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On the Trinity and Misunderstandings


The_Monk

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On another thread, Secretsaboutyou (former Mormon converted to "Christianity") says,

"Since the Godhead [in Mormonism] is three seperate personages, there is more than one god, thus polytheism."

Setting aside the facile use of polytheism, classical Trinitarianism posits three distinct personages who are united in "substance" or ousia. Note, for example, that the Catholic catechism explicitly says "one God in three persons... The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God... The divine persons are really distinct from one another." 253-254

Would you like to backtrack, or argue that orthodox Trinitarianism posits only one personage? If so, you're committing the heresy called Modalism, which, unfortunately, is how many Protestants and Catholics (mis)understand their own doctrine. I've had many explain the trinity to me in Modalistic terms.

Indeed, Joseph Smith's statements about three distinct personages are clearly in response to modalist explanations, which push the pendulum too far towards the one-ness. Joseph was attempting to counter-balance by pushing back towards three-ness.

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