V. 1830 Mormonin kirjan julkaisun jälkeen joitakin muutoksia
tehtiin, ja nämä muutokset näyttävät tehdyn
peittämään tätä seikkaa. Muutokset esiintyvät
Nefin kertomuksessa hänen näkemästään suuresta
Enkeli puhuttelee Nefiä: "Katso, neitsyt, jonka näet,
on Jumalan äiti, lihan tavan mukaan" (1 Nefi 11:18). Tämä
muutettiin muotoon "Jumalan Pojan äiti."
Kertomus jatkuu: "Ja enkeli sanoi minulle: Katso, Jumalan Karitsa,
iankaikkinen Isä!" (1 Nefi 11:21). Muutettu versio kuuluu:
"Katso, Jumalan Karitsa, iankaikkisen Isän Poika!"
Kolmannessa kohdassa sanotaan: "Ja minä katsoin ja näin
Jumalan Karitsan, jonka ihmiset olivat ottaneet kiinni; maailma
tuomitsi iankaikkisen Jumalan, ja minä todistan siitä,
mitä näin." (1 Nefi 11:32). Taaskin tekstiä
on muutettu, niin että se nyt kuuluu: "maailma tuomitsi iankaikkisen
Vielä yhdessä kohdassa sanotaan: "... että Jumalan
Karitsa on iankaikkinen Isä ja maailman Vapahtaja..." (1 Nefi
13:40). Muutettu kohta taas kuuluu "... että Jumalan Karitsa
on iankaikkisen Isän Poika ja maailman Vapahtaja...."
Nefi väittää, että Kristuksen henkilöllisyys
on sama kuin Vanhan Testamentin Jumalan (1 Nefi 19:10). Jaakob ja
kuningas Benjamin asettavat myös Kristuksen ja Luojan välille
yhtäläisyysmerkin (2 Nefi 9:5; Moosia 3:5-8). Limhi kertoi
Abinadin sanat: "hän sanoi heille, että Kristus oli Jumala,
kaiken Isä" (Moosia 7:27). Ammonihassa Seesrom kysyi Amulekilta:
"Onko Jumalan Poika totinen iankaikkinen Isä? Ja Amulek sanoi
hänelle: On, hän on taivaan ja maan totinen iankaikkinen
Isä, ja kaiken sen, mikä niissä on..." (Alma 11:38-39).
Moroni sanoo Jeesuksen Kristuksen olevan "Isä ja Poika" (Mormon
9:11-12). Kun Kristus ilmestyi Jaredin veljelle, hän julisti:
"Katso, minä olen Jeesus Kristus. Minä olen Isä ja
Poika" (Eter 3:14).
Kun Joseph Smith tarkisti Luukkaan evankeliumia, hän korvasi
erään jakeen, jossa puhutaan Isän ja Pojan henkilöllisyydestä.
Luukas sanoo jakeessa 10:22: "Kaikki on minun Isäni antanut
minun haltuuni, eikä kukaan muu tunne, kuka Poika on, kuin
Isä; eikä kukaan muu tunne, kuka Isä on, kuin Poika
ja se, kenelle Poika tahtoo hänet ilmoittaa." Mutta Joseph
Smithin käännöksen mukaan jae kuuluu: "Kaikki
on minun Isäni antanut minun haltuuni, eikä kukaan tiedä,
että Poika on Isä, ja että Isä on Poika, kuin
se, kenelle Poika sen tahtoo ilmoittaa." Mooseksen kirja näyttää
myös olettavan, että Isä ja Poika ovat yksi ja sama
The concept of the Godhead as it is presented in the Book of Mormon
is similar to Sabellianism, a doctrine favored by Sabellius, a Libyan
bishop of the third century, who denied that the Son and the Holy
Spirit are Persons distinct from the Father, but held rather that
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are names denoting the three aspects
or successive manifestations of the one divine essence. Augustine
refers to the Sabellian controversy in the City of God:
"Thus when we speak about God we do not talk about two or three
'principles', any more than we are allowed to speak of two or
three gods, although in talking of each person, whether the Father,
the Son, or the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge that each of them
is God. But we do not, like the Sabellian heretics, identify the
Father with the Son, and the Holy Spirit with both Father and
Son" (Augustine 1984, 404).
The Book of Mormon attributes unchangeableness to God. Nephi states
that God "is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever" (1 Nephi 10:18).
Moroni is more explicit:
"For do we not read that God is the same yesterday, today, and
forever, and in him there is no variableness neither shadow of
changing? And now, if ye have imagined up unto yourselves a god
who doth vary, and in whom there is shadow of changing, then have
ye imagined up unto yourselves a god who is not a God of miracles"
And later he states:
"For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable
being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity"
The Doctrine and Covenants also declares:
"there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from
everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer
of heaven and earth ... which Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are
one God, infinite and eternal, without end" (D&C 20:17, 28).
New teachings on Christ begin with Section 88:
[Christ] ascended up on high, as also he descended below
all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be
in all and through all things, the light of truth; which truth shineth.
This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light
of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also
he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof
by which it was made; as also the light of the stars, and the power
thereof by which they were made; and the earth also, and the power
thereof, even the earth upon which you stand. And the light which
shineth, which giveth you light, is through him who enlighteneth
your eyes, which is the same light that quickeneth your understandings;
which light proceedeth forth from the presence of God to fill the
immensity of space -- the light which is in all things, which giveth
life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed,
even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the
bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. (D&C 88:6-13)
This description parallels Ephesians 4:6, 9-10. Section 93, which
talks about Christ receiving the fullness of the Father, also parallels
Philippians 2:5-11 and Colossians 1:19 and 2:9. Section 93 also
gives this important teaching:
Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence,
or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can
be. All truth is independent in that sphere in which God has placed
it, to act for itself, as all intelligence also; otherwise there
is no existence. ... For man is spirit. The elements are eternal,
and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive a fulness
of joy; and when separated, man cannot receive a fulness of joy.
The elements are the tabernacle of God; yea, man is the tabernacle
of God, even temples; and whatsoever temple is defiled, God shall
destroy that temple. The glory of God is intelligence, or, in other
words, light and truth. (D&C 93:29-36)
In stating that intelligence "was not created or made," Section
93 echoes the Athanasian Creed: "The Father is made of none, neither
created nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made nor
created but begotten."
Sections 88 and 93 provide us with a fairly sophisticated cosmology,
drawing upon the Bible to portray Christ as the light and spirit
of truth, who is in all and through all. He is in the sun, the moon,
the stars, and the earth; he quickens our understandings, gives
life to all things, and is the law by which the world is governed.
However, the cosmology of the Doctrine and Covenants also seems
to owe something to the philosophy of Plato. In the Republic
Plato used the sun, light, and vision as an analogy to point to
a higher reality, which he called the Good. The light of the sun
gives to the eye the power to see and to objects the power to be
seen. Similarly, the Good gives to the knower the power to know
and to the objects of the understanding the power to be known. The
objects of the understanding derive their existence and essence
from the Good. Plato said that the Good is
"the cause for all things of all that is right and beautiful,
giving birth in the visible world to light and the author of light,
and itself in the intelligible world being the authentic source
of truth and reason" (Plato 1961, Republic 517c).
In the same way, Christ is the light of truth, which quickens
our understandings, and he is in the light of the sun, which gives
light to our eyes, as stated in Section 88.
Plato described intelligible objects as unchangeable patterns.
When God created the world, he looked to these unchangeable patterns
as a model. Every sensible object is in the likeness of a pattern
or form. Both the Book of Moses and sections of the Doctrine and
Covenants claim that created things are in the likeness of spiritual
patterns or forms. In the Book of Moses, God states:
"For I, the Lord God, created all things, of which I have spoken,
spiritually, before they were naturally upon the face of the earth.
... And I, the Lord God, had created all the children of men;
and not yet a man to till the ground; for in heaven created I
them; and there was not yet flesh upon the earth ... . And I,
the Lord God, formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed
into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living
soul, the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also; nevertheless,
all things were before created; but spiritually were they created
and made according to my word" (Moses 3:5-7).
Section 77 is ambiguous, but claims either that spirit takes on
the shape of things temporal, or that temporal things are created
in the likeness of spiritual patterns:
"that which is spiritual being in the likeness of that which
is temporal; and that which is temporal in the likeness of that
which is spiritual; the spirit of man in the likeness of his person,
as also the spirit of the beast, and every other creature which
God has created" (D&C 77:2).
Philo, a Jewish writer born in Alexandria, interpreted the Genesis
of Moses in light of Platonic philosophy. He also held that God
first created incorporeal and intelligible models or patterns, which
served as the basis for the creation of corporeal bodies. Referring
to Moses, Philo states:
"In his concluding summary of the story of creation he says:
'This is the book of the genesis of heaven and earth, when they
came into being, in the day in which God made the heaven and the
earth and every herb of the field before it appeared upon the
earth, and all grass of the field before it sprang up' (Gen. ii.
4, 5). Is he not manifestly describing the incorporeal ideas present
only to the mind, by which, as by seals, the finished objects
that meet our senses were moulded? For before the earth put forth
its young green shoots, young verdure was present, he tells us,
in the nature of things without material shape, and before grass
sprang up in the field, there was in existence an invisible grass"
(Saunders 1966, 219).
Philo also distinguished between man created in the image of God
as an incorporeal idea, and man created from the earth as an object
of sense. However, he seems to have believed that the soul was not
"for it says that the body was made through the Artificer taking
clay and moulding out of it a human form, but that the soul was
originated from nothing created whatever, but from the Father
and Ruler of all" (Saunders 1966, 221).
Philo's interpretation of Genesis also included the doctrine of
the Logos, the immaterial Word or Voice of God, also spoken of as
the first-born, through which the world was created and is governed
by the principle of law.
Section 76 describes the three kingdoms and those who will inhabit
them. The kingdoms differ in glory: "the glory of the celestial
is one, even as the glory of the sun is one. And the glory of the
terrestrial is one, even as the glory of the moon is one. And the
glory of the telestial is one, even as the glory of the stars is
one; for as one star differs from another star in glory, even so
differs one from another in glory in the telestial world" (D&C 76:96-98).
This description is derived from Paul: "There are also celestial
bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is
one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory
of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of
the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So
also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption;
it is raised in incorruption ... it is sown a natural body; it is
raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a
spiritual body" (1 Cor. 15:40-44). Paul also spoke of being caught
up into the third heaven (2 Cor. 12).
According to Section 76, those who inherit the celestial kingdom
are those who accept the gospel, are baptized, receive the Holy
Spirit, and are priests in the order of Melchizedek.
Those who inherit the terrestrial kingdom are honorable men who
die without hearing the law in this world, but accept the gospel
when it is preached to them in the spirit prison.
Those in the telestial world are those who claim to follow one
sect or another, but do not accept the gospel of Christ; they include
liars, sorcerers, adulterers, and whoremongers.
Those destined for the celestial kingdom come forth in the resurrection
of the just; those who will go to the terrestrial kingdom apparently
remain in the spirit prison until the resurrection; but those who
will go to the telestial world are first thrust down to hell and
are not redeemed until the last resurrection, when Christ has completed
Those who inherit the celestial kingdom will dwell in the presence
of God and Christ forever and receive the fulness of the Father.
Those in the terrestrial world enjoy the presence of the Son, but
not the fulness of the Father, while those in the telestial kingdom
receive only the Holy Spirit through the ministering of angels.
Those who follow the devil are called the sons of perdition; they
suffer the second death, are cast into the lake of fire and brimstone,
and are not redeemed: "And the end thereof, neither the place thereof,
nor their torment, no man knows ... wherefore, the end, the width,
the height, the depth, and the misery thereof, they understand not"
(D&C 76:45, 48).
The doctrine that there are different states and habitations corresponding
to the condition of the soul after death is found in Plato's Phaedo.
Plato illustrates the doctrine by means of a myth. He says that
there are many cavities and channels in the earth through which
rivers flow. Some of the cavities are deeper, some shallower, some
wider, some narrower. The largest of the cavities is called Tartarus.
There are also rivers of fire and lakes, and "a great place burning
with sheets of fire, where it forms a boiling lake of muddy water
greater than our sea" (Plato 1961, Phaedo 113a).
The souls of the dead are led by their guardian spirits into this
subterranean world, where they are judged. Those who have lived
a life of holiness pass upward to a pure abode on the surface of
the true earth, or "reach habitations even more beautiful, which
it is not easy to portray" (Plato 1961, Phaedo 114c). They
see the true heaven and commune with God face to face. Those who
have lived a neutral life are sent to the Acherusian lake, and after
"undergoing purification are both absolved by punishment from
any sins that they have committed, and rewarded for their good
deeds, according to each man's deserts" (Plato 1961, Phaedo
Others who have committed great sins, but are judged to be curable,
are cast into Tartarus until they have atoned for their sins. However,
there is a fourth class of souls:
"Those who on account of the greatness of their sins are judged
to be incurable, as having committed many gross acts of sacrilege
or many wicked and lawless murders or any other such crimes --
these are hurled by their appropriate destiny into Tartarus, from
whence they emerge no more" (Plato 1961, Phaedo 113e).
Thus the celestial kingdom corresponds to those who have lived
a life of holiness and pass upward to a pure abode; the terrestrial
kingdom can be correlated with those who undergo purification in
the Acherusian lake; the telestial world parallels those who have
sinned, but are curable, who are cast into Tartarus, but later redeemed;
and the sons of perdition correspond to those who are incurable
and never emerge from Tartarus.
Section 93 says that intelligence must have the power to act for
itself; otherwise there is no existence. This recalls an argument
used by Lehi: "And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth;
for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act
nor to be acted upon; wherefore, all things must have vanished away"
(2 Nephi 2:13). Lehi also states that since men have been redeemed
from Adam's fall, they are "free forever, knowing good from evil;
to act for themselves and not to be acted upon" (2 Nephi 2:26).
Lehi seems to be arguing that the creation of things necessarily
involves acting and being acted upon, and that if there were not
this interaction and movement, the world would vanish. But man can
be free to act for himself.
Similarly, Plato argued that what distinguishes the animate from
the inanimate is the ability to move itself, rather than to be moved
by an outside force; to act, rather than to be acted upon. He asserted
that the essence and definition of soul is self-motion and that
if there were no first principle of motion, the world would cease
"The self-mover then, is the first principle of motion, and
it is as impossible that it should be destroyed as that it should
come into being; were it otherwise, the whole universe, the whole
of that which comes to be, would collapse into immobility, and
never find another source of motion to bring it back into being"
(Plato 1961, Phaedrus 245d-e).
Since the essence of the soul is self-motion and the self-mover
is the first principle of motion, the soul is immortal, because
a first principle could not come into being; otherwise it would
not be a first principle. Similarly, Section 93 argues that intelligence
"was not created or made, neither indeed can be." The concept of
the necessity of a first principle of motion was developed by Aristotle
and Thomas Aquinas as a proof for the existence of God.
Another argument used by Lehi shows the influence of Greek thought.
In his blessing of Jacob, Lehi indulged in a bit of philosophizing:
"For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things.
If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could
not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor
misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs
be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must
needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption
nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught;
wherefore there would have been no purpose in the end of its creation"
(2 Nephi 2:11-12).
Lehi seems to be concerned with many of the same concepts which
occupied the minds of early Greek philosophers. He lists pairs of
contrary terms: righteousness and wickedness, happiness and misery,
good and bad, life and death, corruption and incorruption, sense
and insensibility. He argues that if everything in the world were
united into one compound or body, none of the contraries could exist;
therefore, there must be an opposition in all things.
The Pythagoreans held that contraries were the principles of things,
and they listed ten pairs of terms: limit and unlimited, odd and
even, one and plurality, right and left, male and female, resting
and moving, straight and curved, light and darkness, good and bad,
square and oblong. However, Parmenides taught that the world was
one, uncreated, immovable, and unchanging, neither coming into being
nor perishing. In Parmenides's world the opposites could not function.
Plato sought a middle ground, holding that the world was created,
but that it also has intelligence and life and includes both the
changing and unchanging. He argued further that "everything which
has an opposite is generated from that opposite" (Plato 1961, Phaedo
If there were not a process of generation from one opposite to
another, "in the end everything would have the same quality and
reach the same state, and change would cease altogether" (Plato
1961, Phaedo 72b).
For example, if everything were combined and nothing separated,
everything would be united into one. This was essentially what Lehi
was concerned about; if all things were a compound in one, there
could be neither good nor bad, happiness nor misery. If the world
was created for a purpose, there must be an opposition in all things.
The Book of Mormon shows other evidence of Plato's influence.
In the Book of Mormon, there are a number of people who use their
oratorical skills to lead others away from a belief in Christ. Jacob,
Nephi's brother, confronted a man named Sherem:
"And he was learned, that he had a perfect knowledge of the
language of the people; wherefore, he could use much flattery,
and much power of speech, according to the power of the devil"
Another such person was Nehor, who taught that "every priest and
teacher ought to become popular; and they ought not to labor with
their hands, but that they ought to be supported by the people"
(Alma 1:3). Nehor's followers "went forth preaching false doctrines;
and this they did for the sake of riches and honor" (Alma 1:16).
Then a man named Korihor, who is called Anti-Christ in the Book
of Mormon, appeared in the land of Zarahemla. He rejected the doctrine
of Christ, because "ye cannot know of things which ye do not see"
(Alma 30:15). He also taught that "every man prospered according
to his genius, and that every man conquered according to his strength;
and whatsoever a man did was no crime" (Alma 30:17). Korihor held
further that "when a man was dead, that was the end thereof" (Alma
These men are patterned after the Sophists, who were itinerant
teachers in ancient Greece. Above all, they taught the art of rhetoric
and skill in winning disputes. Through their public lectures, they
gained popularity and accepted money for the instruction which they
In Plato's dialogue, the Sophist, they are portrayed
as merchandisers in knowledge, who use flattery and deceit and attempt
to sell the knowledge of virtue. The figure of Korihor incorporates
the beliefs of other characters in Plato's dialogues. The Theaetetus,
for example, examines the opinion that knowledge is perception,
that all that we can know is what our senses tell us. In the Gorgias,
Callicles argues that laws were framed by the weak to restrain the
"But in my view nature herself makes it plain that it is right
for the better to have the advantage over the worse, the more
able over the less. ... that right is recognized to be the sovereignty
and advantage of the stronger over the weaker" (Plato 1961, Gorgias
The Phaedo examines arguments which claim that at death
the soul ceases to exist. All of these doctrines were taught by
In his 1832 history, Joseph Smith again affirmed that he held
a traditional concept of God. He wrote that he was overawed by the
majesty of nature and the intelligence of man, which "bear testimony
and bespeak an omnipotant and omnipreasant power a being who makith
Laws and decreeeth and bindeth all things in their bounds who filleth
Eternity who was and is and will be from all Eternity to Eternity"
(Joseph Smith 1984, 5).
In the winter of 1834-35, Joseph delivered a series of lectures
to the elders in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland, Ohio. They
became known as the Lectures on Faith and were included
in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. The Lectures are a combination
of theological treatise and catechism. In style and argument, they
are an imitation of the famous Meditations of Descartes,
a seventeenth century French philosopher.
Descartes was concerned with finding certainty in knowledge, certainty
at least as rigorous as the proofs of mathematics. Since knowledge
comes to us through our senses, and the senses can deceive us, how
can we be certain of anything? It is even possible that God or an
evil spirit could deceive us in the area of mathematical knowledge.
Descartes decided to contemplate only what he found within himself,
the ideas present in his mind. He found one truth which seemed to
be absolutely certain; he knew that he had to exist as a thinking
being, even if he were deceived about other things, because he could
not be deceived, if he did not exist. Descartes therefore stated
as a general principle that whatever we conceive very clearly and
distinctly is true. He utilized a concept common in the Renaissance,
that of the lumen naturalis or light of nature: "for I
could not doubt in any way what the light of nature made me see
to be true, just as it made me see, a little while ago, that from
the fact that I doubted I could conclude that I existed" (Descartes
1960, 37). It is the light of nature, therefore, which enables us
to apprehend truth.
In addition, Descartes found that he could conceive of a supreme
God, eternal, infinite, immutable, and all-powerful. The light of
nature also teaches us that the cause of an idea must have at least
as much reality as is contained in the idea. And since Descartes
conceived himself to be a finite and imperfect being, he could not
be the cause of the idea of an infinite and perfect being. Furthermore,
if God is perfect, he can not be a deceiver. When we examine the
idea of God, we see that the existence of God can not be separated
from his essence, for he would not be perfect, if he lacked existence.
Therefore, God exists.
In this way, by examining his ideas of himself and of God, Descartes
was able to arrive at certainty. And since God exists and is not
a deceiver, we can be certain that whatever we can conceive clearly
and distinctly is true. It is the nature and attributes of God that
assure us that we can know with certainty a multitude of other truths
about the world.
The Lectures on Faith ask, what is the foundation for
a belief in the existence of God? They note that in the beginning,
man was in direct communication with God, without a veil separating
them. Although Adam and Eve transgressed and were cast out of the
Garden of Eden, they did not lose their knowledge of the existence
of God. Mankind was now separated from the immediate presence of
God, but continued to hear his voice. In the early ages of the world,
the existence of God became an object of faith, founded upon the
testimony of those who had seen and talked with God. The knowledge
of the existence of God passed from father to son was a matter of
The Lectures state that in order to exercise faith in God, we
must have the idea that God actually exists and a correct idea of
his character, perfections, and attributes. From revelations recorded
in scripture, we receive knowledge of the character of God:
"that he was God before the world was created, and the same
God that he was after it was created. ... that he changes not,
neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same
from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday, to-day,
and for ever ... . that he is a God of truth and cannot lie" (Lundwall
There can not be a being greater than God, for otherwise, his
plans might be thwarted. Equally, we can not have confidence in
God without the idea that he is perfect, unchanging, and can not
lie. In particular, the attribute of truth must reside in God,
"for without the idea of the existence of this attribute the
mind of man could have nothing upon which it could rest with certainty
-- all would be confusion and doubt. But with the idea of the
existence of this attribute in the Deity in the mind, all the
teachings, instructions, promises, and blessings, become realities,
and the mind is enabled to lay hold of them with certainty and
confidence" (Lundwall n.d., 44-45).
Thus both the Meditations of Descartes and the Lectures
on Faith are concerned with the quest for certainty. The basis
of all certainty and knowledge is an analysis of the idea of God,
a perfect being who can not deceive or lie. The idea of God assures
us that we can apprehend truth and reality.
The Lectures on Faith then proceed to expound the nature
of the Godhead.
There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless,
governing, and supreme power over all things, by whom all things
were created and made ... . They are the Father and the Son -- the
Father being a personage of spirit, glory, and power, possessing
all perfection and fullness, the Son, who was in the bosom of the
Father, a personage of tabernacle, made or fashioned like unto man,
or being in the form and likeness of man, or rather man was formed
after his likeness and in his image; he is also the express image
and likeness of the personage of the Father, possessing all the
fullness of the Father, or the same fullness with the Father; being
begotten of him, and ordained from before the foundation of the
world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should
believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh
... . And he being the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace
and truth, and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory
of the Father, possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind
is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son,
and these three are one; or, in other words, these three constitute
the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things
... these three constitute the Godhead, and are one; the Father
and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power,
and fullness -- filling all in all; the Son being filled with the
fullness of the mind, glory, and power; or, in other words, the
spirit, glory, and power, of the Father, possessing all knowledge
and glory, and the same kingdom, sitting at the right hand of power,
in the express image and likeness of the Father ... . (Lundwall
This lecture mirrors Abinadi's speech before the priests of Noah:
"God himself shall come down among the children of men, and
shall redeem his people. And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall
be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the
will of the Father, being the Father and the Son -- the Father,
because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because
of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son -- and they are
one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth" (Mosiah
In fact the lecture shows some of the same confusion that we find
in Limhi's attempt to relate Abinadi's teachings:
"And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the
Father of all things, and said that he should take upon him the
image of man, and it should be the image after which man was created
in the beginning; or in other words, he said that man was created
after the image of God, and that God should come down among the
children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood, and go forth
upon the face of the earth" (Mosiah 7:27).
The Lectures also state that it is "in the power of man to keep
the law and remain also without sin." Furthermore, the Spirit of
"is shed forth upon all who believe on his name and keep his
commandments; and all those who keep his commandments shall grow
up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom,
and joint heirs with Jesus Christ; possessing the same mind, being
transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express
image of him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness
of his glory, and become one in him, even as the Father, Son and
Holy Spirit are one" (Lundwall n.d., 48-49).
This reflects the epistles of Paul, especially 2 Corinthians 3:18:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of
the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even
as by the Spirit of the Lord."
In November 1836 an article in the Messenger and Advocate
revealed a new conception of the nature of God:
"for how can any person be an heir of God, and yet never partake
of either his power or glory; where would his heirship be? --
a mere fiction, as bad as a Methodist God, without either body
This article was signed "S. R.," probably designating Sidney Rigdon.
The Lectures on Faith had declared that the Father was
a being of spirit, but now an official voice of the church was ridiculing
the idea of a God without body or parts. Nonetheless, Oliver Cowdery
used his position as editor of the Messenger and Advocate
to argue for an infinite God:
"The next, and great point, is that which believes in a God
who is eternal; to constitute such a being must be one that never
changes. To attach to his attributes changeableness at once argues
finitude; and how any rational man can spread out his hands towards
heaven, and worship, (in his mind,) such a being, is past our
comprehension -- such is not the God we adore -- it is not the
being we serve. The One we worship comprehends all things ...
. No power so high that he does not surpass it ... ." (Latter
Day Saints' Messenger and Advocate, Dec. 1836).
Clearly, there were differences of opinion in the church.
In March 1839, from a jail in Liberty, Missouri, Joseph Smith
wrote: "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit ...
that has not been revealed since the world was until now ... in
the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or
many gods, they shall be manifest. ... And also, if there be bounds
set to the heavens ... according to that which was ordained in the
midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before
this world was" (D&C 121:26-32). Apparently, Joseph had time to
think in jail and was preparing for a major change in doctrine.
On 8 August 1839 Joseph declared that angels have flesh and bones,
and he then added some comments about spirit and matter: "The Spirit
of Man is not a created being; it existed from Eternity & will exist
to eternity. Anything created cannot be Eternal. & earth, water
&c -- all these had their existence in an elementary State from
Eternity. ... The Father called all spirits before him at the creation
of Man & organized them" (Joseph Smith 1980, 9).
On 5 January 1841 Joseph delivered the following teachings:
This earth was organized or formed out of other planets
which were broke up and remodelled and made into the one on which
we live. The elements are eternal. ...
That which is without body or parts is nothing. There is no
other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones. ...
God the father took life unto himself precisely as Jesus did.
The first step in the salvation of men is the laws of eternal
and self-existent principles. Spirits are eternal. At the first
organization in heaven we were all present and saw the Savior
chosen and appointed, and the plan of salvation made and we sanctioned
it. We came to this earth that we might have a body and present
it pure before God in the Celestial Kingdom. The great principle
of happiness consists in having a body. The Devil has no body,
and herein is his punishment. ... All beings who have bodies have
power over those who have not. (Joseph Smith 1980, 60)
Joseph had now stated explicitly that God has a body of flesh
and bones, a position which had been proposed by Sidney Rigdon in
November 1836, but was opposed by Oliver Cowdery.
The statement that the earth had been formed out of other planets
is similar to the Book of Moses, which had been written in 1830:
"And worlds without number have I created; and I also created them
for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine
Only Begotten. ... For behold, there are many worlds that have passed
away by the word of my power. And there are many that now stand
... . And as one earth shall pass away, and the heavens thereof
even so shall another come; and there is no end to my works" (Moses