(MOBILE FRIENDLY)

Mormonism and Eternal Truth

Truth is not only
violated by falsehood;
it may be equally
outraged by silence.

(Henri-Frederic Amiel)

JEHOVAH AND ELOHIM
IN MORMONISM

This article discusses Mormon teachings on Jehovah and Elohim, and also on Jesus being the Father.

ELOHIM — GOD THE FATHER

In 1836 Joseph Smith studied Hebrew for six weeks under Joshua Seixas. It seems it was after this period that he began to teach that God’s name was Elohim. But Elohim is not a Hebrew name. It is merely a general term for the word “god” that is also used for false gods, and by way of deference for magistrates, judges and rulers.

“I am the Lord [Yahweh] thy God [Elohim], which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt … (Exodus 20:2, KJV)
“Thou shalt have no other gods [elohim] before me.” (Exodus 20:3 KJV).
“If the thief be not found, then the master of the house shall be brought unto the judges [elohim], to see whether he have put his hand unto his neighbour’s goods.” (Exodus 22:8, KJV)

JEHOVAH — JESUS

Current Mormon teaching is that Jehovah, whom the Israelites worshipped and prayed to and who gave them the ten commandments, was Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, the LDS church is very firm about Mormons not worshipping Christ or praying to Him. Although He was the God of Israel, their God is Elohim, the Heavenly Father, and they worship Him alone.

But the original Hebrew of Exodus 26 (that gives us the ten commandments) makes it clear that Jehovah and Elohim are one and the same..

Then too, Joseph Smith taught that Jehovah was God the Father:

“We believe in God the Father, who is the Great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father.” Joseph Smith, Times and Seasons; Vol. 3, page 358 (15th November, 1841)
“ … trusting in the arm of Jehovah, the Eloheim, who sits enthroned in the heavens …” (Joseph Smith, The History of the Church, Volume 5, chapter 5)

Genesis 2:4-9 also indicates that Jehovah and Elohim are one and the same, as do many other scriptures.

Genesis 2 (KJV):
4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord [Jahweh] God [Elohim] made the earth and the heavens.
5 And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord [Jahweh] God [Elohim] had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
6 But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7 And the Lord [Jahweh] God [Elohim] formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord [Jahweh] God [Elohim] made the earth and the heavens “And out of the ground made the Lord [Jahweh] God [Elohim] to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight …”

The problem is that after Joseph Smith changed his doctrine on deity in 1842 (twelve years after the establishment of the LDS church), Mormonism lost their understanding of the trinity, which is actually taught in the Book of Mormon (c/f Alma 11:44, 3 Nephi 11:27, Alma:11:38-39). The article Understanding the Trinity will cast light on some of the relevant scriptures that are not properly understood when read in the context of Mormon doctrines.

JESUS, THE FATHER

Sometimes the LDS refers to Jesus as “the Father.” Here is their line of reasoning, taken from the Book of Mormon:

“And now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shalt come down among the children of men, and shall redeem His people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son — The Father,because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son — And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth. (BOM Mosiah 15:1-3)

“Christ is also our Father because his Father has given him of his fulness; that is, he has received a fulness of the glory of the Father.” (Doctrines of Salvation Volume 1, page 20, Bookcraft 1954-56, Joseph Fielding Smith, Compiled by Bruce R. McConkie).

Joseph Smith also taught that the Son is the Father and the Father is the Son, in Luke 10:23 in his own translation of the Bible (which is rendered as verse 22 in the KJV). The contrasting JST and KJV versions are quoted below so that you can compare them:

“All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it. ” (Luke 10:23, JST)

“All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.” (Luke 10:22, KJV)

However, Mormonism also teaches that God the Father and Jesus the Son are two separate Gods, each with a physical body of flesh and bone. Neither of them was always a God and they became Gods at different times to one another. They maintain that Jesus was God the Father’s firstborn child, through cohabitation with his goddess wife. And the rest of humanity and the angelic beings followed on as God’s other children and Jesus’s younger sisters and brothers, in an existence prior to the creation of the earth. So according to Mormonism Jesus is our full, biological brother, and had the same origins as we did (c/f Mormonism’s Claim to Pre-existence).

But John 1:1 teaches that Jesus (the Word) was God in the beginning (i.e. before anything else).

In our culture we generally use the word Father when referring to a male parent. But the Bible indicates that in the ancient Hebrew and Arabic cultures this term covered a far larger spectrum. It described one who is the creator, origin or source, founder, protector, provider, advisor or ruler and so on. And it is in respect of Christ being the Creator that Isaiah 9:6 uses the term eternal (or everlasting) Father for Him.

There is an easy to read, well referenced article on this site that discusses this subject more fully c/f Understanding Hebrew Terms of Speech.

CONFUSION OVER CONTRADICTORY DOCTRINES

At the start Mormon teachings on deity were along the lines of those of protestant denominations. However, in 1842, twelve years after he had established the LDS church, Joseph Smith announced in his King Follet Discourse that God was not the being they had previously thought him to be. He maintained that God had once been an ordinary mortal man who had lived on a planet similar to earth and that through obedience to LDS laws and ordinances He had progressed to godhood (c/f Mormon Gods, Past and Present).

After Smith’s death, for a period of over twenty years, their second President and Prophet Brigham Young taught that Adam was God the Father. He had most likely reached this conclusion because of Joseph Smith’s teaching in Doctrine and Covenants 27.11 that Adam was Michael the Archangel and the ancient of days. And somewhere along the way a Holy Spirit was included in LDS teachings as well as a Holy Ghost (c/f The LDS’s Holy Spirit and Holy Ghost).

By the 1890s Mormons were in such a state of confusion over their contradictory doctrines on deity that they appealed to their fourth President and Prophet Wilford Woodruff, for clarification. This was his response:

“… Cease troubling yourselves about who God is; who Adam is, who Christ is, who Jehovah is. For heaven’s sake, let these things alone. Why trouble yourselves about these things? … God is God. Christ is Christ. The Holy Ghost is the Holy Ghost. That should be enough for you and me to know. I say this because we are troubled every little while with inquiries from Elders anxious to know who God is, who Christ is, and who Adam is. I say to the Elders of Israel, stop this. … We have had letter after letter from Elders abroad wanting to know concerning these things. Adam is the first man. He was placed in the Garden of Eden, and is our great progenitor. God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Ghost, are the same yesterday, today, and forever, that should be sufficient for us to know Millennial Star 57 (6 June 1895): 355-56. Edward Stevenson Diary, 3 March and 28 February 1896, Church Archives.

The LDS’s inability to sort out who God and Christ were, continued for over sixty years. And they still have it wrong. The God they now worship (an exalted man who had the same origins as we did), is both unbiblical and exclusive to the Mormon religion alone. So is the Christ they follow (c/f The Mormon Jesus). He too is a product of eternal progression (c/f Mormonism’s Doctrine of Eternal Progression).

MORMON DOCTRINES AND THE BIBLE

Strangely, although the LDS maintains that the Bible has been incorrectly translated and has large portions missing, they use it as one of their standard works. However, they have instructed their followers to determine its accuracy or otherwise by using Mormon scriptures, revelations and teachings as the standard of truth:

“The most reliable way to measure the accuracy of any biblical passage is not by comparing different texts, but by comparison with the Book of Mormon and modern-day revelations.” (Church News, June 20, 1992, page 3, quoting a letter from the First Presidency [Presidents Benson, Hinckley and Monson] dated May 22, 1992, to all of the [LDS] Church.)

But what is the use of reading the Bible if you not going to accept what it says unless it conforms to Mormonism? Reading it in that manner will ensure that you will never be able to even begin to understand its true message, for the simple reason that it does not teach Mormonism. It teaches Judaism in reference to the Israelites, and Christianity in reference to the Church. Furthermore, archeology, historical records and ancient writings have all confirmed its accuracy (c/f Is the Bible Trustworthy?). If you genuinely want to know what it teaches, there is an article on this site that will help you on your journey to attaining this goal. Just click on this link Mormonism and Understanding the Bible.

This site is dedicated to helping Mormons understand the Bible.

Copyright © 2016 by Yvonne Gibbs. All rights reserved.

Home      Email Us