Was God born according to Mormons?

by
September 5, 2011

Q:  Was God born according to Mormons?

Not too long ago, Bus wrote an excellent post aimed at answering this very question.  Here is the link: The Origins of God.

We do have quotes from some contemporary prophets that in more words or less say that God was once like man is now.  However, whether he was born, where it all began,  and so on, we just don’t know everything yet.  Nevertheless, we do have the promise from God that in the future all things will be made known (D&C 101:32-34).

Thanks for your question.

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37 Responses to “Was God born according to Mormons?”

  1. Patty

    Ben,
    One thing that has always baffled me, and maybe you could help me understand better.  You mentioned “contemporary prophets.”  Does it really make a difference if it’s contemporary or not?  Wouldn’t a true prophet who spoke in any given year; on a specific doctrinal issue (like the nature of God), always be true?  I mean, if Monson says something about God’s nature now, in 100 years, could what he said be trumped? I mean the truth about God’s nature will always be true and unchanging… you believe that, right? 

  2. Michael

    Patty makes a very good point.

    I would also point out that a contemporary prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley, refuted the idea that “God was once like man is now”.  It was during his interview with Richard Ostling for Time Magazine.

    Here is the relevant excerpt from President Hinckley’s interview with Time:

    Q: Just another related question that comes up is the statements in the King Follet discourse by the Prophet.

    A: Yeah

    Q: … about that, God the Father was once a man as we were. This is something that Christian writers are always addressing. Is this the teaching of the church today, that God the Father was once a man like we are?

    A: I don’t know that we teach it. I don’t know that we emphasize it. I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse. I don’t know. I don’t know all the circumstances under which that statement was made. I understand the philosophical background behind it. But I don’t know a lot about it and I don’t know that others know a lot about it.

    So I would suggest being cautious about declaring such an idea as doctrine when President Hinckley declared it as false in an international magazine.
     

  3. Jan

    Michael,
    What part of that quote do you read as President Hinckley refuting or denying it?  I didn’t get that at all.  I think he was very diplomatically saying, “don’t focus on it, we don’t.”  Which is exactly what Ben and Bus both put in their posts too–we don’t know but everything will be revealed.
    And Patty, I would caution you from putting limits on God’s timing.  He will reveal what He wants to reveal, when He wants to reveal it.  We accept revelation from our prophets no matter when they lived or whether it is a new idea or a restatement of the 10 commandments.  God doesn’t “trump” himself with his word, but He does build upon what has already been revealed.  It may seem to some as though it can’t be true if it isn’t all laid out from the very beginning, but we believe that God wants us to have faith in Him and His word especially when we don’t know the end from the beginning.

  4. Michael

    Jan, if we are not teaching it then it must not be a teaching of the Church and would, therefore, be a speculative conjecture.  If we are teaching it then President Hinckley was playing word games.  The reporter asked if the concept was the teaching of the Church.  President Hinckley said it is not a teaching and that it has not been mentioned in public discourse.  He also stated he does not know a lot about the concept.  If the prophet does not know a lot about it and states we do not teach it then he is repudiating what has been taught previously.  Therefore, it is not a doctrine of the Church.

    Accordingly, I cautioned Ben to be careful about presenting it as Church doctrine since President Hinckley repudiated it in an international publication.  He needs to present it as speculative conjecture in accordance with the prophet’s pronoucement. 

  5. Patty

    Jan,
    I really understand where you are coming from.  We need to learn algebra before we can comprehend calculus. I would agree.  However, there are certain constant truths in both areas of math that are constant and always true. If they weren’t, both disciplines of math would crumble and fall. You can have something to build on, but that is an entirely different thing than contradicting or changing the basic truths. (You mean 2+2 is no longer equal to 4?)
     
    Either God was or was not a man previously to being God; there are no other options. To have the early prophets say that absolutely He was, and now say, we don’t know is not building on a truth w/ further revelation – it is changing a truth. If in the 1800’s God was previously a man, but that truth changed; either one of the prophets was wrong and therefore false, OR God is not God and anything you and I do here is meaningless.

  6. Jan

    Michael,
    You are still changing the words.  He didn’t say “We don’t teach it” and “It isn’t in public discourse”.  He said, “I don’t know that we teach it. . .I haven’t heard it discussed for a long time in public discourse”.  He isn’t denying it.  I’m not trying to change his words or use it for my own position, but heavens, you are the one who brought up the quote!  At least read it straight. 
     
    And Patty, you are absolutely right.  (Who doesn’t love to hear that).  He either was a man or He wasn’t.  I don’t believe that the doctrine has been changed, I still learned about it in Institute and during Pearl of Great Price class in seminary.  Other people’s opinions about what should and shouldn’t be taught don’t have much weight with me.  If a prophet says it (and really, flat out says it *ahem, Michael*) then I’ll listen.  But I don’t think that has happened.

  7. Michael

    Jan, I am confused.  If you heard the concept in Institute and in Seminary THEN IT IS BEING TAUGHT IN OUR CHURCH!  Someone should have let President Hinckley know that!  How can it be taught in our seminaries and institutes and in our manuals and President Hinckley not know that it is being taught?  He is the Prophet of our Church.  His response to the reporter was incorrect.  He should have been made aware of it by his staff and by those in the COB so he was prepared for the interview.

  8. Bret

    This page does a good job in explaining this: http://en.fairmormon.org/Mormonism_and_the_nature_of_God/Hinckley_downplaying_the_King_Follett_Discourse

    As an aside, I’ve heard many concepts in Institute and Seminary that aren’t strictly church doctrine, but rather here-say or personal opinion of those present.

  9. Patty

    Jan and Bret,
    In compassion, I say: Micheal’s right. Can you not see the dishonesty? I just don’t understand why it doesn’t really bother you.
    When I was LDS, and Hinkley said it, I thought this: “Wait a minute… Yes you do know that it is taught, and emphasized! Heck, even I know that and I’m just a regular member. We actually do know a lot about it. (So do you Jan and Bret… eternal progression, purpose of  life, proving ourselves in this life, why we get a body, as man is…). It made me feel like we LDS were trying to hide something, I did not feel good at all about it.  Then, years later, after I left the church and Hinkley wrote the book “Standing For Something.” I had to chuckle to myself at the irony and seeming hypocrisy.  I thought, why could my leader whom I used to sustain not stand for something – perhaps the truth? If, after all, God used to be a man and it was true, why would anyone have to hide the facts? It should come as no surprise that the world WILL laugh and mock. Why would we expect any different? Why do we have to get the world to accept us? It did not accept Jesus, why do we expect them to accept us? Why try so hard to appear “normal?” Why cater to the world? Shouldn’t  I be more concerned w/ what God thinks, not man. Which is another PR thing that totally baffles me.  If the church were true, why do you need to market it? Why all the commercials about cool, normal people who are also Mormon? Don’t the PR guys know:
     
    James 4:4 “…know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
     
    Galatians 1:10 “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.?”

  10. Patty: In my view you’re just naive. The fact is that whether God was always fully divine before becoming mortal for a period of time (like Jesus) is not established LDS doctrine. Click my name and you’ll find plenty to read at my website to bring you up to speed on the theological and historical issues surrounding this question. Pres. Hinckley was not only right — he was dead on in his response as to the status of this question. 

  11. Michael

    Blake, 

    I am familiar with your writings.  With all due respect, I think you would agree that the phrase “established LDS doctrine” is an oxymoron.  As you are aware from your article at patheos, our Church does not have a theology or an establsihed LDS doctrine.  It just has current teachings and not-so-current teachings. That is part of the problem.  However, members have a firm expectation that our prophet would be privy to the mysteries and not use the words “I don’t know” in so many public pronouncements.

    I am really looking forward to Brother Givens upcoming book on LDS theology.  Finally, someone is being declarative about what makes Mormonism Mormonism.  No more wishy washy corporate-type of press releases from the LDS Newsroom.  

    We need an LDS Magisterium. 

  12. Michael: I can appreciate the desire for a magisterium, but I don’t share that desire — and in fact I think it would be a colossally bad idea. It would be filling in gaps through human reason without sufficient revelation to give us any basis for doing so. In a word, it is the apostasy all over again.

    Givens’ work may be informative but it won’t be doctrine or a basis for solving these problems. How would Givens’ work be different from mine in filling in these unanswered questions? It seems to me that refusing to answer questions when we don’t know the answer accurately reflects the simple fact that we don’t already know it all because we are waiting for further revelation.

    Pres. Hinckley was simply accurately reflecting the status of our knowledge regarding whether God had an origin as a fully divine being. I believe that LDS scripture will only support the view that God the Father has eternally been fully divine except during the period of time when he condescended to become mortal — just like Jesus did. I also believe that is the best reading of the King Follett Discourse and the Sermon in the Grove which has often been interpreted otherwise. I have discussed that issue at length in my 2nd and 3rd volumes of Exploring Mormon Thought.

    If members have an expectation that a prophet is omniscient and knows everything then they are not merely naive, but don’t understand the most basic notion of what is entailed by the official doctrine of continuing revelation. What makes Mormonism Mormonism is willingness to hear God’s voice when he speaks — not having all the answers because a complete revelation has already been given. 

  13. Michael

    Blake, 

    I acknowledge your points and don’t disagree.  However, as a gay Latter-day Saint living the law of celibacy, it is necessary for me to use both revelation and reason in maintaining my spiritual balance and my sanity.  I cannot discard reason as easily as you seem to be advocating.

    My issue is not with waiting upon further light and knowledge.  My problem is when declarative statements are made by Church leadership that do not correspond with the real-time experiences of persons and are presented as doctrinal when they are, in fact, opinions.  For example, Elder Spencer W. Kimball was one of many Church leaders who authoritatively and declaratively stated that my sexual orientation was a chosen attribute and that if I relied upon the Atonement and got married to a woman I would be successful in changing it.  They were adamant (and some still are) that it is not a god-given attribute (despite Isaiah 56 and Matthew 19:12).  However, reason and every fiber of my soul told me the opposite.  After 10 years of pure hell and a suicide attempt, I realized that God did not love me enough to allow the Atonement to change my orientation.  

    Not so, you say?  He does love me? Well then, the alternative is that the Church leaders who made such statements and wreaked such havoc on so many lives were telling a lie or were presenting opinion as doctrine.  If they did not receive their information about sexual orientation directly from the Lord then why would they present it as such?  If they were only giving their opinion, how could they be so blind as to not realize the source of their information?  And how, as Seers, could they not see the ramifications of their words?

    The same questions could be applied to the Priesthood ban, Celestial polygamy, the Saviour being married, etc.  I guess it comes down to credibility. 

    Why do we have the keys to prophecy, revelation and seership if they are not used to solve the pressing problems of today?  Why do we state “I don’t know” so often?  

    As a convert, I remain firm in my testimony of the Restoration, the Book of Mormon and Brother Joseph’s revelations.  The rest I take with a grain of salt.

    Let me ask you, President Hinckley’s pronouncement on earrings and tattoos, from whence it cometh? From God or from man? If from God, why has it been treated as doctrine?

     

  14. Michael

    I messed up the last sentence.  I meant “If from man…”

    P.S.  I have not yet gotten around to reading your series although I have heard good reviews of it. 

  15. Ben

    Hi Patty sorry for the delay.  When I was writing my post, I couldn’t find the right word.  Contemporary is often used to indicate “progressive”, “innovative”. or “new-thinking”, I just wanted to point out the time period of the statement, so contemporary sounded like a reasonable word choice.  

    Overall, this is a difficult topic, simply because we have very little information and yet because of the statements I mentioned people in and out of the LDS church want to pin down exactly where did God come from–has he always existed or did he become God?  Speculation on the topic is fun sometimes, but it doesn’t change anything.  My faith is rooted in the reality of Jesus Christ and his atonement that allows me to be reconciled with the Father.  I have no doubt about that, nor about the reality that God still speaks to a prophet today.

  16. cindy

    Ben you said, “Overall, this is a difficult topic, simply because we have very little information and yet because of the statements I mentioned people in and out of the LDS church want to pin down exactly where did God come from–has he always existed or did he become God?”
    Joseph Smith sounds pretty certain when he proclaims, “It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, …and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; …you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another,… from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings. and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power” (History of the Church, Vol. 6, Ch. 14, p. 305-6).”
     
    In contrast, God describes Himself in Isaiah 43:10 “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.” and again in Isaiah 42:8  “”I am the Lord; that is my name; and my glory will I not give to another.”

  17. Thaddeus

    http://en.fairmormon.org/Latter-day_Saint_scripture/Critical_proof_text/Isaiah_43:10

    cindy, you are straddling the line between earnest interlocutor and antagonist. Please review our comment policy and recall that our mission with this blog is not to quell every argument that can be leveled against us. We have neither the time nor the training. If you want rebuttals to your arguments, then please visit FAIRLDS.org and fairmormon.org. If you just want to show us we’re wrong, please leave.

  18. Cindy

    Thaddeus,
    I am sorry if I offended.  I have read your policy and think I am in line with at least this part of it, “Our purpose is not to prove that we are right, only to share what we believe and invite you to find out for yourself if it’s true.  We are also interested in your beliefs and how they compare to ours.” 
    I AM interested in what Mormons (you personally and the Mormon people in general) believe…and I was drawn here by the the title of your blog.  I love my Mormon friends and neighbors and want to share in true Christian fellowship with them! 
    However, I sometimes find a discrepancy between what I read here and what I find when I pick up any of the church materials given to me by my LDS friends.  (For example, the quote I included in my last post was directly from the gospel principles manual that my friend gave me for Christmas!) 
    How am I to understand that?  Do you not believe what the church teaches?  I am not trying to be difficult…I just truly don’t understand how a blog can say that you just don’t understand something when there is a clear teaching available?

  19. Willie

    Cindy said, “I sometimes find a discrepancy between what I read here and what I find when I pick up any of the church materials given to me…”

    As an outsider following this conversation, I see no discrepancy between the original post and the quote given.

    Original post: “We do have quotes from some contemporary prophets that in more words or less say that God was once like man”

    Quote: “…and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did”

    They seem to agree pretty well to me.

  20. cindy

    Thanks Willie,
    I agree…it’s not the initial posting with which I was struggling…it was this one…
    “Overall, this is a difficult topic, simply because we have very little information and yet because of the statements I mentioned people in and out of the LDS church want to pin down exactly where did God come from–has he always existed or did he become God?”
    I just can’t understand connection between teachings of the LDS church and personal belief…they seem so different…

  21. Ben

    Dear Cindy,

    In saying that this is a difficult topic, I was referring to the fact that there is simply much that we do not know.  I realize that Joseph Smith says that God was once a man like us and I knew this before I wrote the article.  We can infer from that He was born in the same manner as you and I; however, do we know that for sure? No.  We can assume, we can speculate, but we just don’t know definitively.  My thought is yes, he was born, but that is my opinion.  

      

       

  22. cindy

    Hi Ben (great name, by the way…that is my son’s name!)
    One of the things my Mormon friends drill into me as a benefit of the church is that of living prophets.  They always tell me how fortunate they are to know the truth because of the living prophets.  That idea seems to be borne out as I read about living prophets in the gospel principles manual where  it says,
     
    “A prophet is a man called by God to be His representative on earth. When a prophet speaks for God, it is as if God were speaking DC 138. A prophet is also a special witness for Christ, testifying of His divinity and teaching His gospel. A prophet teaches truth and interprets the word of God. ”
     
    Given the fact that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were prophets, how can anyone in the church be unclear after reading their clear teachings about God in the following?
     
    “If Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and John discovered that God the Father of Jesus Christ had a Father, you may suppose that He had a Father also. Where was there ever a son without a father? And where was there ever a father without first being a son? Whenever did a tree or anything spring into existence without a progenitor? And everything comes in this way. Paul says that which is earthly is in the likeness of that which is heavenly, Hence if Jesus had a Father, can we not believe that He had a Father also?” Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith
    “What, is it possible that the Father of Heights, the Father of our spirits, could reduce himself and come forth like a man? Yes, he was once a man like you and I are and was once on an earth like this, passed through the ordeal you and I pass through. He had his father and his mother and he has been exalted through his faithfulness, and he is become Lord of all.” Essential Brigham Young

  23. Cindy: Like I said before, your statements seem to me to be naive: First, the reference to the Father having a father may well refer to the time that the Father was on another planet as a mortal and refer to an earthly father.  Further, that the Father did as Christ means this: before the Father was mortal he was fully divine without beginning until time T2 when he became mortal and until T3 when he died; and from T3 and thereafter he was fully mortal again. We don’t know anything about the Father’s mode of birth from revelations and thus must remain silent. 

    In the Mormon view Christ was fully divine before becoming mortal.  He then became mortal for a period time. He then died and was resurrected. Before his mortal birth he was fully divine. After his resurrection he was fully divine again. During his mortal ministry he was potentially but not fully divine. I take it that John 17:5 teaches this view (as well as Phil 2): 

    Here is how I understand this statement. (1) Before his mortal birth Jesus enjoyed a fullness of divine glory with his Father. (2) Christ prayed for it to be restored and so didn’t have the same glory as a mortal; otherwise, it couldn’t be restored to him; (3) the glory was restored to him. It is the same with the Father — for as Joseph said: “the Son only does what he saw the Father do” (quoting the gospel of John). Thus the Father also was divine eternally before his mortal birth the Father was divine; he set aside the fullness of his divinity for a time while mortal; and after his mortality he was again fully divine. However, the Father has always existed as the personality that he just is. It follows that there as not a time when God first became God or was born as God. This is a possible reading of the first passage you quote (though there are several historical sources behind these quotes and none of them say exactly what this quote taken from the Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith (which was edited by Joseph Fielding Smith).

    The second passage from Brigham Young simply is not Church doctrine. You are under the mistaken impression that anything a prophet says is somehow established church doctrine. That just isn’t so.  So you see these passages are not quite as clear as you seem to think.   

  24. larryco_

    “Shew us the Father and it sufficeth it”.  Just as Jesus sidestepped that question – as the author of John has Him doing on several occasions, although the discussion of “oneness” that flows from it for the next 4 chapter is wonderful – I think many of us are in Philip’s camp in wanting to know much more about the God to whom we pray to.  If it is “life eternal” to know Him, it seems like we have precious little, even with continuing revelation, to go on.  Thank you for this discussion. 

  25. Michael

    “You are under the mistaken impression that anything a prophet says is somehow established church doctrine. That just isn’t so.”

    Blake, you are totally correct in this statement but you still refuse to entertain the question of why doesn’t the prophet make it abundantly clear that what he speaks is opinion if he is speaking his opinion or doctrine if he is speaking doctrinally?  Why, even today when we have learned from the mistakes of the past, do the prophets still refuse to make clear the difference when addressing us?

    Respectfully, I will ask again – President Hinckley’s pronouncement on earrings and tattoos, from whence it cometh? From God or from man? If from man, why has it been treated as doctrine?

    Until we can be certain as to what is doctrine and what is opinion, there will ALWAYS be the looming question of credibility.  The Brethren are the only ones authorized to state what is doctrine.  If they want to water everything down and just provide a brief summary to avoid having to engage in theological thinking, then the church will continue to lose its uniqueness and will continue to lose strong members that get little spiritual nourishment from the child-like answers to perplexing problems of our age.  We have become a corporation and have abandoned our religious roots.

  26. Michael: Your question is one that suggests a simple distinction between doctrine and inspiration. The prophets can be inspired to guide us without having to make their pronouncements official doctrine. Those who have ears to hear will hear.  

  27. Michael

    A simple distinction between doctrine and OPNION is very much possible.  Using the word “inspiration” as a substitution for “revelation” is a little disingenuous.  Given your intellectual attainment, I assume are very familiar with the difference.  Doctrine is revealed in the Word, in Revelation, and in confirmation of Reason (the lifting of the priesthood ban is an example of the confirmation of reason as was the discontinuation of polygamy).  Inspiration comes from many sources and is not a substitution for revelation from our Lord.  It motivates us to a particular course of action or a particular thought, it does not reveal that which is unknown or hidden.

    You are still avoiding the questions I pose.

  28. Michael: I think you are mistaken about what constitutes “doctrine.” What is accepted by common consent as scripture is the basis for doctrine. There are many revelations that are not scripture. There is inspiration that is not scripture. As I parse it, revelation is an inspired propositional statement; but there are types of inspiration that are not proposition in form and thus not doctrine or scripture; but inspiration nonetheless. 

  29. Michael

    You are talking in circles but let’s move forward with your explanation rather than bicker about the subject.  If we accept your definition then it is wholly proper to ask if the “inspiration” that President Hinckley received on earrings & tattoos comes from the Lord and reflects His Will or if it is merely the suggestion of an older gentleman based upon the cultural norms under which he was raised.  Which is it?

    And using your definition above does nothing to address the multiple statements of “inspiration” from prior Church leaders concerning the subject of homosexuality and the pronouncements they declaratively gave for its origins and for solving the “problem”.  Were those statements of “inspiration” from the Lord and did they reflect His Will?  If so, why are they now being repudiated through new statements of “inspiration” on the same subject?

    The issue remains one of honestly stating what is doctrine and represents the Will of the Lord and what is opinion/inspiration/non-canonical revelation and subject to change (although I don’t understand how any type of “revelation” cannot be considered scripture if we are told “inspired” talks from General Conference represent scripture without a formal vote of common consent as called for in the D&C). 

  30. cindy

    Dear Blake,
     
    Perhaps I am naive in my belief about the nature of God, and given what the Bible says, I hope I am!
    “For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?  For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
    Given the many questions of what is doctrine with which the church seems to struggle (as I read your ongoing conversation with Michael)  I will stand by God’s own testimony of Himself:
    You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

  31. Nef

    Cindy

    I am confuse on  your understanding of that scripture, do you believe that Christ has a father who is a God? if you do, do you believe that Christ himself was maid divine and partaker of God the fathers glory?.  

    I don’t understand the scripture you  are quoting, it seems to refute ether Christ’s Godliness or that fact that he has a father who is also a God and who is a different person then Christ and who gave Christ of his glory.  

    I am not saying that the scripture is wrong, I am just saying that I don’t think it means what you seem to think it does (although it seems very clear cut).

    I don’t know what the scripture means but I know that there most be another explanation, otherwise the Lord’s  Prayer get very confusing (which cut be that I don’t understand the Lord’s Prayer).  Also the first article of faith gets confusing.

    I almost always like your post so am exited to see what you thing, you have maid my testimony about the Christ his love and the doctrine of the restore church grow before so I like reading what you have to say, makes me think.    

  32. Nef

    Micheal 

    You are right, some (or maybe many) of the things church leaders say is their opinion, and how they interpret the scriptures.I know that they don’t know everything, if they did they would have all the knowledge God has.  And so like the rest of us (but with much more experience, knowledge and I believe closeness to God) they interpret what God thus tell them.

    I know that when Alma is talking about the Resurrection to his son in Alma 40 specially verse 5 he admits that he does not know all God knows, and even says that it does not even matter if there is a first second or third resurrection (it obviously matter to another prophet latter on).  all he care about was the time between (which did not matter to prophets before otherwise he would not had been wondering).

    So, were does that leave us? are we to follow the prophets? and what are we to follow? how can we trust? how do we know ? well I think that the heavens are open to us to, and that we can, if it interest us, ask God to confirm or not a certain point or explanation. after all, salvation is personal and we are to work our own salvation.  

    With out personal revelation to confirm what the prophets say what would it matter if a prophet says “thus says the Lord”, if we don’t have a personal wittiness or the truthfulness of it. 

      I don’t know if the earrings and tattoos was doctrine or not, if I had to guess I would say no because of what you mention of it not been presented and formally excepted by a common vote in front of the body of the church. It has not been such a temptation to me  that I had to pray for personal revaluation to confirm its everlasting doctrinal wight, it makes since to me and it seems to go along with the scriptures that talk about my body been a temple. There has been other things say over the pulpit that I have gotten confirmation  on, and I know that if I break them, I will be bringing damnation to my soul. 

    I guess what am saying is that, if the prophets (modern or not) say something that you don’t agree with, go to the Lord, and if you truly and honestly know that the Lord told you different, then go with that.  You better be darn sure though, cause is your salvation on the line not the prophets.    

  33. cindy

    Dear Nef,
    I love thinking about God, so thank you for your question!  I believe what the Bible says about Him…that first of all, there is only one God:
    Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. Isaiah 43:10
    “I am the LORD, and there is no other; besides Me there is no God,” Isaiah 45:5
    “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, And there is no God besides Me,” Isaiah 44:6
    And second of all, that the father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are all called God at least one time:
    Father Called God-Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Phi 1:2
    Son called God- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1,

    For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, Col 2:9

    Spirit called God-But Peter said , Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? 4 Whiles it remained , was it not thine own ? and after it was sold , was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.  Acts 3
    So The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God—but there is only one God.  The Trinity consists of three Persons…They are existed eternally and have always been in perfect relationship with one another.  One did not begin to exist earlier than another.
    While I don’t completely understand, I believe what the Bible says and I recognize God is infinitely greater than I am; so I should not expect to be able to fully understand Him.
    I can however, worship Him…and I do!

     

     
     
     
     

     
     
     
     

  34. Nef

    Thanks for the scriptures Cindy, I am glad that we agree that we just don’t understand them well enough, and that two seemingly contradicting scriptures can both be true, and when we do come to an understanding of them they will make since.

    I too can’t wait for the day when I am able to understand all God has in store for us, I think I understand more and more every day but I have such a long way to go.  Meanwhile I will trust in my testimony of God and my testimony of his prophets. 

       

  35. cindy

    Hi Nef,
    I don’t really think the scriptures I referenced are contradictory…just that they describe a God that is bigger than my understanding.  It is important to think about the ramifications of our belief about the nature of God. 
     
    I understand the the LDS church has reconciled the scriptures through the doctrine of a progression from man to god.  That doctrine diminishes the gospel of Christ as our Savior in at least two ways: in the forward direction we must add our works to salvation for our exaltation to godhood, and if we look backward we recognize that god became god by being an obedient man. 
     
    That idea brings up all kinds of issues, one of which is the idea that god was a sinner.  See http://www.mrm.org/god-never-sinned for an interesting discussion of that idea.
     
    I wish you well in your exploration of the nature of our wonderful, eternal, all powerful God!

  36. Bus Gillespie

    Having just read through this entire thread I would like to contribute what “this Mormon believes”:  Regarding the issue of Pres. Hinkley’s interview, I think one must always consider the audience when determining what is being said.  In speaking to a national magazine Pres. Hinkley was perhaps more cautious than he might have been at a Family Home Evening with his children and grandchildren gathered around.  The family would come to the room with some shared understanding of the general attitude of the church and he might be a bit more revealing in his explanation.  A non-LDS person reading an article without the background knowledge would have a hard time understanding the concept and would probably come to false conclusions without getting a fairly full explanation of Mormon doctrine.    Personally I’ve been asked, “What goes on in the LDS Temples?”  That’s a terrifying question because to truly understand it requires a few hours of explanation, so I gave a fairly short answer about covenants and such which barely scrapes the surface.
           I believe that I’m not unusual in the Mormon community to say that what Joseph Smith taught is true.  Keep in mind that he was speaking in a grove of trees in Nauvoo to a group that was working hard to complete a temple.  He was opening up a broader perspective to them as to why they were building a temple and what its purpose was, along with comforting them for the loss of King Follett who had been tragically killed.  The concept of progression that is fundamental to the teachings of the church along with scriptures mentioned in earlier posts make the concept of God’s progression reasonable.
             Finally I have always been intrigued by what appears to be human nature to create a god that is unattainable.  I’ll just mention one example:  The Buddhists.  Buddha found enlightenment, over the centuries Buddha was elevated to a god status, a few more years down the road and along come the saints or bodhisattvas who act as intermediaries between men and god.  I’ll finish with a quote from Nelson Mandela which I have often contemplated regarding our relationship to God.

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us: it’s in everyone. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” 
    ― Nelson Mandela 
     

  37. cindy

    Dear Bus,
    I think God calls us to confess with our mouths everything we know about Him!  Who wouldn’t want to proclaim our Lord?  Even Gospel Principles seems to intimate the need for complete transparency and honesty about our beliefs:
    “We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest” (Gospel Principles,
    2009, p. 181).”