God in Mormonism

In orthodox Mormonism, the term God generally refers to the biblical God the Father, whom Latter-day Saints sometimes call Elohim,[1] and the term Godhead refers to a council of three distinct divine persons consisting of God the Father, Jesus (His firstborn Son, whom Latter-day Saints sometimes call Jehovah), and the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit). Latter-day Saints believe that the Father, Son, and the Holy Ghost are three distinct beings, and that the Father and Jesus have perfected, glorified, physical bodies, while the Holy Ghost is a spirit without a physical body.[2] Latter-day Saints also believe that there are other gods and goddesses outside the Godhead, such as a Heavenly Mother who is the wife of God the Father, and that faithful Latter-day Saints may attain godhood in the afterlife.[3] Joseph Smith taught that God was once a man on another planet before being exalted to Godhood.[4]

This conception differs from the traditional Christian Trinity in several ways, one of which is that Mormonism has not adopted or continued the doctrine that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are of the same substance or being. Also, Mormonism teaches that the intelligence dwelling in each human is coeternal with God.[5] Mormons use the term omnipotent to describe God, and regard him as the creator, they understand him as having absolutely unlimited power, but do not teach that he is the ex nihilo creator of all things.[6] The Mormon conception of God also differs substantially from the Jewish tradition of ethical monotheism in which elohim (אֱלֹהִים) is a completely different conception.

This description of God represents the Mormon orthodoxy, formalized in 1915 based on earlier teachings. Other currently existing and historical branches of Mormonism have adopted different views of god, such as the Adam–God doctrine and Trinitarianism.

Early Latter Day Saint concepts

Joseph Smith first vision stained glass
Beginning in 1838, Joseph Smith taught that he had seen two personages in the spring of 1820. In 1843, Smith taught that these personages, God the Father and Jesus, had separate, tangible bodies.

Most early Latter Day Saints came from a Protestant background, believing in the doctrine of Trinity that had been developed during the early centuries of Christianity. Before about 1835, Mormon theological teachings were similar to that established view.[7] However, founder Joseph Smith's teachings regarding the nature of the Godhead developed during his lifetime, becoming most fully developed in the few years prior to his murder in 1844. Beginning as an unelaborated description of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as being "One", Smith taught that the Father and the Son were distinct personal members of the Godhead as early as 1832.[8] Smith's public teachings later described the Father and Son as possessing distinct physical bodies, being one together with the Holy Ghost, not in material substance, but in spirit, glory, and purpose–a view sometimes called social trinitarianism.[9][10]

Mormons view their concept of the Godhead as a restoration of original Christian doctrine as taught by Christ and the Apostles. Elements of this doctrine were revealed gradually over time to Smith. Mormons teach that in the centuries following the death of the Apostles, views on God's nature began to change as theologians developed doctrines and practices, though they had not been called as prophets designated to receive revelation for the church. Mormons see the strong influence of Greek culture and philosophy[11] (Hellenization) during this period as contributing to a departure from the traditional Judeo-Christian view of a corporeal God in whose image and likeness mankind was created.[12][13] These theologians began to define God in terms of three persons, or hypostases, sharing one immaterial divine substance, or ousia—a concept that some claim found no backing in scripture,[14][15] but closely mirrored elements of Greek philosophy such as Neoplatonism.[16] 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.

Teachings in the 1820s and early 1830s

The Book of Mormon teaches that God the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are "one",[17] with Jesus appearing with a body of spirit before his birth,[18] and with a tangible body after his resurrection.[19] The book describes the "Spirit of the Lord" "in the form of a man" and speaking as a man would.[20]

Prior to the birth of Jesus, the book depicts him as a spirit "without flesh and blood", with a spirit "body" that looked the same as he would appear during his physical life.[21] Moreover, Jesus described himself as follows: "Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters."[22] In another passage of the Book of Mormon, the prophet Abinadi states,

I would that ye should understand that God himself shall 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.[23]

After Jesus was resurrected and ascended into heaven, the Book of Mormon states that he visited a group of people in the Americas, who saw that he had a resurrected, tangible body. During his visit, he was announced by the voice of God the Father, and those present felt the Holy Spirit, but only the Son was seen. Jesus is quoted as saying,

Father, thou hast given them the Holy Ghost because they believe in me; and thou seest that they believe in me because thou hearest them, and they pray unto me; and they pray unto me because I am with them. And now Father, I pray unto thee for them, and also for all those who shall believe on their words, that they may believe in me, that I may be in them as thou, Father, art in me, that we may be one.[24]

The Book of Mormon states that Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit are "one".[25] The LDS Church interprets this "oneness" as a metaphorical oneness in spirit, purpose, and glory, rather than a physical or bodily unity. On the other hand, some Latter Day Saint sects, such as the Community of Christ, consider the Book of Mormon to be consistent with trinitarianism. Some scholars have also suggested that the view of Jesus in the Book of Mormon is also consistent, or perhaps most consistent, with monotheistic Modalism.[26]

Teachings in the mid-to-late 1830s

In 1835, Joseph Smith, with the involvement of Sidney Rigdon, publicly taught the idea that Jesus Christ and God the Father were two separate beings. In the Lectures on Faith, which had been taught in 1834 to the School of the Prophets, the following doctrines were presented:

  1. That the Godhead consists of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (5:1c);
  2. That there are two "personages", the Father and the Son, that constitute the "supreme power over all things" (5:2a, Q&A section);
  3. That the Father is a "personage of spirit, glory, and power" (5:2c);
  4. That the Son is a "personage of tabernacle" (5:2d) who "possess[es] the same mind with the Father; which Mind is the Holy Spirit" (5:2j,k);
  5. That the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit constitute the "supreme power over all things" (5:2l);
  6. That "these three constitute the Godhead and are one: the Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power, and fullness" (5:2m);
  7. That the Son is "filled with the fullness of the Mind of the Father, or in other words, the Spirit of the Father" (5:2o).

Lectures on Faith were included as part of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. They were eventually removed from the Doctrine and Covenants by the LDS Church and the Community of Christ on the grounds that they had never explicitly been accepted by the church as canon. 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. Moreover, many Mormon apologists propose a reading of Lectures on Faith that is consistent with Smith's earlier or later doctrines, by putting various shadings on the meaning of personage as used in the Lectures.

In 1838, Smith published a narrative of his First Vision, in which he described seeing both God the Father and a separate Jesus Christ, similar in appearance to each other.

Teachings in the 1840s

In the endowment ceremony, introduced by Smith in 1842, the name "Elohim" is used to refer to God the Father. "Jehovah" is used to refer to the pre-mortal Jesus.

In public sermons later in Smith's life, he began to describe what he thought was the true nature of the Godhead in much greater detail. In 1843, Smith provided his final public description of the Godhead before his death, in which he described God the Father as having a physical body, and the Holy Spirit, also, as a distinct personage: "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us."[27] Even though this quote is included in canonized LDS scripture, some dispute its authenticity, particularly that of the Holy Ghost dwelling in us, since it was not consistent with the manuscript source's wording about the Holy Ghost and underwent various revisions and modifications before arriving at this final form.[28]

During this period, Smith also introduced a theology that could support the existence of a Heavenly Mother. The primary source for this theology is the sermon he delivered at the funeral of King Follett (commonly called the King Follett Discourse). The LDS Church believes that a Heavenly Mother exists,[29][30][31] but very little is acknowledged or known beyond her existence or the number of Heavenly Mothers as early LDS leaders did teach that it was "clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives."[32][33][34]

Lorenzo Snow succinctly summarized another portion of the doctrine explained in the King Follett Discourse using a couplet: "As man now is, God once was: / As God now is, man may be."[35][36]

Denominational teachings

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Christus statue temple square salt lake city
Latter-day Saints believe in the resurrected Jesus Christ, as depicted in the Christus statue in the North Visitors' Center on Temple Square in Salt Lake City

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) holds that the Father and the Son have glorified physical bodies, while the Holy Ghost has only a body of spirit.

Leaders and scriptural texts of the LDS Church affirm a belief in the Holy Trinity but use the word "Godhead" (a term used by the Apostle Paul in Acts 17:29; Romans 1:20, and Colossians 2:9) to distinguish their belief that the unity of the Trinity relates to all attributes, except a physical unity of beings. Church members believe that "The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man's; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit."[37]

This theology is consistent with Smith's 1838 account of the First Vision. This account, published as part of the church's Pearl of Great Price state that Smith saw a vision of "two personages", the Father and the Son.[38] Mormon critics view this 1838 account with skepticism, because Smith's earliest accounts of the First Vision did not refer to the presence of two beings.[39] The church also teaches that its theology is consistent with the Biblical account of the baptism of Jesus which referred to signs from the Father and the Holy Spirit,[40] which the denomination interprets as an indication that these two persons have distinct substance from Jesus.

Smith taught that there is one Godhead and that humans can have a place, as joint-heirs with Christ, through grace,[41] if they follow the laws and ordinances of the gospel.[42] This process of exaltation means literally that humans can become full, complete, joint-heirs with Jesus and can, if proven worthy, inherit all that he inherits.[43] Leaders have taught that God is infinitely loving, though his love "cannot correctly be characterized as unconditional."[44] Though humanity has the ability to become gods through the Atonement of Jesus, these exalted beings will remain eternally subject to God the Father and "will always worship" Him.[45] Among the resurrected, the righteous souls receive great glory and return to live with God, being made perfect through the atonement of Christ. Thus, "god" is a term for an inheritor of the highest kingdom of God.[46]

LDS Church president Gordon B. Hinckley offered a declaration of belief wherein he reaffirmed the teachings of the church regarding the distinct individuality and perfect unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.[47]

Community of Christ

The Community of Christ, formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, affirms the doctrine of the trinity. The trinity is described in Community of Christ as a "living God who meets us in the testimony of Israel, is revealed in Jesus Christ, and moves through all creation as the Holy Spirit...[a] community of three persons."[48] This belief is consistent with the earliest versions of the text of the Book of Mormon and the First Vision accounts.

Mormon fundamentalism

Mormon fundamentalists seek to retain Mormon theology and practice as it existed in the late 19th century. As such, the faith accepts the Adam–God doctrine, which identifies God the Father with Adam. Within Mormon fundamentalism, Jehovah and Jesus are considered distinct and separate beings.

Restoration Church of Jesus Christ

In the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, a liberal Mormon faith, the Heavenly Mother is accepted as a full member of the Godhead. Thus, the RCJC believes in a quadriune Godhead; the Godhead is referred to as the Holy Quaternity. Prayers are addressed to the Heavenly Parents in the name of Jesus Christ.

Plurality of gods

Latter-day Saints believe in an eternal cycle where God's children may progress to become "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17) and thus become one with God or like God. This is commonly called exaltation within the LDS Church. In addressing this issue, former church president Gordon B. Hinckley, noted the church believes that man may become as Gods. Hinckley said that growth, learning and gaining intelligence are eternal principles, and is one of the reasons why education is important to members of the LDS Church.[49]

Previous prophets or leaders of the church have made statements about their personal beliefs about exaltation. Joseph Smith taught, and Mormons believe, that all people are children of God. Smith further stated in the King Follett discourse that God was the son of a Father, suggesting a cycle that continues for eternity.[50]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ First Presidency; Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (April 2002). "Gospel Classics: The Father and the Son". Improvement Era. Intellectual Reserve, Inc. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  2. ^ "Godhead - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism". EOM.BYU.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Godhood - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism". EOM.BYU.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Gospel Principles Chapter 47: Exaltation". LDS.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Premortal Life - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism". eom.byu.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  6. ^ "Omnipotent God; Omnipresence of God; Omniscience of God - The Encyclopedia of Mormonism". eom.byu.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  7. ^ Alexander (1980, online p. 1).
  8. ^ See D&C 76:12-24
  9. ^ Bushman (2008, p. 6) (Mormons believe in what is sometimes called "social trinitarianism," meaning the three beings of the Godhead are blended in heart and mind like extremely close friends, but are not one being); Early passages in Smith's revelations could be interpreted as traditionally trinitarian, but the doctrine of three Gods in one soon gave way to a Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three distinct beings united in purpose and will but not in substance. See also: D&C 130:22.
  10. ^ Salai, Sean S.J. (2015-08-19). "Catholic and Mormon: Author Q&A with Professor Stephen H. Webb". America. Retrieved 19 August 2015. Mormons emphasize the relative independence of the three divine persons of the Trinity. Many theologians today, whatever their church tradition, are developing what is called a "social Trinity," which is very similar to Mormonism in seeing the Trinity as a society of persons rather than a single immaterial substance defined by a set of internal relations.
  11. ^ Butler, Shanna (February 2005). "What Happened to Christ's Church?". Liahona. LDS Church. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  12. ^ Draper, Richard D. (April 1984). "The Reality of the Resurrection". Ensign. LDS Church. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  13. ^ "Doctrinal Trends in Early Christianity and the Strength of the Mormon Position" (PDF). Fairmormon.org. Retrieved 2014-02-24.
  14. ^ Thomas Mozley "The Creed, or a Philosophy" 1893 p 303.
  15. ^ The wording of the Council of Constantinople (360) prohibited use of the terms substance, essence, and ousia because they were not included in the scriptures. see: http://www.earlychurchtexts.com/public/creed_homoian_of_constantinople_360.htm
  16. ^ "Trinity > History of Trinitarian Doctrines (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)". plato.stanford.edu. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  17. ^ "God, Godhead". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  18. ^ "Ether 3". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  19. ^ "3 Nephi 11". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  20. ^ 1 Nephi 11:11
  21. ^ "Ether 3". scriptures.lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Ether 3". scriptures.lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  23. ^ Mosiah 15:1-4)
  24. ^ "3 Nephi 19". scriptures.lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  25. ^ See 3 Nephi 11:36
  26. ^ Widmer (2000, p. 6).
  27. ^ "Doctrine and Covenants 130". scriptures.lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  28. ^ "Sunday Evenings With The Doctrine and Covenants. Section 130. Part I. The Manuscript Source of D&C 130". Bycommonconsent.com. 3 February 2013. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  29. ^ "Mother in Heaven", lds.org, accessed 13 April 2016.
  30. ^ "Chapter 2: Our Heavenly Family", Gospel Principles, LDS Church, 2009
  31. ^ Spencer W. Kimball, "The True Way of Life and Salvation", Ensign, May 1978, p. 4.
  32. ^ Pratt, Orson (October 1853). "The Seer". The Seer. 1 (10): 158,172. Retrieved 9 October 2017. Inasmuch as God was the first husband to her, it may be that He only gave her to be the wife of Joseph while in this mortal state, and that He intended after the resurrection to again take her as one of his wives to raise up immortal spirits in eternity. ... We have now clearly shown that God the Father had a plurality of wives, one or more being in eternity by whom He begat our spirits as well as the spirit of Jesus His First Born, and another being upon the earth by whom He begat the tabernacle of Jesus.
  33. ^ Dana, Bruce E. (September 2004). The Eternal Father and His Son. Cedar Fort Inc. p. 62. ISBN 1555177883. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  34. ^ Swanson, Vern G. (2013). "Christ and Polygamy". Dynasty of the Holy Grail: Mormonism's Holy Bloodline. Springville, UT: Cedar Fort, Inc. p. 247–259. ISBN 9781462104048. Dr. William E. Phipps noted that the belief that 'Jesus married, and married often!' was used to encourage and promote the doctrine of polygamy amongst timid Latter-Day Saints ... By the late-1850s the idea that more than one woman was married to Jesus was widely accepted among Mormon circles. ... As if the concept of Christ's polygamy was not unsettling enough, Mormonism even taught in the nineteenth century that God the Father had a plurality of wives as well.
  35. ^ Lund, Gerald N. (February 1982), "I Have a Question: Is President Lorenzo Snow's oft-repeated statement—'As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may be'—accepted as official doctrine by the Church?", Ensign
  36. ^ Millet, Robert L.; Reynolds, Noel B. (1998), "Do Latter-day Saints believe that men and women can become gods?", Latter-day Christianity: 10 Basic Issues, Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, ISBN 0934893322, OCLC 39732987
  37. ^ Doctrine and Covenants 130:22.
  38. ^ History:11-17
  39. ^ Palmer, 248–52 (arguing that in 1838, Smith modified the First Vision story to assert his claim to divine calling directly from God and Jesus)
  40. ^ (Matthew 3:16-17).
  41. ^ "Moroni 10". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  42. ^ "Doctrine and Covenants 76". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  43. ^ "Doctrine and Covenants 84". Lds.org. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  44. ^ Nelson, Russell (February 2003). "Divine Love". lds.org. LDS church.
  45. ^ "Becoming Like God", Gospel Topics, LDS Church
  46. ^ Kurt Widmer, Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 1833-1915 (Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, p. 2000), 92.
  47. ^ Hinckley, Gordon B. (July 2006), "In These Three I Believe", Ensign
  48. ^ "Basic Beliefs". Community of Christ. Community of Christ. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  49. ^ Lattin, Don (April 13, 1997). "SUNDAY INTERVIEW -- Musings of the Main Mormon / Gordon B. Hinckley, 'president, prophet, seer and revelator' of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sits at the top of one of the world's fastest-growing religions". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 16, 2012. Q: There are some significant differences in your beliefs. For instance, don't Mormons believe that God was once a man?
    A: I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about.
    Q: So you're saying the church is still struggling to understand this?
    A: Well, as God is, man may become. We believe in eternal progression. Very strongly. We believe that the glory of God is intelligence and whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the Resurrection. Knowledge, learning, is an eternal thing. And for that reason, we stress education. We're trying to do all we can to make of our people the ablest, best, brightest people that we can.
  50. ^ "Sermon by the Prophet—The Christian Godhead—Plurality of Gods", History of the Church, Vol. 6, p. 473-479

References

Further reading

Absolute (philosophy)

The concept of the Absolute, also known as The (Unconditioned) Ultimate, The Wholly Other, The Supreme Being, The Absolute/Ultimate Reality, The Ground of Being, Urgrund, The Absolute Principle, The Source/Fountain/Well/Center/Foundation of Reality, The Ultimate Oneness/Whole, The Absolute God of The Universe, and other names, titles, aliases, and epithets, is the thing, being, entity, power, force, reality, presence, law, principle, etc. that possesses maximal ontological status, existential ranking, existential greatness, or existentiality. In layman's terms, this is the entity that is the greatest, highest, or "truest" being, existence, or reality.

There are many conceptions of the Absolute in various fields and subjects, such as philosophy, religion, spiritual traditions, formal science (such as mathematics), and even natural science. The nature of these conceptions can range from "merely" encompassing all physical existence, nature, or reality, to being completely unconditioned existentially, transcending all concepts, notions, objects, entities, and types, kinds, and categories of being.

The Absolute is often thought of as generating manifestations that interact with lower or lesser types, kinds, and categories of being. This is either done passively, through emanations, or actively, through avatars and incarnations. These existential manifestations, which themselves can possess transcendent attributes, only contain minuscule or infinitesimal portions of the true essence of the Absolute.

The term itself was not in use in ancient or medieval philosophy, but closely related to the description of God as actus purus in scholasticism. It was introduced in modern philosophy, notably by Hegel, for "the sum of all being, actual and potential".

The term has since also been adopted in perennial philosophy.

Exaltation (Mormonism)

Exaltation or Eternal Life is a belief among members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) that mankind can return to live in God's presence and continue as families. Exaltation is believed to be what God desires for all humankind. The Church teaches that through exaltation believers may become joint-heirs with Jesus Christ as stated in Romans 8:12 and Revelation 21:7. The objective of adherents is to strive for purity and righteousness and to become one with Jesus as Jesus is one with the Father (God). A verse in the canonized scripture, Doctrine and Covenants, states that those who are exalted will become gods, and a 1925 statement from the church's highest governing body said that "All men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother ... [and are] capable, by experience through ages and aeons, of evolving into a God."

God in Christianity

God in Christianity is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent (wholly independent of, and removed from, the material universe) and immanent (involved in the world). Christian teachings of the immanence and involvement of God and his love for humanity exclude the belief that God is of the same substance as the created universe but accept that God's divine nature was hypostatically united to human nature in the person of Jesus Christ, in an event known as the Incarnation.

Early Christian views of God were expressed in the Pauline epistles and the early creeds, which proclaimed one God and the divinity of Jesus, almost in the same breath as in 1 Corinthians (8:5-6): "For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as indeed there are many 'gods' and many 'lords'), yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live; and there is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live." "Although the Judeo-Christian sect of the Ebionites protested against this apotheosis of Jesus, the great mass of Gentile Christians accepted it." This began to differentiate the Gentile Christian views of God from traditional Jewish teachings of the time.The theology of the attributes and nature of God has been discussed since the earliest days of Christianity, with Irenaeus writing in the 2nd century: "His greatness lacks nothing, but contains all things". In the 8th century, John of Damascus listed eighteen attributes which remain widely accepted. As time passed, theologians developed systematic lists of these attributes, some based on statements in the Bible (e.g., the Lord's Prayer, stating that the Father is in Heaven), others based on theological reasoning. The Kingdom of God is a prominent phrase in the Synoptic Gospels and while there is near unanimous agreement among scholars that it represents a key element of the teachings of Jesus, there is little scholarly agreement on its exact interpretation.Although the New Testament does not have a formal doctrine of the Trinity as such, "it does repeatedly speak of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit... in such a way as to compel a Trinitarian understanding of God." This never becomes a tritheism, i.e. this does not imply three Gods. Around the year 200, Tertullian formulated a version of the doctrine of the Trinity which clearly affirmed the divinity of Jesus and came close to the later definitive form produced by the Ecumenical Council of 381. The doctrine of the Trinity can be summed up as: "The One God exists in Three Persons and One Substance, as God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit." Trinitarians, who form the large majority of Christians, hold it as a core tenet of their faith. Nontrinitarian denominations define the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in a number of different ways.

Godhead

Godhead (from Middle English godhede, "godhood", and unrelated to the modern word "head"), may refer to:

Deity

Divinity, the quality of being God

Conceptions of God

Godhead in Judaism, the unknowable aspect of God, which lies beyond its actions or emanations

Godhead in Christianity, the substantial essence or nature of the Christian God

Godhead, the concept of God in Mormonism

God in Hinduism

Brahman, the divine source of being, through which all emanates

Paramatma, the "oversoul" or supreme spirit

Three godheads (Ayyavazhi) or Trimurti, Brahmā, Vishnu and Śhiva

Svayam Bhagavan or Supreme Personality of Godhead, the divine person from whom all emanatesOther uses:

Godhead (band), an American industrial rock band

Godhead (album), an album by Scottish dream pop band Lowlife

Godhead, the second single taken from Nitzer Ebb's 1991 album Ebbhead

Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a book by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Godhead Trilogy, science fiction series by James K. Morrow

Godhead in Christianity

Godhead (or godhood), is the divinity or substance (ousia) of the Christian God, the substantial impersonal being of God, as opposed to the individual persons or hypostases of the Trinity; in other words, the Godhead refers to the "what" of God, and God refers to the "who" of God. The concept is especially important in Christian negative theology, e.g., the theology of the Godhead according to Pseudo-Dionysius. Within some religious traditions which take Christian themes but not doctrine, such as Mormonism, the term is used as a nontrinitarian substitute for the term Trinity, denoting the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit not as a Trinity, but as a unified council of separate beings in full harmony.

Heavenly Mother

In some religious traditions or movements, Heavenly Mother (also referred to as Mother in Heaven or Sky Mother) is the wife or feminine counterpart of the Sky father or God the Father.

Teachings about the Heavenly Mother are promulgated by various religious groups, to one degree or another.

Jehovah

Jehovah () is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible and one of the seven names of God in Judaism.

The consensus among scholars is that the historical vocalization of the Tetragrammaton at the time of the redaction of the Torah (6th century BCE) is most likely Yahweh. The historical vocalization was lost because in Second Temple Judaism, during the 3rd to 2nd centuries BCE, the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton came to be avoided, being substituted with Adonai ("my Lord"). The Hebrew vowel points of Adonai were added to the Tetragrammaton by the Masoretes, and the resulting form was transliterated around the 12th century as Yehowah. The derived forms Iehouah and Jehovah first appeared in the 16th century.

"Jehovah" was popularized in the English-speaking world by William Tyndale and other pioneer English Protestant translations such as the Geneva Bible and the King James Version. It remains in use by the Watchtower Society translators of the New World Translation, and appears in the still-popular translations of the American Standard Version (1901) and the Young's Literal Translation (1862, 1899), but it does not appear in current mainstream English translations, some of which use Yahweh but most continue to use "Lord" or "LORD" to represent same.

King Follett discourse

The King Follett discourse, or King Follett sermon, was an address delivered in Nauvoo, Illinois by Joseph Smith, president and founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, on April 7, 1844, less than three months before he was murdered by a mob. The discourse was presented to a congregation of about twenty thousand Latter-day Saints at a general conference held shortly after the funeral service of Elder King Follett, who had died on March 9, 1844, of accidental injuries. The sermon is notable for its claim that God was once a mortal man, and that mortal men and women can become gods (a concept commonly called divinization) through salvation and exaltation. These topics were, and are, controversial, and have received varying opinions and interpretations of what Smith meant. Literary critic Harold Bloom called the sermon "one of the truly remarkable sermons ever preached in America."

Mormon cosmology

Mormon cosmology is the description of the history, evolution, and destiny of the physical and metaphysical universe according to Mormonism, which includes the doctrines taught by leaders and theologians of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), Mormon fundamentalism, the Restoration Church of Jesus Christ, and other Brighamite denominations within the Latter Day Saint movement. Mormon cosmology draws from Biblical cosmology, but has many unique elements provided by movement founder Joseph Smith. These views are not generally shared by adherents of other Latter Day Saint movement denominations who do not self-identify as "Mormons", such as the Community of Christ.

According to Mormon cosmology, there was a pre-existence, or a pre-mortal life, in which human spirits were literal children of heavenly parents. Although their spirits were created, the essential "intelligence" of these spirits is considered eternal, and without beginning. During this pre-mortal life, a Plan of Salvation was presented by God the Father (Elohim) with Jehovah (the premortal Jesus) championing moral agency but Lucifer (Satan) insisting on its exclusion. When Lucifer's plan was not accepted, he rebelled against God the Father and was cast out of heaven, taking "the third part" of the hosts of heaven with him to the earth, thus becoming the tempters.

According to the Plan of Salvation, under the direction of God the Father, Jehovah (the premortal Jesus) created the earth as a place where humanity would be tested. After the resurrection, all men and women—except the spirits that followed Lucifer and the sons of perdition—would be assigned one of three degrees of glory. Within the highest degree, the celestial kingdom, there are three further divisions, and those in the highest of these celestial divisions would become gods and goddesses through a process called "exaltation" or "eternal progression". The doctrine of eternal progression was succinctly summarized by LDS Church leader Lorenzo Snow: "As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be." According to Smith's King Follett discourse, God the Father himself once passed through mortality as Jesus did, but how, when, or where that took place is unclear. The prevailing view among Mormons is that God once lived on a planet with his own higher god.According to Mormon scripture, the Earth's creation was not ex nihilo, but organized from existing matter. The Earth is just one of many inhabited worlds, and there are many governing heavenly bodies, including the planet or star Kolob, which is said to be nearest the throne of God.

Mormonism

Mormonism is the predominant religious tradition of the Latter Day Saint movement of Restorationist Christianity started by Joseph Smith in Western New York in the 1820s and 30s. After Smith was killed in 1844, most Mormons followed Brigham Young on his westward journey to the area that became the Utah Territory, calling themselves The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Other sects include Mormon fundamentalism, which seeks to maintain practices and doctrines such as polygamy, and other small independent denominations. The second-largest Latter Day Saint denomination, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, since 2001 called the Community of Christ, does not describe itself as "Mormon", but follows a Trinitarian Christian restorationist theology, and considers itself Restorationist in terms of Latter Day Saint doctrine.

The word Mormon originally derived from the Book of Mormon, a religious text published by Smith, which he said he translated from golden plates with divine assistance. The book describes itself as a chronicle of early indigenous peoples of the Americas and their dealings with God. Based on the book's name, Smith's early followers were more widely known as Mormons, and their faith Mormonism. The term was initially considered pejorative, but Mormons no longer consider it so (although generally preferring other terms such as Latter-day Saint or LDS).Mormonism has common beliefs with the rest of the Latter Day Saint movement, including the use of and belief in the Bible, and in other religious texts including the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants. It also accepts the Pearl of Great Price as part of its scriptural canon, and has a history of teaching eternal marriage, eternal progression and polygamy (plural marriage), although the LDS Church formally abandoned the practice of plural marriage in 1890. Cultural Mormonism, a lifestyle promoted by Mormon institutions, includes cultural Mormons who identify with the culture, but not necessarily the theology.

Outline of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

The following outline is provided as an overview of and a topical guide to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS Church or, informally, the Mormon Church) is a Christian restorationist church that is considered by its followers to be the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus Christ. The church is headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has established congregations (called wards or branches) and built temples worldwide. It is the largest denomination in the Latter Day Saint movement founded by Joseph Smith during the period of religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening.

Pearl of Great Price (Mormonism)

The Pearl of Great Price is part of the canonical standard works of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) and some other Latter Day Saint denominations.

The first paragraph of the Introductory Note in the LDS edition of the Pearl of Great Price states: "The Pearl of Great Price is a selection of choice materials touching many significant aspects of the faith and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These items were produced by Joseph Smith and were published in the Church periodicals of his day."

The name of the book is derived from the Parable of the Pearl told by Jesus in Matthew 13.

Plurality

Plurality may refer to:

Plurality (church governance), a type of Christian church polity in which decisions are made by a committee

Plurality (company), an Israeli semiconductor company

Plurality (voting), the most votes for any choice in an election, but not necessarily a majority

Plurality voting system, system in which each voter votes for one candidate and the candidate with a plurality is elected

Plurality-at-large voting or block voting, system for electing several representatives from a single electoral district

Plurality opinion, in a decision by a multi-member court, an opinion held by more judges than any other but not by an overall majority

Plural, a linguistic form commonly used to denote two or more of something

One of the "twelve pure concepts of the understanding" proposed by Kant in his Critique of Pure Reason

The holding of more than one benefice

Separated brethren

Separated brethren is a term sometimes used by the Roman Catholic Church and its clergy and members to refer to baptized members of other Christian traditions.Also applied to Christians of the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. The phrase is a translation of the Latin phrase fratres seiuncti.Before the Second Vatican Council, per the pronouncements of the Council of Trent, the Roman Catholic Church officially referred to Protestants and other non-Roman Catholic Christians as "heretics" likely not having hope of salvation outside of the "Church of Rome". However, Biblical passages like Romans 2:12-16 point to the importance of conscience in Catholic soteriology, which the Church has always recognized. In c. 1960 – c. 1962 preparation work for draft texts of Second Vatican Council documents, a "report urged respectful use of the terms dissidents or separated brethren, in place of heretics and schismatics." After the Second Vatican Council, however, "that habit of unthinkingly hurling accusations of heresy at Protestants pretty much died out". Since at least the mid-1990s, the term has often been replaced by Roman Catholic officials with phrases such as "other Christians".At least one Roman Catholic writer does not consider Mormons and members of some other religious groups to be separated brethren. Among the groups not considered to be separated brethren are "Jews, Mormons, Christian Scientists, Muslims, Buddhists, and other groups." By the 21st century, within the Roman Catholic faith, Jews are described as and considered elder brothers in the faith.

Fundamental ideas
History
Sacred texts
Founders and leaders
LDS denominations
Doctrines and practices
Controversies
Books

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