Jonah

Not believing in the traditional Christ

Recommended Posts

On 12/2/2019 at 10:35 AM, prisonchaplain said:

This is why you baptize the dead. Perhaps this soul did not have a full revelation, but through this sacrament, and through the witnessing this soul will receive, s/he can have the opportunity to fully embrace God and the restored gospel.

We do baptisms for the dead because without baptism, no one can see the kingdom of God. Embracing God and his gospel comes first. Otherwise, even with the baptism administered, they are not likely to accept it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/2/2019 at 10:41 AM, person0 said:

I think I may have failed to add sufficient clarification to the question I was asking.  Consider for a moment my grandfather who rejects the Restored Gospel and yet believes in God as three in unity.  His understanding is what he has gleaned from his personal study of the Bible (which we all agree to be the Word of God).  If it turns out that he is worshiping incorrectly based on his understanding of the words of the Bible, why would he be punished for unintentionally worshiping God incorrectly?

That's the way I understood your question. But, in your example, three in unity, is basically the same as we believe. Since there isn't any physical evidence that any of us can find out on our own we must rely on our faith in what we are taught, even if what we are taught is wrong. Therefore, if a modalist believes one way and a polytheist believes another way, that when he prays to God the Father, he is not praying to Jesus Christ, though I think it is not wrong that both may hear the prayer. How can it be serious error for doing what you believe based on one's faith - as long as it is in harmony with what the Bible teaches, namely the two great commandments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, brotherofJared said:

We are not monotheistic and that is not our doctrine.

We are indeed most definitely monotheistic. In revealed religion, semantic discussions must always yield to revelation.

Through the ages, philosophers have proposed various models for who and what God is. Terms like polytheism, monotheism, and henotheism are by-products of this philosophical discussion. None of them fit reality very well, but some come closer than others. Revealed truth shows that all of these terms are deficient. Nevertheless, we need to communicate with our brothers and sisters here who don't know or believe LDS doctrine. To do that, we make...approximations. We talk about "repentance" and describe it using five (or six, or seven) steps—as if God has a list that he checkmarks off for us to see if we've actually repented! We call ourselves "monothestic" (and we do!), even though the term itself is inexact and not a robust representation of eternal reality. It's true, but deficient. Nevertheless, it's less false than calling ourselves "polytheists" or "henotheists", both of which carry nuances and baggage that go far beyond any bounds of truth. We even call God our Father, as if he stands in the same place as the biological men who generated us, though of course he is far more than they.

In doing this, we are just following our Lord, who called God "Father" and commanded us to do likewise. He revealed a "celestial" kingdom, though "celestial" just means "of the heavens," but he added new, more defined meanings. He spoke of man being "exalted", which just means "made high", but again, he imbued new meaning into the term. He revealed a doctrine of "plural marriage", which by the definition of words sounds pretty much like "polygamy" (which it is also called). But of course, it is unlike the polygamy practiced by many civilizations down through the ages and even now. Yet God himself used "plural marriage" to describe the unions.

We talk of heavenly things, but in doing so, we are of necessity restricted to earth-bound language. The Spirit can and does teach beyond language, an absolutely vital need for Saints. Surely this is the reason that we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, our most important gift besides eternal life itself, right up front, when we very first enter into the kingdom of God. But we are still heavily dependent on the divine gift of human language. So God reveals things to us is our weakness, using our weak language to try to give us some dim inkling of what he's talking about. We do well to be careful in drawing strict literal semantic lines in every case; in at least some of those cases, we will be cutting ourselves off from the truth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

So, before I go about defending belief in the one God, can others help and inform us as to whether there is an official church teaching on this (or perhaps utterances from prophets)? 

The most official statement I know if is canonized in the D&C section 20. Read verses 17 to 28. Highlights:

verse 17, "by this we know that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal..."
verse 21, "...the Almighty God gave His Only Begotten Son..."
verse 27, "...the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son."
concluding in verse 28, "Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen."

There's no discussion of ousia or any attempt to talk about the philosophy of what it means to be three in one and one in three. Beyond that, I am unaware of any official, prophetic statements that try to explain exactly what we mean by three in one, one in three. You can find various statements by individual apostles and prophets about the Nicene Creed or what they believe we mean by three in one, one in three. I could be wrong, but I am not aware of anything that will rise to the philosophical rigor of Nicea or subsequent theologians who have thought in great depth about it.

I will be interested in others' responses to this query as well to see what statements and such that they choose to reference. For me, I find the statement in the D&C sufficient to declare myself monotheistic while still finding myself confused and befuddled at mystery that is a single three in one one in three God.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
 
 
1
On 12/2/2019 at 10:48 AM, prisonchaplain said:

Since I believe in God's justice I believe God will reveal Himself sufficiently to each soul, and they will be judged on their response. Romans 1 says that we are without excuse because we see and know there is a Creator. There are even some who believe that general revelation (i.e. creation itself, the drive in humans to do good amidst so much trouble, etc.) can be enough for a person to be converted. Where these deeper conversations we are having come is among those of us who do have access to scriptures, God's spirit, and significant teaching. We have this blessing and then see others embracing seemingly different understandings. So, we hash out our understandings in places like this. 🙂

Conversion comes through the Holy Ghost regardless of who the person believes is God. A Muslim who prays to Allah 5 times a day can be just as equally saved as the Christian who prays and preaches the word from the Bible. There is no wrong way to worship. But our worship is significantly enhanced when we know who we worship and why we worship him.

I believe anyone can come to know Christ through the Holy Ghost. Any Christian can experience the same joy that we profess to enjoy because the Holy Ghost works from within us. And, God, not being a respecter of persons, will answer, help find and open doors to anyone who seeks, knocks or asks in faith, believing. He will even empower them to do good and be good, as good as they understand that they need to be. The only person I'm aware of who might stand condemned is the person who, in the face of such knowledge and hope, seeks to gratify his carnal nature. It is not what we believe that makes the difference, it is what we do with what we believe that does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vort said:

We are indeed most definitely monotheistic. In revealed religion, semantic discussions must always yield to revelation.

Through the ages, philosophers have proposed various models for who and what God is. Terms like polytheism, monotheism, and henotheism are by-products of this philosophical discussion. None of them fit reality very well, but some come closer than others.

It seems to me that in order for us to ignore the current semantic discussion, we'd have to invent a new term to define our doctrine. Until that time comes, we are forced to use the language we currently have. Question: Are there not many gods in heaven? If so, and we believe that there are, then we are polytheistic. Are there not three gods in the Godhead? If so, and we believe that the Godhead is invested in our salvation, we are polytheistic. I haven't read all of your post so I don't know. Perhaps you don't think that we believe that the Father is a God and that Jesus Christ is a God too. But we do and we believe that they are two individual Gods, separate from each other.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vort said:

Nevertheless, we need to communicate with our brothers and sisters here who don't know or believe LDS doctrine. To do that, we make...approximations. We talk about "repentance" and describe it using five (or six, or seven) steps—as if God has a list that he checkmarks off for us to see if we've actually repented! We call ourselves "monothestic" (and we do!), even though the term itself is inexact and not a robust representation of eternal reality. It's true, but deficient. Nevertheless, it's less false than calling ourselves "polytheists" or "henotheists", both of which carry nuances and baggage that go far beyond any bounds of truth. We even call God our Father, as if he stands in the same place as the biological men who generated us, though of course he is far more than they.

I think when we talk to our brothers and sisters who don't believe or even know LDS doctrine, we need to tell them exactly what we believe. And I disagree with you. Limited to present language terms, we are polytheists.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Vort said:

In doing this, we are just following our Lord, who called God "Father" and commanded us to do likewise. He revealed a "celestial" kingdom, though "celestial" just means "of the heavens," but he added new, more defined meanings. He spoke of man being "exalted", which just means "made high", but again, he imbued new meaning into the term. He revealed a doctrine of "plural marriage", which by the definition of words sounds pretty much like "polygamy" (which it is also called). But of course, it is unlike the polygamy practiced by many civilizations down through the ages and even now. Yet God himself used "plural marriage" to describe the unions.

We talk of heavenly things, but in doing so, we are of necessity restricted to earth-bound language. The Spirit can and does teach beyond language, an absolutely vital need for Saints. Surely this is the reason that we are given the gift of the Holy Ghost, our most important gift besides eternal life itself, right up front, when we very first enter into the kingdom of God. But we are still heavily dependent on the divine gift of human language. So God reveals things to us is our weakness, using our weak language to try to give us some dim inkling of what he's talking about. We do well to be careful in drawing strict literal semantic lines in every case; in at least some of those cases, we will be cutting ourselves off from the truth.

Like I said, until we have a better term to define the coexistence of Gods other than polytheism, we are stuck with that word. I really didn't want to get into this kind of discussion. My intent was to address if it was really important based on the lack of empirical evidence. Was it acceptable for Ammon to accept King Lamoni's understanding of what God is without correcting him and telling him, no the Great Spirit isn't God, that's a bogus pagan belief?

We accept the terms we have and recognize that what we are calling things may not match what others call it, but for now, it's the best we've got. When a Christian who is trying to understand what we believe finds out that we believe that God the Father of Jesus Christ is a separate being from Christ who is also embodied in flesh and bone, that is going to cause problems regardless of whether you want to call it polytheism or monotheism. 

Edited by brotherofJared

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
43 minutes ago, MrShorty said:

The most official statement I know if is canonized in the D&C section 20. Read verses 17 to 28. Highlights:

verse 17, "by this we know that there is a God in heaven who is infinite and eternal..."
verse 21, "...the Almighty God gave His Only Begotten Son..."
verse 27, "...the Holy Ghost, which beareth record of the Father and of the Son."
concluding in verse 28, "Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen."

There's no discussion of ousia or any attempt to talk about the philosophy of what it means to be three in one and one in three.

Hopefully, you will note that before the three are defined as one, there is one who is called God who is infinite and eternal. There IS A God and then there are three beings who ARE ONE God. @Traveler gave an excellent example of divine investiture of the supreme being and his vassals. In this sense, any one of the three is the same as the one God in heaven who is infinite and eternal... Certainly, there all three of them together would constitute the same authority as the one God mentioned in verse 17.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Mores
7 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

...can others help and inform us as to whether there is an official church teaching on this (or perhaps utterances from prophets)?

I tried looking through the Joseph Smith Papers for the word "monotheist" (and other variants) and found nothing.  Not a single statement on what to "categorize" ourselves as.  I think the idea is that all these labels are just labels.  The entirety of our belief is what we wish to convey.  And there doesn't appear to be a label that really works.

This is the only thing that popped up on the Church Website:

Quote

Accepting the Latter-day Saint teachings about God is very difficult because they are so unusual. “We call ourselves monotheists,” says Donna Lee Bowen of BYU’s Department of Government. “Muslims are really monotheists and are confused and outraged when you explain that there are really three members of the godhead—Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.”

This statement seems to indicate the idea that even the term "monotheist" can have a spectrum.  Muslims and Jews alike both consider even the Trinity to be a denial of monotheism.  Yet the Godhead is even less "one God" than the Trinity is.  So, they believe all Christian faiths are an abomination -- Trinity or Godhead doesn't matter.  They believe we all deny that there is only "one God".  While acknowledged, it doesn't matter.  What is in the label?  Let's look.

We have to understand that the label carries with it, not only a denotation, but a history, an application, and a relationship to God.

There are three flavors of henotheism (which is really just a subcategory of polytheism).  One is that you may worship a pantheon but acknowledge at least one of the following:

  • One god is more powerful and is the ruler of the pantheon.  e.g. Zeus was the ruler of the Greek pantheon.
  • One god is the one we're worshiping (usually by household or by city or...) among all the gods there are.  Hinduism.  And they could change their worship based on their personal preference.
  • There are many pantheons, and we're worshiping this pantheon (this variety is usually by nation or region).  The commonality between Greek and Roman gods is a prime example.

We don't have a "pantheon".  We worship the Godhead as one.  It may seem tempting and somewhat reasonable to consider that the Father is more powerful than the other two.  But is that even true?  Hasn't the Son inherited ALL his father has?  That would include his power and authority. So, this is difficult to shove into any category.

There are plenty of non-Christians who believe that the Bible actually preaches henotheism.  Yes, it's an interpretation.  But there is some logic to that interpretation. They cite the fact that the Israelites had such a strong tendency to go off to worship other gods.  If they really were taught that there was ONLY one God (The Lord), and that idols were simply pieces of wood, metal, or stone, what on earth would drive them to such worship?  It doesn't seem to be a "conversion" in belief.  It seems to be a preference at the time.

 But most Christians would disagree.  Too many instances where God is said to be the one true God:

Quote

God is one, for there is none like him.  Beside him there is no god.

Yet, it is easy enough for an outsider to give the label.  And it's so simple that people like @brotherofJared so easily buy into it.  And if that rocks his boat, why not?

Why not?  Because it then ignores the nuances of our belief in the Godhead.

Polytheism also denoted limited gods.  There was no god that was "all-powerful".  There was a god of war, a god of peace, a god of love, a god of springtime, a god of fertility...  Even if there was a god that was more powerful than the others, or even a ruler of the gods, there was no "all-powerful" god.  Even the ruler of the gods in these pantheons could be denied if sufficient other gods said so.

Based on historicity, neither henotheism nor polytheism is what we believe.

So, we're in a strange category, where we are certainly somewhat in line with the denotation of henotheism or polytheism.  But we share virtually nothing else with them, nor do we share any of the same practices.  At the same time, we share much with all other monotheistic faiths in the way of liturgy and our disposition and relationship with God.

We also share some aspects of far eastern religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism.  Think about what they teach vs. what we teach about eternal progression.  What category are they?  Can't really categorize them, can we?  And what's with sealing and geneology?  So, I don't really understand the need to slap a label on us at all.

I believe that is why we don't have any "OFFICIAL STATEMENT" on what label to use, because we simply don't "fit" into any of these categories when considering the complete package rather than a distilled, incomplete one phrase denotation.  If there were any official statement, I believe it would be to simply say.

Quote

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.

So, yes, there is an official statement.  It just isn't a "label".

For more discussion, see the following articles:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Polytheism#Question:_Are_Mormons_polytheists_because_they_don.27t_accept_the_Nicene_Creed.3F

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Polytheism#cite_note-webbBook-4

Edited by Mores

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Mores said:

One is that you may worship a pantheon but

By the definition of a pantheon, if there are three Gods in the Godhead, by definition. However, I don't believe we worship the Godhead. I don't even know how one could do that from our religion's perspective. The idea that we worship a pantheon is false since we worship God the Father and as much as I think McConkie got a lot of things wrong, I gleaned that from one of his talks which happened to be about heresies. 

Saying this, generally, we pray to the Father as Jesus indicated that we should. That is not meant to degrade or subordinate Christ in any way. I know that there are occasions when prayers were offered to Christ and he didn't stop them from doing so, but I have to believe that those were special occasions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Mores said:

I tried looking through the Joseph Smith Papers for the word "monotheist" (and other variants) and found nothing.  Not a single statement on what to "categorize" ourselves as.  I think the idea is that all these labels are just labels.  The entirety of our belief is what we wish to convey.  And there doesn't appear to be a label that really works.

This is the only thing that popped up on the Church Website:

This statement seems to indicate the idea that even the term "monotheist" can have a spectrum.  Muslims and Jews alike both consider even the Trinity to be a denial of monotheism.  Yet the Godhead is even less "one God" than the Trinity is.  So, they believe all Christian faiths are an abomination -- Trinity or Godhead doesn't matter.  They believe we all deny that there is only "one God".  While acknowledged, it doesn't matter.  What is in the label?  Let's look.

We have to understand that the label carries with it, not only a denotation, but a history, an application, and a relationship to God.

There are three flavors of henotheism (which is really just a subcategory of polytheism).  One is that you may worship a pantheon but acknowledge at least one of the following:

  • One god is more powerful and is the ruler of the pantheon.  e.g. Zeus was the ruler of the Greek pantheon.
  • One god is the one we're worshiping (usually by household or by city or...) among all the gods there are.  Hinduism.  And they could change their worship based on their personal preference.
  • There are many pantheons, and we're worshiping this pantheon (this variety is usually by nation or region).  The commonality between Greek and Roman gods is a prime example.

We don't have a "pantheon".  We worship the Godhead as one.  It may seem tempting and somewhat reasonable to consider that the Father is more powerful than the other two.  But is that even true?  Hasn't the Son inherited ALL his father has?  That would include his power and authority. So, this is difficult to shove into any category.

There are plenty of non-Christians who believe that the Bible actually preaches henotheism.  Yes, it's an interpretation.  But there is some logic to that interpretation. They cite the fact that the Israelites had such a strong tendency to go off to worship other gods.  If they really were taught that there was ONLY one God (The Lord), and that idols were simply pieces of wood, metal, or stone, what on earth would drive them to such worship?  It doesn't seem to be a "conversion" in belief.  It seems to be a preference at the time.

 But most Christians would disagree.  Too many instances where God is said to be the one true God:

Yet, it is easy enough for an outsider to give the label.  And it's so simple that people like @brotherofJared so easily buy into it.  And if that rocks his boat, why not?

Why not?  Because it then ignores the nuances of our belief in the Godhead.

Polytheism also denoted limited gods.  There was no god that was "all-powerful".  There was a god of war, a god of peace, a god of love, a god of springtime, a god of fertility...  Even if there was a god that was more powerful than the others, or even a ruler of the gods, there was no "all-powerful" god.  Even the ruler of the gods in these pantheons could be denied if sufficient other gods said so.

Based on historicity, neither henotheism nor polytheism is what we believe.

So, we're in a strange category, where we are certainly somewhat in line with the denotation of henotheism or polytheism.  But we share virtually nothing else with them, nor do we share any of the same practices.  At the same time, we share much with all other monotheistic faiths in the way of liturgy and our disposition and relationship with God.

We also share some aspects of far eastern religions such as Buddhism and Shintoism.  Think about what they teach vs. what we teach about eternal progression.  What category are they?  Can't really categorize them, can we?  And what's with sealing and geneology?  So, I don't really understand the need to slap a label on us at all.

I believe that is why we don't have any "OFFICIAL STATEMENT" on what label to use, because we simply don't "fit" into any of these categories when considering the complete package rather than a distilled, incomplete one phrase denotation.  If there were any official statement, I believe it would be to simply say.

So, yes, there is an official statement.  It just isn't a "label".

For more discussion, see the following articles:

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Polytheism#Question:_Are_Mormons_polytheists_because_they_don.27t_accept_the_Nicene_Creed.3F

https://www.fairmormon.org/answers/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Polytheism#cite_note-webbBook-4

I agree that there isn't a label that descibes our form of worship. One of those labels that isn't accurate is monotheist. My pick for the closest label that fits our belief system is polytheist because there are three Gods in the Godhead. Three separate and distinct beings.

Now, back to the question at hand, why would God condemn me for believing as I do, even if it was wrong?

The point being made here and on fairmormon is that our belief, a 3 in 1 God is not that much different that what most other Christians believe. The stumbling block comes in the idea that God the Father, is an immaterial being without a body. We believe he has a body and yet, we all believe that there are three Gods who are one. Most other Christians can no more claim they are monotheists than we can.

But again, what is this a point of contention? Why would God condemn anyone for not correctly understanding the character of God?

Edited by brotherofJared

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

Before we go further I would love some input on this. My understanding is that believing in many gods but worshiping only one is called henotheism. Some LDS scholars accept that the LDS Godhead could be called henotheistic. However, such is not church doctrine. Most here, and I believe the official church stance, is that LDS are monotheistic--that the Godhead is truly one God. So, before I go about defending belief in the one God, can others help and inform us as to whether there is an official church teaching on this (or perhaps utterances from prophets)?

The G-dhead is one (ehad in scripture) in exactly the same way that the divine covenant of marriage makes a man and a woman "ONE".  As I have already pointed out, the singular term that specifically defines one individual as a distinct entity is "yhead".  A husband is one singular individual the proper grammatical ancient Hebrew term is "YHEAD".  It is the same term to identify the woman as one individual is also "YHEAD".  However, the ancient Hebrew that calls them "ONE" flesh is the ancient Hebrew term "EHAD".  In all cases in Hebrew scripture where plural individuals as as one in covenant unity the term is always ehad.  In all cases when an individual is indicated as a singular person - the term ALWAYS, yhead - but never is yhead used to describe "one" G-d.

What is most interesting to me is that I was first introduced into this almost parallel meanings of "one" (one being plural the other singular) ehad and yhead in a discussion (rhetorical argument) between an Evangelical scholar and a Islamic scholar if the G-dhead in Christianity is polytheistic.   As I researched the arguments - I found the Evangelical scholar's points concerning ehad and yhead are spot on and exactly correct - the only problem is that the understanding of ehad and yhead are completely set aside when discussing the classical definitions of Traditional Christianity using the Nicene Creed. 

I will bring one other thought to bear.  Even in our current Law - marriage defines a man and a woman as "One" person.  This means that a husband is legally bound by the lawful actions of his wife and vice versa.  But we must be careful because a corporation is legally defined as "One" person.  Is the board of directors in a corporation singular one or plural meaning more than one individual?  Is a marriage between one (singular) or more (plural) individuals?  I claim that if someone understands the ancient intent of Hebrew scripture and the term "ehad" - that the number of G-ds is and has always been many - it has never been singular.

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, brotherofJared said:

By the definition of a pantheon, if there are three Gods in the Godhead, by definition. However, I don't believe we worship the Godhead. I don't even know how one could do that from our religion's perspective. The idea that we worship a pantheon is false since we worship God the Father and as much as I think McConkie got a lot of things wrong, I gleaned that from one of his talks which happened to be about heresies. 

Saying this, generally, we pray to the Father as Jesus indicated that we should. That is not meant to degrade or subordinate Christ in any way. I know that there are occasions when prayers were offered to Christ and he didn't stop them from doing so, but I have to believe that those were special occasions. 

It is interesting that in ancient cultures - worship was defined by giving offerings.  This is the primary worship in the ancient pagan religions and we see this as a means of worship in the old testament.  Jesus attempted to alter this understanding to include offerings of one's identity - this is expressed as offerings of "heart, might, mind and strength".  This is not far from specific ancient understanding.  The very meaning of sacrifice is not to give up - but to offer what is being sacrificed to G-d - not to be removed form all uses by mortals but to be made 
"sacred" or to only be used for sacred purpose.  Such that when we make an offering of our will by covenant to G-d - it does not mean that we no longer exercise our will but that we promise to fulfill our will in executing sacred covenants that we have made with G-d.

Now I would point out one other things.  That is, that in a kingdom that there were "rulers" that were appointed by the Supreme Suzerain to receive or collect offerings intended for the Suzerain (worship).  To collect such offerings of worship without "authorization" was considered treasonous but the official term for unauthorized collections of worship offerings - was blasphemy (which is slightly different from the modern understand of that term.   But with this understanding of Blasphemy - it is interesting to read the scriptures (mostly in the Gospel of John) of how Jesus responded to the accusation of blasphemy that was an act of treason punished by death.  Jesus did not say he could do what he wanted - rather he said he did the works of someone else - that sent him to act for them!!!

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, Traveler said:

The G-dhead is one (ehad in scripture) in exactly the same way that the divine covenant of marriage makes a man and a woman "ONE"

Interestingly, I recall listening to a radio program distributed by Moody radio where the Protestant/Trinitarian radio host used the same analogy to try to help explain how three separate beings can still be treated as one.

I don't know how far I would push the analogy. I agree that, if someone is having trouble understanding how 3 can be 1, the mortal analog of marriage may help. But, I think any attempt to draw a mortal analogy to heavenly things -- especially something as challenging to understand as the nature of God -- will fall short.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, brotherofJared said:

We are not monotheistic and that is not our doctrine. The Godhead is three gods, three beings who are one in purpose.

I don't know what others believe on this board, but no one, that I know of, has ever claimed that we are monotheists in the strictest sense. Anyone who tries to make that claim is either unaware of his blunder or is trying to find common ground between the beliefs of other Christian teachings and our teachings. We believe that God, The Father, has a body of flesh and bone just as Jesus has a body of flesh and bone. Both are resurrected beings.

I would not presume to teach the member of any religion what they teach or believe. Further, you do understand your doctrine well. What we are both stumbling over is indeed the efforts of LDS apologists to explain the Godhead to Trinitarians. Unlike you, Trinitarians are strident monotheists. We know that Muslims and Jews suspect our monotheism and we insist that the three persons are indeed one--at a substance-level. Your apologists understand our position, and so work hard at presenting the Godhead as the one true God. Some in your church strongly identify as monotheists. Others may accept the henotheist (we worship one God, but accept that there are many) label, largely due to belief in exaltation. Other LDS strongly object to that label. So, again, I am not qualified to offer a definitive LDS answer. I just know that when I've raised the henotheistic label some have strongly objected. Only one poster that I can remember accepted polytheism as an appropriate label for the LDS belief. The labels may not be important to your daily faith walk, but we cannot avoid them in interfaith discussions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Traveler said:

What is most interesting to me is that I was first introduced into this almost parallel meanings of "one" (one being plural the other singular) ehad and yhead in a discussion (rhetorical argument) between an Evangelical scholar and a Islamic scholar if the G-dhead in Christianity is polytheistic.   As I researched the arguments - I found the Evangelical scholar's points concerning ehad and yhead are spot on and exactly correct - the only problem is that the understanding of ehad and yhead are completely set aside when discussing the classical definitions of Traditional Christianity using the Nicene Creed. 

In this example, the Evangelical position is the middle ground. Muslims and Jews insist that God is one and that the Trinity is an absurd effort to conflate obvious tritheism into a mystical one God. Jehovah's Witnesses solve the alleged problem by saying Jesus is subordinate to the Father--a lesser god--perhaps an archangel. Oneness Pentecostals' solution is to say that Jesus is the God, operating in three roles or modes. The LDS position is to take the classic analogies (family, h2o's various forms, egg, etc.) and push them all the way, by saying unity-of-purpose makes a group one enough to qualify.

I will say this, if LDS give up on the monotheistic label it would be huge. For example, how could the '3 omnis' work? How could God be all-knowing if there are other gods? How could He be all powerful if other gods had power? How could He be everywhere if other gods have their realms? No, I suspect that most LDS--particular those in leadership and in theological academia would insist that the Godhead is the GOD, not 3 gods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, prisonchaplain said:

In this example, the Evangelical position is the middle ground. Muslims and Jews insist that God is one and that the Trinity is an absurd effort to conflate obvious tritheism into a mystical one God. Jehovah's Witnesses solve the alleged problem by saying Jesus is subordinate to the Father--a lesser god--perhaps an archangel. Oneness Pentecostals' solution is to say that Jesus is the God, operating in three roles or modes. The LDS position is to take the classic analogies (family, h2o's various forms, egg, etc.) and push them all the way, by saying unity-of-purpose makes a group one enough to qualify.

I will say this, if LDS give up on the monotheistic label it would be huge. For example, how could the '3 omnis' work? How could God be all-knowing if there are other gods? How could He be all powerful if other gods had power? How could He be everywhere if other gods have their realms? No, I suspect that most LDS--particular those in leadership and in theological academia would insist that the Godhead is the GOD, not 3 gods.

Interesting arguments - How can G-d be all powerful if mankind has the freedom of will to choose for themselves between good and evil?  There are more problems with the Nicene Creed than just the  doctrine of the Trinity. 

 

The Traveler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 minutes ago, Traveler said:

Interesting arguments - How can G-d be all powerful if mankind has the freedom of will to choose for themselves between good and evil?  There are more problems with the Nicene Creed than just the  doctrine of the Trinity. 

 

The Traveler

Calvinists might give you a theological hug with this one. They would agree and promote Predestination as the only doctrine that comports with God's sovereignty. I would suggest that only an all-powerful God would grant his creation the liberty to commune with Him or embrace eternal separation.

Edited by prisonchaplain

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

In this example, the Evangelical position is the middle ground. Muslims and Jews insist that God is one and that the Trinity is an absurd effort to conflate obvious tritheism into a mystical one God. Jehovah's Witnesses solve the alleged problem by saying Jesus is subordinate to the Father--a lesser god--perhaps an archangel. Oneness Pentecostals' solution is to say that Jesus is the God, operating in three roles or modes. The LDS position is to take the classic analogies (family, h2o's various forms, egg, etc.) and push them all the way, by saying unity-of-purpose makes a group one enough to qualify.

I will say this, if LDS give up on the monotheistic label it would be huge. For example, how could the '3 omnis' work? How could God be all-knowing if there are other gods? How could He be all powerful if other gods had power? How could He be everywhere if other gods have their realms? No, I suspect that most LDS--particular those in leadership and in theological academia would insist that the Godhead is the GOD, not 3 gods.

The reason is because, as per their definition, Trinitarians WOULD qualify as polytheists as they see it in the same way many Hindu religions are polytheistic.  When talking about Hindu religions one would see Hindi religious observers having multiple deities and thus polytheistic.

In many Hindu religions they have different deities.  instead of calling it a Trinity, they call it the Trimurti.  These would be Brahma (who also represents the highest idea, the three in one, and the universal constant of ALL the deities, thus is ALL the deities as well, but is DIFFERENT than the other deities), Vishnu, and Shiva.  They are ALL three separate individual deities with very DIFFERENT attitudes, aspects, and actions.  However, they are also ALL the SAME deity at the same time, united by the universal constant (Brahman).

Sound familiar?

Just as we view Hindu religions as polytheistic, even those that simply focus on the three separate and yet in one, many monotheistic religions such as Jews also feel that Christians who believe in the trinity are also polytheistic.

Now, unlike Trinitarians and Mormons, many of these same sects also believe their Trimurti can incarnate into a single avatar with all three of them combined, sometimes called Dattatreya.

There are also various views (just as there are in Christianity, Hinduism is a pretty large and diverse religion, in some ways more so than Christianity and many other religions of the world) with some viewing this trimurti more as the modalists or arian styled religions and other views (some that truly are polytheistic).

However, just as they would consider those that are Hindu that worship the three in one aspect that mirrors the Trinity of Christianity as polytheistic, they also consider Christians who follow the trinity polytheistic.

In my understanding.

Obviously, there are major differences between Christianity and Hindu religions, but as the Muslims and Jews may view it, though they are different from each other, the things that would apply to one would apply to the other when in similar situations.

Edited by JohnsonJones

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

The reason is because, as per their definition, Trinitarians WOULD qualify as polytheists as they see it in the same way many Hindu religions are polytheistic.  When talking about Hindu religions one would see Hindi religious observers having multiple deities and thus polytheistic.

In many Hindu religions they have different deities.  instead of calling it a Trinity, they call it the Trimurti.  These would be Brahma (who also represents the highest idea, the three in one, and the universal constant of ALL the deities, thus is ALL the deities as well, but is DIFFERENT than the other deities), Vishnu, and Shiva.  They are ALL three separate individual deities with very DIFFERENT attitudes, aspects, and actions.  However, they are also ALL the SAME deity at the same time, united by the universal constant (Brahman).

Sound familiar?

Trinitarians and Hindus are completely different.  Trinity and Trimurti are not comparable.  Trinitarians do not believe in any way at all that the Trinity are 3 separate individual deities with different attitudes, etc.  The Trinity is One God.  The Trimutri is 3 gods.  The Trinity is not 3 Beings united by a universal constant.  The Trinity is One Entity.

Edited by anatess2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Scott
On 12/8/2019 at 4:08 PM, Vort said:

We are indeed most definitely monotheistic

I don't think I'd agree.  

The definition of monotheism is the believe that there is only one god.

We are more henotheistic than monotheistic. 

Even in our more modern teaching manuals, it says that there is more than one god.

See here from the latest Teachings of the Presidents of the Church-John Taylor, which was covered only a few years ago.

Lesson 1, the Origin and Destiny of Mankind:

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/teachings-john-taylor/chapter-1?lang=eng

In another point of view, we look at him as emanating from the Gods—as a God in embryo—as an eternal being who had an existence before he came here, and who will exist after his mortal remains are mingled and associated with dust, from whence he came, and from whence he will be resurrected and partake of that happiness for which he is destined, or receive the reward of his evil deeds, according to circumstances. …

… What is [man]? He had his being in the eternal worlds; he existed before he came here. He is not only the son of man, but he is the son of God also. He is a God in embryo, and possesses within him a spark of that eternal flame which was struck from the blaze of God’s eternal fire in the eternal world, and is placed here upon the earth that he may possess true intelligence, true light, true knowledge,—that he may know himself—that he may know God—that he may know something about what he was before he came here—that he may know something about what he is destined to enjoy in the eternal worlds.

That was just one example out of many, but is enough to exclude us from being monotheistic.   We may only worship one God, but we believe that others exist and that more will exist.    That makes us henotheistic.   By definition, monotheists only believe that only one god exists.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Traveler said:

How can G-d be all powerful if mankind has the freedom of will to choose for themselves between good and evil?  There are more problems with the Nicene Creed than just the  doctrine of the Trinity. 

As much as I am opposed to the Nicene Creed, I don't think the answer to that question necessarily subverts it.  All powerful (Omnipotent) is the power to do anything that is possible to be done.  Truly and fully removing an individual's agency is not within the realm of possible things.  A Creedal Trinitarian may not accept that definition of omnipotence, and so they may still fail to be capable of adequately addressing such a question.

On a similar note: In a different thread, months back, we already addressed that creation ex-nihilo necessarily implies the absence of agency/free-will for God's creations.  Obviously, most believers of creation ex-nihilo (other than Calvinists and the like) would reject this premise, but to me, it is basic logic.

Edited by person0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Scott

OK, I have a question which could produce some interesting answers.

Is Heavenly Mother a god (or goddess)?   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Scott said:

OK, I have a question which could produce some interesting answers.

Is Heavenly Mother a god (or goddess)?   

How is that to produce interesting answers?  There simple answer is, yes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now