Mormonism and the nature of God/"No God beside me"/Further Reading

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Further reading

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  • Unchanging
    Brief Summary: Does the Book of Mormon refute Joseph Smith on the nature of God? Critics point out that the Book of Mormon never says God was once a mortal. In fact, it teaches that God was always God. Take for instance Moroni 8:18. It says God is "unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." Joseph Smith, however, taught, "We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity, I will refute that idea, and take away the veil so that you may see." (Click here for full article)
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  • Elohim and Jehovah
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Elohim, Jehovah, Adonai and other similar Old Testament Hebrew names for deity are simply different titles which emphasize different attributes of the "one true God." In support of this criticism, they cite Old Testament scriptures that speak of "the LORD [Jehovah] thy God [Elohim]" (e.g., Deuteronomy 4:2; 4:35; 6:4) as proof that these are different titles for the same God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Foreknowledge
    Brief Summary: Most Latter-day Saints hold to unlimited foreknowledge. This has been the traditional view of most Christians since the post-New Testament period, and it is one doctrine that Joseph Smith didn't seem to question, as there are no revelations that address it. Indeed, it appears that most LDS leaders and scholars simply haven't questioned its veracity. (Click here for full article)
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  • "God is a man"
    Brief Summary: Some Christians object to the Mormon belief that God has a physical body and human form by quoting scripture which says that "God is not a man" (e.g. Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, Hosea 11:9). (Click here for full article)
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  • God is a Spirit?
    Brief Summary: Some Christians object to the LDS position that God has a physical body by quoting John 4:24: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (Click here for full article)
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  • Lecture of Faith 5 teaches the Father is "a personage of spirit"
    Brief Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along. (Click here for full article)
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  • Hinckley downplaying the King Follett Discourse
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that, in an effort to appear more "mainline" Christian, the Church is downplaying the importance of some doctrines taught late in Joseph Smith's lifetime. Prominent among these is the doctrine of human deification. To bolster their argument, critics usually quote from a 1997 Time magazine interview with President Gordon B. Hinckley: "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it ... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it." Critics have claimed that this means that President Hinckley has admitted to altering LDS doctrine, or discarding a teaching from the past. (Click here for full article)
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  • "Celestial sex"
    Brief Summary: Some evangelical Christians claim that Latter-day Saints believe in a practice called "Celestial sex," and that this is the manner in which "spirit children" are formed. (Click here for full article)
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  • Dallin H. Oaks on God
    Brief Summary: Author Richard Abanes in his critical book One Nation Under Gods claims that Dallin Oaks told Mormons in 1995 "that so-called Christianity sees God as an entirely different kind of being." He cites Dallin H. Oaks, "Apostasy and Restoration ," Ensign, May 1995, 84. However, Elder Oaks made no such claim. (Click here for full article)
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  • Does the Bible describe a racist, polygamous, psychopathic and schizophrenic God?
    Brief Summary: One critic of the Church claims that Christians believe in a "part-time racist god and a part-time polygamous god" and a "part-time psychopathic schizophrenic" god. (Click here for full article)
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  • Corporeality of God
    Brief Summary: One thing that sets Latter-day Saints apart from nearly all of the rest of Christianity is the doctrine that God the Father possesses a body in human form. In fact, many of our Christian brothers and sisters see this belief as positively strange, and some even question our claim to the title “Christian” because of it. (Click here for full article)
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  • Is the doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ have physical bodies not Biblical?
    Brief Summary: Some Christians attack the LDS doctrine of God the Father and Jesus Christ being corporeal beings—i.e., having physical bodies. They claim that this doctrine is not Biblical. (Click here for full article)
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  • Joseph Smith's early conception of God
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Joseph Smith initially taught standard Nicene trinitarianism. The early documents tell a different story, however. (Click here for full article)
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  • Modalism in the Book of Mormon?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Book of Mormon teaches the trinitarian heresy of modalism or Sabellianism. This reading misinterprets some Book of Mormon verses, and ignores Book of Mormon texts which clearly contradict this reading. (Click here for full article)
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  • Lecture on Faith 5 and the nature of God the Father
    Brief Summary: Lectures on Faith, which used to be part of the Doctrine and Covenants, teach that God is a spirit. Joseph Smith's later teachings contradict this. More generally, critics argue that Joseph Smith taught an essentially "trinitarian" view of the Godhead until the mid 1830s, thus proving the Joseph was "making it up" as he went along. (Click here for full article)
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  • Early LDS beliefs about God
    Brief Summary: Some evangelical Christians attempt to show that the LDS idea of deification is unbiblical, unchristian and untrue. They seem to think that this doctrine is the main reason why the LDS reject the Psychological Trinity. (Click here for full article)
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  • Repudiated concepts: Adam-God theory
    Brief Summary: Brigham Young taught that Adam, the first man, was God the Father. Since this teaching runs counter to the story told in Genesis and commonly accepted by Christians, critics accuse Brigham of being a false prophet. Also, because modern Latter-day Saints do not believe Brigham's "Adam-God" teachings, critics accuse Mormons of either changing their teachings or rejecting teachings of prophets they find uncomfortable or unsupportable. (Click here for full article)
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It is claimed that the doctrine of human deification is unbiblical, false, and arrogant. Related claims include: 1) Mormons believe they will 'supplant God', 2) Belief in theosis, or human deification, implies more than one "god," which means Mormons are "polytheists," 3) The Mormon concept of "human deification" is a pagan belief derived from Greek philosophy. (Click here for full article)



A collection of articles that address the Latter-day Saint view of the concept of the Trinity. (Click here for full article)

  • Early beliefs
    Brief Summary: Critics attempt to show that the LDS idea of deification is unbiblical, unchristian and untrue. They seem to think that this doctrine is the main reason why the LDS reject the Psychological Trinity, however, "the historic church's concept of the Trinity" does not exist. (Click here for full article)
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  • Nicene creed
    Brief Summary: It is claimed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not Christian because they do not accept the Nicene Creed's statement about the Trinity. Since the Nicene Creed was first adopted in A.D. 325, it seems clear that there were many Christians in the first centuries following the resurrection of Christ who did not use it. Those who oppose calling the Latter-day Saints "Christians" need to explain whether Peter and Paul are "Christians," since they lived and practiced Christianity at a time when there was no Nicene Creed, and no Trinitarianism in the current sense. (Click here for full article)
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How do Mormons view our savior Jesus Christ? (Click here for full article)

  • Brother of Satan?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the LDS consider Jesus and Satan to be "brothers," thus lowering the stature of Christ, or elevating Satan. Some go so far as to imply that the LDS "really" worship or revere Satan, and are thus not true "Christians." (Click here for full article)
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  • Conception
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Latter-day Saints reject the "Evangelical belief" that "Christ was born of the virgin Mary, who, when the Holy Ghost came upon her, miraculously conceived the promised messiah." (Click here for full article)
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  • Divine sonship
    Brief Summary: Though the Church does not embrace Nicene trinitarianism, they still believe that there is "One God," despite seeing the Father and Son as distinct personages. How do Latter-day Saints understand Jesus' divine Sonship? (Click here for full article)
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  • Gordon B. Hinckley states that Latter-day Saints don't believe in the "traditional" Christ
    Brief Summary: President Gordon B. Hinckley, responding to a question regarding whether Latter-day Saints believe in the “traditional Christ,” stated: "No I don't. The traditional Christ of whom they speak is not the Christ of whom I speak. For the Christ of whom I speak has been revealed in this the dispensation of the fullness of times." (Click here for full article)
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  • Worship a "different Jesus"?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that members of the Church worship "a different Jesus" than the Jesus worshiped by Christians. (Click here for full article)
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  • Latter-day Saints aren't Christians?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not "Christian." A related claim is that the Church has only recently begun to portray itself as "Christian" in order to gain adherents. (Click here for full article)
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  • Lord of the Universe
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the LDS view of God is provincial or limited, with God simply being a ruler over "this planet." (Click here for full article)
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  • Relationship to Quetzalcoatl
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that LDS scholars believe that Quetzalcoatl was Jesus Christ. However, since Quetzalcoatl's association with a "feathered serpent" constitutes "snake worship," some claim that this association is therefore inconsistent with worship of Jesus Christ. (Click here for full article)
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  • Savior of other worlds?
    Brief Summary: It would appear that there is one savior — Jesus — and that his sacrifice was the ultimate sacrifice for all of the worlds created and populated by the Father. Some critics have used the idea of each world having its own Savior against us. Is there anything written or published on either concept? (Click here for full article)
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  • The "Mormon" vs. the "Christian" Jesus
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Latter-day Saints believe in a "different" Jesus that "mainstream" Christians. (Click here for full article)
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  • Was Jesus married?
    Brief Summary: Do Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ was married? (Click here for full article)
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  • Worship different Jesus?
    Brief Summary: Some Christians claim that despite the Saints' witness of Christ, they worship "a different Jesus" and so are not entitled to consider themselves "Christians." (Click here for full article)
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  • One of many saviors?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the "Jesus of Mormonism is but one of many saviors." (Click here for full article)
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  • Praying to
    Brief Summary: Latter-day Saints are criticized for not praying directly to Jesus Christ. (Click here for full article)
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  • April 6th as the date of birth of Jesus Christ
    Brief Summary: Do Latter-day Saints believe Jesus was born 1830 years before the Church's organization on 6 April 1830? (Click here for full article)
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  • Alpha and Omega
    Brief Summary: What does the term "Alpha and Omega" mean, beside the beginning and the end, when referring to the Savior? What does it mean to the restored church? (Click here for full article)
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Critics seriously understate the position of the Church of Jesus Christ with respect to the atonement. Many of the quotations used by critics regarding the LDS view of the atonement have been taken out of context, or the further comments of the speaker have been ignored. This is an implied a form of "bearing false witness," which is completely against the Gospel that the Savior taught during His earthly ministry. Critics, such as the authors of Mormonism 101, show very little evidence of having "studied the [Latter-day Saint] movement for the greater part of their lives" as they claim. In fact, if one takes up the authors' challenge to check their sources, one finds that in every case they are found wanting, often seriously so. In their "witnessing tip" regarding the Book of Mormon the authors conclude their imaginary dialogue by asking: "If Smith was misleading in this statement, how can I trust his other statements?" (Click here for full article)

  • LDS view of the atonement
    Brief Summary: Statements regarding the LDS view of the atonement (Click here for full article)
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  • The centrality of the atonement in LDS thought
    Brief Summary: Joseph Smith, the founding prophet, stated that "the fundamental principles of our religion are the testimony of the Apostles and Prophets, concerning Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended into heaven; and all other things which pertain to our religion are only appendages to it." Those appendages include the gift of the Holy Ghost, power of faith, enjoyment of the spiritual gifts, restoration of the house of Israel, and the final triumph of truth. [1] The atonement of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the central fact of all LDS theological teaching. (Click here for full article)
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  • Was Jesus actually crucified on a cross?
    Brief Summary: In the original Greek of the New Testament, accounts of Jesus' death only say he was put to death on "a pole." Is the belief of most of Christianity on "the cross" actually misguided? (Click here for full article)
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  • The garden and the cross
    Brief Summary: There is evidence that other mainstream Christians considered the atonement to have at least begun in the Garden, being consummated on the cross, which is what the Latter-day Saints have taught for more than 170 years. Evangelical critics say almost nothing about the universalism of the LDS position, simply mentioning it as one of the two major areas of disagreement. This suggests that for critics the atonement does not provide for all mortals to be resurrected, or saved. Critics do correctly indicate, nevertheless, that the LDS do place a good deal of emphasis on the Lord's experience in the Garden of Gethsemane. (Click here for full article)
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  • The Atonement as viewed by historical Christianity
    Brief Summary: Critics seem to assume that the LDS position is a "ransom" theory of atonement, and that the mainstream Christian interpretation is one of sacrificial death on the cross. They quote some statements from Latter-day Saint leaders emphasizing the Garden of Gethsemane as being the place of the atonement. They write, "Christians have long maintained that this glorious act of sacrifice took place on Golgotha Hill… It was here that God Himself was subject to the humiliating death of a common criminal,"[2] and note that "Christians realize that salvation is a result of what Jesus did for them on the cross… To even insinuate that this took place in the Garden of Gethsemane is a foreign concept to the Christian."[3] (Click here for full article)
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  • Comparing the LDS and evangelical Christian views of the atonement
    Brief Summary: Critics often make comparisons of what they claim are LDS views of the atonement against evangelical Christian views in an attempt to discredit the LDS perspective. As is so frequently done, the critics attempt to compare apples and oranges by contrasting "resurrection" on the LDS side with "salvation" on the other side. They are contrasting "cross only" with "garden and cross." They are rejecting the possibility of the Israelites having any knowledge whatever of the works of the future Messiah, and therefore being saved by their faith in the future Messiah. The restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith actually makes the two positions most compatible, at least from the perspective of the members of the Church of Jesus Christ. The LDS position is a broader concept, based on further light and knowledge, i.e., revelation from God. (Click here for full article)
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  • Extent of the atonement
    Brief Summary: Some time needs to be spent however on the extent to which the atonement is applicable in the world. Critics seem to object that the atonement is applicable to all who have ever lived. They want to restrict it to only those who lived after the Savior ("only after Christ's death" and "for the believer"). This doesn't only limit its accessibility to those who lived before the Savior, it quite literally slams the door on the possibility of their ever receiving salvation. The Gospel of Jesus Christ does not restrict itself in that manner. All will be raised from the dead; all will stand before God to be judged; all will be expected to give an accounting of their behavior on Earth. And they will all be held to basically the same standard. No one slides into heaven, or gets there by hanging onto the tailcoats of another. No one is saved on borrowed light. (Click here for full article)
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  • The atonement as portrayed in Latter-day Saint hymns
    Brief Summary: We note one hymn sung frequently by the members of the Church of Jesus Christ during their worship services. It has been in the LDS hymnals since 1896, and includes the following thoughts: "Reverently and meekly now, let thy head most humbly bow, think of me, thou ransomed one; think what I for thee have done, with my blood that dripped like rain, sweat in agony of pain, with my body on the tree I have ransomed even thee. In this bread now blest for thee, emblem of my body see; in this water or this wine, emblem of my blood divine. Oh, remember what was done that the sinner might be won. On the cross of Calvary I have suffered death for thee. Bid thine heart all strife to cease; with thy brethren be at peace. Oh, forgive as thou wouldst be even forgiven now by me. In the solemn faith of prayer cast upon me all thy care, and my Spirit's grace shall be like a fountain unto thee. At the throne I intercede; for thee ever do I plead. I have loved thee as thy friend, with a love that cannot end. Be obedient, I implore, prayerful, watchful evermore, and be constant unto me, that thy Savior I may be." This hymn, penned by a Latter-day Saint, is even more significant, given that when the new edition of the LDS hymnal was reviewed by a Professor of Music at the University of Toronto, the reviewer indicated that it "would enhance a communion service in any church."[4] It does so precisely because it emphasizes the atoning sacrifice of Christ for all people. He is the Savior, who shed His blood for us. This has been the position of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from the beginning, and continues to be so. (Click here for full article)
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This page discusses the problem of evil—can one believe in a good, just, loving God when one considers all the suffering and evil in the world? (Click here for full article)




  • Graven images
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Church violates the Biblical command against "graven images" because it displays sculptures of Christ, statues of the angel Moroni on the spires of our temples, or paintings showing scriptural scenes, within temples, chapels, visitors' centers, and publications. (See Exodus 20:3-4.) (Click here for full article)
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  • Heavenly Mother
    Brief Summary: Do Latter-day Saints believe in a female divine person, a "Heavenly Mother" as counterpart to God, the Heavenly Father? Are we allowed to pray to our "Heavenly Mother?" It is claimed that LDS belief in a "queen of heaven" is a pagan belief, and that the concept of a "Heavenly Mother" has no support in LDS scripture. (Click here for full article)
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  • Infinite regress of Gods
    Brief Summary: Is it true that LDS doctrine teaches a "genealogy of gods," in which God the Father had/has a God, and this God had a God, and so forth? If so, how does LDS doctrine deal with the problem of an "infinite regress" of "great-great-grandfather Gods"? (Click here for full article)
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  • Polytheism
    Brief Summary: Some non-LDS Christian claim that Latter-day Saints are polytheists because we don't believe the Nicene Creed. Others say Mormons are polytheists because they believe humans can become gods. Is this an accurate characterization of LDS belief? (Click here for full article)
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  • Divine sonship
    Brief Summary: Though the Church does not embrace Nicene trinitarianism, they still believe that there is "One God," despite seeing the Father and Son as distinct personages. How do Latter-day Saints understand Jesus' divine Sonship? (Click here for full article)
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  • "No God beside me"
    Brief Summary: Some Christians claim that the Mormon doctrine of the Godhead and belief in theosis are not compatible with multiple statements in Isaiah that "beside [the Lord] there is no God." These passages include Isaiah 43:10-11; Isaiah 44:6,8; Isaiah 45:5-6; Isaiah 45:21-22; and Isaiah 46:9-10. (Click here for full article)
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  • No man has seen God
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Bible teaches that God cannot be seen by mortals, and so claims by Joseph Smith and others to have seen God the Father or Jesus Christ must be false. The most commonly used Biblical citation invoked by the critics is probably John 1:18, which reads “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” (Click here for full article)
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FairMormon web site

God FairMormon articles on-line
Corporeality


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Video

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Monotheism, Messiah, and Mormon's Book, Brant Gardner, 2003 FAIR Conference

External links

  • Benjamin McGuire, "Isaiah 43:10" off-site
  • Keith L. Sellers, "Why did Isaiah write that the Lord said ‘Beside me there is no God’ and ‘There is none beside me’ (Isa. 44:6; Isa. 45:21) when there are three personages in the Godhead?," Ensign (December 1989), 52–53. off-site
  • Michael S. Heiser, "Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible" off-site

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