Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Book of Mormon 11/18

I had always heard that Mormons believe God has a wife, and that he and his wife had spiritual offspring. We are his offspring. We existed as spirits before we came to earth. Jesus, I had heard, was the literal firstborn of God and his wife. That meant Jesus had a beginning. He was not eternal.

But in a prophecy about Jesus, Mosiah 3:5 says:
For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, and the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases. (Mosiah 3:5)
I also asked about that on Yahoo Answers, and I learned something new. Mormons don't believe anybody had a beginning of existence. We have all existed from eternity--first as "intelligences," then as spirits, and then as flesh and blood.

That answered another question I had also. The first Mormon missionaries I talked to had told me that God had a father before him, and that father had a father before him, etc. So not even God was eternal. But God is eternal just like everybody else, even if he was once just as we are now--ordinary human beings.

But that is not the BOM view. Moroni 8:18 says, "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity." That's pretty explicit. Not only does God exist from eternity to eternity, but God is unchangeable from eternity to eternity. So he could not have been an intelligence who became a spirit who became flesh and blood who became exalted to godhood. The God described here in the BOM is worlds apart from the god Joseph Smith described in the King Follett Discourse. If the BOM really is another God-given testament of Jesus Christ, then Joseph Smith was a false prophet.
If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (Deuteronomy 13:1-3)
Even if the BOM is an ancient American document, and even if it is the word of God, and even if Joseph Smith accurately translated it, he is still a false prophet since he preached a different God from the BOM. According to Deuteronomy 13:1-3, Joseph Smith may have given a sign or wonder by translating the BOM, but that certainly doesn't qualify him as a true prophet.

Part 12


juana said...

Here's some clarification. We are eternal intelligences, but that intelligence has to be organized. Just like the matter unorganized described in Genesis had to be organized into a world. Intelligence also needs the context of an organization, or it cannot act.
For instance, a laser is a context for organizing electromagnetic waves, which are "eternal" There must be planning, or "authority" placed on the waves in order for them to be directed and function. Such is the nature of God the Father organizing spiritual beings from eternal intelligence... so that they could function under the authority of a "spiritual" and then "physical" body, have the ability to exercise agency and have joy in it's organized existence... As to the issue of "who was the first... God..." One can look at self-organized emergence, or mathematical automata where quanta interacts and develops into an organized system through symmetry. Such actions can be viewed through the context of Brownian Motion, where randomness produces clusters, which have in the physical context created bacterial colonies, or life. There is no reason to believe that physics is any different anywhere else, seen or unseen.

Sam said...

juana, thanks for your clarification. Do disorganized intelligency have consciousness? Are they individuals? Are they persons? Or do they have to be organized before becoming individual persons with consciousness?

Tyson said...

I think on this topic there is a lot of speculation. Its like the question if Adam had a belly button?

The core of the gospel is faith, repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. These simple principals and ordinances are essential for salvation. Not understanding all the eternities in this mortality.

Also, using Yahoo Answers as a basis for understanding LDS beliefs isn't a wise solution.

Sam said...

Tyson, I use Yahoo Answers because I'm curious what ordinary Mormons will say. And usually, there'll be at least a couple of well-educated Mormons who will provide links to LDS material worth looking at, and that saves me from having to go look for it myself. So it's not totally useless.