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David Waltz

James Whiteâ??s YouTube diatribeâ?¦

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On 12-29-08, James White posted an anti-Mormon video on YouTube:

Four days later, he posted the same video on his AOMIN site:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3058

Within the first minute of his diatribe, James states:

â??Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion that I have ever encounteredâ?¦â?

Yet, the LDS apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland, in the October 2007 GC address that James is critiquing, states:

To acknowledge the scriptural evidence that otherwise perfectly united members of the Godhead are nevertheless separate and distinct beings is not to be guilty of polytheism; it is, rather, part of the great revelation Jesus came to deliver concerning the nature of divine beings. Perhaps the Apostle Paul said it best: â??Christ Jesus . . . being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God.â? (http://lds.org/conference/talk/display/0,5232,23-1-775-15,00.html)

There are many serious problems with Jamesâ?? video; but, for the moment, I would like to address the issue of whether or not Latter-day Saints are polytheistsâ??as such, I am looking forward to your responses.

Grace and peace,

David

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On 12-29-08, James White posted an anti-Mormon video on YouTube:

Four days later, he posted the same video on his AOMIN site:

http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php?itemid=3058

Within the first minute of his diatribe, James states:

â??Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion that I have ever encounteredâ?¦â?

Yet, the LDS apostle, Jeffrey R. Holland, in the October 2007 GC address that James is critiquing, states:

There are many serious problems with Jamesâ?? video; but, for the moment, I would like to address the issue of whether or not Latter-day Saints are polytheistsâ??as such, I am looking forward to your responses.

Grace and peace,

David

Why does it always come down to us denying the BoM...and btw that would not be enough, we would have to leave our church and take out tithing to them...that would be enough!

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Those who make this claim neither understand our religion, nor the definition of polytheism within the context of our beliefs.

IMO, White wants to make sure this whole Prop 8 support by the church is now "under the bridge", and it is business as usual. Depending upon his need for additional contributions, I am pretty sure that we will hear from him again in the very near future.

Anyone like to make a guess on the theme of his next expose of Mormonism?

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â??Mormonism is the most polytheistic religion that I have ever encounteredâ?¦â?

I would like to address the issue of whether or not Latter-day Saints are polytheistsâ??as such, I am looking forward to your responses.

Grace and peace,

David

To deny that LDS are polytheists, is to deny truth.

God the Father is a God

God the Father's Father is a God

You have the potential to become a god

The fact that you worship only one God does not make you a monotheist, it makes you a henotheist or a monarchical polytheist, but you are still a polytheist.

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To deny that LDS are polytheists, is to deny truth.

God the Father is a God

God the Father's Father is a God

You have the potential to become a god

The fact that you worship only one God does not make you a monotheist, it makes you a henotheist or a monarchical polytheist, but you are still a polytheist.

This, of course, begs the question: If one acknowledges in any way, shape, or form that other gods exist or are worshiped by anyone else, does that then mean that one is polytheist? Paul, of course, acknowledged in Corinthians that there were "gods many", but was very specific to state that his theology only concerned the worship of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

The argument that acknowledging other gods outside of one's salvation / worship system is rank polytheism - in the "worst" context of what is meant by polytheism - appears to be stretched, in my opinion.

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In the strictest sense yes Mormons are polytheistic since we believe in Three God's that while they are one in every way but substance they are never the less separate. But then so were the first Christians and so is the Bible.

We worship the Father, in the name of the Son. We also worship the Son. We do not worship the Holy Ghost.

However when James White says we are polytheistic he is attempting to class us with pagan faiths which not only is disingenuous but a flat out lie.

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David, is there only one God as Jesus proclaims when He quotes the Hebrew Schema?

Jesus answered, . . .â??HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORDâ? (Mark 12:29)

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David, is there only one God as Jesus proclaims when He quotes the Hebrew Schema?

Too bad research shows ancient Israel believed in a council of God's with El at the head and Yaweh as the God assigned to Israel.

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David, is there only one God as Jesus proclaims when He quotes the Hebrew Schema?

What does Paul have to say:

1 Cor. 8

5 For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

What is meant by the writers in the OT when they used the terms "God Most High" and "God of gods." If there was only one god/God, why didn't they just call Him "God." "God Most High" would be the same as "God Most Low" or even "God Most Average" and who are these other gods that God is God of? Are they idols? Now that wouldn't make any sense calling God a God of false idols.

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This, of course, begs the question: If one acknowledges in any way, shape, or form that other gods exist or are worshiped by anyone else, does that then mean that one is polytheist? Paul, of course, acknowledged in Corinthians that there were "gods many", but was very specific to state that his theology only concerned the worship of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

The argument that acknowledging other gods outside of one's salvation / worship system is rank polytheism - in the "worst" context of what is meant by polytheism - appears to be stretched, in my opinion.

The context of the quote you used concerning "gods many" is about things being offered in worship to idols:

Now concerning things offered to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies. And if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him. Therefore concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one. For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. But food does not commend us to God; for neither if we eat are we the better, nor if we do not eat are we the worse. But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak. For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idolâ??s temple, will not the conscience of him who is weak be emboldened to eat those things offered to idols? And because of your knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.(1 Corinthians 8:1-13)

Don't overlook the fact of Paul's concern over being a stumbling block to a believer that would cause a brother to stumble. This was the context in him making the statement "gods many". They don't actually exist but are things worshipped as God but are not truly God by nature.

The following quotes gives an understaning that other so-called gods are "no gods" or not "by nature" g/Gods.

So now you intend to resist the kingdom of the LORD through the sons of David, being a great multitude and having with you the golden calves which Jeroboam made for gods for you. â??Have you not driven out the priests of the LORD, the sons of Aaron and the Levites, and made for yourselves priests like the peoples of other lands? Whoever comes to consecrate himself with a young bull and seven rams, even he may become a priest of what are no gods. (2 Chronicles 13:8-9)

However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those, which by nature are no gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? (Galatians 4:8-9)

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Too bad research shows ancient Israel believed in a council of God's with El at the head and Yaweh as the God assigned to Israel.

And what even worse is that there are several top notch mainstream Christian scholars who teach this very same thing and they are leading the research in this area. But Teancum, with your post, you helped coolrok answer my questions, but, then again, maybe not because he would have to admit that eloheim truly meant gods, real gods and not just God or false idols.

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Let's see what Origen had to say about Paul's "gods many and lords many" statement:

Commentary on John

3. VARIOUS RELATIONS OF THE LOGOS TO MEN.

Now it is possible that some may dislike what we have said representing the Father as the one true God, but admitting other beings besides the true God, who have become gods by having a share of God. They may fear that the glory of Him who surpasses all creation may be lowered to the level of those other beings called gods. We drew this distinction between Him and them that we showed God the Word to be to all the other gods the minister of their divinity. To this we must add, in order to obviate objections, that the reason which is in every reasonable creature occupied the same relation to the reason who was in the beginning with God, and is God the Word, as God the Word occupies to God. As the Father who is Very God and the True God is to His image and to the images of His image--men are said to be according to the image, not to be images of God--so He, the Word, is to the reason (word) in every man. Each fills the place of a fountain--the Father is the fountain of divinity, the Son of reason. As, then, there are many gods, but to us there is but one God the Father, and many Lords, but to us there is one Lord, Jesus Christ, so there are many Logoi, but we, for our part, pray that that one Logos may be with us who was in the beginning and was with God, God the Logos. For whoever does not receive this Logos who was in the beginning with God, or attach himself to Him as He appeared in flesh, or take part in some of those who had part in this Logos, or whoever having had part in Him falls away from Him again, he will have his portion in what is called most opposite to reason. What we have drawn out from the truths with which we started will now be clear enough. First, we spoke about God and the Word of God, and of Gods, either, that is, beings who partake in deity or beings who are called Gods and are not. And again of the Logos of God and of the Logos of God made flesh, and of logoi, or beings which partake in some way of the Logos, of second logoi or of third, thought to be logoi, in addition to that Logos that was before them all, but not really so. Irrational Reasons these may be styled; beings are spoken of who are said to be Gods but are not, and one might place beside these Gods who are no Gods, Reasons which are no Reasons. Now the God of the universe is the God of the elect, and in a much greater degree of the Saviours of the elect; then He is the God of these beings who are truly Gods, and then He is the God, in a word, of the living and not of the dead. But God the Logos is the God, perhaps, of those who attribute everything to Him and who consider Him to be their Father.

Please note that Origen used the word "Gods" in his writings. That Gods with a capital "G" and ends in the plural "s." I find it utterly fascinating.

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To teancum/urroner. In the Old Testament the nation of Israel was in disobedience to God going after the false gods of the surrounding nations. They were forbiddent to do that in the tablets given to Moses on Mount Sainai.

The references to God being the God of gods is in reference to the false gods of those other nations. All these other so-called gods that the God of Israel is over are not truly God but in the context of history, these other nations had their own version of these "other gods as Paul stated are not "God by nature".

Consider also the following also from Paul:

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 1:19-25)

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols. Therefore he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and with the Gentile worshipers, and in the marketplace daily with those who happened to be there. Then certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers encountered him. And some said, â??What does this babbler want to say?â? Others said, â??He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign gods,â? because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, â??May we know what this new doctrine is of which you speak? For you are bringing some strange things to our ears. Therefore we want to know what these things mean.â? For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, â??Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:

TO THE UNKNOWN GOD.

Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with menâ??s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, â??For we are also His offspring.â?? Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and manâ??s devising. Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

Also urroner please note, Origen is not the writer of Scripture as I saw your statement before this was posted.

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Also urroner please note, Origen is not the writer of Scripture as I saw your statement before this was posted.

So coolrok, are you saying that you know more about the gospel and scripture than Origen did? If you did, I would find that very fascinating in view that Origen was one of the main leaders in the early Church.

Are you saying that we should reject his views simply because he didn't write scripture? Have you written any scripture?

Edited: Are you also saying that God is a God of false gods and idols? That doesn't make any sense.

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The context of the quote you used concerning "gods many" is about things being offered in worship to idols:

Don't overlook the fact of Paul's concern over being a stumbling block to a believer that would cause a brother to stumble. This was the context in him making the statement "gods many". They don't actually exist but are things worshipped as God but are not truly God by nature.

The following quotes gives an understaning that other so-called gods are "no gods" or not "by nature" g/Gods.

Unfortunately, as others on this thread have pointed out, the all-encompassing argument that other "gods", when mentioned in the Bible, are always pagan or idol gods doesn't really make sense. When Jesus reminds the Jews that their own scriptures refer to them as "gods", he is reminding them of where they're actually headed, and of their relationship to the Father.

A closer reading of Paul's quote in 1 Cor 8 reveals an interesting way of phrasing things that doesn't totally fit with your claimed context of having to do only with idols. He acknowledges that there are many who are called lords or gods, and then - in verse 5 - further qualifies that acknowledgment by stating that some gods and lords, outside of our God and Lord, actually do exist. His whole point, however, is to note that our focus for worship and salvation is on the Father and on Christ, something that Latter-day Saints readily accept.

With the other examples noted ("God of gods", for instance), it is clearly evident that the Bible acknowledges the actual existence of those who can, in some way, be termed gods. It also notes clearly the focus of our worship and salvation, which is the Father and Christ. This is consistent with LDS theology.

So the question continues to be: Is it valid to claim that LDS are polytheistic simply because they acknowledge the existence of other gods, even though they clearly do not worship them? I submit that it is, of itself, not a valid claim, since the Bible itself is clear concerning the existence of other gods.

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Unfortunately, as others on this thread have pointed out, the all-encompassing argument that other "gods", when mentioned in the Bible, are always pagan or idol gods doesn't really make sense. When Jesus reminds the Jews that their own scriptures refer to them as "gods", he is reminding them of where they're actually headed, and of their relationship to the Father.

A closer reading of Paul's quote in 1 Cor 8 reveals an interesting way of phrasing things that doesn't totally fit with your claimed context of having to do only with idols. He acknowledges that there are many who are called lords or gods, and then - in verse 5 - further qualifies that acknowledgment by stating that some gods and lords, outside of our God and Lord, actually do exist. His whole point, however, is to note that our focus for worship and salvation is on the Father and on Christ, something that Latter-day Saints readily accept.

With the other examples noted ("God of gods", for instance), it is clearly evident that the Bible acknowledges the actual existence of those who can, in some way, be termed gods. It also notes clearly the focus of our worship and salvation, which is the Father and Christ. This is consistent with LDS theology.

So the question continues to be: Is it valid to claim that LDS are polytheistic simply because they acknowledge the existence of other gods, even though they clearly do not worship them? I submit that it is, of itself, not a valid claim, since the Bible itself is clear concerning the existence of other gods.

It would be more accurate to use the term henotheism but polytheism is also applicable. The other verses I quoted back up my point.

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We are polytheistic exactly the same way other Christians are.

coolrock:

Henotheism is close, but no cigar. Closest would be monarchistic Henotheism. While there may be other Gods there is only one God with which we have anything to do with.

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We are polytheistic exactly the same way other Christians are.

Not in the least.

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[â?¦]

I would like to address the issue of whether or not Latter-day Saints are polytheists

[â?¦]

Hello David, I hope you are well (and that your much-anticipated book on theosis is progressing).

Personally, I think the answer is yes, and no.

Do LDS believe in the existence of more than one God? Yes.

Do LDS worship more than one God? Yes (unless youâ??re of a McConkie cloth).

But from here on out, it gets a little sticky. LDS have one G-d (i.e. G-d the Father, the Most High). Yet, they also have a God who is their Lord. There is also the counsel of the Gods, the Holy Ghost who has achieved Godhood, and so onâ?¦ Yet, LDS scripture nonetheless affirms â??one G-d.â?

For the time being, it would seem that LDSism is both Monotheistic and Polytheistic. I imagine as more and more philosophically trained individuals tackle LDS doctrine, it might move more towards the Monotheistic realm much as mainstream Christianity was able to do with the Trinity. Iâ??m not sure what the reworked/expanded reconciling of the seemingly contradictory positions will be (perhaps a new understanding of just what â??G-dâ? is, and how many can be considered God, while at the same time there being only one G-d[?]â?¦ maybe a new ontology of unity[?]).

In the end, LDSism seems to fall somewhat outside of the more classic category of Polytheism. Henotheism doesnâ??t even seem to accurately reflect what LDS concepts of deity and worship are. So, now that Iâ??ve made you suffer through my musings, perhaps the best answer I can give is: Dunno.

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It would be more accurate to use the term henotheism but polytheism is also applicable. The other verses I quoted back up my point.

I don't find henotheism to be particularly accurate because it tends to infer a certain level of moral equivalence between gods being worshiped - which Latter-day Saints do not subscribe to.

While the verses you've quoted talk about idolatry, they do not make the point that other gods do not actually exist. The scriptures we've referenced do make the point that other gods exist, which is problematic for the non-LDS Christian claim of pure monotheism.

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Hello David, I hope you are well (and that your much-anticipated book on theosis is progressing).

Personally, I think the answer is yes, and no.

Do LDS believe in the existence of more than one God? Yes.

Do LDS worship more than one God? Yes (unless youâ??re of a McConkie cloth).

But from here on out, it gets a little sticky. LDS have one G-d (i.e. G-d the Father, the Most High). Yet, they also have a God who is their Lord. There is also the counsel of the Gods, the Holy Ghost who has achieved Godhood, and so onâ?¦ Yet, LDS scripture nonetheless affirms â??one G-d.â?

What about God's wife or wives. Is she or are they not also Gods?

Seems to me that she should merit a mention.

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What about God's wife or wives. Is she or are they not also Gods?

Seems to me that she should merit a mention.

Good catch. Yes, *I* would think She/They are â??Godsâ? as well.

Hopefully David will forgive the slight derail, but in my personal musings it would seem that the presence of the divine feminine is a key component of â??G-d.â?

Maybe one day as understanding/beliefs evolve, the â??one G-dâ? will not be seen as an entity or essence, but instead as a state of being (part of which cannot be obtained without the presence of the divine feminine -- which I guess goes back to the potential need for the development of an ontology of unity).

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While the verses you've quoted talk about idolatry, they do not make the point that other gods do not actually exist. The scriptures we've referenced do make the point that other gods exist, which is problematic for the non-LDS Christian claim of pure monotheism.

Why is that problematic? Regardless of how you claim the scriptures should be interpreted, non-lds Christians BELIEVE that there is one God, period.

Why not just accept that fact that is an area in which there is divergence of belief?

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Why is that problematic? Regardless of how you claim the scriptures should be interpreted, non-lds Christians BELIEVE that there is one God, period.

Why not just accept that fact that is an area in which there is divergence of belief?

Because trying to make the point that no other gods exist requires that certain Biblical scriptures be glossed over or ignored.

I'm fine accepting that others believe differently.

What is not acceptable is when someone makes the claim that the orthodox Christian viewpoint is Biblical and the LDS viewpoint is not. That is problematic.

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