The Mormon God has evolved with the thinking of Mormon leaders. The Book of Mormon, the earliest Mormon text, insists there is one God. In a discussion between two characters named Amulek and Zeezrom we read:
‘And Zeezrom said unto him: Thou sayest there is a true and living God?
And Amulek said: Yea, there is a true and living God.
And Zeezrom said: Is there more than one God?
And he answered, No.’
In conversations with Mormons this is a helpful text. The question is at the bottom of page 235 while the answer is over the page. Asking a Mormon what answer he or she thinks Amulek gives before turning the page can make for an interesting exchange.
On a time-line this teaching comes in March 1830, the date of the Book of Mormon’s publication. This ‘one God’ sounds singularly Trinitarian in nature, although is probably modalist in Smith’s mind:
‘..And the honor be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, which is one God. Amen.’
(Testimony of the three witnesses at the front of the book)
‘…And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.’ (2 Nephi 31:21)
‘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. And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God.’ (Mosiah 15:3-5)
In April of 1830 Joseph Smith produced Section 20 of the Doctrine and Covenants, which explains the organising of the Mormon Church, its officers, and members. We read there:
‘Which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one God, infinite and eternal, without end. Amen.’ (20:28)
By April 7 1844, three months before his death at age 38, Joseph Smith preached a very different God at the funeral of a Mormon elder named King Follett. This has come to be known as the King Follett Discourse.
‘God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens!…read more →