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Today in Seminary, my teacher mentioned something about how he had a friend that didn't believe there was more than one God (it was more specific than that, but that's the gist) and he concluded the story with the statement that there IS more than one God. This confused me. I have been Mormon my entire life and I've grown up on the belief that there was ONE true God, our Father in Heaven. My teacher said that we consider the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost ALL as Gods. A girl in my Seminary class was also confused, so she raised her hand asking for clarification, pointing out that one of our staple beliefs in the church is that we believe in one God. Another girl attempted to answer, suggesting that maybe it's because we believe that we can become Gods of our own in the afterlife, meaning that there must be other Gods with worlds of their own. My Seminary teacher didn't give a clear answer, so I assume that he is also in a grey area about this topic. So, which is it? Are we lying? Do we really believe that the Holy Ghost and Jesus are Gods? If so, why do we consider our religion a form of monotheism?

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The is ONE God.

"God" is a title: a title of perfect righteousness, love, justice, mercy, unity, etc.  More than one person hold this title.  Foremost is Heavenly Father, to whom all bow.  Second is Jesus Christ who is indeed God as well.  And of course the Holy Ghost who hold the same title.  All of them are perfectly righteous, loving, just, merciful, and 100% united together-- they are ONE.  Not one person, but united as ONE.  We are monotheists.

If any exalted person will become like our Heavenly Father, and likewise be ONE with Him, as Christ prayed for in the Garden of Gethenseme.  Everything shared: the tile, perfect. righteousness, love, justice, mercy, unity, etc.  Still there will only be ONE God, and we will still be monotheists.  

(This is the LDS Truth.  In my next post I will talk about false ideas which make some people confused).

Edited by Jane_Doe
Edited: to avoid giving @Zil anymore ammo for typo jokes :)

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Ok, now talking about FALSE ideas.  These are NOT LDS theology or God's Truth.  I'm just talking about them to clarify what is True.

"Well, because Mormons worship more than one person, that makes polytheists".  -- No.  These are multiple persons who are ONE-- 100% united.  You cannot obey the Son and not obey the Father.  You can't praise the Son without praising the Father.  You can't listen to the Spirit and be ignoring the Father.  None of those things are remotely possible.  Christ, the Father, and the Holy Ghost are ONE.  This is starkly different than polytheism where you can follow Zues and go against Poseidon.

I could also talk about how LDS beliefs contrast with the Trinity and modalism, but for simplicity I'll skip those for now.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Hi @gracie238 I'm sorry this is so confusing for you. We aren't lying to anyone because we are very open that we worship the entire Godhead. In the First Article of Faith it states that "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." We worship God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost uses His power to testify of both of Them. Remember Christ himself considers Heavenly Father his God. In John 20:17 right after his resurrection he states "Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." But you shouldn't forget that Jesus Christ is also God. He is the Jehovah of the Old Testament and he says that "All things that the Father hath are mine;". After all, were it not for Christ's Divinity, he would never have accomplished His great Atoning Sacrifice for us all. Without Him we could never be brought into the Father's presence. We worship the Father and the Son and while we will, if exalted, one day become joint heirs with Christ, our Father in Heaven will always be our God, and Jesus Christ will always be our Savior. The Holy Ghost makes up the third member of the Godhead and while they are seperate in body, as @Jane_Doe says they are one in purpose. You cannot worship one without worshiping the others so there is no need to fret☺.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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1 hour ago, Jane_Doe said:

If any exhausted person will become like our Heavenly Father

Well, if any person does become like our Heavenly Father, I imagine they'll be exhausted right up until they're exalted, then the exhaustion will probably end with resurrection... ;)

Welcome, @gracie238!  Good question.

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I understand that some LDS scholars (professor-types, that is) have suggested that the term "henotheism" may be appropriate, since there is the worship of only one God, but the belief that many deities may exist, and that there is great potential for more to attain that level of exaltation. Yes?  No?  Maybe?

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6 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I understand that some LDS scholars (professor-types, that is) have suggested that the term "henotheism" may be appropriate, since there is the worship of only one God, but the belief that many deities may exist, and that there is great potential for more to attain that level of exaltation. Yes?  No?  Maybe?

Speaking personally, I really dislike the "henotheism" label for many reasons and feel it's a horrible fit for several reasons.

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27 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I understand that some LDS scholars (professor-types, that is) have suggested that the term "henotheism" may be appropriate, since there is the worship of only one God, but the belief that many deities may exist, and that there is great potential for more to attain that level of exaltation. Yes?  No?  Maybe?

No.

Henotheism doesn't suppose the ONENESS of the deities.

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I really like the term "social trinitarianism" - that three distinct beings can form one single God through a unity of purpose rather than through being consubstantial.  I also feel, if you are to remove modern revelation from the equation, social trinitarianism is absolutely no less biblical than the trinitarianism of the Nicene Creed.

Not that we should be gambling on this site, but ten bucks says @anatess2 is going to correct at least some part of my above explanation!  :D

Edited by DoctorLemon

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There are multiple scriptural meanings for the terms "one" and "God," which allows members to consistently and rightly believe in both one God and many Gods. So, trying to nail down the exact number of Gods will miss the illuminating points of those various scriptural meanings. As such, I find it useful to concern myself less with determining the number of Gods, and content myself with the 1st Article of Faith as a flexible descripter of our LDS belief.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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Sorry, but what about the LDS Heavenly Mother, who is a goddess (divine entity) but without the LDS title of God? This is where a definition of henotheism would fit, no?

Edited by Blueskye2

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I can see the argument for portraying Mormonism as “henotheistic” given that we believe God is one of a probably-infinite number of exalted beings who all have their own respective dominions.  The trouble I see with the term “henotheism” is that it seems to imply a sort of nihilism—suggesting that there’s a whole smorgasbord of worshippable gods, and one need only to pick one more-or-less at random.  In fact, the identity of the god we worship matters very much—we worship ONLY* God the Father (Elohim) in the name of His Son Jesus Christ; and none other.

As for where our view of the Godhead leaves us—I’ve never heard @DoctorLemon‘s “social trinitarianism” term before; but I find it entrancing.

 

*Barring very unique circumstances—3 Nephi tells us it is appropriate to worship Christ directly when in His physical presence.

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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21 minutes ago, Just_A_Guy said:

I can see the argument for portraying Mormonism as “henotheistic” given that we believe God is one of a probably-infinite number of exalted beings who all have their own respective dominions.  The trouble I see with the term “henotheism” is that it seems to imply a sort of nihilism—suggesting that there’s a whole smorgasbord of worshippable gods, and one need only to pick one more-or-less at random.  In fact, the identity of the god we worship matters very much—we worship ONLY* God the Father (Elohim) in the name of His Son Jesus Christ; and none other.

As for where our view of the Godhead leaves us—I’ve never heard @DoctorLemon ‘s “social trinity” term before; but I find it entrancing.

 

*Barring very unique circumstances—3 Nephi tells us it is appropriate to worship Christ directly when in His physical presence.

Yes, I would add that there is no requirement to worship the holy ghost- just be grateful for the comfort he provides, be a temple worthy of his presence and do not take the holy ghost's name in vain.

edit- and apparently if in the presence of the father or the son, the holy ghost isn't required there.

Edited by Alex
more info

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Apparently, there is no "one word fits all" when it comes to the LDS conception of God, the Godhead, and deities.  https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Polytheism

Personally, I do not believe the LDS Godhead can be adequately discussed apart from the doctrine of Exaltation.

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1 Cortinthians 8: 5  For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6  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.

 

Doctrine and Covenants 136:37  Abraham received concubines, and they bore him children; and it was accounted unto him for righteousness, because they were given unto him, and he abode in my law; as Isaac also and Jacob did none other things than that which they were commanded; and because they did none other things than that which they were commanded, they have entered into their exaltation, according to the promises, and sit upon thrones, and are not angels but are gods. (gods - small g)

Edited by askandanswer

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It can be difficult to categorize us, especially in scholarly circles (as a historian it's funny to get several of us in a room and have all of us disagree about even the most established facts?) but the heart of the question I feel like is wondering who we worship. In that case I think it gets a lot simpler. All other exalted beings are irrelevant to that question, because we only worship God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. I think the OP was most concerned about that and that answer can be definitely nailed down.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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Now I'm REALLY confused.  I accept that the Godhead is three distinct beings, but I have difficulty (and have never heard) anything about all three being God.  There is one God.  His Son, Jesus Christ, is just that:  His Son.  I don't particularly have a "puzzle fit" for the Holy Spirit piece, but I don't understand how the Holy Spirit is God as well.

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Sorry about the confusion @Grunt. When we speak of God we do mean God the Eternal Father (I've never heard anyone mean the Godhead when they say God). It doesn't mean the Godhead is one amorphous thing we worship which I admit might be construed from some of the posts.

Edited by Midwest LDS

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13 minutes ago, Grunt said:

Now I'm REALLY confused.  I accept that the Godhead is three distinct beings, but I have difficulty (and have never heard) anything about all three being God.  There is one God.  His Son, Jesus Christ, is just that:  His Son.  I don't particularly have a "puzzle fit" for the Holy Spirit piece, but I don't understand how the Holy Spirit is God as well.

Mormons tend to use the word “God” as shorthand for Heavenly Father/Elohim.  But, Mormonism also teaches that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost fall under the “god” umbrella.  The seminal document on this topic can be found at https://www.lds.org/ensign/2002/04/the-father-and-the-son?lang=eng.  Before this time the Elohim-as-Father/Jehovah-as-Jesus/Holy Ghost triumvirate was not universally clear within Mormonism (though the seeds of these distinctions were certainly there); and a lot of early LDS writings use “God”, “Elohim”, “Jehovah” and “Jesus” more-or-less interchangeably.

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8 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Apparently, there is no "one word fits all" when it comes to the LDS conception of God, the Godhead, and deities. 

This, I believe, is as it should be for at least two reasons:

1. Human generated descriptive theological labels may inadvertently place a transcendent "God" in a finite conceptual box that in many respect is not only ill-fitting, but because of the human tendency  towards dogma and creedalism (which the Father finds abominable), becomes a barrier to fuller enlightenment.

2. The LDS gospel, like that during the Saviors mortal ministry, isn't theological in nature, but narrative. In other words, God is made manifest, not via theological labels or systematic theologies, but through stories.

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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4 hours ago, Grunt said:

Now I'm REALLY confused.  I accept that the Godhead is three distinct beings, but I have difficulty (and have never heard) anything about all three being God.  There is one God.  His Son, Jesus Christ, is just that:  His Son.  I don't particularly have a "puzzle fit" for the Holy Spirit piece, but I don't understand how the Holy Spirit is God as well.

I'm pretty sure the Church of England remains Trinitarian--believing that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the one God. No?  ... Sorry, I just double-checked your sidebar--you are in New England, and list as being Christian. So, I ask more broadly, are you Trinitarian?

Edited by prisonchaplain

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4 hours ago, Grunt said:

Now I'm REALLY confused.  I accept that the Godhead is three distinct beings, but I have difficulty (and have never heard) anything about all three being God.  There is one God.  His Son, Jesus Christ, is just that:  His Son.  I don't particularly have a "puzzle fit" for the Holy Spirit piece, but I don't understand how the Holy Spirit is God as well.

There is ONE God.  Heavenly Father, Christ, and the Spirit are 3 different persons, but they are 100% united in everything-- the are ONE and all all hold the 'title' of God.  Get verse on this is found in Christ's intercessory prayer in the Garden of Gethenseme. 

This differs from the Trinity in the *how* these persons are ONE God.  LDS point to unity, the Trinity points to a shared substance. 

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We believe in one God in whom we worship and that is our Father in heaven. That said, there are many gods, we ourselves shall be gods. The Godhead in LDS doctrine is the belief in three separate personages. For me, I have a hard time conceptualizing the Holy Ghost as one distinct personage. Too me, it remains as much a mystery as the trinity does for Catholics.

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