The Mormon View of their god

Question
Can you tell me a little about the nature of the god of Mormonism?
Answer

The god(s) of Mormonism is not the God of the Bible. Among other things, they assert:

1. God Has a Body of Flesh and Bones

According to Mormon philosophy, their god has a body of flesh and bones, just as we do:

That which is without body, parts and passions is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God has flesh and bones. (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p. 181).

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as mans; 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. (Doctrine and Covenants, 130:22).

This is in direct opposition to what the Bible states: "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24).

2. God Is an Exalted Man

According to Mormon doctrine, their god was once a man, an ordinary human being, who lived on a world much like our own:

God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. That is the great secret... It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the character of God and to know...that he was once a man like us. Here, then, is eternal life - to know that only wise and true God, and you have got to learn how to become Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you... God himself, the father of us all dwelt on an earth the same as Jesus Christ. (Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 342-345. Also see Gospel Principles, Chapter 47).

We all know that like begets like and that for the offspring to grow to the stature of his parent is a process infinitely repeated in nature. We can therefore understand that for a son of God to grow to the likeness of his Father in heaven is in harmony with natural law. We see this law demonstrated every few years in our own experience. Sons born to mortal fathers grow up to be like their fathers in the flesh. This is the way it will be with spirit sons of God. They will grow up to be like their Father in heaven. Joseph taught this obvious truth. As a matter of fact, he taught that through this process God himself attained perfection. From President Snow's understanding of the teachings of the Prophet on this doctrinal point, he coined the familiar couplet: "As man is, God once was; as God is, man may become." This teaching is peculiar to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. (Elder Marion G. Romney, "General Conference," October 1964).

This is in direct opposition to what the Bible says: "God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?" (Num. 23:19).

3. God and Man are Self-Existent Beings

According to Mormonism, since their god was once a man, it must also follow that if their god is self-existent, then all mankind must be also. Thus, the Mormon view of the human spirit is that the spirit of man is both without beginning and without end:

Where did it come from? All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so. (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 352).

Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body (Joseph Smith, "The Origin of Man," Improvement Era; also see Gospel Principles, p. 11).

While the God of the Bible is self-existent (Ps. 90:1-4; 102:25-27; Isa. 40:28-31; Acts 17:23-25; John 5:26; Rev. 4:10), the view that man is self-existent is in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches: "Then God said, Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." (Gen. 1:26-27).

4. God Is One of Many Gods

Mormonism is polytheistic - believing in "many" gods:

I wish to declare I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of the Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. (Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 370).

We were begotten by our father in heaven; the person of our Father in Heaven was begotten on a previous heavenly world by His Father; and again, he was begotten by a still more ancient Father, and so on from generation to generation, from one heavenly world to another still more ancient... (LDS Apostle Orson Pratt, The Seer, 1853, p. 132).

This is in direct opposition to what the Bible presents: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one" (Deut. 6:4). (see the Doctrine of the Trinity).

Moreover, the god(s) of Mormonism is not:
1) Infinite (Joseph Smith, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6)
(2) Omniscient (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6)
(3) Omnipotent (Wilford Woodruff, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6)
(4) Omnipresent (Joseph Smith, The Millennial Star, Vol. 6)

In stark contrast, the God of Christianity is far different. James White in his article entitled "The Evolution of Mormon Theology" sums it up nicely, saying:

First of all, God doesnt change. For I am the Lord, I change not; (Malachi 3:6). God has always been God. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God (Psalm 90:2). God is spirit, and is not limited to a physical body like human beings. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). God is omniscient (all knowing). In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3). God is omnipotent (all powerful). But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased (Psalm 115:3). God is omnipresent (unlimited by time and space). Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord (Jeremiah 23:24). God the Father is identified as God. Grace be unto you, and peace, from God, our Father... (1 Corinthians 1:3). Jesus Christ is identified as God. In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (John 1:1). God the Father and God the Son share the one being that is God. Believest thou not that I (Jesus) am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Fat her that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works (John 14:10). The Holy Spirit (Ghost) is God. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and keep back part of the price of the land ? . . . thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God (Acts 5:3-4). There is only one being of God, but three persons who share that one being. Gods being, since it is infinite and eternal, can be shared by three persons (not in the sense of a physical person, but in the sense of a thinking, willing entity). l am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none besides me. I am the Lord, and there is none else (Isaiah 45:5-6).

Moreover, in direct opposition to what the Bible teaches about the nature of God (Psa. 5:4; Jam. 1:13; 1 Pet. 1:15), Mormons serve a god(s) that has sinned (or is still sinning), as all men (which would include those Mormon men that claim they will become gods) have sinned and come short of the glory of God (1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chron. 6:36; Ecc. 7:12; Psa. 14:2-3; 51:5; 66:18; Rom. 3:23; 5:12). This is not the God of Christianity who is holy and separate from sin (Lev. 11:44-45; 1 Sam. 2:2; Isa. 57:15; 1 John 1:5; Rev. 4:8).

It is clear that the god(s) of Mormonism is NOT the God of the Bible.

Related Topics

What is Mormonism?
The Bible vs. The Book of Mormon
The Fictitious Mormon Jesus
Mormonism and Celestial Marriage
The Mormon Plan of Salvation
Are Mormonism and Islam Similar?

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (IIIM).