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Rob Bowman

Holy Ghost: "One Of The Sons Of Our Father And Our God"

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In an earlier thread one of the side discussions was over the question of whether in LDS doctrine the Holy Ghost is understood to be a spirit son of Heavenly Father. Joseph Fielding McConkie makes this statement in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, but as was pointed out the EM is not an official LDS publication.

I recently ran across this statement from Heber C. Kimball, one of the twelve apostles under Joseph Smith and a member of the First Presidency under Brigham Young:

"The Spirit that is on me this morning is the Spirit of the Lord; it is the Holy Ghost, although some of you may not think that the Holy Ghost is ever cheerful. Well, let me tell you, the Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the sons of our Father and our God; and he is that man that stood next to Jesus Christ, just as I stand by brother Brigham" (JD 5:179).

I'm not sure if Mormons would consider such a statement as "official" LDS doctrine, but perhaps it shows that this idea is more representative of LDS teaching than the quote from the EM by itself may have suggested. It is interesting to note that Kimball made this statement in the context of asserting that the Spirit of the Lord was on him that morning as he was speaking.

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Yes, Latter-day Saints believe that the Holy Ghost is a spirit child of Heavenly Father, and that He, like Jesus Christ, was foreordained to His calling as God and a member of the Godhead. We don't know how a lot about this subject, though.

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The Spirit that is on me this morning is the Spirit of the Lord; it is the Holy Ghost, although some of you may not think that the Holy Ghost is ever cheerful.
It would seem to me he is referring how he is feeling, ie. that the Holy Ghost is inspiring him to be cheerful.

As to "official", we've gone over what is considered "official" according to the Church before. This article was specifically written for reporters so they would accurately report what is and isn't doctrine, so it should be considered carefully by anyone sincerely concerned with an accurate portrayal of our beliefs:

http://newsroom.lds....mormon-doctrine

As to the idea of the Holy Ghost being the son of God the Father, it is certainly a logical inference from the official doctrine that we know and I would not be the least surprised if this is the way most LDS think of the Holy Ghost. But it is different to believe this is likely and to know for a surety. The second requires revelation which has not been given for the Church to the best of my knowledge.

It is quite simple and not the controversial issue you think it is. What most people were protesting in your previous effort was the issue of 'what is doctrine', not the issue of 'who is the Holy Ghost'. If you managed to demonstrate that it is official doctrine that the Holy Ghost is a son of the Father, it would be a tremendous nonissue for LDS.

Journalists, academics and laymen alike are encouraged to pursue their inquiries into the Church by recognizing the broad and complex context within which its doctrines have been declared, in a spirit of reason and good will.

Edited by calmoriah

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Here is another statement that I think is also typical or representative of LDS doctrine and that would seem to require the inference that the Holy Ghost is a spirit son of Heavenly Father:

"1. There is an eternal and infinite family in heaven and on earth to whom all beings of every rank, status, and position belong.

2. God the Eternal Father, the Almighty Elohim, is the Parent and Father of all."

--Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:140.

Again, McConkie's commentary is not LDS scripture and not in and of itself official LDS doctrine, but I can hardly see any controversy over whether the above statement accurately expresses LDS teaching. It seems quite standard LDS doctrine that there is a heavenly family in the celestial kingdom, that the head of that family is Heavenly Father, and that all of the spirits that live(d) there were spirit children of Heavenly Father and the heavenly mother. Since the Holy Ghost is a male spirit being and part of that heavenly family, he must also be a spirit son of Heavenly Father.

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Here is another statement that I think is also typical or representative of LDS doctrine and that would seem to require the inference that the Holy Ghost is a spirit son of Heavenly Father:

"1. There is an eternal and infinite family in heaven and on earth to whom all beings of every rank, status, and position belong.

2. God the Eternal Father, the Almighty Elohim, is the Parent and Father of all."

--Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3:140.

Again, McConkie's commentary is not LDS scripture and not in and of itself official LDS doctrine, but I can hardly see any controversy over whether the above statement accurately expresses LDS teaching. It seems quite standard LDS doctrine that there is a heavenly family in the celestial kingdom, that the head of that family is Heavenly Father, and that all of the spirits that live(d) there were spirit children of Heavenly Father and the heavenly mother. Since the Holy Ghost is a male spirit being and part of that heavenly family, he must also be a spirit son of Heavenly Father.

And yet Elder McConkie was the one who stated we don't have revelation on who the Holy Ghost is as cited in the previous thread.

In a patriarchal system, not all members have to be direct descendants of the head of the family. Siblings of the patriarch as well those who are married into the family would be considered family members. Even servants might be considered family members in the sense that the patriarch is their leader.

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There shouldn't be any controversy over this. I don't think the Church really takes a position on this, since, like I said, we don't know a whole lot about the Holy Ghost, but this shouldn't be an issue.

Edited by altersteve

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calmoriah,

You wrote:

As to the idea of the Holy Ghost being the son of God the Father, it is certainly a logical inference from the official doctrine that we know and I would not be the least surprised if this is the way most LDS think of the Holy Ghost. But it is different to believe this is likely and to know for a surety. The second requires revelation which has not been given for the Church.

It is quite simple and not the controversial issue you think it is. What most people were protesting in your previous effort was the issue of 'what is doctrine', not the issue of 'who is the Holy Ghost'. If you managed to demonstrate that it is official doctrine that the Holy Ghost is a son of the Father, it would be a tremendous nonissue for LDS.

Well, I didn't think it was controversial, but a certain LDS member of this forum made quite a big issue over a simple statement on IRR's website that said that the LDS Church teaches that the Holy Ghost is a spirit son of God, a statement that merely repeated, practically verbatim, Joseph Fielding McConkie's statement in EM. We were accused of deliberately misrepresenting LDS doctrine for supposedly hostile anti-Mormon polemical purposes. If the LDS Church teaches, as I think it clearly does, that all spirits in heaven were and are members of one great heavenly family (i.e., a heavenly father, heavenly mother, and their spirit children), then logically this entails that the Holy Ghost, who is a spirit man, is a spirit son of God. You acknowledge that this is a logical inference from what is official LDS doctrine, and I agree. So it would be nice if someone would acknowledge that our online statement was not the deliberate anti-Mormon misrepresentation that it was made out to be by one of this forum's more vociferous participants.

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There shouldn't be any controversy over this. I don't think the Church really takes a position on this, since, like I said, we don't know a whole lot about the Holy Ghost, but this shouldn't be an issue.

Totally agree. I would not challenge anyone who says that this is their personal belief or understanding. I lean toward it myself.

Mr. Bowman seems to be under the delusion (add-on: apparently he is only pursuing this to justify the usage on his website, not because he thinks this is an issue, so I stand corrected) that this is problematic for LDS because we challenge him on his claim that something is doctrine (ie "taught by the Church"), when it is only the principle of what is and isn't doctrine that is at issue for LDS and the reason why it matters enough to discuss even for this nonissue is the pattern of inaccurate reporting of doctrine that this is another example of.

The quote I used before:

“He [the Holy Ghost] is the Comforter, Testator, Revelator, Sanctifier, Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit of Promise, Spirit of Truth, Spirit of the Lord, and Messenger of the Father and the Son, and his companionship is the greatest gift that mortal man can enjoy. His mission is to perform all of the functions appertaining to the various name-titles which he bears. Because he is a Spirit Personage, he has power—according to the eternal laws ordained by the Father—to perform essential and unique functions for men. In this dispensation, at least, nothing has been revealed as to his origin or destiny; expressions on these matters are both speculative and fruitless” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 359).
Edited by calmoriah

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calmoriah,

You wrote:

And yet Elder McConkie was the one who stated we don't have revelation on who the Holy Ghost is as cited in the previous thread.

I'm not sure if he was addressing directly the issue of the family relationship between the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father. I'll review the statement (you just posted it).

In a patriarchal system, not all members have to be direct descendants of the head of the family. Siblings of the patriarch as well those who are married into the family would be considered family members. Even servants might be considered family members in the sense that the patriarch is their leader.

Intriguing suggestions. The servant idea seems strained particularly in view of the Holy Ghost's membership in the Godhead. The sibling idea seems more plausible. Interesting "out of the box" thinking.

Edited by Rob Bowman

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If the Holy Ghost is a single personage, how can he be inside of all of us at the same time? That is a major contradiction in our school of thought.

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So it would be nice if someone would acknowledge that our online statement was not the deliberate anti-Mormon misrepresentation that it was made out to be by one of this forum's more vociferous participants.

Since no one here has a way of knowing whether this case was deliberate or not, how can they acknowledge that it was not deliberate? I would say there is enough on the website that demonstrates a pattern of misrepresentation, whether it is deliberate or not I don't know, but since you have refused to correct your own comments in the face of LDS telling you they do not accurately represent the text and context of LDS belief and doctrine, I am not sure what would be a better descriptor.

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calmoriah,

You wrote:

Mr. Bowman seems to be under the delusion that this is problematic for LDS because we challenge him on his claim that something is doctrine (ie "taught by the Church"), when it is only the principle of what is and isn't doctrine that is at issue for LDS and the reason why it matters enough to discuss even for this nonissue is the pattern of inaccurate reporting of doctrine that this is another example of.

"Delusion" is such a strong and offensive word, especially given that what you are guessing about my thinking is wrong (shall I then accuse you of a "delusion" and keep the hot rhetoric going?). I'm not claiming that anything in this regard is "problematic for LDS." I'm responding to the false accusation that IRR's article is a deliberate misrepresentation of LDS doctrine. I would not have objected had someone merely suggested that the statement could be tweaked to make it more accurate; it was the bombastic accusation of deliberate misrepresentation that I considered (and still consider) to be a false accusation.

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calmoriah,

By your own standard, would it not be accurate to say that McConkie's statement, which you are emphasizing, is itself not official LDS doctrine?

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calmoriah,

You wrote:

I'm not sure if he was addressing directly the issue of the family relationship between the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father. I'll review the statement (you just posted it).

Intriguing suggestions. The servant idea seems strained particularly in view of the Holy Ghost's membership in the Godhead. The sibling idea seems more plausible. Interesting "out of the box" thinking.

Adoption into a clan could include nonrelatives as well, plus it's not just siblings that would be under the patriarch's rule but even any of the previous generations who were not of the direct line of authority, such as brothers and sisters of his father, even great uncles and aunts if they lived so long.

The servant idea came to me because of Eliezer of Damacus, Abraham's trusted servant who would have been his heir if Abraham had no children, IIRC, so not so much of a stretch in a patriarchal system to my view.

Edited by calmoriah

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"Delusion" is such a strong and offensive word, especially given that what you are guessing about my thinking is wrong (shall I then accuse you of a "delusion" and keep the hot rhetoric going?).

First off, I said "seems" so I admitted I was guessing. Second, I corrected it as soon as I processed your comment about why you were posting on this topic yet again, prior to reading this post so perhaps you will at least let that comment go and not continue to revisit it. Third, I don't consider "deluded" to be such a strong, offensive word. I am perfectly happy to admit that for the moment I was deluded about your motivations. Edited by calmoriah

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calmoriah,

By your own standard, would it not be accurate to say that McConkie's statement, which you are emphasizing, is itself not official LDS doctrine?

Agreed, I am merely using it to point out that your usage of him to support your claim is problematic as he sees it differently than you are portraying, not to demonstrate what is or isn't doctrine.

Edited by calmoriah

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If the Holy Ghost is a single personage, how can he be inside of all of us at the same time? That is a major contradiction in our school of thought.

CFR that we Saints believe that "he [can] be inside of all of us at the same time".

I have never heard anyone significant say that. His influence can be "omnipresent", but His person is not—His spirit body occupies the same volume of space as anyone else's (± a few cubic centimeters). However, it has no mass so He can move instantaneously between people and places. His work is to bring light (which also travels very fast) and knowledge (again, massless), so He can do His work seemingly without the passage of time. But He cannot be in two places at once anymore than you can.

Lehi

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calmoriah,

You wrote:

Since no one here has a way of knowing whether this case was deliberate or not, how can they acknowledge that it was not deliberate? I would say there is enough on the website that demonstrates a pattern of misrepresentation, whether it is deliberate or not I don't know, but since you have refused to correct your own comments in the face of LDS telling you they do not accurately represent the text and context of LDS belief and doctrine, I am not sure what would be a better descriptor.

Good grief!

If I tell them that there was no deliberate misrepresentation, and I point out that a respected (even if unofficial) LDS publication says exactly what we said, then the only honest response would be for them to admit that the accusation of deliberate misrepresentation was in this instance at least not justified. They can continue to harbor their dark suspicions of our motives and intentions, but an honest person, faced with the evidence, should at least admit that there was no grounds in this instance for the accusation of deliberate misrepresentation.

Furthermore, I informed the accuser that I was in the process of revising the article and would revise that particular statement, so your claim that I "refused" to correct the statement was yet another false accusation. The revision is still in process (and besides, our website is undergoing a major technical overhaul, which has taken precedence for our part-time webmaster) but it will be done.

The comment about a supposed "pattern of misrepresentation" is frustrating, given that the origin of this particular skirmish about the sonship of the Holy Ghost arose because that issue was raised supposedly as an example of us deliberately misrepresenting and distorting LDS doctrine. I have expressed repeatedly my openness to constructive criticism of my arguments and of the articles on our website, and yet this is the sort of response I have gotten. I also must say that I have completely lost respect for those LDS posters here who have said, in effect, that they would prefer IRR's website to continue having such supposed distortions on it because they make it easier to dismiss what we say. More than one Mormon here has complained that informing me of inaccuracies on our website or discussing any LDS issues with me on this forum is more or less helping the devil of anti-Mormonism.

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Lehi,

You wrote:

CFR that we Saints believe that "he [can] be inside of all of us at the same time".

I have never heard anyone significant say that. His influence can be "omnipresent", but His person is not—His spirit body occupies the same volume of space as anyone else's (± a few cubic centimeters). However, it has no mass so He can move instantaneously between people and places. His work is to bring light (which also travels very fast) and knowledge (again, massless), so He can do His work seemingly without the passage of time. But He cannot be in two places at once anymore than you can.

If the Holy Ghost is a material entity of any kind always located at any given time at a particular spatial location, he (his "spirit body") cannot move "instantaneously" from one place or person to another, assuming that by instantaneously you mean "without any passage of time." To "move," in a literal material sense, means to traverse space, to change locations from point A to point B by moving along some sort of path (whether a straight line, a curve, or something more complex) between the two points. Nothing material does so without some passage of time. Light moves very quickly indeed, but it still takes time. For example, it takes four years for light to traverse the space from the nearest star (excluding our own sun) to our planet. If the Holy Ghost were to move from point A to point B without any passage of time, he would then literally be in two places at the same time. So your doctrine requires that some time, even if something like a nanosecond, must pass as the Holy Ghost moves from one place to another.

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Furthermore, I informed the accuser that I was in the process of revising the article and would revise that particular statement, so your claim that I "refused" to correct the statement was yet another false accusation.

. My judgement in that specific case as stated was only referring to those cases on this board where you have not altered your position in the face of LDS correction, so it was not a false accusation as these exist from my point of view (the reader can decide if I am wrong in this opinion).

It may have been an inappropriate inference to make the jump from your behaviour here to the website; I will wait and see what changes are made on the website to decide. I have a feeling though that any change will likely be minor for various reasons. I will be pleased if I am wrong. I would much rather deal with a critic who was accurate in his criticisms (of which I think there are a number of valid possibilities) than one who is not. I find discussions with an accurate critic much more interesting and useful.

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If the Holy Ghost is a material entity of any kind always located at any given time at a particular spatial location, he (his "spirit body") cannot move "instantaneously" from one place or person to another, assuming that by instantaneously you mean "without any passage of time." ... So your doctrine requires that some time, even if something like a nanosecond, must pass as the Holy Ghost moves from one place to another.

With God, all things are possible.

At least that's my belief.

Furthermore, since the material that is spirit is unknown to us, the fact is that we cannot reasonably try to use Newtonian, Einsteinian, or quantum mechanics physics regarding this unknown matter. If Jesus can get into a locked room with His explicitly material body, it seems that we can hypothesize that the Holy Ghost can take His (of unknown material) spirit body anywhere, anywhen He chooses to, without being subject to the limited set of laws we have discovered.

Lehi

Edited by LeSellers

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Lehi,

You wrote:

If the Holy Ghost is a material entity of any kind always located at any given time at a particular spatial location, he (his "spirit body") cannot move "instantaneously" from one place or person to another, assuming that by instantaneously you mean "without any passage of time." To "move," in a literal material sense, means to traverse space, to change locations from point A to point B by moving along some sort of path (whether a straight line, a curve, or something more complex) between the two points. Nothing material does so without some passage of time. Light moves very quickly indeed, but it still takes time. For example, it takes four years for light to traverse the space from the nearest star (excluding our own sun) to our planet. If the Holy Ghost were to move from point A to point B without any passage of time, he would then literally be in two places at the same time. So your doctrine requires that some time, even if something like a nanosecond, must pass as the Holy Ghost moves from one place to another.

Not necessarily. We don't know anything about the physics of any other realm besides this mortal universe. What we know of the laws that pertain here we arrived at by observation. In other words the *laws* are written in a manner to describe what is observed to be.

Since we do not and cannot observe how anything behaves in the spirit world we have no way to state what the laws are there. We have no idea of what refined matter is.

It would seem that realm is not constrained by the common limitations that we experience here. No death or decay. Standing in the air means no limitation by gravitation which in turn would mean the immortal realm is not a part of the 4 dimensional spacetime to which we are bound.

All a matter of faith of course which means as any atheist worth his salt would point out that there isn't any evidence for any of this conjecture, which is precisely the point. No evidence, no ability to make any statement about what is or is not possible in a realm of existence that we cannot observe.

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In my worldview, there is a wide gulf between saying "the LDS church teaches..." and saying "a few LDS members have said on rare occasion..."

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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In an earlier thread one of the side discussions was over the question of whether in LDS doctrine the Holy Ghost is understood to be a spirit son of Heavenly Father. Joseph Fielding McConkie makes this statement in The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, but as was pointed out the EM is not an official LDS publication.

I recently ran across this statement from Heber C. Kimball, one of the twelve apostles under Joseph Smith and a member of the First Presidency under Brigham Young:

"The Spirit that is on me this morning is the Spirit of the Lord; it is the Holy Ghost, although some of you may not think that the Holy Ghost is ever cheerful. Well, let me tell you, the Holy Ghost is a man; he is one of the sons of our Father and our God; and he is that man that stood next to Jesus Christ, just as I stand by brother Brigham" (JD 5:179).

I'm not sure if Mormons would consider such a statement as "official" LDS doctrine, but perhaps it shows that this idea is more representative of LDS teaching than the quote from the EM by itself may have suggested. It is interesting to note that Kimball made this statement in the context of asserting that the Spirit of the Lord was on him that morning as he was speaking.

Can you provide a point you would like discussed in regards to this OP? Thank you.

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Lehi,

By your reasoning, then, it should be possible for the Holy Ghost to be non-material. It should also be possible for the Holy Ghost to be in two or more places at the same time.

With God, all things are possible.

At least that's my belief.

Furthermore, since the material that is spirit is unknown to us, the fact is that we cannot reasonably try to use Newtonian, Einsteinian, or quantum mechanics physics regarding this unknown matter. If Jesus can get into a locked room with His explicitly material body, it seems that we can hypothesize that the Holy Ghost can take His (of unknown material) spirit body anywhere, anywhen He chooses to, without being subject to the limited set of laws we have discovered.

Lehi

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