Talk:God in Mormonism

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Book of Mormon statement[edit]

I deleted the following statement:

(in particular the original 1830 edition)

The current version of the Book of Mormon is closer than the 1830 edition to the reference made. -Visorstuff 18:16, 29 Jan 2004 (UTC)

God Head information innacurate[edit]

Considering Joseph Smith never said anything about believing in "the trinity" that Catholics and other Christian denominations accept, this article is chalk full of misinformation. Trinity means only 3 people, while many misunderstand that to mean 3 in 1! I would like to see evidence that Joseph Smith taught that. He only taught that they were ONE IN PURPOSE! The salvation of all mankind! I am sorry to say, but while I don't agree that everyone should agree with the beliefs of the LDS church, I feel most of the articles on Wikipedia relating to 'mormons' are HORRIBLY inaccurate, and should be revised, unfortunately that would be such a high volume job, it may be better to start from scratch. Wikipedia, while an open source database, should have reliable sources, and should not seek historical information in anti-mormon documents, as they prove to be innacurate. This is not only apparent in the Mormon articles, but in 7th day adventist and Jehovas witness documents as well. If you would like to read the real beliefs of the LDS church, concerning the Godhead, please visit www.lds.org or www.mormon.org . Who better to ask about Mormon beliefs, than an actual Mormon!?

The section in question was written by Mormons - and about the broader Latter Day Saint movement, not just the LDS Church. Please note that when Joseph Smith left the sacred grove that he didn't know everything about the church. Some things evolved over time as new revelation was given and doctrine was clarified. For example, Smith may have assumed that everyone realized that God and Jesus were seperate people and didn't clarify until the Kirtland period. In fact, there is evidence that he didn't teach certain things as he felt that the people would reject all of his teachings if he did. Some did leave over this issue in the kirtland period and are still part of the Latter Day Saint Movement (not LDS church) This article does a good job with the latest scholarly research available. I'm sorry that youfeel this page is so inaccurate, but from a historical view it is quite solid. -Visorstuff 23:47, 14 March 2006 (UTC)

These are well stated points, and I think the confusion is a lack of communication on my part. While Joseph Smith did teach different, deeper things, when the time was right, what's to be said for the fact that the article implies that he changed the doctrine, while any member of the Church of Jesus Christ knows that the nature of the God head is Eternal, and has never changed. I can see your point, but the section seems to imply that Joseph Smith changed doctrine, which he didn't. When you say this was written by Mormons, are you saying members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints, or another church that broke off from it? Visorstuff, thanks for all of you work on wikipedia, I truly admire it seeing as there are so many articles out there!

Ahh, yes. By Mormons, in this instance, I do mean members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I can see how you'd read that section in this way. Perhaps we can clarify - what do you suggest? It is not that the doctrines changed, but rather, that what Smith emphasized changed. What is and what is not church doctrine is a fuzzy thing and, as you likely know, has always been the case. Many things that church members believe to be "doctrine" is not, but cultural doctrines promulgated by church members. In any case, the teachings of Smith and what he emphasized are fuzzy enough that many people thought his earlier teachings were more accurate, or that he changed doctrines, or that the current church misunderstood his teachings on many matters. We have to balance this to be historically accurate, with what is believed and taught today. Not an easy task. I'm open to suggestions in how to change wording. Let's discus here and then make the changes. Suggestions? Also, I'd invite you to join wikipedia. We always need newcomers. Registration is easy! -Visorstuff 00:23, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Some possible solutions may include stating that the Godhead according to 'mormonism' has common elements with the aforementioned ideologies. Also, another solution would to briefly summarize what you have stated above, and to respect the beliefs of the factions of the Church of Jesus Chris of Latter day Saints, you could say that the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints believe that while Smith revealed different things over time, he was merely revealing new aspect of the Godhead that the members of the church were ready to learn, and never erased what he had already taught, but added. This point would also help in emphasizing modern revelation.

Mormon use of the word "Jehovah"[edit]

The Elohim article mentions that Mormons use the terms "Jehovah" and "Yahweh" in a unique way, and refers to this article (Godhead (Mormonism)) for details.

I'm surprised that none of these terms ( Elohim, Jehovah, Yahweh ) are mentioned here, much less described in detail.

On the other hand, I hate to stir up an edit war over picky dictionary definitions.

- I would like far more to be said on this issue. The connections between LDS and Jehovah's Witnesses become clearer on these doctrinal points, especially if the Temple Ritual could at least be aluded to in its cosmology which extends beyond the Book of the Mormon.

Article Not Neutral[edit]

This article does not seem very well balanced to me. It seems oriented toward Mormons, not to the general public.

Examples:

The scripture quoted at the beginning (Matthew 3:16) serves no purpose in explaining what Mormons believe.

The quote from the Articles of Faith (also near the beginning) supposedly "states the essence of Latter Day Saint belief concerning the Godhead." That statement doesn't help me understand the essence of the Godhead at all. This whole section seems dedicated to making Mormon beliefs appear similar to Trinitarian beliefs.

The references to "D&C 76:12-24","Ether 3", etc. are cryptic and obviously aimed toward Mormons, or someone with a copy of the Book of Mormon in front of them.

"Most modern Latter Day Saints do not accept the idea of a two-"personage" Godhead, with the Father as a spirit and the Holy Spirit as the shared "mind" of the Father and the Son." This paragraph (if it could be called that) doesn't relate to the material around it, and seems like an obvious ploy to downplay alternative views. If most modern Latter Day Saints don't accept this idea, why put it in? If they do, why downplay it, unless you are giving a Mormon point of view?

In conclusion, most of this article reads like a tract, or like an explanation of Mormon beliefs put out by the Mormon church. The parts that don't read like a tract still tend to have a Mormon spin on them. I think this article needs to be re-written and cleaned up to make it acceptable for Wikipedia. Sherlock (talk) 22:45, 4 February 2008 (UTC)

Great comments; I think that I have taken care of the issues you cite. I agree that the article could do with some improvement. The purpose of the article is to explain Latter Day Saint perceptions of the Godhead. It is quite clear that it is their beliefs and it is not presented as "truth". The allegation of neutrality seems weak. Though I agree the article is not well written and can be cleaned up, neutrality does not seem to be its major or even a significant flaw.
I suspect you are seeking an article that juxtaposes the LDS view of the Godhead with the doctrines of other Christian churches; that is not the purpose of this article. I think that would be found in Mormonism and Christianity, which is linked in the article. IMHO, there are too many articles on the LDS church and too many of them simply repeat the same information found in other articles. I would hope that this one does not evolve into another article that continues this repetition. Also, the article addresses the Latter Day Saint movement's beliefs, which are varied. The Latter-day Saint view, though by far the largest group within the movement, does not stand alone. Thanks for your review and comments; they were helpful. thoughts? --Storm Rider (talk) 00:50, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Yes, the article looks quite a bit better now, especially the introduction section, which was what I was most concerned with. Perhaps my original post was a little critical. I understand, after reading some other religion articles, that it is necessary to have quotes or citations of religious texts. The article could still stand to be cleaned up here and there, but it looks a lot better than it did. Sherlock (talk) 22:17, 9 February 2008 (UTC)

Heavenly Mother[edit]

This article seems to contradict itself. It says that a Heavenly Mother both is and is not an official doctrine of the church. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 157.201.149.23 (talk) 21:47, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

I deleted the redundant statement, but there is some additional work that needs to be done. The LDS church has stated there are Heavenly parents, which is official doctrine because it is stated in an official proclamation of the LDS church. However, that position is not accepted by other churches within the Latter Day Saint movment.
One would say that within LDS theology a Heavenly Mother exists, there is very little know beyond that point. No prophet or other leader has expanded much beyond the position. It is safe to say that it is not a core (one that is emphasized) teaching of the church relative to core doctrines like Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, performed miracles, sacrificed himself and was crucified for our sins, rose the third day, returned to his Father in Heaven, and will return again to the earth one day; that faith, repenteance, baptism, and the Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands; that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored upon the earth with twelve apostles and a prophet that lead the follower of Christ today are all considered core doctrines and teachings of the church. Does that make sense? --Storm Rider (talk) 22:09, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Jesus = Jehovah[edit]

StormRider you put a fact tag on this. I merely copied the statement from elsewhere in the article - I thought it was a well-known piece of LDS doctrine. Are you saying that it isn't? DJ Clayworth (talk) 18:28, 10 April 2008 (UTC)

No, although it would be easy to support. This is a doctrine that is taught in scripture and in the writings of LDS theologians explaining scripture. The tag was actually just for the position of traditional Christianity. One of the difficulties of writing for the traditional position is that it is not uniform or monolithic. As you know there are differences amongst the respective members/churches. I don't recall reading anything that would make me think there is a distinct difference among them in regards to this issue, but I can't speak for all of them. This was more a simple request for let's document this position. --Storm Rider (talk) 19:10, 10 April 2008 (UTC)
I did realise as I wrote this that it was an oversimplification of the orthodox position, since Jesus both is the Son of the Father and is the Father. However, forgetting for the moment that the three persons of the Trinity are in fact one, it is certainly the normal Christian view that the Father to whom Jesus talks is God the Father, and also Yahweh, the God of the Jews. DJ Clayworth (talk) 16:07, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
This ability to define difference in one being is what is interesting about the doctrine of the Trinity; however, that is outside of this topic. I think it would help to reference it so that interested readers could pursue it further. It does sound interesting and I personally would like to read how theologians define the differences between God the Father and God the Son and when one was interacting directly with humanity and when the other became operative.
LDS believe that God the Father does interact with humanity; however, the major role has always been played the Son. Jesus is the intermediary almost always. I should probably add references to the LDS position also. Cheers. --Storm Rider (talk) 18:41, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
The idea that Jesus is the same as Jehovah is a 20th century idea. Neither Joseph Smith nor Brigham Young ever taught that, and Fundamentalist Mormons believe that they are separate gods. This is well documented in at least a couple of articles, which I remember reading but I'll have to find them. James E. Talmage was the main person who promoted the theory that Jesus was Jehovah. COGDEN 00:31, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Entire Article Rewrite[edit]

The entire article was slanted and contained a large ampunt of Trinitarian beliefs. this is an article on the views of the godhead as seen by MORMONS and should relate only that. I copied and pasted the godhood article from the main latterday sain article as it was more accurate to their beliefes; BUT i need somone to move the citations over from the main article. please help if you can; but lets stick to the topic. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 216.180.189.229 (talk) 08:36, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Neutrality Disputed[edit]

The neutrality of this article needs to once more be called into question. The phrasing of the article is such that it presents the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as abstract fact rather than beliefs. Even the characterisation of the death of Joseph Smith as 'assassination' is loaded with bias, particularly when the article to which it links is titled simply 'Death of Joseph Smith, Jr.' and does not include the word 'assassination' anywhere in the body of the article. The only references provided which use this term are those produced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints itself and should hardly be regarded as objective in this matter. These are simply the examples I noticed in the opening paragraph as I wasn't actually interested enough to read through the whole article for further examples, hence the tagging rather than simply editing it myself. BlackAbbot (talk) 12:12, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

I've made small adjustments to the lede, but upon scanning the article I see it full of phrases like "the Book of Mormon describes...", "Smith taught that...", and "In the Latter Day Saint movement...". Can you identify some specific examples, in the lede or otherwise, where the phrasing presents the church's beliefs as fact rather than presenting them as simply teachings or ideas? ...comments? ~BFizz 01:45, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with the changes B Fizz made, since the trimmed text didn't really add to the substance of this article. However, I'm also interested in specific examples as even the now removed term of assassination doesn't strike me as POV, since at least as far as I know it was a "targeted killing of a public figure", even if it's not always called that. VernoWhitney (talk) 02:07, 26 July 2010 (UTC)
A quick scan of B Fizz's edits seem to address the issues of bias that I noted. In response to VernoWhitney's query I would quote the same article they linked; "the use of lethal force attributable to a subject of international law with the intent, premeditation and deliberation to kill individually selected persons who are not in the physical custody of those targeting them". The pertinent phrase here is 'premeditation and deliberation', a clause invalidated by the accepted description of the group as a mob (see mob). If Smith was alive after the initial fall, as some sources claim, and then executed by firing squad, this also puts him in the physical custody of those targeting him at the time of his death.BlackAbbot (talk) 11:40, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
Smith had already been shot multiple times in the window before falling. Upon seeing him hit the ground he was not stood up to stand for a firing squad, but rather shot at multiple times by the mob. This was not a state action by an authorized militia, it was a group of vigilanties that took the law into their own hands and murdered people. --StormRider 21:01, 7 August 2010 (UTC)
What BlackAbbot said, in essence, is that a "mob" cannot "assassinate", due to the particular meaning of both words. From that standpoint, I agree that the use of "assassination" is iffy, though words like "murder" or "kill" certainly apply. I've made a small change to the article; changing "assassination" to "murder". ...comments? ~BFizz 21:42, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
In the past, critics felt murder was too strong of a word. Others felt that assassination was preferred because Smith was running for President. I prefer murder because it is a better description of the act; however, let's see what others think. --StormRider 22:01, 8 August 2010 (UTC)
I'll just add here that the definition of the word appearing on the wikipedia page on Assassination defines it as, "to murder (a usually prominent person) by a sudden and/or secret attack, often for political reasons." I would say by all means a murder, even by a mob, is an assassination by that definition. It was sudden, secret, and was done for a number of political reasons that could be backed up by sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.37.155.85 (talk) 03:20, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Rename to "God in Mormonism"?[edit]

I don't think it makes sense to discuss the theology of the entire Latter Day Saint movement in this article. The Community of Christ basically adopts Trinitarianism. So I think that this article ought to be focuses on just Mormonism. Also, I think that rather than Godhead (Mormonism), we ought to name it something like God in Mormonism (analogous to God in Christianity). I think this makes sense because in Mormon fundamentalism, there are actually two godheads--one comprising Elohim, Jehovah, and Michael, and the other one including Michael (the Father), Jesus (the Son), and the Holy Ghost. Plus, somebody searching for the subject will not likely search for the term "godhead" unless they are Mormon. COGDEN 00:41, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Since nobody has chimed in, I'm going to make the change. If someone notices this and still objects, we can continue to discuss here. COGDEN 00:56, 27 December 2010 (UTC)
I'll chime in. In the second paragraph of the article there's the sentence, "Originally, the faith had an essentially trinitarian conception of God . . ." referring to Mormonism. This sentence isn't true and the citation, (which reads, "Trinitarianism has been adopted by the Community of Christ, which is part of the Latter Day Saint movement of religions deriving from the teachings of Joseph Smith, but not part of Mormonism"), as well as the links it refers to don't back that statement up either. Joseph Smith, according to Mormon faith, had his first vision before he organized the Latter Day Saint church, and it was during that vision that he saw God the Father, and Jesus Christ as two separate beings with distinct and individual bodies, which is, in itself, non-trinitatian, so I don't see why this sentence is here. Mormon religions have never been trinitarian. It's only recently that the Commmunity of Christ adopted the trinity. So, since that sentence is both untrue, and what it is referring to is now irrelevant to the rest of the article, how about it just be removed? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 50.37.155.85 (talk) 03:31, 10 April 2012 (UTC)

Book of Mormon and one God[edit]

The article states the Book of Mormon refers to God the Father and Jesus Christ as "one". This is not true in all cases. The very first prophecy concerning Christ (1 Nephi 9:4) says, " a prophet would the Lord God raise up among the Jews--even a Messiah". In other words, the proposition that the view of God in the BOM is strictly Trinitarian or Modalist is faulty. The BOM also quotes messianic prophecies of Isaiah in which God and Christ are distinguished as two different people. --76.23.19.217 (talk) 06:51, 9 June 2011 (UTC) Sam Clayton

Basics[edit]

Whereas no complete or completely accurate accounting of Joseph Smith's Christology is presently available, the interested student is directed to a very brief and basic summary at this url: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mnHIM_2nLqtVp7ylABx6B-wVcmXeDYpQ5CWvz4-th84/edit# — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.169.241.205 (talk) 19:15, 18 March 2012 (UTC)

Godhead as a restoration of the original Christian doctrine[edit]

Drewbigs posted the following in this article under a new section that shares this talk topic's title:

"Mormons view their concept of the Godhead as a restoration of the original Christian doctrine as taught by Christ and the apostles. Elements of this doctrine were restored gradually over time to the prophet Joseph Smith, as is consistent with God's method of revealing truth "line upon line, precept upon precept" (Isaiah 28:10-13, D&C 98:12, see also 1 Corinthians 3:2[1]). Mormons teach that in the centuries following the death of the apostles, views on God's nature began to change as a result of theologians who continued to develop doctrine despite not being called as prophets to receive revelation for the church. Mormons see the strong influence of Greek culture and philosophy[2] (see hellenization) during this period as contributing to a departure from the traditional judeo-christian view of a corporeal, material God in whose image and likeness we were created[3][4]. These post-apostolic theologians began to define God in terms of an immaterial divine substance, or ousia--a concept that found no backing in scripture[5], but closely mirrored elements of Greek philosophy such as Neoplatonism, which was known to have influenced many of the church fathers[6]. Disagreement on how to define the nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in the context of this divine substance[7] finally culminated in a consensus reached at the council of Nicaea in the year 325, which officially defined God as a trinity of three persons sharing one divine substance. Mormons believe that the development process leading up to the trinity doctrine left it vulnerable to human error, because it was not founded upon God's established pattern of continued revelation through prophets."

In response to my repeated explained removal of this section, he left me the following note on my talk page:

Hi Jgstokes, the reason for my contribution in the God in Mormonism article is because currently the article strongly leans toward the view that J.S. was just coming up with this stuff on his own, and refining it as he went along. Since this is an article on Mormonism, it think it's extremely appropriate to at least mention the heart of the matter from the Mormon point of view, which is that this doctrine was a restoration of the original Christian principle through revelation to a prophet--and that revelation doesn't come all at once, but over time.
Also, to say that until 1835 the Mormon view was similar to trinitarianism is very misleading because the driving concept behind the trinity is the divine substance that is shared between the three persons. Mormons have never come close to classifying diety in terms of this divine substance, but see it as an example of "philosophies of man mingled with scripture"--which is exactly why they believe in the need for a restoration.
So let me know the problems you saw (placement, length, quality, etc.) so I can do some revamping. I will definitely include a better explanation next time, until yesterday I was pretty ignorant of the whole talk and history capabilities of Wikipedia so it's been a good learning experience.
thanks."

Since he feels so strongly about including this section, I thought I'd post it here for discussion until we reach a consensus decision. My primary concerns with it as it now stands is that it is very lengthy and wordy and at least once uses another WP page as a reference, rather than simply linking to it. I'd welcome other thoughts on this section. Please help me fine tune this so that we can include it in the article. Thanks. --Jgstokes (talk) 21:53, 30 November 2013 (UTC)

Introduction - confusing[edit]

As I began to read the article I was struck with the first referenced statement: "This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity; in Mormonism, the three persons are considered to be physically separate beings, or personages, but united in will and purpose.[1]" This statement is supposed to show a distinction, but I cannot see one. The orthodox concept of the Trinity clearly states that the Trinity is three separate, distinct beings. The difference is that they are one substance or essence, which is a foreign concept in Mormonism.

I would propose the something like the following: "This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity; within Mormonism, there is no substance or essence that makes them one God; they remain three separate Gods."

Thoughts? --StormRider 04:21, 6 December 2013 (UTC)

Sounds good to me. Go for it! I see no reason to discuss this change, as it could be classified as a minor edit. If someone else has a problem with this rewording, they can discuss it here. In the meantime, I see no reason why this revision cannot immediately be incorporated into the article. --Jgstokes (talk) 06:12, 6 December 2013 (UTC)
I disagree with parts of this change. Mormon scripture and doctrine does not affirm a belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are "three separate Gods" or "three deities," as the article currently says. They believe that they are one God. They believe that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost are three, separate beings which are one God. That is how their scriptures articulate it. Never do their scriptures speak of "three gods." Not once. Ever. They always speak of these three beings as "one God." Every single time. See, for example:
  • 3 Nep. 11:36 "[...] the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one."
  • Mos. 15:4 "they [i.e. the Father and the Son] are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth."
  • Alma 11:28-9 "Now Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God? And he [Amulek, God's messenger] answered, No."
  • D&C 20:27-8 "[...] the Holy Ghost, [...] beareth record of the Father and of the Son; 28 Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen."
  • Moses 1:20 "this one God only will I worship, which is the God of glory."
If you look in Mormon scripture for a description of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as "three Gods," you will not find it. You will only find descriptions of them as "one God" and "separate beings." To characterize Mormons as believing that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost" are "three gods," then, is inaccurate. They believe that they are three separate beings, but one God. There is a difference between the meaning of the word "being" and of the word "God." Wrad (talk) 16:14, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Here's how I might word it, to further clarify the difference between traditional trinity:
  • "This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity; within Mormonism, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are not said to be one in substance or essence; instead, they remain three separate beings, or personages, completely united in will and purpose as "one God."
Wrad (talk) 16:27, 5 February 2014 (UTC)
Good point, Wrad. I like the rewording on that. Go for it! --Jgstokes (talk) 21:53, 5 February 2014 (UTC)