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Category Archives: Godhead

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One Lord

This morning I started out thinking I was going to write about something else, something completely unrelated to Mormonism, but as soon as I started to prepare my notes they began to go in a completely different direction. This isn’t really about Mormonism, but it’s related, so I felt this was still an appropriate venue for this subject. It’s about Monotheism and the deity of Jesus Christ and I am only going to post 3 key verses of scripture from the New Testament that relate to the first of all commandments: 

Hear O Israel: The LORD our God is One LORD. (Deu 6:4)

I’ve written on this subject before, but I really don’t think this can be stressed too much, especially as it relates to Mormon Doctrine concerning the Godhead.

One God One Lord 4

I have colored the words in the verses, in the image above, to correspond to the Greek and Hebrew words being used in each verse, so we can look at how they related to each other. These passages tell us:

The Lord (Jehovah) our God (Elohim) is one Lord (Jehovah)!

Thou shalt worship the Lord (Jehovah) thy God (Elohim), and him only shalt thou serve!

To us there is ONE GOD (Elohim), the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and ONE LORD (Jehovah) Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

So what does all of this mean?

Jesus Christ is LORD!

He is the manifestation of God in the flesh: Emmanuel, God with us.

God (Yahweh/Jehovah) Himself is the REDEEMER/SAVIOUR of His people. (Isa 43:10-12; Isa 45:20-21; Hos 13:4)

Mankind is redeemed/saved from sin and death by the Spirit of God that dwells IN THEM, of which Jesus serves as the perfect pattern and our blessed assurance.

He is the pattern Son and the one into whose image we are to be conformed as sons of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

He is the Head of a many-membered body.

This is why all power and authority was given TO HIM; why all things were put into HIS HANDS; why the Spirit was given TO HIM WITHOUT MEASURE; why He had the power to lay down His own life and take it up again; why He has preeminence over ALL MEN, being THE HEAD of the body of Christ, whose Head is God; why we are called by HIS NAME, just as He is called by the Father’s name.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not just about one individual man named Jesus, though in all things He will always have the preeminence. It is about the ONE NEW MAN “created” IN CHRIST, the only begotten Son of God. It is about one Son bringing many sons to glory, as the captain of their salvation.

This is why we are to know NO MAN after the flesh, not even Christ. We are to see ALL MEN as ONE MAN through Christ Jesus! We are to see ALL MEN as GOD’S ONLY BEGOTTEN SON… ONE MAN: ONE HEAD, ONE (many-membered) BODY. One man whose Head is God: the ONE God and Father of all.

We are ONE, just as they are ONE, because we are all joined together by ONE SPIRIT, which is THE SPIRIT OF GOD.

God is Spirit! And that which is born of the Spirit is spirit!

We are God’s offspring and because we are united in, by and through the ONE SPIRIT that IS GOD there can be ONLY UNITY in the Kingdom of God, where God is ALL IN ALL.

We are ONE! One with God and one with each other!

I wanted to keep this as simple as possible, trying to stick with just the three passages of scripture highlighted in the image. However, the temptation is to list every verse that immediately comes to mind with regard to this topic, so I did end up going beyond the three I wanted to focus on, though I did curb my desire to add so much more.

I also had to fight the temptation to make this all about Mormon Doctrine, in particular, though this is a blog dedicated to Mormon topics. This topic, however, reaches beyond Mormonism, as I believe so much is missed (by Mormons, by Jehovah’s Witnesses, by anyone else with an incorrect understanding of the Godhead) when we do not fully understand who Jesus Christ is as the mediator between God and man. If we do not properly understand their oneness, we cannot possibly understand our own.

Let God be true, but every man a liar…

 

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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Godhead, Sons

 

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Is it a teaching of the LDS Church today that God the Father was once a man?

lorenzo-snowIn some recent conversations with members of the LDS Church, I have been told that the Church does not teach that God was once a man. In fact, some members have said that they believe God has always been God and has never been a man, though they still acknowledge that God the Father does have a body of flesh and bones just like the Son and just like man.

How he got that body of flesh and bones is anyone’s guess, I suppose. I also suppose the reason why we needed to be born into a state of probation in this physical world in order to receive a body of flesh and bones ourselves, while God the Father did not, is also anyone’s guess. And I dare not ask how beings that have bodies of flesh and bones give birth to beings who do not.

It seems clear that at least some of the members of the LDS Church want to distance themselves from this teaching about God once being a man. And, as I recall, so did President Hinckley some years ago when he was interviewed by Time magazine (which I will come back to).

Given the fact that I have just recently been told by active members of the LDS Church that God is NOT “an exalted man,” I was a little bit surprised when I came across this video on Facebook this morning.

Note that this video is copyrighted 2013.

The page where I found this video posted a link to the same video on the LDS Church’s website, but that link no longer works, so I assumed the video had been removed. To find more information, I searched the website and found this article on “The Origin of Man”. As you can see it was published in the February 2002 issue of the Church’s Ensign magazine and it states:

“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, basing its belief on divine revelation, ancient and modern, proclaims man to be the direct and lineal offspring of Deity. God Himself is an exalted man, perfected, enthroned, and supreme.”

(Upon further search I did find the video on the Church’s website, on a different page, and the video on YouTube, which I posted above.)

So now I was curious as to the date of that interview with President Hinckley. My search on that brought me to the article: “Does President Gordon B. Hinckley Understand LDS Doctrine?” on FairMomon.org.

In this apologetic piece, FairMormon tries to argue that President Hinckley did not deny the teaching, he only said that the Church does not emphasize the teaching today in it’s classes and public discussions, etc. FairMormon even seems to want to insist that this was the question being asked… not is this still a teaching of the church today, but are you actively teaching this in the church today (as if there is a real difference).

To be clear, the question asked was: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?”

Does anyone of even moderate intelligence actually think that anyone else of even moderate intelligence is going to believe that President Hinckley was not being asked (or did not understand that he was being asked or that FairMormon does not know that he was being asked) whether or not this is a current teaching or belief held by members of the LDS Church today?

I don’t know when this article on FairMormon was written, it is not dated. Perhaps it was written not long after this interview with President Hinckley, but in the words of FairMormon: “All one has to do is examine Conference talks to see the truth of the answer.” Why just Conference talks? Because that’s the one place we are sure not to find this teaching? (And I don’t even know if that is true.) What about other publications of the church, do they not count?

The author of this FairMormon article states: “Those who do not attend Sunday School, Sacrament meeting, priesthood meeting, Relief Society, Ward Conference, Stake Conference, General Conference, or read the Ensign, scriptures, nor study LDS manuals, have no right to define for those that do, just what the beliefs of the members of the Church are.”

Yet, no one tried to define anything. The President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was asked: “Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?” And as far as I am concerned, President Hinckley was not being honest and forthright with his answer. He was being deliberately evasive. And, no, I do not believe it was because he was uncertain about what the Church teaches, nor do I believe he didn’t understand LDS Doctrine. I think he was doing the same thing some members of the Church do everyday, for which Church Leaders have set a very good example: he was lying!

I suggest FairMormon (and every members of the Church who wants to deny this teaching of the church) do a much better job at searching and studying Church publications before claiming certain teachings cannot be found in them or are not being taught today. Even the FairMormon article itself provides a reference to page 9 of the Gospel Principles manual. The fact that they simply dismiss the reference by pointing to other statements found in the same lesson is laughable.

This article: The Restoration of Major Doctrines through Joseph Smith: The Godhead, Mankind, and the Creation from 1989 indicates just how significant and important this teaching is to the “restored” Church and it clearly states:

“The Prophet explained that “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens”; that “he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did”; and that he “worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling.” Through the Prophet, we learn that we “are begotten sons and daughters unto God” and that Christ is the Firstborn. (D&C 76:24; see D&C 93:21–22; Heb. 12:7–9.) As God’s children, we may become gods ourselves through Christ’s atonement and the plan of salvation, being joint heirs of Christ of “all that [the] Father hath.” (D&C 84:38; see also Rom. 8:17; D&C 76:58–60; D&C 132:19–21.) Along with these concepts is the concept of divine parents, including an exalted Mother who stands beside God the Father.“

I am sure there are many other references in Church publications related to this teaching. I feel no need to provide dozens of references when just one should suffice and I have provided more than that.

My question is…  IF THIS IS WHAT YOU BELIEVE, WHY DENY IT?

This is why I not only question Mormon Doctrine but the honesty and credibility of Church Leaders – and maybe even some members…

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Godhead, Mormon Doctrine

 

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The LORD our God is one LORD

1st vision two personages 2

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.

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2015 in Godhead

 

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