I don’t really want to comment very much on LDS Doctrine concerning the nature of the Godhead because I think it has changed over the years. At the very least certain teachings have been so insufficiently defined that plenty of room has been left for speculation and it is unclear, to me, what the LDS Church holds as it’s official position when it comes to whether or not God has always been God or if he is exalted man who became God. And beliefs seem to vary somewhat among the members of the church when it comes to answering this question.
Suffice it to say that LDS Doctrine is that the Godhead consists of three independent and separate persons, who are each a God and part of the one Godhead spoken of in scripture. They consist of the Father and the Son, both of whom have bodies of flesh and bone, and the Holy Ghost, who is a personage of spirit.
But rather than comment on what the LDS Church believes or doesn’t believe, I simply want to ask: What do the scriptures say?
First and foremost, the scriptures make it very clear that there is ONE GOD! Not one Godhead made up of three Gods, but ONE GOD. And that one God is THE FATHER! He is the one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all and in all. (Eph 4:6) And He is not only our God and Father, but the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ! (Rom 15:6, John 20:17, Eph 1:3) His is spirit (John 4:24) and invisible (1Ti 1:17, Heb 11:27). He is the one true and living God spoken of throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
So who is Jesus?
Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Mat 16:16, John 6:69) He is the one in whom the fullness of the Godhead (divinity, THE FATHER) dwelled, bodily. (John 14:19, Col 2:9). He is “the image of the invisible God.” (Col 1:15) He is “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Mat 1:23) He is “the Word” and John tells us: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (John 1:1) and “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” (John 1:14)
Jesus is the manifestation of God in the flesh! The one through whom the Father (who is spirit and invisible) is revealed to men.
Paul tells us: “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.” (1Co 8:5-6) All things were created BY THE FATHER (GOD) THROUGH JESUS CHRIST (the Word of God).
God planted A SEED (HIS WORD) into the womb of Mary by which she conceived THE SON OF GOD (the Word made flesh). And it was IN CHRIST that THE SPIRIT OF GOD (THE FATHER) dwelled, making Jesus “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person.” (Heb 1:3)
The Father (spirit) is in the Son (flesh) doing the work….
Joh 14:6-21 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father? Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you. He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
Jesus is not claiming to be the Father, but He is making it clear that we see the Father through the Son, for the Father is “in him”.
He is also telling us who the Holy Ghost (the Holy Spirit) is…
the spirit OF TRUTH [Jesus said; “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life],
the spirit OF THE LORD [there is ONE LORD, Jesus Christ],
the spirit OF CHRIST [Jesus is THE CHRIST, the Son of the living God],
the spirit OF GOD [there is ONE GOD, THE FATHER].
When we are told that the Father and the Son are ONE, we need to understand that they are not just one “in purpose”, they are ONE!! The union of flesh (Man/Son) and spirit (God/Father).
The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are not three different Gods, for there is only one “true and living God”, who is the God and Father OF ALL. And God is manifest in the flesh through His Son, through whom He is also glorified.
Jesus is THE PATTERN SON and He is bringing MANY SONS to glory. And we are made “sons of God” in the same manner – by receiving “the spirit of God”, that Christ might be formed “in us”, whereby we are “conformed into the image of His Son” (who is THE IMAGE OF GOD), having the spirit of his Son by which we cry Abba, Father. (Gal 4:6)
Truly, much more could be said on this topic. Dozens more pages could be filled with scripture on this subject (and I may still come back another day and do that), but right now I just wanted to ‘touch on’ what I think is probably one of the most, if not the most, significant doctrines of the LDS Church which distinguishes it from Orthodox Christianity.
That the LDS Church teaches that God, the Father, is a corporeal being (separate from the Son) is another reason I believe Mormon doctrine fails.