Friday, December 6, 2013

Book of Mormon - Christ the Father

Remember how the Book of Mormon is so great because it clarifies the Gospel so well, eliminating all confusion and room for debate? Mormons are so lucky to have it! Thanks to its inspired writings we don't have to worry about how that whole Godhead thing works because WE KNOW that God the Father is the big boss daddy god, Jesus is his literal son and perfect soul clone, and the Holy Ghost is... something... without a body... who's... out there... somewhere... inspiring, teaching, and comforting people! We love the Holy Ghost!

Anyway, the Book of Mormon has such powerfully clear explanations of who Christ is, like when Abinadai teaches that the Messiah, meaning the "Anointed One" (usually referred to with the Anglicized version of the Greek word "Χριστός" (Khristós) "Christ") is "the Father... and the Son" (Mosiah 15:3). With scripture like that it's only obvious that the God and Jesus are two different people. But if that's not clear enough, perhaps you should hear it straight from the horse's mouth. Nothing makes the nature of the Godhead more clear than when Jesus himself explains it to the brother of Jared: "I am the Father and the Son" (Ether 3:14). It's so obvious they're totally different people!

And it's not like anyone's gone back to mess with Joseph's excellent translation to correct any confusing Godhead talk, right? Sure, adding "son of" to verses like 1 Nephi 11:18, 1 Ne. 11:21, 1 Ne. 11:32, or 1 Ne. 13:40 might seem like whoever wrote the Book of Mormon wasn't exactly clear on who was Who, and maybe you might be tempted to point out that the original version of Alma 5:48 said that Jesus was begotten of himself, but that's really splitting hairs! Anyone who fails to understand the clarity of the Book of Mormon must not be reading with the Spirit.

Even if there were changes made later on in an effort to rewrite the relationship between God and Jesus, why should that cause anyone to doubt the scriptures? It's not like Joseph Smith was a Methodist-influence trinitarian in his early days of leading the Church only to change his mind years later! He had seen God the Father and Jesus Christ in the Grove what back in 1820, remember? No one needed to tell him God and Jesus were separate!

And yet when I read Mosiah 15 and Ether 3 I can't help but wonder if there's a little more going on beneath the surface. Oh, whatever! I'm sure those prophets just meant that Jesus is our adoptive father after we're baptized, that's all. Doubt not, dear Mormons, and press forward with faith!


  1. So, what is the heart of the question? You pose a few scriptures that are confusing when they don't accompany a philosophical discussion on the matter, but I'm not exactly sure what question or questions you are meaning to pose.

    And while you consider what questions you pose, consider also this - are you trying to ask questions and deepen understanding, or are you trying merely to accuse? I find the former quite noble, and the latter not worthy of a discussion, but an accusation seeks no discussion. Would you agree?

  2. I'm all about digging deeper, stain, I cannot, however agree that accusations are unworthy and do not lead to depth. What would you, as a philosopher, be asking?

  3. Dear stain, I realized I missed your first question, which, like my questions, is probably rhetorical (posed primarily for the sake of generating thought and ethos, not actual answers). You say you are not "exactly sure what question or questions [I am] meaning to pose," so let me see if I can give you some direction. This a blog about doubting doubts concerning the Mormon faith. It is a direct response to Uchtdorf's talk last October when, in my opinion, he implied that doubting your doubts would lead a doubter back to, or keep one in the faith. Anyone with insight on this topic is welcome to participate in the discussion, which I have tied to divide up into manageable collections of my personal doubts.

    Now let me clarify why I disagree that accusations do not seek discussion and are "not worthy." Accusations solicit defenses, counter accusations, and counter defenses. They are one way of starting a dialog, and dialogs, in my way of seeing things, are important. Each position engages in what is classically called forensic (or judicial) oratory, in which interlocutors attempt to establish what is just and unjust (i.e. right and wrong) by "deepening understanding," to borrow your words. So if my questions should be considered veiled accusations, would you be willing to defend?

    I am still very interested in your preferred philosophical couching of this topic. I would like to see how you would prefer to approach the topic.