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Mormon Trinity

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  • Mormon Trinity

    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
    Does it bother you at all that, in the beginning, Smith pretty much taught the Trinity, and only subsequently came up with a more Modalistic version, then the "many gods" version?
    Nope. It does not bother me at all.

    For starters, let's not pretend that Christians have always represented the "Trinity" consistently. There is STILL debate amongst Christians concerning that doctrine.

    Second, I would say that LDS views are often considered similar to a version of the Trinity, one that has been called "Social Trinitarianism".

    While I have McConkie's quotes open from the thread, let me pull a few more from him, because he supposedly represents "hard line" Mormonism.


    "Thus there are, in the Eternal Godhead, three persons–... These three are one — one God if you will – in purposes, in powers, and in perfections."

    "Though each God in the Godhead is a personage, separate and distinct from each of the others, yet they are ‘one God’”


    He also says,

    "First, be it remembered that most scriptures that speak of God or of the Lord do not even bother to distinguish the Father from the Son, simply because it doesn’t make any difference which God is involved. They are one. The words or deeds of either of them would be the words and deeds of the other in the same circumstance."

    But keep in mind that he says "would be... in the same circumstance". However, they are not technically in the same circumstance. Members of the Godhead have different "roles". For example, God the Father is the Father of my spirit, and Jesus Christ is the Redeemer of my sins.

    Explanations of the Godhead get tricky, because we say that there are "three". On the other hand, we say that they are "one". Well, in what sense are they three, and in what sense are they "one"?

    When discussing their unity, you end up sounding like a modalist. When discussing their diversity, you end up sounding like a tritheist.

    I think that one main difference between LDS and mainstream Christians is when it comes to terms like "BEING" and "SUBSTANCE".

    Mormons do not believe that God the Father and Jesus Christ are the same being nor do we believe that they are the same substance. We instead would say that Jesus Christ is the image of the same Being/Substance.

    Another way to look at it is this:

    I know that this is impossible, but let's pretend for a moment that God the Father (and/or the Holy Spirit) were suddenly to drop out of existence tomorow. In that scenario, Jesus Christ would STILL be fully God. (i.e. the FULNESS of Deity would still exist in Christ.)

    I am not sure if most Trinitarians would hold that position.



    -7up

  • #2
    Originally posted by seven7up View Post
    Nope. It does not bother me at all.
    Of course not.

    For starters, let's not pretend that Christians have always represented the "Trinity" consistently. There is STILL debate amongst Christians concerning that doctrine.
    When you say "that Christians have", are you allowing that Mormons are NOT Christians?

    But, more to the point, I don't pretend that I'm a prophet who got the word DIRECTLY from God for the purpose of restoring the REAL Gospel.

    Smith began with a view of the Trinity pretty consistent with the theology of his day. In just a very short time, that changed considerably. Did God get it wrong at first? Did Smith not get that instruction from God directly?
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      When you say "that Christians have", are you allowing that Mormons are NOT Christians?
      I was including a time when "Mormons" did not even exist.

      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      Did Smith not get that instruction from God directly?

      Are you asking whether or not Joseph Smith received from God every theological concept all at once at the very beginning? Even the disciples who walked and talked personally with Christ often misinterpreted what Jesus had said. Much of those revelations from the Savior did not become clear to them until later. If you are going to make a case against Mormonism, first check and see if your complaint can be used against your own religion.


      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      Did God get it wrong at first?
      I know of many Jewish folks who would would ask Christians whether or not God "got it wrong" when revealing Himself to Old Testament prophets. The answer is no, but people often misinterpret things or make assumptions.

      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      But, more to the point, I don't pretend that I'm a prophet who got the word DIRECTLY from God for the purpose of restoring the REAL Gospel. ... Smith began with a view of the Trinity pretty consistent with the theology of his day.
      Even a prophet must obtain truth line upon line and precept upon precept. But before we go any further, can you give an example of what you are referring to specifically? Please quote the "Trinitarian" or "Modalist" teachings that you feel are associated with Joseph Smith.

      -7up

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by seven7up View Post
        I was including a time when "Mormons" did not even exist.
        Ah, OK.

        Why the blue? This is reminiscent of Jeff, and really makes it difficult to quote, sometimes.

        [COLOR="#0000FF"]Are you asking whether or not Joseph Smith received from God every theological concept all at once at the very beginning?
        No, this is in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity - which is what you titled the thread.

        Even the disciples who walked and talked personally with Christ often misinterpreted what Jesus had said.
        They weren't charged with the responsibility of transcribing golden plates that had the "restoration" of the Gospel on them.

        Much of those revelations from the Savior did not become clear to them until later. If you are going to make a case against Mormonism, first check and see if your complaint can be used against your own religion.
        Agreed. But none of them claimed to be THE Prophet of God to set things straight, so that doesn't count.

        I know of many Jewish folks who would would ask Christians whether or not God "got it wrong" when revealing Himself to Old Testament prophets. The answer is no, but people often misinterpret things or make assumptions.
        Is our ENTIRE interchange going to be this way? How bout let's get back to the question.

        Even a prophet must obtain truth line upon line and precept upon precept.


        But a TRUE prophet doesn't get a revelation of the "restoration" of the Gospel, which subsequently gets drastically changed into something totally different.

        But before we go any further, can you give an example of what you are referring to specifically? Please quote the "Trinitarian" or "Modalist" teachings that you feel are associated with Joseph Smith.

        -7up
        AH, so AFTER all the rabbit chasing, we want to come back to the question at hand?

        Can we PRETTY PLEASE abandon the color? I'm colorblind, so it just makes things difficult to read.
        Last edited by Cow Poke; 04-26-2014, 08:03 PM.
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by 7up View Post
          Explanations of the Godhead get tricky, because we say that there are "three". On the other hand, we say that they are "one". Well, in what sense are they three, and in what sense are they "one"? When discussing their unity, you end up sounding like a modalist. When discussing their diversity, you end up sounding like a tritheist.
          This reminds me. Back when I had a lot of time to be clever, I was on a forum where a Trinitarian debated a Oneness theologian (essentially Modalist) in one thread, and that same Trinitarian debated a Latter-Day Saint on another thread. I went through both threads and then posted, in the Trinitarian's own words, a debate against himself. Very amusing.

          Originally posted by 7up View Post
          Are you asking whether or not Joseph Smith received from God every theological concept all at once at the very beginning? Even the disciples who walked and talked personally with Christ often misinterpreted what Jesus had said. Much of those revelations from the Savior did not become clear to them until later. If you are going to make a case against Mormonism, first check and see if your complaint can be used against your own religion.
          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          this is in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity - which is what you titled the thread.
          Allow me to rephrase then:

          Are you asking whether or not Joseph Smith received from God every concept (related to the nature of the Godhead) all at once at the very beginning?

          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          They weren't charged with the responsibility of transcribing golden plates that had the "restoration" of the Gospel on them.
          Were they (apostles and prophets), including Old Testament prophets, charged with relaying to the people the nature of God?

          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          Is our ENTIRE interchange going to be this way?
          I have found that mainstream Christians often attempt to hold the Mormon religion up to standards that their own religion cannot hold up to . So yes, I suspect that all of our discussions will probably be this way.

          Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
          How bout let's get back to the question.
          Yes ... the question. I asked:

          Can you give an example of what you are referring to specifically? Please quote the "Trinitarian" or "Modalist" teachings that you feel are associated with Joseph Smith.

          -7up
          Last edited by seven7up; 04-26-2014, 10:59 PM. Reason: small addition

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by seven7up View Post
            Allow me to rephrase then:

            Are you asking whether or not Joseph Smith received from God every concept (related to the nature of the Godhead) all at once at the very beginning?
            And AGAIN I answer, no --- I'm specifically referring to what I THINK should be a very important and fundamental doctrine -- Who JESUS is.

            Were they (apostles and prophets), including Old Testament prophets, charged with relaying to the people the nature of God?
            Sure! But NONE of them claimed to be THE prophet who was denouncing all religions as false, and establishing the ONE TRUE religion.

            I have found that mainstream Christians often attempt to hold the Mormon religion up to standards that their own religion cannot hold up to . So yes, I suspect that all of our discussions will probably be this way.
            So, Joseph Smith was no more special than anybody else, and should hold no more weight than anybody else who claims to hear from God?

            Yes ... the question. I asked:

            Can you give an example of what you are referring to specifically? Please quote the "Trinitarian" or "Modalist" teachings that you feel are associated with Joseph Smith.

            -7up
            Are you not aware that, initially, Smith taught the Trinity?
            "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

            Comment


            • #7
              And, I have to add... it AMAZES me the extent to which Mormons have to go to downplay the significance of their "Prophet" in order to excuse his foibles.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by seven7up View Post
                I have found that mainstream Christians often attempt to hold the Mormon religion up to standards that their own religion cannot hold up to . So yes, I suspect that all of our discussions will probably be this way.
                Here is what your religion says about my religion, and all others:

                Source: Extracts from History of Joseph Smith - from the LDS website


                19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

                © Copyright Original Source



                So, PERHAPS the REASON that "mainstream Christians often attempt to hold the Mormon religion up to standards that their own religion cannot hold up to" is because of what Joseph Smith declared.

                Was he wrong? Do you believe he spoke the truth in that citation?
                "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  And AGAIN I answer, no --- I'm specifically referring to what I THINK should be a very important and fundamental doctrine -- Who JESUS is.
                  Tell me who you think Jesus is, and tell me where you think Joseph got it wrong.

                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  Sure! But NONE of them claimed to be THE prophet who was denouncing all religions as false, and establishing the ONE TRUE religion.
                  Please explain to me why you think that every concept related to the nature of the Godhead could have been understood by Joseph Smith all at once (and at the very beginning) when he was being used as an instrument to restore the Church of Jesus Christ. In other words, why do you think that the concept of "line upon line and precept upon precept" should not apply to Joseph Smith?

                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  So, Joseph Smith was no more special than anybody else, and should hold no more weight than anybody else who claims to hear from God?
                  IF Joseph Smith was a prophet and apostle of God, then we should view him in a way similar to other prophets and apostles. That is simple enough, and fair enough.

                  Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                  Are you not aware that, initially, Smith taught the Trinity?
                  First of all, there were some issues in my first post on this thread that may need to be addressed before we discuss what both you and I even think the "Trinity" is.

                  Once we do that, perhaps we can continue, and you can provide ... let's say 3 citations.

                  You can choose the 3 quotes that you feel most strongly support your argument that Joseph taught "the Trinity". And we can go from there. Sound fair?

                  -7up

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    Here is what your religion says about my religion, and all others:

                    Source: Extracts from History of Joseph Smith - from the LDS website


                    19 I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and the Personage who addressed me said that all their creeds were an abomination in his sight; that those professors were all corrupt; that: “they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of men, having a form of godliness, but they deny the power thereof.”

                    © Copyright Original Source

                    To begin, I would say that teaching the "commandments of men" as "doctrines" is abominable before God no matter who is teaching them. I can even think of a couple examples where Mormon leaders taught "commandments of men", and certainly that was abominable in the sight of God. This often occurs when there is a doubt or a question, and then people insert their own assumptions, interpretations, or inventions. To that end, I quote one of the LDS articles of faith which admits that there is still a lot that we do not know,

                    "We believe that (God) will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God."

                    Now, attempting to stay on topic, I believe that when it comes to the nature of the Godhead and the nature and relationship of the members within, I believe that people who developed many of the doctrines found within different denominations of Christianity have done so without revelation or authority from God.

                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post

                    So, PERHAPS the REASON that "mainstream Christians often attempt to hold the Mormon religion up to standards that their own religion cannot hold up to" is because of what Joseph Smith declared. Was he wrong? Do you believe he spoke the truth in that citation?
                    Yes. I do believe that the creeds were formed by corrupt professors. I do not believe that the Nicene Creed, for example, was created in a process which was approved of by God. I do not believe that it is authoritative or inspired. I do not believe that such creeds are revelation from God, and I believe that many ideas within those creeds and within "historic Christianity" teach things which are contrary to the truth, and would be considered offensive to God. Indeed, if Joseph Smith was right, then it wasn't Joseph saying this about these "commandments and creeds" of other churches, it was God saying this.

                    However, I would like to add that in many, many cases, the teachings of other Christian denominations is not all that different from Mormonism. I live in Texas, like you, where there are not many LDS. I listen to Christian radio, and depending on the pastor, 80-95% of the time I find myself agreeing with what is being taught. Yes there are time where I say to myself, "hey, that's not right. I wish that they knew what I know." Certainly, you feel the same about my religion. Hence, we are discussing our differences on this forum.

                    Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                    And, I have to add... it AMAZES me the extent to which Mormons have to go to downplay the significance of their "Prophet" in order to excuse his foibles.
                    Cease not to be amazed. I consider all of my own weaknesses and flaws and often wonder, "What would I have done if I had been raised in that culture and placed in those very difficult circumstances? Would I have done any better?" Sure, it is easy to look back and snipe and say, "oh, well I would of done this or that." But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

                    Joseph Smith often tried to remind people that he was only an imperfect man. One familiar story is when a boat of converts was arriving from England. He put on the dirtiest most ragged clothes he could find and went out to welcome them and said, "What do you think of Joseph Smith?"

                    A man responded, "I know that he is a prophet of God."

                    Then Joseph said something to the effect of "What if I told you that I am Joseph Smith? ... If you are expecting anything more than a human being, you may as well get right back on that boat and go back to England."

                    -7up
                    Last edited by seven7up; 04-27-2014, 04:21 AM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by seven7up View Post
                      Tell me who you think Jesus is, and tell me where you think Joseph got it wrong.
                      That's not important -- what's important is that Smith had a "clean sheet" upon which to write what God said about Jesus. A reasonable person would THINK that, given this incredibly important "ALL religions are corrupt and I'm here to set things straight" moment, that Smith would have gotten it right the first time.

                      After all, why did God pick Smith to condemn all religions and establish a new one, if Smith was "just another guy" who couldn't get things right the first time?

                      Please explain to me why you think that every concept related to the nature of the Godhead could have been understood by Joseph Smith all at once (and at the very beginning) when he was being used as an instrument to restore the Church of Jesus Christ.
                      Because God is not the author of confusion. Smith SUPPOSEDLY had things handed to him "on a golden platter" (so to speak) and professed to be speaking directly for God.

                      In other words, why do you think that the concept of "line upon line and precept upon precept" should not apply to Joseph Smith?
                      "line upon line" isn't "line, then, oooops, not that line but THIS line...." It's consistent. It builds. It's not an excuse for "getting it right" AFTER "getting it wrong" while claiming to speak for God.

                      IF Joseph Smith was a prophet and apostle of God, then we should view him in a way similar to other prophets and apostles. That is simple enough, and fair enough.
                      I suspected I would get "the party line", but I had thought you were a little more "straight shooter" than you appear to be. You can't have your cake and eat it too -- either Smith was who he said he was, or he was a fraud. I believe he was a fraud. Just like Christ was either who He said He was, or He was a fraud -- I believe He was the Christ.

                      First of all, there were some issues in my first post on this thread that may need to be addressed before we discuss what both you and I even think the "Trinity" is.

                      Once we do that, perhaps we can continue, and you can provide ... let's say 3 citations.

                      You can choose the 3 quotes that you feel most strongly support your argument that Joseph taught "the Trinity". And we can go from there. Sound fair?

                      -7up
                      Sure --- will have to be later this afternoon, as I'm headed to Church shortly.
                      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by seven7up View Post
                        However, I would like to add that in many, many cases, the teachings of other Christian denominations is not all that different from Mormonism.
                        Actually, I think the Mormon Church is trying everything it can to be "more Christian", and Mormon teachings are becoming more like Christian denominations.

                        I live in Texas, like you, where there are not many LDS. I listen to Christian radio, and depending on the pastor, 80-95% of the time I find myself agreeing with what is being taught. Yes there are time where I say to myself, "hey, that's not right. I wish that they knew what I know." Certainly, you feel the same about my religion. Hence, we are discussing our differences on this forum.
                        So, have these religions suddenly become "acceptable"? Smith claimed that God poo-poo'd them.

                        Cease not to be amazed. I consider all of my own weaknesses and flaws and often wonder, "What would I have done if I had been raised in that culture and placed in those very difficult circumstances? Would I have done any better?" Sure, it is easy to look back and snipe and say, "oh, well I would of done this or that." But as they say, hindsight is 20/20.
                        I imagine you're a pretty decent guy. I would think that you would recognize the incredibly important task you had before you, having been chosen by God to set things straight, and to establish the "REAL" Church of God. Therefore, I would (and I imagine you would, too) be VERY careful about my pronouncements, personal character, trustworthiness, sexual conduct, faithfulness to my wife, consistency of doing what I say, etc. I wouldn't shrug it off as, "aw shucks, boys will be boys, and people will just have to accept me as I am".

                        Joseph Smith often tried to remind people that he was only an imperfect man. One familiar story is when a boat of converts was arriving from England. He put on the dirtiest most ragged clothes he could find and went out to welcome them and said, "What do you think of Joseph Smith?"

                        A man responded, "I know that he is a prophet of God."

                        Then Joseph said something to the effect of "What if I told you that I am Joseph Smith? ... If you are expecting anything more than a human being, you may as well get right back on that boat and go back to England."

                        -7up
                        Yes, I'm aware he was given to theatrics.
                        Last edited by Cow Poke; 04-27-2014, 07:43 AM.
                        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Is this the place where we argue over heretical teachings?
                          For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Oh yay... he's back...
                            That's what
                            - She

                            Without a clear-cut definition of sin, morality becomes a mere argument over the best way to train animals
                            - Manya the Holy Szin (The Quintara Marathon)

                            I may not be as old as dirt, but me and dirt are starting to have an awful lot in common
                            Stephen R. Donaldson

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Bill the Cat View Post
                              Oh yay... he's back...
                              I do not even recognize his username from before.
                              For Neo-Remonstration (Arminian/Remonstrant ruminations): <https://theremonstrant.blogspot.com>

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