The One God of the Bible versus the many Gods of Mormonism
To put it succinctly, the fundamental difference between The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints and Christianity is that one is monotheistic and the other is polytheistic.
Biblical Christianity is rooted in Ontological Monotheism which is the belief in one God by nature.
LDS religion is rooted in Polytheism which is the belief in more than one God by nature.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the Prophet Joseph Smith:
- LDS founder Joseph Smith in The King Follet Discourse, August 15, 1844 said:
“I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods”(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370; emphasis added).
This teaching was elaborated upon by the Prophet Brigham Young:
- Brigham Young, second President and Prophet said:
“There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through” (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).
This belief is fundamental to LDS theology:
- Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt declared:
“In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state” (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 37- 38; emphasis added).
In devastating contrast to LDS doctrine, Scripture teaches that there is only one true God. Yes, anything can be called a god, money, career, automobile, etc. But calling it a god, even worshipping it as a god, does not make it a God. Scripture teaches ontological monotheism, that is, by nature there exists one God. John 17:3 states: “And this is life eternal, that they might know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” All other so-called gods are false.
The apostle Paul makes a crystal clear demarcation of false gods and the one true God in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5, “There is no God but one… many ‘gods’ many ‘lords’ yet for us there is but one God.” Underlining this central theme of Scripture, Paul reminds the Galatians, when they did not know God- they were slaves to those who by nature were not gods (cf. 4:8).
Scripture teaches One God and Mormonism teaches many gods. This deviation essentially separates Christians and Mormons.
But aren’t Mormons just members of a Christian denomination? Although that perception is carefully cultivated, this must be stressed: there is a fundamental difference between Christians and Mormons. That fundamental difference between historic orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is that Christianity maintains the belief in one immutable, Eternal God by nature. He does not grow, change, or progress (cf. Mal. 3:6). He is God from all eternity, Creator (not organizer)1 of everything that exists. Absolute monotheism has always been the distinctive principle “norm” of Jews and Christians alike. Never has the church or any of the church Fathers held to the pagan doctrine of many Gods.
Pure monotheism (ontologically) is the core of Christian theology from which all other doctrines flow. The first lie ever told to humankind was from Satan, in the Garden of Eden. “Ye shall be as gods. . .” (Gen. 3:5). Satan is the originator of polytheism. The monotheism of the Jews is what separated them from all the pagan nations that accepted the existence of other Gods.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deut. 6:4; emphasis added).
Literally: “Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah.”
Mormons try to assuage their polytheism by claiming “we don’t worship those other Gods.” But, whether or not someone worships these “other Gods” is wholly irrelevant, the question is: how many Gods are there? For the Mormon there is an infinite number of Gods and for the Christian there is One.
To ensure that no one will be confused God explains again and again that no other Gods exists! Particularly in the book of Isaiah, where absolute monotheism (one God by nature) is incontrovertibly taught:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me (Isa. 43:10; emphasis added).
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of host; I am the first, I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa. 44:6; emphasis added).
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know of not any (Isa. 44:8; emphasis added).
God asks the question: “Is there a God beside me?” LDS doctrine would have to say yes, but God responds sharply: “NO, there is no God, I know of not any.”
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretched forth the heaven alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isa. 44:24; emphasis added).
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . (Isa. 45:5; emphasis added).
All throughout Scripture God consistently affirms that He is the only true God:
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightiest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him (Deut. 4:35)
Know ye that the LORD he is God (Ps. 100:3)
In the New Testament, one of the scribes had asked Jesus, “Which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus answered: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”
The polytheistic teaching of the LDS Church comes from their founder and first Prophet, Joseph Smith. He plainly defines the doctrine of the LDS Church teaching:
“God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens… it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and suppose that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, 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; and I will show it from the Bible. Here then, is eternal life–to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priest to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one. . . .”(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-347; emphasis added).
“I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods” (ibid., 370; emphasis added).
The Mormon God is a changing god that is not eternally God. What he was before, he is not today. Mormons say that God was once a man that lived on a planet similar to this one. He progressed and was exalted to become the God of this planet by His Father God Who Himself is an exalted man that lives on the planet Kolob.2
Without question, Mormonism and Biblical Christianity believe in different Gods: “For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . ” (Mal. 3:6).
The doctrine of many Gods then, will always be the primary and fundamental difference that excludes the Mormon religion from bona fide orthodox Christianity. Christianity is cradled in the same monotheism that was fundamental to Judaism: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”
1 In LDS theology God does not create anything He merely “organizes” eternal matter. Joseph Smith explains: “I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house–tops that God never had the he power to create the spirit of man at all” (Teaching s of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354).
Of course, this idea does not square with Scripture. The Bible presents God as Creator (e.g., Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; 45:18; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-18; Heb. 1:2, 10).
2 Pearl of Great Price: Abraham, 3:9.