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God as One in the BOM


enummaelish

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The Book of Mormon clearly contains a surplus of references to the notion that God is one. These statements have led critics to assume that the theological view presented in the BOM is inconsistent with later doctrinal truths advocated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Dan Vogel provides a classic case in point:

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Alma 11 seems to exclude the existence of more than one true God

Obviously passages exist in the Book of Mormon which seem to present this view, otherwise people like Dan would have nothing to write about, however, portions of the Book of Mormon clearly distinguish between a council deity who as judge sends forth a separate divine being to serve as mediator including the opening chapter of the BOM.

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I'm very interested in this topic as it one day occurred to me that the revelations of Joseph Smith seems to suggest that the Father is the soul of Jesus Christ while the Son of God is his flesh which constitutes what is called "God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth" (Mosiah 15:4,5) and that there was an interesting intersection with modern quantum physics.

The revelations of Joseph Smith, contrary to his teachings, seem to suggest that the Only Begotten is a part of Christ (D&C 29: 1,42 where Christ refers to his only begotten) that fills the universe (D&C 88:6 where Christ is the "he [that] is in all and through all things), both creating and sustaining all that we see around us (see also Mosiah 15:15).

The trinity as I see it discussed in the revelations of Joseph Smith

1. Father

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In several of the places in the BoM, where it states the "Father, Son and Holy Ghost are One God", it is used as part of a definition of the "doctrine of Christ" (see 2 Ne 31, and 3 Ne 11 for examples).

In these examples, the speaker explains the relationship of the Godhead, and then states that we, too, must become one with them and each other. Steps for becoming one with them are: Faith in Christ, Repentance, Baptism by Immersion for the Remission of Sins, and Reception of the Holy Ghost.

In fact, Christ's sermons to the Nephi, found from 3 Nephi 11 to the end of the book, are a series of sermons teaching the Nephites how to become one, even as the Godhead are one. "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father or I am", "What manner of men ought ye to be? Even as I am", and there are many other examples in 3 Nephi. 3 Nephi 27 talks about the importance of unity in the Church, including in its name. So strong were these teachings, that in 4 Nephi, the Nephites finally catch on, and for 200 years live in a united brotherhood.

We believe the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate beings, but they are One Godhead that does all things virtually as One. This relationship is the strongest and most powerful relationship of all, and we are to seek after such relationships with God and our fellow men.

Hope this helps

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Is this the translation from the article? It sounds quite interesting.

I should read it, since I have some questions- Is the author positing a distinct different between shaphat and riyv? If God only judges while sitting, why then is he here both standing ('omed) and "taking his stand" (nitsav) to judge (ladiyn)?

The context makes it seem that YHWH is conducting his lawsuit against the people, but this translation implies he is standing up for them.

That was my own rendering of the verse from BHS. Parker mentions the passage only in passing:

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I appreciate that Mormons believe the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are three separate beings and I respect that view. I just find it interesting that there is a thread running through the revelations of Joseph Smith that seems to relate well to how some physicists view the world.

Incidently, my wife pointed out to me that in 3 Nephi 11:23-27, the name of Jesus Christ is Father Son and Holy Ghost and that the Father is in the Son consistent with the idea of the soul being in the body as I outlined.

Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them ... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ... And after this manner shall ye abaptize in my name; for behold ... I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

Has anyone else noticed this.

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I'm glad the separateness of the Father and Son shown 1 Nephi 1 was pointed out.

Is there any significance to the fact that in verse 9 the "O" in "One" is captialized? I know that back in JS's day, subjects and objects in a sentence were often capitalized as a matter of course, not just proper names.

I would also like to point out that nowhere in the BoM is it shown that the Father and Son are the same God and that if we hold both the Bible and BoM to be the word of God, then the only verse set between the two that explains how they are one is John 17:11, 20-22, that is to say, one in purpose only.

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Incidently, my wife pointed out to me that in 3 Nephi 11:23-27, the name of Jesus Christ is Father Son and Holy Ghost and that the Father is in the Son consistent with the idea of the soul being in the body as I outlined.

Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them ... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ... And after this manner shall ye abaptize in my name; for behold ... I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

Has anyone else noticed this.

I think it useful to look at the whole thing:

23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them

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Incidently, my wife pointed out to me that in 3 Nephi 11:23-27, the name of Jesus Christ is Father Son and Holy Ghost and that the Father is in the Son consistent with the idea of the soul being in the body as I outlined.
Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them ... in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost ... And after this manner shall ye abaptize in my name; for behold ... I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

Has anyone else noticed this.

Addison,

Was your use of elipses intended to obscure the meaning or were you just trying to shorten it? If it was not intentional, then maybe I can explain. You should have included the whole thing:

21 And the Lord said unto him: I give unto you power that ye shall baptize this people when I am again ascended into heaven.

22 And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you.

23 Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words, and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them—Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them.

24 And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying:

25 Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

26 And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water.

27 And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.

Do you see the answer? Baptising in His name simply meant that they were to baptise with His authority. He gave them this authority and authorized them to act in His name and then gave them the exact wording and procedure in order that there would be no further disputations. These verses, frankly, do not portray a meaning anything close to that which you propose.

T-Shirt

PS. Oops, looks like BC beat me to it. :P

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I'm very interested in this topic as it one day occurred to me that the revelations of Joseph Smith seems to suggest that the Father is the soul of Jesus Christ while the Son of God is his flesh which constitutes what is called "God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth" (Mosiah 15:4,5) and that there was an interesting intersection with modern quantum physics.

The revelations of Joseph Smith, contrary to his teachings, seem to suggest that the Only Begotten is a part of Christ (D&C 29: 1,42 where Christ refers to his only begotten) that fills the universe (D&C 88:6 where Christ is the "he [that] is in all and through all things), both creating and sustaining all that we see around us (see also Mosiah 15:15).

The trinity as I see it discussed in the revelations of Joseph Smith

1. Father

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Regarding the capitalization of the One in 1Ne1 verse 9, I was just reading an analysis of this last night by John Welch (in the collection of essays called Lehi's Jerusalem or some such), in which he referred to the One being capitalized in the 1981 edition.

Does this mean that it was NOT capitalized before 1981?

His analysis was that the One who descended could have been any number of angels sent as messengers from the Divine Council, but that capitalization of the word confirms it as a title, and should be understood as a reference to Jesus Christ. He then footnotes Bro. Marian G. Romney asserting that the One is indeed Jesus Christ in a conference talk circa 1971.

Regarding the One God in the BofM, I take note of the confusion that Dan Vogel and others have used to show that JS held a Modalist view of God (as Addison here also appears to do). But I think that scholars like Margaret Barker who have demonstrated a similar confusion of titles in the OT should be referenced before we start accusing JS and the BofM writers of not having a proper understanding of God.

The point is that they do, indeed, understand but use the titles interchangeably for the different members of the Godhead to demonstrate certain points when necessary.

Beowulf

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I guess there are two ways to view these rather interesting verses - one mystical, one traditional.

I don't know if anyone has seen W.E. Hill's "My Wife and My Mother-in-Law"? In this one drawing it is possible to see both a lovely young lady and decrepit elderly woman. The images are not mutually exclusive but at first, most people can see only one or the other - thus disputations can arise. Similarly, we can see nature as separate forms, either wave or particle, or we can discover

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I would like to comment on the nature of "light/intelligence/truth". I'm wondering what people think this is? If it is mind or consciousness, then might it be referred to as "he" as well as "it"? The reason I ask it that D&C 88 suggests that the light/intelligence/truth that is in and through all things including human beings is called "Jesus Christ" and "he" least four or five times. This is what I mean by the mystical thread running through the revelations. Here something that fills the immensity of space and dwells within us but is referred to as though it were a single person

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I would like to comment on the nature of "light/intelligence/truth". I'm wondering what people think this is? If it is mind or consciousness, then might it be referred to as "he" as well as "it"? The reason I ask it that D&C 88 suggests that the light/intelligence/truth that is in and through all things including human beings is called "Jesus Christ" and "he" least four or five times. This is what I mean by the mystical thread running through the revelations. Here something that fills the immensity of space and dwells within us but is referred to as though it were a single person … as if God dwelt in the entire universe as a soul in a body. For example in 2 Cor 6:16 it states, "And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them." This is pretty impressive stuff, at least in my mind.

Addison,

It just seems to me that you are straining too much to see something that is not there. These verses in 2 Cor. are referring to something very different than what you imply, IMO.

Read the whole chapter and then read Ephesians 2, taking special note of the last few verses, and see if you can find a good definition of what Paul means by "temple". This will deflate your speculation, I think.

T-Shirt

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I would like to comment on the nature of "light/intelligence/truth". I'm wondering what people think this is? If it is mind or consciousness, then might it be referred to as "he" as well as "it"? The reason I ask it that D&C 88 suggests that the light/intelligence/truth that is in and through all things including human beings is called "Jesus Christ" and "he" least four or five times. This is what I mean by the mystical thread running through the revelations. Here something that fills the immensity of space and dwells within us but is referred to as though it were a single person
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Jesus said, "If those who lead you say to you, 'See, the kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the kingdom is inside of you, and it is outside of you." (The Gospel of Thomas 1:3)

Actually, both inside and outside makes more sense than just inside. So does this mean someone else sees the mystical thread running through in the revelations of Joseph Smith?

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Did you read the discussion which Dan and I had on this subject here?

Thanks Ben for posting the link. I just finished reading through the thread. Originally, I had briefing glanced at one posting by Dan, but should have followed the arguments more closely as they were very well done.

Paul Hoskisson has written a nice article on Mosiah 15 that is unfortunately somewhat obscure:

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Thus, if Paul is correct and he and Abinadi agree, then Abinadi is saying Jesus is "the Father" because he waw conceived by "Christ" - i.e. the father is the soul, the body is the flesh of one God, Jesus Christ. At least this seems to be a (although perhaps not the only) reasonable way to see this scripture.

Of course you are correct. That is not the only way to see this scripture--nor is it the correct manner by which to interpret Abinadi.

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