-sons and daughters of God to follow him, and because of their rebellion, they are forever going to be without physical bodies, and thus cannot progress into Godhood.
The Mormon Church teaches that although Jesus was already in the pre-existence elevated to Godhood through His “consistent effort and continuous obedience” (Gospel Through Ages, p. 51), He too had to receive a physical body “and work out his own salvation” in order to become fully a god. (“Jesus became a god”, Apostle Richard Scott, April 1997 Gen. Conf., May 1997 Ensign.)
Mormonism teaches that Jesus’ birth was not miraculous Virgin Birth of the Holy Spirit (Matt. 1:18), but a natural, physical conception by an exalted, resurrected God-man, Elohim. They teach that He was “begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way mortal men are begotten by their mortal fathers“. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 547, 742.)
They also teach that Jesus had to be married, because a temple marriage is one of the requirements for Godhood. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 2, p. 210. That Jesus was married was also stated by President Joseph Fielding Smith, March 17, 1963.)
The Holy Ghost, as taught in Mormonism, is a spirit man, a son of God and a spirit brother of all mankind, and that some day He too has to receive His body in order to receive His exaltation and become fully a god. (JoD, vol. 5, p. 179; Doctrine of Salvation, vol. 1, pp. 38-39, 58.)
As taught by the Mormon Church, the Holy Spirit is not a person, but “it”, a shared “mind” of the Father and the Son. (Lectures of Faith, p. 65, Deseret Book; see also Gospel Through Ages, p. 50.) The Holy Spirit is an influence of the Father and the Son – separate from the Holy Ghost, who is a spirit man, as they teach all men were before they received their physical bodies. Mormonism continues to teach that there are an infinite number of Gods in the universe, but to this world, there are “only” three Gods, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. They all occupy space and can only be at one place at one time. (Mormon Doctrine, p. 319.)
As taught in the secrecy of the Mormon temples, the three Gods presented there are yet different. The Gods presented in the Mormon temple consists of Elohim, Jehovah and Michael or Adam. [No Holy Ghost!] Elohim commands the organization of the world from existing eternal matter, and Jehovah and Michael/Adam “come down” and do it. It is from this, and other teachings of Joseph Smith, that Brigham Young developed his Adam-God doctrine. Brigham Young taught publicly and even forcibly, from 1852 till his death in the summer of 1877, that Adam is the Father God, “and the only God with whom we have to do” (JoD, vol. 1, pp.50-51).
Brigham Young taught that Adam is God and the Father of all human spirits and angels, and that he is also the physical father of Jesus Christ. The LDS Church has in later years denied Adam-God doctrine to those inquiring about it, but they still teach that Adam IS the Ancient of Days. This is taught in the D&C 27:11 (ref. there is made to Daniel 7:9-14) and also in D&C, Section 116. (Please compare Dan. 7:9-14 and Rev. 1:13-18. The Ancient of Days is God, not Adam!)
In contrast to these evolved teachings of Mormonism, the Bible states clearly, from the beginning to the end, that there is but one God, anywhere. (Deut. 6:4; Isa. 43:10-11; 44:6, 8; 45:5, 6; 46:9; Jer. 10:10-11; 1 Tim. 2:5; James 2:19; 1 Cor. 8:4. ) God is Spirit. (John 4:24; Mark 12:32; Prov. 15:3.) Isa. 43:10 says,”…before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.” God is Eternal God. (Ps. 90:2.) Men will not become Gods! “God is not a man”, is declared over and over in the Bible. (See: Numbers 23:19; Hosea 11:9; Isa. 31:3-4; Job 9:32; Sam. 15:29.) That the Father is God is agreed by all, including Mormons. That Jesus is God is conclusively demonstrated throughout the scriptures. (See Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23; John 1:1, 14; 8: 23-24, 56-59; 20:28; Rom. 9:5; Col. 2:9; 1 John 5:7; Ps. 118:27; Heb. 1:3, 6-8. Rev. 1:8.) (Mormonism teaches that Jesus “became a god”, but he is not God.) That Holy Ghost is a Person and God, is shown. (See Acts 5:3-4; 1 Cor. 3:16-17; 6:19.) (The Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit are the same Person – both Ghost and Spirit are translated from the same Greek word, “pneuma”.) Triune God is plurality of Persons, but one God. (1 John 5:7, KJV.)