The Nature of God and Eternal Progression
1. Why Jesus Christ a God before receiving a body?
2. Principle of "Progression" in the Trinity
3. How can Holy Spirit be a God without a body?
4. Where did God the Father live before He was God?
5. God number one
6. "Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God "
7. How can any men ever become Gods?
8. Latter-day revelation on God once being a man?
9. "Let us make man in OUR image"
10. Did Adam create himself?
11. "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth."
12. How do God and His wives produce children without physical bodies?
13. Explain, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah"
14. How was Jesus born of a virgin?
15. Why is Moroni an angel now rather than a God?
16. If God is unchanging, how could he once have been a man?
17. Why does the Book of Mormon teache that God is a spirit?
18. How can LDS claim they are Christians when they don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity?
19. Were Adam and Eve in a predicament which forced them to break comandments?
20. Why didn't Nephi say, "which are one God"?
21. How can Mormons call themselves Christians when they believe in a different Jesus?
22. Would God have less glory if no one followed Him, and no one progressed?
23. Why does the Book of Mormon specifically contradict the belief that there are countless gods over countless worlds?
24. Why does the Book of Mormon say that God is unchangeable but Mormons say He was once a man?
See also: Becky and
in Answers to Submitted Questions.
Note: Many critics' questions relate to quotations from the Journal of Discourses(J. of D.), which was a sixteen-page semimonthly subscription publication privately printed in Liverpool, England, in 1854-1886. It included articles written by twelve different authors who recorded the speeches, mostly in shorthand, as they were delivered from the pulpit. It has never served in the past as a source for official Church teachings or scripture. It reflects the personal feelings, opinions, and speculations of the writers and/or speakers of the time. Because of modern revelation and because of "line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept" progression, we now have information on some of the subjects that was not yet known when the Journal of Discourses was published.
Though the First Presidency endorsed the publication of the Journal there was no endorsement as to the accuracy or reliability of the contents. There were occasions when the accuracy was questionable. The accounts were not always cleared by the speakers because of problems of time and distance.
It was not an official Church publication nor has it ever been a source for official Church doctrine.
1. If Gods are individuals who have passed through an earth life to attain Godhood, how is it that one person of the Trinity (Jesus Christ) was God before He received a body or passed through earth life?
A: The answer to this problem hangs on the multiple definitions of the word "God". One definition describes Our Heavenly Father who is a resurrected, exhalted being who went through the entire process of becoming "God the Father" a long time ago. Christ fulfilled another definition of the word "God" when He took part in the creation of this earth. Even though this was done under the direction of our Heavenly Father, Jesus would be considered the God and Father of this earth and universe because He was the one who created it. Our Heavenly Father is of course also our God, being a member of the Godhead. But the one who the prophets communicated with and obtained revelation and commandments from in the Old Testament times was Jesus(Jehovah). He did come closer to becoming a God like His Father after he obtained a body and was resurrected.
Also, the status of being a God, without obtaining an exalted resurrected body first, should be considered a special case. He was the first born in the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh. He was destined to be born on earth, atone for our sins and bring about the resurrection. If He already had a body he could not have done this. Consider the following scripture where, while on earth, Jesus prayed for the return of His pre-earth life status:
John 17:5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
Note: The idea of God the Father having gone through an earth life like us is not official church doctrine nor is it a part of the "fullness" of the gospel that we need to understand right now(See
Scriptures Question 1).
However, it is something that Joseph Smith and other latter-day prophets believed to be true.
2. If the principle of "Progression" is unalterable, why has the principle broken down two out of three times right within the Trinity?
A: It is an eternal principle. Give them a little more time.
3. If Gods are individuals who have passed through mortality and have progressed to Godhood, how has one person of the Trinity (the Holy Spirit) attained Godhood without getting a body? (see Acts 5:3.4)
A: Special Case. The Holy Spirit can not dwell inside someone if He has a body. When His existence as a spirit is no longer necessary He may some day get one.
4. When God was a man (According to Mormon theology) where did He live before He could create a planet upon which to live?
A: Probably on a planet that His Father created. We don't know. We don't need to know.
(See Note to question #1)
5. When God number one was a man (before He became God), who created a planet upon which he (man number one) could live?
A: There was no God number one. This has been going on in the eternal past and will continue on in the eternal future.(See Note to question #1)
6. God said, "Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I KNOW NOT ANY"(Isaiah 44:8). How can there be Gods who are Elohim's ancestors?
A: In this scripture Jehovah was trying to persuade the Israelites from worshipping the many false gods of their neighbors, and he wanted them to focus on their God, Jehovah, who is Jesus Christ. Even though the LDS believe in the existence of other gods, they do not worship them since they have no authority over them. In 1 Cor. 8:5,6 it says: "For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)
But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."
Paul is saying that even though there are many gods and lords, we worship only God the Father. We worship Him alone since He is the Father of our spirits (Heb. 12:9). We all have parents and are subject to them only and not to our grand parents or great grand parents or anyone else's parents. The same idea applies to God.
In 1 Cor. 8:5,6 Paul is not refering to the idols mentioned in verse 4, because he follows this statement, referring to those that are called gods, with the words, "whether in heaven or in earth..." I have never seen heaven, but I do not expect to find any idols there for people to worship as gods. So, while "idols" may indeed be inclusive in those that are "called gods," it is by no means an exclusive term, with the qualifier that follows.
Paul is making a distinction between the God we worship and those who are believers or followers of God who can also be called "gods". In biblical terms, those who are worthy to share in all the power and glory that God himself has are called "gods":
"Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High" (Psalms 82:6)
"Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?" (John 10:34)
So the "gods many and lords many" that he is talking about are those people refered to in these two scriptures above, who either have the potential to become gods or already are gods.
Latter-day scriptures refer to several persons, including Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who once lived on earth and who are now resurrected beings and have earned godhood.(D&C 132:37)
Even though these other gods (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) exist we do not worship them.
7. How can any men ever become Gods when the Bible says, "Before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me"? (see Isaiah 43:10).
A: Sort of the same circumstances as in question # 6 above. When this scripture is not read out of context you get a slightly different understanding of it.
In verse 1 of Isaiah 43 the Lord identifies who he is talking to:
"BUT now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine."
Here God is not talking to or about people of other universes that have or will exist. He is talking to those whom He created. He is ours, we are His. His authority is over us and no one else.
Then if you look at verse 11 God says, "I, [even] I, [am] the LORD; and beside me [there is] no saviour." Each universe that has existed or will exist will have its own Savior. God is saying that He is the only God and only savior that we will need. Only He will save us and redeem us from death. Everything God said in the Bible is for us and only us, existing at this time in this universe.
Therefore when He says, "there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me" Christ is declaring that He is the only one the Father exalted to authority over His fellow brothers and sisters, not that His brothers and sisters cannot become like Him and His Father.
8. If God the Father was once a man, why is that doctrine not supported by "Latter-day revelation"?
A: Because it is not an actual latter-day revelation. This comes from the often quoted phrase, "As man is, God once was;as God is, man may become."
At the moment the concept of God once being like man(As man is, God once was) is mostly based on the opinion of past church leaders. Knowledge of that is not required for our salvation. (See Note at end of answer #1.) As a human being, Joseph Smith is entitled to have opinions that are not necessarily considered "official" church doctrine. We believe it might be true, but we don't fully understand it well enough to call it "official" doctrine. Maybe we will some day. We believe that God gives us understanding and knowledge a little at a time depending on when we are ready for it.
The second part of the phrase(as God is, man may become) is something that we do believe in and is important for our exaltation, and is supported by scripture(See Mat. 5:48,3 Nephi 12:48, D&C 132:17,19, D&C 84:38).
9. Since Mormonism teaches that only God the Father had a physical body at the time Adam was created, why did God say, "Let us make man in OUR image"? Why didn't He say, "Let us make man in MY image"? (see Genesis 1:26).
A: An image does not require a physical body. Jesus had a spirit that looked like he did as a man. The brother of Jared learned this.
"And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me. Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh." (Ether 3:7-10,16).
The Holy Ghost is also a spirit that looks like a man.
In regards to the word "image", the Hebrew word used for "image" in the statement "God created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27) is TSELEM. This is the same word that is used a few chapters later when it is related that Adam begot a son, Seth, "after his image [TSELEM]" (Genesis 5:3). The logical implication is that just as Seth resembled Adam, so Adam resembled God.
10. If Adam is the "only God with whom we have to do," did Adam create himself? (J. of D. Vol. 1, pg. 50, 51).
A: No. This is something Brigham Young said, referring to Michael who became Adam. Young states, "Jesus, our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden and who is our Father in Heaven." The character he is speaking of is not Adam but God the Father, who sometimes visited him and Eve while they were in the Garden. When President Young asked, "who is the Father?" he was speaking of Adam as the father of our earthly bodies, who is at our head, as revealed in Doctrine and Covenants, Section 107, verses 53-56. In that sense he is one of the gods referred to in numerous scriptures, and particularly by Christ (John 10:34-36). He is the great Patriarch, the Ancient of Days, who will stand in his place as "a prince over us forever," and with whom we shall "have to do," as each family will have to do with its head, according to the holy patriarchal order.
It is true that, from a number of sermon reports, diary entries, minutes, letters, articles and statements, it appears that Brigham Young held the view, at least for
part of his life that God the Father became Adam to begin the human family and God the Son became Jesus Christ to redeem the human family. However this was only an opinion or theory and was never accepted as official church doctrine.
The apostle Joseph F. Smith had this to say about the theory:
"President Young no doubt expressed his personal opinion or views upon
the subject. What he said was not given as revelation or commandment from
the Lord. The doctrine was never submitted to the councils of the Priesthood
nor to the Church for approval or ratification, and was never formally
or otherwise accepted by the Church. It is therefore in no sense binding upon the Church."
(See Note above on the J. of D.)
11. How can you believe that God the Father has a body when the Bible states that "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)
A: The context of that verse concerns a Samaritan woman who believed the Old Testament prophecies that Christ would come. Jesus declared to her that people would shortly worship God in spirit and in truth. Jesus then said God is a Spirit and repeated his statement that people would worship him in spirit and in truth. If Jesus meant God was only a spirit, he must have also meant people would leave their bodies and worship him with only their spirits, because the context of the word "spirit" is the same for both God and the worship of the people (same Greek word, pneuma). That does not make sense. The context of the word "spirit" is that people would worship in the influence of God. Likewise, when Jesus said God is a Spirit he meant God fills space with his spiritual influence. Also, modern scholars are agreed that the King James' translation of John 4:24 as "God is a Spirit" is incorrect. The correct rendering of the Greek is "God is spirit." The New Testament contains a number of other brief statements about God which, like John 4:24, were clearly not put forth as absolute definitions, e.g., "God is light" (1 John 1:5), "God is love" (1 John 4:8), and "God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29). Obviously, these verses are simply metaphors.
According to Joseph Smith who saw Him, God the Father does have a body of flesh and bones(and spirit) just as His son Jesus has, who appeared to his apostles as stated in Luke 24:39.
Jesus said that he did nothing that he had not seen the Father do. (John 5:19) If Jesus is God, yet obtained a body and lived as a mortal, then why could not His Father have done the same thereby also having a body?
12. One law of reproduction is that everything reproduces after its kind. How is it then that God and His wives (who according to Mormon teaching, have physical glorified bodies) produce children without physical bodies?
A: This "law" you are talking about is an earthly law and only applies to things of this earth. How spirit children are made is something God only knows. It has not been revealed to us yet. It is not something that we really need to know about right now anyway.
13. If the Father is Elohim and Jesus is Jehovah (as Mormons teach), how does a Mormon explain Deut. 6:4, which in the Hebrew says, "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah"?
A: There you go retranslating the Bible again.
The problem about whether or not Jesus was Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, comes
about partially due to the fact that in a few cases God the Father is also referred to as Jehovah.
One example of this is Psalm 110. In that entire Psalm the word "LORD (ie Jehovah)" refers not to Jesus Christ, but to the Father of Jesus Christ.
v1 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make
thine enemies thy footstool.
v2 The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in
the midst of thine enemies.
v3 Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties
of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy
v4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever
after the order of Melchizedek.
v5 The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of
v6 He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the
dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
v7 He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up
In this psalm, as in the rest of the Old Testament, the word "LORD"(all caps) is
Jehovah, and the word "Lord" is Adoni. However, in this particular instance Jehovah refers to God the Father(LORD), and Lord(Adoni) is Christ who is to sit at the right hand of the Father(verse 5) until the Father makes Christ's enemies his footstool, as is made clear by Paul in Acts 2:34 and in Hebrews 1:13 and 10:13. Therefore verse one depicts the Father(LORD) speaking to Christ(Lord). This is the same sense in which the Savior quotes this verse to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:41-46.
Most of the time the word Jehovah(LORD) is refering to Christ.
Jehovah as judge:
In his attempts to save the inhabitants of the city of Sodom from
destruction if as many as ten righteous men inhabit the city, Abraham
himself calls the LORD (Jehovah) "the Judge of all the earth" (Gen. 18:25).
One of the attributes of Jehovah is that he is Judge. Throughout the Old
Testament the LORD (Jehovah):
1 Sam 2:10 - "shall judge the ends of the earth"
Deut 32:36 - "shall judge his people"
1Chr 16:33 - "cometh to judge the earth"
Ps 9:8 - "shall judge the world in righteousness"
Ps 96:10 - "shall judge the people righteously"
Ps 96:13 - "cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth"
Isa 2:4 - "shall judge among the nations"
Isa 3:13 - "standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people"
Isa 11:4 - "with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity"
Isa 33:22 - "is our judge"
Eze 18:30 - "will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways"
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ is identified as the judge:
John 5:22 -"the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son"
John 9:39 - "And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world."
The Apostles also identified Jesus Christ as the judge:
Acts 10:42 - "it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead"
Acts 17:31 - "he will judge the world in righteousness"
Rom 14:10 - "we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ"
2 Cor 5:10 - "we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ"
2 Tim 4:1 - "shall judge the quick and the dead"
Jude 1:14-15 - "The Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all"
Since the Father "judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son", the judge named Jehovah, described in the Old Testament verses, must therefore be Jesus Christ.
14. If Jesus was conceived as a result of a physical union between God and Mary, how was Jesus born of a virgin? (J. of D. Vol. 1, page 50).
A: We do not know the exact method by which Mary conceived. Virginity is a concept confined to earthly human beings and can only be violated by an earthly man. Mary was conceived by God the Father. According to the Bible, the Holy Ghost came upon Mary, and the power of the Highest "overshadowed" her. The first was necessary because no mortal can endure the presence of God the Father without the protection of the Holy Ghost. But Jesus is not the son of the Holy Ghost. God the Father is "the Highest" (Luke 6: 35-36), and it is He who is the father of Jesus. The idea that conception was a result of a traditional physical relationship between God and Mary is not LDS doctrine. We don't know how it was done, but certainly God the Father was able to do it in a way that preserved Mary's virginity.
(See Note above on the J. of D.)
15. If Moroni devoutly practiced the Mormon Gospel, why is he an angel now rather than a God?
A: Moroni devoutly practiced the Gospel of Jesus Christ; not his father's. The idea of becoming a God is something that happens way off in the eternity; after Christ returns; after the resurrection; after the millennium; after one is judged and enters the Celestial kingdom; and who knows how long after that. Give him a little more time.
16. If God is unchanging, the same from eternity to eternity, how could he once have been a man? This seems to contradict his claim that he is the same from yesterday, today and tomorrow.
A: The Bible teaches that "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8) Yet the Bible also teaches that "...Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52) Does the Bible contradict itself? No, the apparent contradiction is simply an issue of proper interpretation. When the prophets teach that God is eternally the same, they are trying to teach that we can trust the Lord because he never varies his course; he always operates by law; he is no respector of persons and always bestows the same blessings as a reward for the same obedience. The prophets are trying to distinguish the true and living God from the false gods of pagan religions.
17. How can the Mormons say that God the Father has a body of flesh and bones when the Book of Mormon teaches that God is a spirit (Alma 18:26-29, 19:25-27, 22:8-11)
A: We teach that God the Father has a body of flesh, bone and spirit. In the scriptures cited, the God they are talking about is Jesus who is the God of this earth(2 Nephi 11:7, 2 Nephi 26:12). At this point in time (B.C.) Jesus had not yet come to the earth and obtained a body. Thus, King Lamoni's references to God as the Great Spirit were not out of harmony with the thinking of Ammon, for to him God was the pre-existent Jesus in spirit form(Alma 18:26-29). Also, the king along with his people have no clue who or what God is. They have however heard of a "Great Spirit". Ammon goes along with this term while teaching them because it is the only thing the king and his people can relate to. Rather than confuse them with details about the present or future physical nature of God(Jesus), he confines his teaching to the spiritual aspects of God to explain who He is and what he has done. This applies to a similar situation in 22:8-11.
18. How can Latter-Day Saints call themselves Christians when they don't believe in the doctrine of the Trinity as stated in the Athanasian and Nicene Creeds?
A: We do not call ourselves Christian based on the traditional defintion of the word, but we are nevertheless Christian because our beliefs are based on the life and gospel of Jesus Christ as we have learned through the scriptures and through revelation from prophets of God.
The creeds from the Council of Nicaea and the related Council of Chalcedon were theological, philosophical statements developed in the fourth century A.D. amid intense debate about the nature of God, influenced heavily by Greek philosophy.
The doctrine of the Trinity states: "Within the nature of the One True God, there simultaneously exist three eternal Persons, namely, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. All three Persons are co-equal in all the attributes of the Divine Nature."
This 4th century definition of the trinity is found nowhere in the Bible, yet many Christians, who say the Bible contains all we need to know, claim we are not Christian because we do not accept this non-Biblical teaching.
Edmund J. Fortman, a Jesuit scholar who authored a major work on the Trinity, wrote that "there is no trinitarian doctrine in the Synoptics [Matthew, Mark, and Luke] or Acts" and that "nowhere do we find any trinitarian doctrine of three distinct subjects of divine life and activity in the same Godhead" and that "in John there is no trinitarian formula" (The Triune God: A Historical Study of the Doctrine of the Trinity, Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1972, pp. 14,16,29).
This doctrine attempts to explain the seemingly contradictory beliefs that there exists only one God but at the same time three divine beings. Those who believe in the Trinity , probably the most important doctrine of traditional Christianity, will admit that they don't understand it fully, but will often claim that only those who accept this doctrine are Christians. Trinitarians will often say that you don't have to understand how an engine runs to drive a car. That may be true but a person can learn auto mechanics and fully understand an engine it if they want to. The nature of the Godhead should be something that everyone can to some degree understand if they want to. Latter-day revelation and a dedicated study of the scriptures makes it possible.
The LDS church bases its entire existence on the gospel and life of Jesus Christ. Members learn about Christ, accept all His teachings, follow His example and dedicate their lives in serving Him. President Hinckley gave this powerful testimony of our Redeemer: "Church members as a people are bound (together) by a common love for our Master, who is the Son of God, the Redeemer of the world. We are a covenant people who have taken upon ourselves His holy name. Towering above all mankind stands Jesus Christ, the King of glory, the unblemished Messiah, the Lord Emmanuel . . . . He is our King, our Lord, our Master, the living Christ, who stands on the right hand of His Father. He lives! He lives, resplendent and wonderful, the living Son of the living God."
Mormons may not completely fit the historical definition of the word Christian but they do fit it in every scriptural and spiritual sense of the word.
19. How could God have justly placed Adam and Eve in a predicament which forced them to break either His first or His second commandment? (see James 1:13).
A: James 1:13 says " Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man."
God does not tempt man, but He does allow Satan to tempt man, which is what happened in the Garden of Eden. In order for a person to consciously break a commandment; i.e. to sin, he must know right from wrong. Adam and Eve did not know right from wrong until after the fall. God knew that they would transgress the commandments He gave them. It was all part of the plan. It was supposed to happen. They did transgress the commandments but since they did not understand right from wrong they did not sin.
20. 2 Nephi 31:21 states: "And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen." If God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings, why then didn't Nephi say, "which are one God" instead of "which is one God"?
A. Nephi is not referring to them as individuals, but rather as a group. In this instance we need to understand that the word "God" can have two meanings. It can be used to refer to one of the individual members of the Godhead, or it can also be used to refer to the entire group of individuals. Each of the three are called a God, but the three together as a group, can also be called God. God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are not one person, but they are one in purpose. Consider the words of Jesus as he said:
"For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh"
Of course Jesus did not mean that a man and woman would actually become one person when they are married, but that they would dedicate themselves to each other, work together and be one in purpose and spirit.
As Jesus was praying to the Father He said:
"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:"
(John 17:11, 21-22)
Here, Christ prayed for his disciples and other converts, that they should be preserved in unity, "that they all may be one" as the Father and the Son are one. Christ did not want His followers to lose their individuality and become one person, even if a change so directly opposed to nature were possible. Christ desired that all should be united in heart, spirit, and purpose; for such is the unity between His Father and Himself, and between them and the Holy Ghost. (Talmage)
We find in John 8:16-18:
“And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.”
Here, the Savior is stating Jewish law that two witnesses are necessary to establish the truth; not a manifestation of two people in one person, but two separate people. Then, to establish the truth of his own judgements, he cites two witnesses: Himself and His Father in Heaven. If you follow His example of using the Jewish law this would mean that Jesus and His Father must be two separate personages.
21. How can the Mormons call themselves Christians when they believe in a Jesus that is different than what all true Bible-believing Christians believe in?
A. We do not believe in a different Jesus. It only seems different because through modern revelation we have learned more about him than what other Christians know.
We obey the commandment "Whatsoever ye shall do, ye shall do
it in my name." (3 Nephi 27:7) Every prayer we offer is in His name. Every
ordinance performed is in His name. Every baptism, confirmation,
blessing, ordination, every sermon, every testimony is concluded
with the invocation of His sacred name. It is in His name that that
we heal the sick and perform other miracles.
In the sacrament we take upon ourselves the name of Christ. We
covenant to remember him and keep his commandments. He is present in
all that we believe. He is our Lord, our God and our Savior.
Some misunderstanding may come from the fact that some Latter-day Saints have tended
to focus on Christ's Sonship as opposed to His Godhood. As members
of earthly families, we can relate to Him as a child, as a Son, and
as a Brother because we know how that feels. We can personalize that
relationship because we ourselves are children, sons and daughters,
brothers and sisters. For some it may be more difficult to relate to
Him as a God. And so in an attempt to draw closer to Christ and to
cultivate warm and personal feelings toward Him, some tend to
humanize Him, sometimes at the expense of acknowledging His
It is true that we believe that Jesus was our Elder Brother in the premortal life, but we believe
that in this life it is crucial that we become "born again" as His
sons and daughters in the gospel covenant.
We believe in the
Jesus of the New Testament, and we believe what the New Testament
teaches about Him. We do believe things about Jesus that other
Christians do not believe, but that is because we know, through
revelation, things about Jesus that others do not know. It is a
twisting of language to call this a "different Jesus," as though we
have created some other individual by that name.
22. In the book of Mormon and in the Bible, it says that we must become
sons of God and that some are not the children of God, not that we
already are his children (Mosiah 27:25, Ether 3:14, John 1:12, Romans
8:16). Also, by limiting Gods glory to progression from our exaltation,
it seems to me that you view God as needy...would God have less glory if
no one followed Him, and no one progressed?
A. We are literally the spirit children of our Heavenly Father. But in these particular
scriptures, when it says, "become sons of God" it is talking figuratively about becoming sons of Jesus Christ by believing and accepting His gospel.
"And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters."
God does not need the glory. He doesn't need anything. It's something that just happens when we progress and become exalted.
23. Are there countless Gods over countless worlds? "And Amulek said: Yea,
there is a true and living God. Now Zeezrom said, Is there more than one
God? And he answered, No."(Alma 11:27-29)
The Book of Mormon specifically contradicts the belief that there are
countless gods over countless worlds. Mormons say, "You're taking it out
of context. There is only one God over this world." But the Book of Mormon
makes an unqualified statement that there is only one God.
A. The Book of Mormon is not making a statement here in this particular scripture. It's talking about two people, Amulek and Zeezrom, having a conversation with each other in front of an unfriendly crowd of people. In verse 21 it says, "Now Zeezrom was a man which was expert in the devises of the Devil, that he might destroy that which was good;"
Zeezrom was trying to trick Amulek in front of everyone, into saying something that all the people would consider as being wrong. Amulek is not going to "cast his pearls before swine" by trying to explain such an advanced doctrine to such an unbelieving people. Amulek therefore gives the simple but true answer, that there is only one God. And, as far as they are concerned, in their time and in their reality, there is only one God they must answer to. And so it is for us now. It doesn't matter if somehow there are other Gods out there in other universes, for us there is only one God that we care about, that the scriptures talk about, and that we must answer to.
24. Is God an exalted man? "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a
changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." (Moroni 8:18)
The Book of Mormon specifically contradicts the belief that God was a man
and he became a god. Mormons may say, "He is unchangeable in his purpose. It
was always his purpose to progress to exaltation." But the Book of Mormon says
He is unchangeable in His being. God has always been God.
A. The scripture does not say "unchangeable in His being". It says that He is not a "changeable being". In scriptures previous to this Moroni is talking about the spiritual nature and character of God, about love and charity; not about His physical being. The scripture means that God is consistant and unchanging in what He teaches us, how much He loves us, how He blesses us, and in what he expects from us.
In verse 12 He says, "But little children are alive in Christ, even from the foundation of
the world; if not so, God is a partial God, and also a changeable God, and
a respector to persons: for how many little children have died without
It is obvious here that the word "changeable" is used in refering to the character and personality of God and how He deals with His children.