The First Article of Faith

“We believe in God the Eternal Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”  This was one of the principal teachings that were instrumental in causing me to doubt the Mormon faith.  On the surface it seems harmless, but once they begin to define their terms there are obvious differences from what the Bible teaches.

Mormons state that they believe God the Father is eternal, but is that really what they impart?  Joseph Smith once stated, “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man…We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity.  I will refute that idea, and will take away and do away the veil, so that you may see” (Smith).  Lorenzo Snow, who served as Mormon Prophet from 1898-1901, coined the phrase “As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become.”  Orson Pratt, an original member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, “If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds” (Pratt).  This begs the question that if God is not eternal, who is the first God?  Isaiah wrote, “…before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me.  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside Me there is no saviour” (Isa. 43:10-11).  Pratt attempted to explain this by writing, “One world has a personal God or Father, and the inhabitants thereof worship the attributes of that God, another world has another, and they worship His attributes, and besides Him there is not other; and when they worship Him they are at the same time worshipping the same attributes that dwell in all the personal Gods who fill immensity” (Pratt).  What he fails to concede is the rest of Isaiah’s words:  “…I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God…Is there a God beside Me?  yea, there is no God; I know not any” (Isa. 44:6, 8).  If God were a man He would know other gods, yet in His omnipotence and omniscience He does not acknowledge any other period.

Mormonism also falls short in identifying the nature of the Father and the Son.  Smith wrote, “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” (Doctrines & Covenants 130:22).  Likewise this is how they were described in Smith’s “first vision.”  The Bible describes them differently.  Jesus said, “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (Joh. 4:24).  A spirit does not have flesh and bones, as Jesus explained to His disciples upon His return (Luk. 24:37-39).  Further, Mormonism teaches Jesus was not always with God the Father, but was created and then became a part of the Godhead, obtaining a heavenly body.  He was the only person on earth to be born of a mortal mother and immortal father.  But John clarifies, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…” (Joh. 1:1, 14).  The Word (Jesus) was God and with God for all time and then became flesh, implying He was not always of physical form.  Not only that but He is the Creator, having created all things (Joh. 1:2).  Paul also identifies Jesus as the Creator:  “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible…And He is before all things, and by Him all things consist” (Col. 1:16-17).  The first line of the Mormon sacramental prayer reads, “Oh God the eternal Father…”  How can God be finite and infinite at the same time? If one cannot distinctly understand the nature of the Godhead, how can anything else be viable?

Works Cited

Pratt, Orson. “The Holy Spirit and the Godhead.” Journal of Discourses 2 (1855): 334-347.

Smith, Joseph Fielding Smith. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith. 1838.