Mentoring Handbook Chapter 3

22 October

WHO THEN IS GOD?

     OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was easy enough to begin planning the outline of this booklet, sitting down to fill in the essentials was quite another matter!  There are so many attributes of God when I began thinking about Him that I was immediately in a humbling position of feeling very inadequate to even write a few things.

Being a Mormon demands that you are intimately aware of what line not to cross in your life with the “Heavenly Father”.  There is nothing more repugnant to a member of the Church than to see and/or hear non-Mormons talk about God as their “Daddy”.

It is therefore essential to always keep your concordance or lexicon handy to give the “demonstrative example” (show the example – demonstrate) of the nature and character of God as told to us from the Bible.  It seems that when researching LDS doctrine for their “official” teachings of God, I found Joseph Smith’s attempts to describe Heavenly Father to be the exact opposite of everything the Bible states.

Now you may be tempted to think that the poor ex-Mormon you’re mentoring probably doesn’t know all these things, but don’t be so sure about this my friend!  If that ex-Mormon was in the Church for any length of time there is a ninety-nine percent probability the teaching was touched upon.

The main “problem” I’ve encountered when mentoring an ex-Mormon in this regard is that they will be learned of all the teachings, but they don’t have a lot of experience when it comes to the recorded history of the Church.  So let’s take a look at what the LDS Church says about God and compare it with what the Bible says.  For the sake of brevity I am listing only a handful of examples and remember; in addition to my examples, use your favorite verses about God in your rebuttal!

“The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other words, light and truth.” – D&C 93:36

“Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God. I say that is a strange God anyhow—three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization.” – Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 372.

“Though Latter-day Saints extensively use the scriptures to learn about God, their fundamental knowledge concerning him is based upon the Prophet Joseph Smith’s first vision, the Prophet’s subsequent revelatory experiences, and individual personal revelation.” – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 546

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” – D&C 130:22

“Yet God the Father is not one in substance with the Son or the Holy Spirit, but is a separate being. The Father existed prior to the Son and the Holy Ghost and is the source of their divinity. In classical terms, LDS theology is subordinationist; that is, it views the Son and the Holy Ghost as subordinate to and dependent upon God the Eternal Father. They are his offspring.” – Encyclopedia of Mormonism, pg. 548.

Yet, if we accept the great law of eternal progression, we must accept the fact that there was a time when Deity was much less powerful than He is today. Then how did He become glorified and exalted and attain His present status of GodhoodAs he gained more knowledge through persistent effort and continuous industry… His understanding of the universal laws continued to become more complete. Thus He grew in experience and continued to grow until He attained the status of Godhood. In other words, He became God by absolute obedience…” – Gospel Through the Ages, pg. 114-5.

     As you can see, the god of Mormonism is nothing like the God of the Bible!   Joseph Smith also said this about God;

 “God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible,—I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form—like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man..”  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pg. 345

     It may take the ex-Mormon some time to understand and get used to the idea that God is spirit as Jesus says in John 4:24;

God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

     God is not a man as it says in Hosea 11:9b;

“…for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.”

      Num. 23:19;

 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? Or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

     God does not change.  Malachai 3:6 says;

For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”

      As I’ve stated in other places throughout this handbook, one of the most incredible passages in the Bible I discovered after getting saved was Isaiah 43:10-11;

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.  I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”

     For me it couldn’t be plainer.  There is only one God; He didn’t become a god; and there’s no way anyone here could be working towards godhood.  He has exclusive rights to the office and has no future plans to relinquish His throne!  So the message is understood by the ex-Mormon, make sure to place an emphasis on God’s other attributes.

He is the only God just as much as He is a righteous God.

He cannot change and He is holy.  He is the Creator of the universe in addition to being our judge.  He created man to have fellowship with him, but understands and loves us enough to send His Son to be the sacrificial Lamb we needed in order to be found worthy in His presence.  He is a loving Father and provides us with all things necessary.

     Jesus gave us an example for prayer in several different scenarios and described to us how we can have a relationship with God the Father.

 God’s understanding is infinite as the Psalmist says in 147:5

He has all the power

 He is merciful and gracious as David tells us in Psalm 103

He is compassionate, Exodus 2:23-5

He is omnipresent, Psalm 139:7-10

      It is absolutely impossible to list all His attributes as you can well imagine, but encourage the new Christian to seek out just one new attribute about God each week.  Teach them how to investigate that attribute by looking for cross references and how to praise Him for being God!  For even more ideas on His attributes see the article on our site: “Is God a Mormon?”

     The rest of this chapter has been written by a dear friend of mine – Pastor Elbert Sorrell.  Pastor Elbert shepherds a flock of fellow Christians in Ohio and happens to be an ex-Mormon as well.  He has imparted infinite wisdom and given me pearls of great price in solidifying my relationship with Jesus throughout the past year.  I was honored that he would agree to add his insight as a pastor and an ex-Mormon, but mostly as a child of the Most High!

 Pastor Elbert Sorrell

Grace Brethren Community Church

West Alexandria, Ohio

“Eternal life is more than just length of days; but is a personal relationship with our Creator and our Saviour.”

     In dealing with the mind of a Mormon on any subject you will need to seek the Lord’s guidance and ask for wisdom. Remember that they have been filtering everything through a system that has taught them to “follow the prophets”.  (1)

They are beginning to explore an area that, until now they thought they had already figured out, even if many of them found no true peace in it. Ideas about God that you may take for granted may take many months for them to work through. Everything in the mind of the Mormon is suspect. Even his own thought processes. They will often feel that they cannot trust their own conclusions because if they have been deceived once, it could happen again.

      One concept that will be new to the Mormon or ex-Mormon’s theology is the idea that the true God of the Bible has always existed, as we see in Ps. 90:2;

 “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world’ even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.”

      This is one of the strongest verses in the Bible that we can read that points to the reality that God did not “become God” through acts of obedience to a Heavenly father as Joseph Smith taught in his theology. (See Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pgs. 345-346.)

We find by an appeal to the Bible, that God has always been who He is.  Another concept is what is often called the “universal fatherhood” of God.  Mormons believe that God is the father of all and is simply working out a plan that He had set in motion before we were ever physically born; their proof is such Bible verses as James 1:17 and Hebrews 12:9.

In considering these verses the point that is being made by the writers is that God is the Creator of our spirits. However, if that were enough then the words of Jn.1:18 would be of no consequence when he said; “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Also Jesus’ words to Nicodemus in John 3:3 make it abundantly clear that man’s mortal birth alone is not to be equated with a relationship to God;

 “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

      To become a child of God, one must have a new birth. After the resurrection Jesus referred to His Father as “my God and your God” (John 20:27).  Although He still retained a unique relationship with the Father, He had secured for us, by His death and resurrection, the right for us to come into a new relationship with the Father as well.

 Gal.4:6 says; “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

      The word Abba is a very intimate and personal term. It is the simple equivalent of calling God “Daddy”.  Eternal life is more than just length of days; but is a personal relationship with our Creator and our Saviour.  In the mind of the Mormon this kind of familiarity with the Heavenly Father is unthinkable, but this is the kind of relationship that God desires with us.

In no way do we attempt to lessen God, but simply try to show that the God of the entire universe desires for us to have an intimate relationship with us. One of the greatest things to stress to the Mormon or ex-Mormon as you mentor him is that his knowledge and fellowship with God will continue to grow due to the gift of eternal life.  Remind them of Jesus’ own words in John 17:3;

 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

 Questions For Reflection

 What Bible verses have you seen in this study that you have never seen before?

 What has God said in His Word to you in this section?

 What major conflicts do you see between LDS teachings on God and the Bible?

 Have you developed a plan for dealing with your own inner conflicts as the Holy Spirit reveals them to you? (Read 2 Tim. 2:15)

Chapter 4. The Truth about Jesus

© 2010 Life After Ministries, Inc.

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