Saturday, August 26, 2006

Are Mormon's Polytheists

Those outside the LDS Church contend that the LDS belief that there are three Gods in the Godhead makes us polythiests. Though dictionaries "basing defintions on term defintions devised by many years ago in theological seminaries", generally define polytheism as a belief in the extistence of more than one god. As a LDS Member I refuse to accept this description of our religious beliefs based on the term meaning we worship. The reason is that the commonly accepted meaning that most people give this term differers radically from its technical defintion. The commonly accepted meaning of polytheism is typically associated with multiplicity of deities as worshiped by primitive pagan religions. This system of gods is totally foreign to the LDS beliefs and is considered by the LDS Church members to be an apostate perversion of the original truths revealed to Old Testament prophets beginning with Adam.

To worship is to give profound reverence, respect and love to a Devine Being; to give praise and honor; to recognize the omnipotence and the divine qualities of deity; to be cognizant of divine grace, love and concern; and to be desireous of maintaining a closeness, a pesonal relationship and an ongoing communication. Latter-day Saints worship God the Father; Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God the Father and the Holy Ghost. They regard each of the three as possessing the divine attributes of Godhood. They believe each of the three plays a significant role in directing the affairs of mankind here on earth and that their influence upon mankind will be eternal in nature, continuein in the exalted realms of heaven.

The major reponsibilty for the central role in creation of the earth delegated by the Father to Jesus Christ. [Heb. 1:2; Col 1:16] Jesus also governs the affairs of mankind as the Old Testament Jehovah, then came to earth in the meridian of time in the role of Savior and Redeemer. He will return in a glorious Second Coming and rule as King of Kings and Lord of Lords [Rev 19:12] He will judge all mankind. [John 5:22-29] When he has completed and perfected his work, he will present it to the Father, then be crowned with glory and given power to reign forever [D & C 76:106-108] as the Father's appointed "heir of all things" [Heb 1:2]

Yet Christ has directed us to acknowledge God the Father's overall authority over man, since he is the literal Father of our spirits [Heb 12:9; Matt 5:48; Acts 17:29] Though we recognize Jesus' role as assigned administrator of the earths's affaris, our savior himself instructed us to address our prayers to the Father [Matt 6:9] and to always pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ. [3 Nephi 18:19-24] . Thus, our worship of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost is primarily channeled to the Father.

Bible Scripture speaks of a "God of gods and Lord of lords" [Deut 10:17 , (see also) Ex. 15:11; 18:11; Ps 97:9; 135:5; 136:2 138:1; Dan 11:36] and Paul taught that while there were many gods, mortals of this earth should worship only God the Father [1 Cor 8:5-6; Col 3:17] The LDS do in fact worship God the Father in the name of Christ as is taught in both ancient and modern scripture [Matt 6:9; John 15:16; 2 Nephi 32:9; Jacob 4:5; 3 Nephi 18:19; Moroni 10:4; D&C 18:40; 20:19, 29, Moses 1:17]

The LDS also literally accept the many scriptural passages which tell us that man, as spirit offspring of God the Fatehr, may eventually be granted the powers of Godhood [Rom 8:16-17; Gal 4:6-7; Titu 3:7; Heb 1:14; 11:7; James 2:5; Matt 5:48; D&C 76:50-60; 132:19-20]. However while recognizing that man has the God-given potiential to attain personal exaltation and godhood, we worship only God since we recognize that their attaining of this exalted station by men and women is a future event.

The LDS recognize that there is a oneness of unity and purpose of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost [John 17:20-23]. Evangelicals, Non Denominationalists and some other Protestant Trinity beliving sects believe that the Father Son and the Holy Ghost in some manner which they are unable to "comprehend" or satifactorily define one God, and hence they call themselves monothiestic. Yet they attempt to play word games, asserting that the LDS are polythiestic in their worship of those same three beings. It is hypocritical to call Protestants monothiests, and LDS polythiests since we worship the "Godhead" in the same manner they worship the trinity.

6 comments:

jonathan said...

Thanks for reminding me of rabbit trails. It has been a little while since I have tried to debate mormons and their beliefs. It was hard for me to imagine that I focused so much attention to a little creed, when in fact I do not need to defend it. I only need to defend the word of God and show the distinct difference it has compared to mormon theology.

In the definition you provide Mormons are no more polytheist than most in regards to their worship of the Godhead and others reverence for Trinity. However, the church clearly teaches that God's purpose is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man? [book of Moses] What does this mean. When I was LDS (I am what you would term an apostate, anti-mormon, or former member and am headed to OD) I was taught that it meant that immortality is the everlasting life given to man because of Christ's defeat of death with His ressurection and that eternal life was obtaining the life of God, becoming a god. Is this still taught?

If it is and continue to follow that train of thought if Joseph Smith, jr has obtained that degree glory then he has infact become a god. Since mormons revere him [see your defintion of worship]. That would constitue worshipping another god.

Thereby, making Mormons polytheist. Worshipping our God and creator and also Joseph Smith, jr.

jonathan said...

off Topic. Atleast Ed, we have many of the same interest, though. Republican, Tom Clancy, History, and Technology.

Even if we disagree about religion.

Have you ever read Lord of the Rings?

Wer62 said...

jonathan said...
Thanks for reminding me of rabbit trails. It has been a little while since I have tried to debate mormons and their beliefs. It was hard for me to imagine that I focused so much attention to a little creed, when in fact I do not need to defend it.

Wer62 Replies...
Your welcome, yes you must remained focused on the goal. I agree.

jonathan said...
I only need to defend the word of God and show the distinct difference it has compared to mormon theology.

Wer62 Replies...
Funny.. reverse that for me. [grin] Actually more to the point for me is to show the Truth in Gods word. I would assume you meant to say that too..

jonathan said...
However, the church clearly teaches that God's purpose is to bring about the immortality and eternal life of man? [book of Moses]

Wer62 Replies...
Actually I did not mention this in my article at all? It means however that God wants to see all his Children saved and in heaven. Simple and to the point.

jonathan said...
I was taught that it meant that immortality is the everlasting life given to man because of Christ's defeat of death with His ressurection and that eternal life was obtaining the life of God, becoming a god. Is this still taught?

Wer62 Replies...
Not exactly. We are not obtaining "the life of God" although we may become a god. We will always be subject unto the Father. We know this. That stated what does it mean to inherit "all" that the Father has?

Latter-day Saint doctrine that eternal life, in its fullest sense, is synonymous with becoming a god, and detractors attmpt to show that the idea is impossible.

Your assumption is in error if you believe, "Christianity has never defined eternal life as godhood".

A fair assessment of what the Early Church Fathers meant when they spoke of one God and when they spoke of the meaning of eternal life can only be gained from a personal examination of the texts. Following is a cursory synopsis of what was believed about eternal life by the Fathers of the early Christian church (emphasis added):

1. "We have learned that those only are deified who have lived near to God in holiness and virtue." [Justin the Martyr, First Apology 21.]

2. "The Word of God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who did, through His transcendent love, become what we are, that He might bring us to be even what He is Himself." [Irenaeus, Against Heresies V, preface]

3. "Then having become pure in heart, and near to the Lord, there awaits them restoration to everlasting contemplation; and they are called by the title of gods, being destined to sit on thrones with the other gods that have been first put in their places by the Savior." [Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis VII, 10.]

4. "For we shall be even gods, if we shall deserve to be among those of whom He declared, 'I have said, Ye are gods,' and, 'God standeth in the congregation of the gods.' But this comes of His own grace, not from any property in us, because it is He alone who can make gods." [Tertullian, Against Hermogenes 5.]

5. "The first-born of all creation, who is the first to be with God . . . is a being of more exalted rank than the other gods beside Him, of whom God is the God, as it is written, 'The God of gods, the Lord, hath spoken and called the earth.' It was by the offices of the first-born that they became gods, for He drew in generous measure that they should be made gods, and He communicated it to them according to His own bounty. ... 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." [Origen, Commentary on the Gospel of John II, 2-3.]

6. "The Deity (by condescension) does not diminish anything of the dignity of His divine perfection having made you even God unto his glory." [Hippolytus, The Refutation of All Heresies X, 30.]

They try to explain that it is impossible for a finite being to become infinite. Of course, they seem to forget that "with God all things are possible" (Mark 10:27). It appears that God as he is known to Mormons is much more powerful than God as he is known to evangelicals because Mormons believe he is able to change our finite nature to an infinite one, while that task is obviously impossible for the God of the evangelicals to accomplish.

Scientists say that the bumblebee is aerodynamically incapable of flight. Yet it flies. Just because all the facts are not in does not necessarily mean that a principle is not true.

I have promised another persons I would write an entire article concerning the LDS belief that we may become gods.

jonathan said...
If it is and continue to follow that train of thought if Joseph Smith, jr has obtained that degree glory then he has infact become a god. Since mormons revere him [see your defintion of worship]. That would constitue worshipping another god.

Wer62 Replies:
There is a huge difference between revere and worship.

rev-er-ence ( P ) Pronunciation Key (rvr-ns) n.
1. A feeling of profound awe and respect and often love; veneration. See Synonyms at honor.
2. Reverence Used as a form of address for certain members of the Christian clergy: Your Reverence

wor-ship ( P ) Pronunciation Key (wurshp)n.
1. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.
2. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.

See my article The LDS Worship Joesph Smith - Oh Really?

Wer62 said...

jonathan said...
off Topic. Atleast Ed, we have many of the same interest, though. Republican, Tom Clancy, History, and Technology.

Even if we disagree about religion.

Have you ever read Lord of the Rings?


Wer62 Replies...
Sounds good. I even think we have a similar intellect. It is refreshing to debate with someone who knows how to debate as well as knows and understands the doctrine.

I have read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy and as you might expect have the DVD's as well. I am pretty much a Sci-Fi junkie when I get the time to devote to it.

Wer62

jonathan said...

I am also a Science Fiction fan.

off topic: I have observed a fascinating phenomonen associated with the Christian and Mormon debate.

Some Christians, including myself, search through reams of ancient writings of past mormon prophets and use statements to show the difference between modern day Mormonism and some of the teachings of that day and the error both modern and early mormon teachings have compared to mainstream Christian thought.

And some Mormons, search through reams of ancient christian writings to find the difference between modern Christianity namely protestants and early church teachings and in finding early church teachings that are parallel to modern mormon thought.

So why are so many searching through the back of each others' theological closets. I imagine that both want to show the error of the other and the complete contradiction of their faith, and thereby win them to their point of view. Just an observation. Is this not the case?

Wer62 said...

jonathan said...
So why are so many searching through the back of each others' theological closets. I imagine that both want to show the error of the other and the complete contradiction of their faith, and thereby win them to their point of view. Just an observation. Is this not the case?

Wer62 Replies...
First my appologies, I am just getting home from work after a long 17 hour day. I am only going to respond to this one comment tonight and pick up again tomorrow.

Actually Jonathan you bring up a good point. I have seen the ping pong affect in debate for years.

I personally think now that you have an account you should cut and paste your previous response and put it up as an article for consideration on your own blog.. It is thought provoking. ;-)

Furthermore (probably to serious for me tonight) I hope I am giving a "overall view" not just an Early Church History view. I know I have spent a lot of personal time studying the first 200 years after Christ's death and even own my own copy of the Early Church Fathers writings.

Jonathan, you may feel free to write my personal e-mail account if you need to..

You and Rick have made the petition to move to a member only posting site. I have considered it but have not made any decision yet. I will be on vacation soon and I have to go out of town to sell some of my dads property. During that time I will be posting a BLOG article and temporarily making it where I have to "review" the comments. Just know this is not the way it will remain. I just don't want any "profanity" or who knows what to show up unexpectedly.

It is sad that a one or a few have to ruin it for the majority.