Archive Section II
The Changing Mormon Godhead Doctrine
The "Lectures on Faith", a series of lessons delivered at the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio, was the official doctrine of the "Church of the Latter Day Saints" (before it was renamed the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in one of Smith's subsequent revelations) and was published together with the 1835 edition of the 'Doctrine & Covenants' as the "Doctrine" component. It was removed from the Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) by Brigham Young because the doctrine contradicted the evolved theology of the Nauvoo Church - so strictly speaking the D&C should just be called "The Book of Covenants" since the "Doctrine" part was the "Lectures on Faith".
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the Mormons moved away from classical Trinitarianism to what I will call "Binitarianism" (for wont of a better word). I will start by mentioning that the official doctrine of the Kirtland Church of Joseph Smith, as taught by Smith and Rigdon, was that "God is the only supreme governor and independent being in whom all fullness and perfection dwell; who is omnipotent [all powerful], OMNIPRESENT [present everywhere] and omniscient [all-knowing]; without beginning of days or end of life..." (2:2).
In this excellent definition we see the early Mormons teaching that there was ONE God who was present everywhere simultaneously in line with classical Trinitarian formulations. Actually, I think 95% of the "Lectures" are superb, following the hermeneutics (rules of interpretation) that all orthodox Christians follow, and have followed, since the Christian era began. I suespect this was owed mostly to Sidney Rigdon who is believed to be the "Lectures" joint-author. This is in sharp contra-distinction to some of the careless and irrational exegesis that I have seen on this BB that follows whatever rules suit the exegete at the time
From this is may plainly be seen that the Kirtland Mormons believed a doctrine of the Godhead that was essentially Binitarian, consisting of two Persons - Father and Son - and an emanation for these called the “mind” of the Father and Son. Thus the Kirtland Mormons rejected the doctrine that the Holy Spirit was a person.
"There are TWO personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things, by whom all things were created and made, whether visible or invisible, whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or through the immensity of space [contrast this with the Mormon Temple which teaches there were THREE persons - 'Elohim', 'Jehovah' and 'Michael'/'Adam']. They are the FATHER and the SON - the Father being PERSONAGE OF SPIRIT, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fullness, the SON, who was in the bosom of the Father, a PERSONAGE OF TABERNACLE [flesh], made or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or rather man was formed after his likeness and in his image; he is also the express likeness of the personage of the Father, or the same fullness with the Father, or the same fullness with the Father; being begotten of him, and ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propriation for the sins of all those who should believe in his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh [a doctrine in the Book of Mormon], and descended in suffering below that which man can suffer; or, in other words, suffered greater sufferings, and was exposed to more powerful contradictions than any man can be. But, notwithstanding all this, he kept the law of God, and remained without sin, showing thereby that it is in the power of man to keep the law and remain without sin; and also, that by him, a righteous judgement might come might come upon all flesh, and that all who walk not in the law of God may justly be condemned by the law, and have no excuse for their sins. And he being the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory of the Father, possessing the same mind with the Father, WHICH MIND IS THE HOLY SPIRIT, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one; or, in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme POWER over all things; by whom all things were created and made that were created and made, and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one; the Father and Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power, and fullness - filling all in all; the Son being filled with the fullness of mind, glory and power; or, in other words, the spirit, glory, and power, of the Father, possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom, sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father, mediator for man, being filled with the fullness of the mind of the Father; or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father, which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his commandments; and all those who keep his commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and join heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one. (Lectures on Faith, 5:2).
This was changed in Nauvoo by:
I am reminded of the bogus “evolution” of the horse series presented by evolutionists in which the horse gains a toe, then loses it again. We see that what has happened is that the classical doctrine of the Trinity has merely been tinkered with - the Father gained a physical body in Nauvoo, the Holy Spirit lost his Personhood in Kirtland, but got it back in a different way in Nauvoo, ceasing to be “omnipresent” anymore (hence the D&C doctrine that the Holy Spirit cannot dwell in a man’s heart, being an “old sectarian [read ‘Trinitarian’] notion). So whilst the Holy Spirit got his Personhood back, he lost his omnipresence.
- 1. Giving the Father a body like the Son’s;
- 2. Re-installing the Holy Spirit as a Person, only this Person was not able to dwell in a man’s heart this time.
I think this is very interesting because it confirms the nephilim theory beautifully. Demons cannot be in more than one place at a time because they are not omnipresent. Neither therefore can Satan. Instead, he relies on a line of command to get him information - billions of demons supplying him with data about people. Demons cannot get into men’s hearts unless they are fully possessed either.
Thus God has the advantage always. He is omnipresent, dwelling in men’s hearts through the Holy Spirit, so a Christian who is born-again has direct access to God all the time.
In the Nauvoo Mormon system we see a Godhead doctrine adjusted to fit more in line with the reality of the demon heirarchy. The nephilim cannot be everywhere all the time so they needed a Godhead doctrine which would explain that. It did, of course, contradict the early Mormon doctrine (both early D&C as well as Book or Mormon which is practically classical Trinitarian) which is why Mormons can cite the earlier revelatory works of the LDS Church to deny such a suggestion. But this is what I have been maintaining: Joseph Smith started off as an orthodox Christian and then progressively diverged into occultism. Thus in Mormonism one may discern both classical Christian doctrine as well as occultic doctrine, plus intermediary forms such as the Kirtland doctrine of the Godhead.
Once Joseph Smith had redefined the Holy Spirit it was a simple matter to move into polytheism - billions of gods, a doctrine which exactly matches the satanic heirarchy except it is covered in Christian names. I have ministered to satanists for a number of years now and have learned something of the demonic heirarchies that consists of Satan/Lucifer (the dark equivalent to the Father), Beelzebub (Prince of Satan - equivalent to the Son), and the Seven Powers or groupings of demons (called Rege [occultism], Lazers [lust], Appolyon [murder], Bacchus [addiction], Seth [death & sickness], Pan [mental illness] and Religiosity [specially arraigned against Christians]) who are the ‘mind’ and agents of Satan in the earth. There are billions of these demonic spirits who form a vast network on the spiritual plane.
Modern Mormonism has returned to Nauvoo Tri-Theism (though fundamentalist Mormons are polythesists as Brigham Young taught).
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, the early RLDS church under Joseph Smith III returned to Kirtland Ditheism for a while, got confused, and eventually returned to the Restoration’s earlier Trinitarian roots. Finally, they became Unitarians (though there is freedom of belief in the RLDS church on this matter).
Different Mormon break-offs have elected different Godhead doctrines, depending where they think the “apostacy” started. Temple Lot people I think are basically Trinitarian whereas Cutlerites are Binitarian, Stangites are Tri-theists, etc.
Extract from a Bulletin Board discussion
This page was created on 14 September 1999
Updated on 10 March 2001
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