[ Michael Davis' Virtual Office | Michael Davis' Mormonism Homepage | Mormonism Topical Index ]

References: Mormon vs Biblical Teachings about God

Bible quotations are from the New American Standard version. For information on sources of Mormon quotations, see the section, "Mormon Documents".

1. The Mormon church teaches that "God is only one of many gods", because human beings can progress to become gods and godesses in the celestial kingdom (see: Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball , pp.28, 51-53).


2. The Bible consistently declares that there now is, always has been, and will ever be only ONE God:

In some biblical passages, God does refers to Himself in the plural (Gen. 1:26, Is. 41:22-23), which orthodox Christians believe is consistent with the biblical concept of the Trinity.

The Bible occasionally refers to 'gods', in two other contexts:

  1. In the context of denouncing pagan polytheism: "For even though there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords, yet for us there is but one God" (2 Cor. 8:5-6). See also: 2 Chron. 2: 5-6 and Is. 41:23. These passages are often misconstrued by Mormon missionaries to argue that the Bible is only talking about the God of this planet and not 'gods' of other worlds. However, the Bible makes no reference whatsoever to other actual 'gods' anywhere in the universe.
  2. The Bible uses the word "Elohim" in a figurative way to refer to men carrying out a God-like function or holding God-like authority over others (Ex. 21:6; 22:8,9; Ps. 82:6). For example: "He [Aaron] shall be as a mouth for you, and you [Moses] shall be as God to him" (Ex. 4:16).


3. Mormon theology contends that Jesus, God the Father, and the Holy Spirit are three distinct Gods. This teaching is related to the testimony of Joseph Smith, who in one version of his first vision, stated that he saw two separate personages (the Father and the Son) in the form of men:

Other Mormon writers expound on the significance of this description:


4. The Biblical doctrine of the Trinity is an established tenant of orthodox Christianity, having been stated in most of the recognized creeds. Based on the reconciliation of many different scriptures, all of which must be true simultaneously, God is described as the Trinity, one God with three distinct persons, the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit. Although not succinctly stated in a single scripture text, this concept of God's nature is consistent with the entirety of the Bible. It asserts that three divine persons share the same essence (are one and the same God). They are all coequal, coeternal, and of the same nature. A few of the many relevant passages are given below:

Regarding God the Father, the Bible emphatically states:

Yet, both Jesus and the Holy Spirit are also identified with, and act as, God:

For more detailed explanations, the reader is referred to published articles by Grider and Martin, the C.A.R.M. webpage, and my section on Jesus.


5. The Mormon church teaches that "God was once a man who achieved godhood". This doctrine, "eternal progression" is central to Mormonism, as stated in one of their frequently-used quotes:

In Mormon theology, those who achieve godhood will have spirit children who will worship and pray to them just as we worship and pray to God the Father (Gospel Principles, p.290). A pictoral diagram of the Mormon view of eternal progression can be found here. This is not an isolated teaching: it has been taught by a large number of prominent LDS leaders, including its founders:

Mormon leaders have continued to teach this doctrine, as is evident by a few quotes from recent President and Prophet Spencer W. Kimball in official LDS periodicals:

Current President and Prophet Gordon Hinkley admits, albeit reluctantly, in recent interviews to believing this doctrine (San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, 4/13/97, page 3/Z13; Time magazine August 4, 1997):

Attempts to tone down the importance of this doctrine are reflected in changes made to the recent edition of the LDS book Gospel Principles, which is used to teach new members the doctrines of their church. Here is one example:


6. The Bible teaches that God is unchangeable and that He has eternally existed as God:

Mormons sometimes cite passages that speak of God 'repenting' (Gen. 6:6, Ex. 32:14, 1 Sam. 15:11,35) as evidence that He changes, yet none of the passages speak of a change in God's nature, only in an apparent change in His action.


7. In Mormon theology, "God has flesh and bones" and is therefore limited in capacity. According to Mormon authors:


8. God, as described in the Bible is omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. The Bible clearly states that God is Spirit and therefore invisible:

If God had a body, He would be limited by time and space (Beckwith), which the Bible says He is not:

While Mormons probably will not argue with the above verses, their view that God has flesh and bones precludes His possession of the other characteristics. To try to prove God's corporeality, Mormons often cite passages such as "the man Yahweh knew face to face" (Deut. 34:10); "Yahweh said...'I will...shield you with my hand...you shall see the back of me, but my face is not to be seen'" (Ex. 33:22-23). There are several serious flaws with this approach:

Mormons might also argue: 'What about the statements in Genesis (1:27, 9:6) that man was made in the image of God. Doesn't that mean God is like man?' No, these verses must be interpreted in context and in accord with the entirety of scripture, where very clear statements are made about God's spirit nature (e.g. Jn. 4:24, see above). For example, the Genesis phrase 'In the image of God' must obviously refer to man's intellectual capability, self-awareness, speech, spiritual nature, God-awareness, etc. (McElveen). For example, the Bible also states that "God is not a man" in the sense that "he cannot lie" (Num. 23:19).


9. The Mormon church teaches that we have a Heavenly Mother as well as a Heavenly Father.


10. The Bible simply makes no reference whatsoever to a Heavenly Mother nor to a wife for God.


11. Mormon leaders, Brigham Young in particular, have taught that Adam was God. Although this doctrine has been officially repudiated by the LDS church in recent times, it is well documented that it was consistently and repeatedly taught by Brigham Young and other church leaders. This serves to undermine their claims to authority as true prophets and spokesmen for God.

Brigham Young also said that when his sermons were corrected, they were scripture (Journal of Discourses, vol. 13, p.95). The one above was printed one year later in the Church's Millenial Star paper and in the Journal of Discourses where Brigham Young had to approve it. Hovever, he did not correct or amend it over the ensuing 25 years before his death in 1877. Much to the contrary, on June 18, 1873 the Deseret News printed another of his sermons in which he stated:

President Young felt strongly about criticism he received from others in the LDS Church, notably Orson Pratt, about this doctrine: "Now, let all who may hear these doctrines, pause before they make light of them, or treat them with indifference, for they will prove their salvation or damnation" (Journal of Discourses, vol.1, p.50-51).

These are only a few of the evidences that Brigham Young taught the Adam-God doctrine. Additional documentation can be found in the Journal of Discourses (vol.5, p.331-332) and in articles of the Millenial Star (vol.15, p.801; vol.16, p.482,530,534; vol.17, p.195) and Deseret News (June 14, 1873).

Most recent Mormon leaders deny that Brigham Young taught this doctrine, claim it was erroneously transcribed, or denounce it as false. However, because Young's statements can be extremely well documented, this undermines the credibility of one or both parties 12,13.

In fairness, Bruce McConkie went on to say (in the letter cited above): "He [Brigham Young] expressed views that are out of harmony with the gospel" (letter to Eugene England dated Feb. 19, 1981). However, the consequences associated with Young's false teaching are not clear, because McConkie goes on to say: "We will be judged by what we believe among other things. If we believe false doctrine, we will be condemned. If that belief is on basic and fundamental things, it will lead us astray and we will lose our souls...(2 Nephi 28:15). This clearly means that people who teach false doctrine in the fundamental and basic things will lose their souls. The nature and kind of being that God is, is one of these fundamentals. I repeat: Brigham Young erred in some of his statements on the nature and kind of being that God is and as to the position of Adam in the plan of salvation...what he did is not a pattern for any of us. If we choose to believe and teach the false portions of his doctrines, we are making an election that will damn us" (letter to Eugene England dated Feb. 19, 1981). It is not clear why the ordinary Mormon is damned for doing this, but Brigham Young is not. For thorough documentation and discussion of this topic, two references should be consulted: Turner and Vlachos).


12. The Bible states Adam was only a created being, the first man.

What is more, this idea is inconsistent with the clear teaching of man's fallen nature being derived from Adam (Job 31:33; Hosea 6:7; Rom. 5:14). Orthodox Christians will recognize most of Brigham Young's statements about Adam to be complete blasphemy.



[ Michael Davis' Virtual Office | Michael Davis' Mormonism Homepage | Mormonism Topical Index ]