STEVE - I have (had) a Mormon friend of whom I asked many questions about the church. The question that caused her to stop talking to me had to do with polytheism. As far as I know, the Mormon scripture (Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) has no references to more than one God, I have read in Articles of Faith and other writings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young that Jesus (Jehovah) and God the Father (Elohim) are two seperate Gods, and there are an indefinate number of Gods in the universe. She admitted that all this was true, but the Church was still monotheistic because it only worshipped one God. This was all just a pedantic matter of semantics to me, although she took it VERY seriously. The question that made her stop talking to me is, who is the one God that Mormons worship? Is it God the Father, the God of this planet? If this is true, why do Mormons call themselves the Church of Jesus Christ? Is it Jesus? If this is true, what happened to God the Father? Did He move or retire? I'm not a very religious person, but I think that Mormon doctrine is fascinating, and this question has been bugging me and keeping me awake at night.

JOEL - First of all no one in our church, not even the prophets, claim to perfectly know or understand the exact nature of God. What we do know of God has come by revelation, some visions, and what we are taught in the scriptures. Someday we will all be able to more fully comprehend who God is.
In regards to your question, part of the problem comes in how you define monotheism or polytheism. The definition of the word "polytheism" is "the belief in or worship of more than one God" (Websters), such as was practiced by the Romans or Greeks. People of other faiths claim that we are polytheistic because we believe that somewhere in the eternities there are multiple Gods over other universes. However, to us in this universe and at this time there is only one God or Godhead that we worship, and that is primarily God the Father, who is the Father of our spirits and towards whom our prayers are directed. I will explain this more later.
Therefore, while we are aware that there are other Gods, we do not worship those Gods as the definition of polytheism describes. More precisely we might be called "henotheists" which is defined as "the worship of one God without denying the existance of other Gods" (Websters). We worship only one God because we are not accountable to those other gods of other universes. You stated that we believe "there are an indefinate number of Gods in the universe". In fact we believe that there are an indefinate number of universes, each with its own God. Now what about the Godhead of this universe? LDS believe that the Godhead consists of three separate and distinct individuals; God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. Although God the Father is the central focus of our worship we do in fact worship all three of these individuals. Does this mean that we are afterall polythiestic? Not exactly. To the Mormon church the word "God" can refer to one of the members in the Godhead, or it is sometimes used in place of the word "Godhead" and means all three members as one team called "God". Therefore, in this sense we can say that we are monotheistic because God the Father, Jesus, and Holy Ghost are one God. They are separate individuals but they are considered one God in that all three are united in their thoughts, actions, and purpose, with each having a fulness of knowledge, truth, and power. This is the God (Godhead) that we worship.
Will this help you sleep better, or have I caused you to have nightmares now? :-)

STEVE - Thank you for your time in clearing that up for me. I should sleep better now, and I only have nightmares about work. However, it brought up another question in my mind (my mind is kind of slow in the first place, and contains just enough Mormon doctrine to be thoroughly confused). If you don't mind one more question, I never knew that Mormons considered the Godhead one person. I was under the impression that God the Father physically procreated with Mary (or somebody) to beget Jesus Christ, and although Jesus existed prior to that as a spirit being, never was part of the Godhead before this incident. How could a regular person merge with a God to make not two Gods but one as a Godhead?
Also, it has been many years since I read D&C, but I seem to remember the book naming some other place that Jesus now resides. It would probably help if I could remember the name of the place. I'll try to look it up.
There are lots of cult pages out there that discuss Mormon doctrine, but I don't necessarily believe what they say - I figure it's more accurate if it comes from the source.

JOEL - I don't believe I said that the Godhead is one person. The Godhead is made up of three separate individual Gods. "Godhead" is a word that describes a governing group of individuals, like a board of directors of a company. I did say the Godhead is one in purpose and in thoughts. Also the word "God" can be either singular, refering to one of the three, or it can have a plural meaning, refering to all three (like the word "deer").
It was God the Father alone who placed His seed in Mary, by some process that we do not understand that allowed Mary to retain her virginity. The power of the Holy Ghost was also required for this event to happen.
Our scriptures tell of a vision that the Prophet Abraham had where he saw that God dwells somewhere in space near a star that is called Kolob(Abr. 3:3). We don't know for sure if he meant it literally or figuratively. Since Jesus has a resurrected tangible body it makes sense that He might live at a physical and tangible place.
I appreciate that you are using correct sources to learn about the Church. There are a lot of websites out there that tend to distort the truth about our church in their efforts to steer people away from us.

Return to top
Return to Questions