Mormonism and the Trinity
The Nature of the Godhead in LDS belief
In the early 19th century, when teenage Joseph Smith testified to having received special revelation from God about how all the Christian denominations at the time were in error, the correctives divinely communicated to him wouldn't only concern liturgy, but they were result in drastic theological differences as well.
For the previous 18 centuries, the Christian church held to the belief in the Trinity - i.e. that the Father is God, that the son, Jesus Christ, is God, and that the Holy Spirit is God - as a core theological conviction. In fact, to disbelieve in the Trinity was to not be a Christian, as the doctrine was so embedded in the Bible's teachings.
This doctrine, however, was challenged by Smith. His teaching that the Godhead is not trinitarian in nature, and that the Bible doesn't teach idea, became the theological position of the LDS church and the conviction of its many members. Today, this doctrine is one of the most significant differences between LDS and orthodox Christian theology, rendering their belief systems unable to be reconciled.
The nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Since the LDS church claims to be the true restoration of the New Testament church, it is important to understand the differences between in and orthodox Christian theology.
Disagreement with Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant churches
Instead, Mormons believe that the "Godhead" is made up of three distinct beings who are "one in purpose" but not in being. These beings are:
LDS church members often call this figure "heavenly father," and he has some attributes in common with the Christian understanding of God the Father, like his sovereignty. Yet, heavenly father is dissimilar in other ways, like in the fact that he has a physical body.
Mormon teachings states that Jesus Christ is the first created being of heavenly father, as opposed having existed for all eternity like in orthodox Christian belief.
While Mormon teachings use some of the same theological vocabulary as Christian theology, the doctrines and titles of Christ, can have vastly different meanings.
Mormons believe that the Holy Spirit is detached from the Godhead.
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More on Mormonism
World Religions - Main pages
- Mormon Beliefs: God - BBC Religion
- Nature of God - Mormon.org (click on "Index" on the left for full list of topics)
- References for Mormon and Biblical Beliefs about God - Leadership U (non-Moron website)