Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Has LDS Doctrine Changed?

A new and unusual line of attack has arisen lately against LDS doctrine, and that is the idea that the doctrine of the Godhead of the LDS Church has “changed,” or “evolved” from its original beginnings in the Book of Mormon, to what was taught later on in its history. The assumption is that the theology of the Godhead of the Book of Mormon is essentially “Trinitarian,” meaning that it teaches the Trinity of traditional Christendom. Mosiah 15:1–7 is cited as a case in point. Then Joseph Smith supposedly later on devised the plurality of gods, and separate identity of the members of the Trinity. That of course is not true. The following points need to be noted with regard to the LDS theology of the Godhead:

1. Mormonism is
not “anti-Trinitarian”. Mormonism believes 100% in the Trinity—the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. The LDS first article of Faith states:

We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
What it does not believe in is the Trinity of post-Apostate Christendom—the “three in one and one in three” idea. Mormonism believes in the Trinity of the Bible, which consists of three separate beings united in mind, purpose, and will.

2. Mosiah 15:1–7 does
not teach the Trinity of post-Apostate Christendom. The doctrine that it teaches is vastly different. If the passage is read carefully, that soon becomes apparent. Furthermore, the same doctrine, expressed in different words, is taught also in D&C 93:1–4. (Read the complete section for more comprehensive insight.) So there has been no “change” in LDS doctrine of the Godhead between the Book of Mormon and the D&C. The doctrine remains the same.

3. The doctrine of the unity of God, or of the members of the Trinity, as it is found in the Book of Mormon, is equally as much taught in the Doctrine and Covenants and the Pearl of Great Price. D&C 20:17, 27, 28; 68:8; Moses 1:6, 24; 5:9; 6:66 are some good examples. Thus the idea that doctrine has “changed” between the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Pearl of Great Price, is not true. (If these folks were to be believed, one would think that LDS didn’t believe in the Book of Mormon any more!)

4. At the same time, the doctrine of the separate identity of the members of the Godhead is equally taught in the Book of Mormon, as it is in the D&C and the Pearl of Great Price. 2 Nephi 31:11, 12, 14, 15, 18; 3 Nephi 11:6–8 are some examples. Indeed, Joseph Smith received his First Vision, in which the doctrine of the separate identity of the members of the Godhead was revealed to him for the first time (more comprehensively in fact than to any previous prophet), long before he had translated the Book of Mormon or organized the Church.

5. LDS doctrine
has not changed and does not change. It has increased and progressed, which is a different thing. God teaches mankind a little bit at a time, not all at once. Knowledge comes “line upon line, and precept upon precept”. God continually revealed to Joseph Smith new truths which He had not revealed to him at an earlier period; but that did not mean that doctrine had “changed”. You may learn something in tenth grade which appears to contradict what you learned in first grade. That is not because “truth” has changed, but because you know more. There is nothing revealed in the Book of Mormon that actually contradicts what was subsequently revealed in the D&C or the Pearl of Great Price. But God has revealed additional truths as time went by.

6. As far as the Bible is concerned, it is just as easy to go through it, and to compile a comprehensive exegesis supporting the doctrine of the plurality of Gods, or of the Trinity, as it to compile one supporting their unity.


Anonymous said...

"Mormonism believes in the Trinity of the Bible, which consists of three separate beings united in mind, purpose, and will."

Okay, do you realize what you have done. You say as a Mormon you believe in the Trinity of the Bible but the quotes you post are all from the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price. Not one of those is the Bible, unless you count the writings that Joe plagarized.

zerinus said...

The purpose of the post was not to show what kind Trinity LDS believe in, but whether it has changed or not. The answer is that it hasn't.


OnHech said...

Just a couple questions OW about catholic belief in the trinity as stated in the nicean creed. How do you inter prate such concepts/events/scriptures such as:

When Jesus atoned for our sins was PRAYING to heavenly father(or i guess presumably to himself if they are literally physically one). And asked for the cup to be taken, but saying "Not MY will but THINE be done"

Or when he is on the cross and cried "Father why has thou forsaken me"

Or Stephen when he saw Heavenly Father and Jesus on his right hand.

Or the scripture saying "no man knows the hour, not angels, not the Son, but the father"(with capitol 'S' which is talking about the second coming.

Or when Jesus says at the last supper
"I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I."

I have a whole book of instances such(which I seemed to have misplaced tonight :( ) as these and am going through the New testament again to try to get a more comprehensive list. I would just really like a logical viewpoint on these scriptures. THX

Good Job on making this blog big Z. Need more of them. I'll check back on it later. And boy they are jumping all over you on the catholic blog,i was going to go on there and help a bit but i don't want to have to register and all that, good luck though, lol!