Posted by: Jay | September 24, 2007

How God began to be

How did God become God? Has he always been God or did he have to “earn it” ? Many Latter-Day Saints believe that God was once a man like us on his own world and progressed like us. I don’t really blame them for thinking this because Joseph Smith’s King Follet discourse, as we currently have it, says it. I was recently listening to a podcast on Mormon Miscellaneous (see link on side bar of this blog) where Van Hale talks to Blake Ostler (A Mormon apologist) about this subject. Blake makes the point that Joseph Smith’s discourse may not be entirely accurate in the way it was written down (he cites his reasons in the podcast). In addition, he says that he does not believe that God had a god over him who is his father, but that God has always existed as God.

He also makes a point that I think is valid. He says that Jesus was a member of the Godhead before he came into mortality and the Holy Ghost is a member of the Godhead despite his lack of a body. The implication being that the plan of salvation, as laid out by Mormon theology, is not the only way to become a god, as is commonly thought among LDS members. The Holy Ghost and Jesus were (The Holy Ghost still is) God without bodies or mortal experience. I think this is an interesting thought. What do you think?

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Responses

  1. I think it is very confusing Jay… I mean J.S. didn’t he receive the gospel in its FULLNESS? are we living the church that he established on our behalf or are we living something else entirely.

    That is actually most of the problem that I am having now with the old Testimony… there are so many aspects of the faith that are not longer in exhistance… if J.S. got it all directly from God, who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow, then how come so much of it has been altered? Are we living by God’s laws or by Men’s???

    It is all so confusing?

  2. Another thing… The comment has been made to me that this is a living breathing religion, that we have a prophet still recieving revelation today… however, it all goes back to the comment I made above… did J.S. receive the gospel in its fullness or not? And why are so many of his teachings contradictory… like God being a Man first and being exalted etc… B.Y preaching the Adam God theory… The spirit being a God… I think it is dang near impossible to find the truth in it all…

  3. Well, Moses Chapter 1 adds greatly to the confusion.
    According to BofMoses:

    1. God has always existed
    2. God has created worlds without number
    3. God created them via his only begotten
    4. The first man of all men was Adam
    5. Many worlds have already passed away
    6. Moses is tempted by Satan of which he bore record
    7. Moses will write a book containing all that God has spoken unto him.

    So, from this, I have to assume that our world was the first to be created (Adam being the first man) and that worlds without number have been created since then by Christ who also created this world.

    Problems I see:

    How can God have always existed, hence this post

    God only had one offspring…Jesus Christ…his only begotten. This makes no sense

    Adam was the first man created…we know this is not true. He wasn’t event the first man created on this earth.

    Moses already knew that Jesus would be the Savior of the world but none of this was ever passed on.

    Even though worlds were created after this one, many have already passed on. Even though our world is the one getting all the special attention (created first, Adam created here, Jesus doing his thing here, yada yada) the other worlds progressed at a much faster pace and have already passed away.

    Moses tells of bearing record of the temptation of Satan, but it was removed due to the wickedness of men (verse 23). So Moses already knows that this is removed before he even writes it?

    Moses never wrote a book. The 5 bookS of Moses were written hundreds of years after Moses’ death by more than one author.

    ———————

    This is just the first chapter.

  4. One other thing. The BofMoses seems to be written in the exact same voice as the BofMormon and the D&C, but only the D&C are the words of Joseph Smith.

    Something doesn’t smell right here.

  5. It makes my head hurt….

    I just don’t think we are meant to understand all that God is right now, I don’t think we could even begin to comprehend………

  6. …..Him and who and what He is!

    Sorry for the split in my comment.

  7. steffielynn

    Your comments I agree with ! :)

    But it didn’t stop Joseph Smith trying to impress everyone with his revelations and writings which started this whole headache off ..

    If God was once a man and was exhalted to Godhood how come Jesus was God or A God before he giot a body ?

    If God was once a man , what came first God or Man and How ?

    Who created the matter if God only came along and organised it ( LDS belief ).

    Why does have God have a tangible body and somehow only produces spirits with his tangible many wives ..

    I’ve found that if throw out Joseph Smiths books ( BofM ,D&C ,POGP and sermons )and the resultant LDS Theology then the headache goes away ……

  8. Cherryn

    You said ” … did J.S. receive the gospel in its fullness or not? And why are so many of his teachings contradictory ”

    The answer is very easy once you can see it ….. He just committed fraud and deception ……maybe he really thought he was in communication with God ?Who knows but when I read the BofM I saw a troubled mind behind it all ..

    Gordon Hinckley’s famous sayings are ” I don’t know , We don’t know ” ,” Its behind us ”

    What use is he being a prophet seer and revelator when he doesn’t know anything …

  9. E.J.

    My question of

    “did J.S. receive the gospel in its fullness or not?”

    The point of this question is, if he received the gospel in its fullness, how come it is contantly being changed…???

    Good points above though…

  10. Steff…

    I dont believe for one second that our loving father in heaven meant for any of it to be confusing… I believe…and this is just me, that when you think about God is a simple concept… he loves us, we should love him and others… it ends there… nothing else needs to be added or explained… not organised religion can take that away or add to it… becasue that is the beauty of the principal… God loves us, we love him and love others.

    SO… when you take all the rest of it away, all the ideas of men all the scriptural guilt trips, all the doctrinal guilt trips, all the AUTHORITY hanging over your head… it all feels much easier.

    For me, when I start adding all the other concepts in, that is when they begin to contradict each other and become confusing.

    So… that is where the hard part comes in… all my life I have been taught the gospel and faith of the LDS church… now in researching the faith and teachings I find it to be in the extreme of contradictions… and the more you read the worse it gets…

    SO how GOD began to be… well, I dont know how, I don’t actually care either… I just know that there is a higher power out there, that I have named GOD, he created it all, we are part of his circle, and we should be good to one another… that feels right… all the rest of it… stuff created by man, theories created by man… man who loves power and glory… I think J.S. got a taste and loved it… he went pretty far though :(

  11. cherryn

    Of course he never received anything in its fullness , he was just making it up as he went along … If he’d lived longer goodness knows what he would have come up with .He still had a Book Of Joseph to write and even the Kinderhook Plates ..

    The bible is supposed to have precious truths missing according to Joseph Smith .Well so does the Book of Mormon . No temple marriage for eternity , no tangible body for God , no God was once a man teaching , only one God no premortal existence , no 3 degrees of heaven ,teaches only heaven and hell etc

    In fact The Nephites scriptures also seem to have plain and precious truths missing !

    He hadn’t thought of all that yet as he didn’t know if his career as a prophet was going to take off !

  12. What I am trying to say is that we, as we are now, are not capable of understanding what and who God is. I believe we will know when we pass on, but not until then. That is fine with me as well, I know he’s there and that is all that matters. I think that prophets have a deeper understanding of things but cannot describe the divine nature of things to us. We can not quite grasp what they explain, because our minds are to narrow, we will just have to be patient and have faith. One day our eyes and our minds will be opened and at that time we’ll be like, “Oh!!!!! ok I get it!” What an exciting day that will be!

  13. steffie

    you said

    ” as we are now, are not capable of understanding what and who God is.”

    so why did Joseph Smith go the extras then about what and who God is ? We know he’s a polygamist procreating with his many wives thanks to the LDs church .We know thats the purpose of females in the CK to have non stop posterity for the polygamist God husband …

    and don’t say any different .I know what the church believes .

    “I think that prophets have a deeper understanding of things but cannot describe the divine nature of things to us. We can not quite grasp what they explain, because our minds are to narrow, we will just have to be patient and have faith”

    The prophets don’t know any better than you …. We can’t grasp what they explain because they don’t know themselves what they are explaining ..

    Basically the prophet doesn’tknow anything more than us because he’s not in communication with God any more than you or me.

    now are you going to be upset ? :)

  14. The bottom line is that religion in general is not something that can be proven. NO ONE KNOWS ANYTHING.

    We all take in what has been given us by family, friends, missionaries, whoever, and process it despite the lack of any evidence.

    We either reject it or accept it on faith.

    Again, no one knows anything. We make stuff up to make us feel good, then hope for the best all the while looking for things to back-up what we made up.

  15. I believe the Mormon Plan Of Salvation is Flawed … It doesn’t makes sense as their are loop holes as pointed out ….

    It seems to me that Joseph Smith was trying to make sense of the whole Father/Son/Holy Ghost relationship and mystery … and present it in a way which could make some sort of sense…

    How do we even know we are supposed to be a god ourselves ? Couldn’t we be of a lesser nature if we exist later on …..

    If the purpose of earth life is a test to see if we will obey , what was the purpose of a premortal life ? ………………….To see what colour bodies we get ? LDS Apostle Mark Peterson Talk !

    I think Blake Ostler might even think his way of the church himself eventually ..

    We will all know at some point what happens at death ….. at least it’s something to look forward to I guess …

  16. EJ,
    In your opinion, what are the loop holes? While I know the LDS faith has issues I still view the plan of salvation as biblically supportable. It just makes sense. I see the plan of salvation as presented by the LDS faith as closing a lot of “loop holes” that orthodox Christianity neglects to address. So I would be interested in hearing the other side.

  17. For those really concerned about this subject, it is both simple, yet extremely complex. A good example of how this concept works, think of a movie… there are many scenes within the same movie. We often times think of our knowledge of god as the end all beat all. But many have noted that god is also comprised of 3 beings.. is it not then possible the word god is more of a title rather then just a solitary being…?There are many scenes of eternity currently playing all unified by the purpose of god.

    The title of god has existed forever in one unified purpose. Our creation period with our god, the father of our spirits, is but one scene so for us to comprehend it all is indeed difficult.

    Many worlds may very well have been created by our god the father as well but is it not logical to think these worlds were and are created and Adam then was the fist man to populate these worlds? is it not possible to also think that god may have had other creations “sessions” (for lack of a better word) before our current existence with our current Christ.

    I do not profess to be an authority on anything but to renounce something because you dont understand it seems foolish to me. Those who genuinely seek will find truth. those who want to know the truth without doubting the answer they might get… will find it.

  18. Maybe our God was one of those kids that died before they were 8 years old, thereby guaranteeing a spot as God.

    I know that’s kind of odd to say, but couldn’t we say that? What do we believe happens to kids who die before the age of accountablilty? Don’t we say that they are saved in the highest level of the CK? We also (at least I also) have heard from many people that those born with mental disabilities (such as Down’s Syndrome and others) sort of have it made in the afterlife. This leads me to believe that it’s not as cut and dry as we like to think that it is…it’s just really unknowable. All we can do is live right, love God and love our neighbor.

  19. I have a mentally handicap sister and have been told that she was so valiant in the pre-existence that she was made that way so Satan couldn’t attack her. I’m not sure if I believe that anymore. I think it is just something we say to make us feel better about disabled people. Don’t get me wrong, my sister is awesome, but the rumors, myths and folklore of Mormonism drive me crazy.

    Some day I’ll have to track down where this “doctrine” comes from. My guess is that it will have a similar beginning as the blacks and the priesthood ban. One leader saying some comment that spreads like wildfire among the members.

  20. I’am also confused , but i will not comment coz iam confused now! however i would like to suggest all why don’t we come from start(BIBLE)
    we may also get the answers for our confusions as did J.S get ,after all we are also the children of god!

  21. I don’t think it matters in the eternal scheme of things what an individual believes about the nature of God. But I believe it matters deeply on the microscopic level of our lives. The main problem is, no one can ever truly know the fulness of the nature of God as long as we live in this manifest and finite universe.

    Studying religion will not tell us any absolute, verifyable truth about the nature of God; but studying religion (any religion) will tell us a lot about human nature, because all religions are human constructs. They are frameworks we build to try to understand the nature of the Divine.

    I believe in God. I choose to believe that God is personal (that God has a personality, emotions, thoughts, etc), but I can’t prove that. No one can. I do believe in a loving Creator, and I believe that creation itself is a direct expression of God.

    I used to be much different; I used to care about dogma, and I used to feel the imperative need to spread the word about my own religion and salvation through Christ. I don’t care about dogma anymore. I care about love. I don’t care about forcing my opinions on other people anymore. I care about love. It’s human nature to want concrete answers about God. It’s the human dilemma that we can’t have them. But I have peace that all will make perfect sense to me someday. Not on this earth, perhaps, and not while wearing this body. But someday. And on that day, I believe that all will be welcome.

  22. Any way it is put, God is God and will always be God. Members of the mormon church and those of other christain denomonations pray to 1 God, who in the eyes of christians on earth, is above all other spirits or gods.

  23. Michael

    Mormons pray to one of three Gods they believe in , the one they think is the chief one .. ie The father.

    Christians on the other hand believe that God is made up of three persons.

    you said

    ” God is God and will always be God.”

    How do you know ? The LDS prophets have taught that God is always progressing since he was once an inteeligence , then a spirit being and then a man ,so he may even be exhalted to ElohimovahGodsuperdupper !

    In this state he is the ElohimovahGodsuperdupper who all the LDS Gods pray to themselves for guidance and progression ..

    This ElohimovahGodsuperdupper can be said to have created matter , something you believe the current mormon God can’t do if he tried or even prayed about it.

    no offence meant as I think its quite plausible in Mormon theology. At least its a BYU apologetics style answer for the LDS church as to who created matter in the first place :)

  24. I have plenty of Non-LDS friends and I love them very much and I don’t dis their faiths, because I know that they love God and are doing their best in this life to live according to their beliefs. EVERY church has part of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but it’s up to us to find out which one that is…

    But I have to admit that I am very disturbed, and sad about what I have seen and read on this website, to see the confusion as to what we (the mormons) believe and who we are. It’s obvious that those of you that have “read” the Book of Mormon are doing nothing but trying to find fault, not trying to find out if what is written in it is really the word of God. Have any of you really truly, honestly prayed about the Book of Mormon? If we really do have a living Prophet on the earth today that CAN and DOES receive revelations??

    You’re NEVER going to find any of these answers or any of the answers that have been asked above unless you PRAY IN FAITH and WITH AN OPEN HEART really seeking for the Spirit of the LORD to guide you.

    I KNOW that we have a living Prophet on the earth today, I know that President Thomas S. Monson (our current Prophet) guides and directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Spirit anf under the direction of JESUS CHRIST and OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I have read it, studied it and prayed about it. I KNOW that God and Jesus Christ LIVE!!! God is UNCHANGING, His Gospel is UNCHANGING, he gave revelations to the Phrophets in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and to Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants, he also gives revelations to our LIVING Phrophet TODAY, so that we know what we need to do TODAY in order to return to God and YES become LIKE HIM. The Scriptures are guide lines for us to live by to know the will of God, and the modern day revelations that we reveice are also the WORD OF GOD and His Guidelines for us to live by in the our day.

    I understand that people have a lot of questions about our church and us as a people. We ARE Christians BECAUSE we believe in CHRIST, (isn’t what why people are called Christians?). But the ONLY way anyone is going to know what is true and what isn’t is NOT to disect everything but to look at it with an OPEN heart, mind and spirit, and then get down on your knees and pray about it and LET the Spirit of GOD touch your heart as to what the truth is.. We will NEVER have all the answers in this life, but in the eternities we will.

  25. I have plenty of Non-(Insert religion or myth of choice here) friends and I love them very much and I don’t dis their faiths, because I know that they love (Insert Deity of choice) and are doing their best in this life to live according to their beliefs. EVERY church has part of the Gospel of (Insert Messiah or Savior of choice), but it’s up to us to find out which one that is…

    But I have to admit that I am very disturbed, and sad about what I have seen and read on this website, to see the confusion as to what we (insert religion of choice) believe and who we are. It’s obvious that those of you that have “read” the (Insert religious narrative of choice) are doing nothing but trying to find fault, not trying to find out if what is written in it is really the word of (Deity of choice). Have any of you really truly, honestly prayed about the (Narrative of choice)? If we really do have a living Prophet on the earth today that CAN and DOES receive revelations??
    You’re NEVER going to find any of these answers or any of the answers that have been asked above unless you PRAY IN FAITH and WITH AN OPEN HEART really seeking for the Spirit of the LORD to guide you. (And if the answer or non answer isn’t the same one I received then you didn’t pray or try hard enough)

    I KNOW that we have a living Prophet on the earth today, I know that President Thomas S. Monson (our current Prophet) guides and directs the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints through the Spirit anf under the direction of JESUS CHRIST and OUR HEAVENLY FATHER. I KNOW that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I have read it, studied it and prayed about it. I KNOW that God and Jesus Christ LIVE!!! God is UNCHANGING, His Gospel is UNCHANGING, he gave revelations to the Phrophets in the Bible, the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price and to Joseph Smith in the Doctrine and Covenants, he also gives revelations to our LIVING Phrophet TODAY, so that we know what we need to do TODAY in order to return to God and YES become LIKE HIM. The Scriptures are guide lines for us to live by to know the will of God, and the modern day revelations that we reveice are also the WORD OF GOD and His Guidelines for us to live by in the our day.
    (See above statement about not dising others faith your claims by default do exactly that)

    I understand that people have a lot of questions about our church and us as a people. We ARE Christians BECAUSE we believe in CHRIST, (isn’t what why people are called Christians?). But the ONLY way anyone is going to know what is true and what isn’t is NOT to disect everything but to look at it with an OPEN heart, mind and spirit, and then get down on your knees and pray about it and LET the Spirit of GOD touch your heart as to what the truth is.. We will NEVER have all the answers in this life, but in the eternities we will. (Open heart means getting the same answer as me)

  26. coventryrm,

    I wasn’t dising you faith or any other faith, and I’m not saying that if you don’t get the same answer that I did, that you didn’t try hard enough. I was just sharing what I know to be true in the religion that I choose to be a part of. I hold NOTHING against you or anyone else for your beliefs, but what good does it do in this world if all we do is try and find fault with other religions, if that’s all we’re going to do, then no one (INCLUDING myself) are going to get the answers that we are seeking. The Lord is the person that can give us the answers that we seek. I’m sorry if I offended you or anyone else with the feelings that I expresses above, but I don’t feel that I was trying to dis anyone or their faith. I was simply stating that if you really want to know what our religion or any other religion teachs is true or not, ask GOD, man can only answer a small portion. And when I said that you need to have an open heart I wasn’t saying that if you don’t get the same answer as me that you didn’t try hard enough, we all get different answers and if you got the answer that what we believe isn’t true then that’s your answer. By me telling you the things the I know to be true in my heart was NOT a dis on your faith or any faith. WE ALL have the RIGHT to believe and know what we know or believe to be true or not true. IF any of you would prefer to not have an LDS person comment on your comments then I’ll leave you alone to dis my religion all you want, but I will stand true to the things that I know and believe in with regards to the LDS faith.

    I am a Christian, You are a Christian so why don’t we act like it??? by dising on each other we are NOT getting any closer to Christ, God or how ever you wish to refer to the higher power that rules us all and loves us all.

    Once again I apologize for any offense caused, but know that I too was offened in the remarks that I read on this blog in regards to what I believe. Believe as you wish, I leave you in peace.

  27. I did not say you offended me, I didn’t find personal offense in your comment other than in the first and also your second post you use the expression

    “I said that you need to have an OPEN HEART” Which implies that those that have not found the same answer as you did not have an “OPEN HEART”. I was pointing out that you could apply that to yourself with any other belief system those that “Know” their system is true could say the same about you…. have read and prayed about the Koran?

    I also find it interesting that things said on this site offend you, most of what is posted here is actual discussions on what one should do with and how they process for themselve the emperical or historical evidence available. (Accept for the few times Jay gets attacked by those wacky bible thumpers so if you are talking about a specific thread I can understand being offended at times but certainly not the blog as a whole) So if you are offended by this site I would suggest you spend some more time actually studying the history of your church that can be found in church published material.

  28. Proud to be LDS,

    I welcome your comments! I have had several believing members of the Church comment on different posts and it is always good to have differing opinions on the topics we discuss. Unfortunately, most LDS members eventually leave Mormons Talk because they aren’t willing to have an open conversation or take the discussion as an attack on Mormonism. I can understand why someone that fully believes in the Church might feel that way initially, however, it is my opinion that full, honest, and open discussion of facts from all points of view is important.

    I certainly don’t agree with every comment made on this blog (except my own of course). I don’t always refute statements that I may not agree with because of time constraints. If I feel that someone is being disrespectful I usually let them know. Occasionally, I have had to censor someone for foul language or abuse, but I’m happy to say this has mostly been a place where people can feel safe discussing difficult subjects within the LDS Church. I try hard not to allow
    “anti-Mormon” material onto my blog as well as to protect the few parts of the temple ceremony that we covenant not to discuss. I do this not out of a desire to hide these things because I don’t think they are all that mind blowing anyway, but out of a desire to remain respectful of what is held sacred to most LDS members.

    I would suggest if you don’t know about Kinderhook plates, Joseph’s 30+ wives and polyandry (marrying other mens’ wives), stone in the hat translation, racism among early leaders, different first vision accounts given by Joseph Smith, post-manifesto polygamy, etc., that you should find out about them. If nothing else it will allow you to be more informed when you are confronted with such things. There is no need to go to anti-Mormon sources. You have to do some digging, but you can find all this information out from church friendly sources. Again welcome and feel free to comment on any of the posts here at Mormons Talk. Be prepared though to have people question you and perhaps disagree, you can disagree too and it’s OK:)

    By the way so you know where I’m coming from, I am a “partial” believer. Some like to call us Cafeteria Mormons. I take the view that the LDS Church is overall filled with good people and that it does a good job at helping people live good lives. I don’t believe it is any different than any other Christian religion, generally speaking. It has its flaws in what is taught and is influenced by society just as much as all major religions are.

    It is not my goal to “dis” or degrade any religion. My goal is to help others become aware of the full LDS history and doctrine and then enter into a thoughtful discussion about it. I have full respect for someone that knows the history and chooses to still fully believe. That’s a choice that each individual must make for themselves. Likewise I respect those that can not reconcile the actions or teachings of past prophets with what they once knew as the restored gospel. These are difficult topics (which is why you don’t hear them discussed in church). It takes time to wrestle with them, to understand context and mix that with belief. In short, it’s complicated. For many of us a simple prayer accompanied by good feelings, while great, is not enough to enable us to have peace of mind and heart about such complex issues.

  29. Maybe what I should’ve said was that if anyone is trying to find the truth in the world and in ANY religion that we need to ahve an open heart and mind to receive the answers the Lord has for us. If what you find in your religion is to be true, I commend you on that. I have studied other religions because I have had questions about the things that are taught and believed, I have asked questions of the people of those faiths and I have also asked the Lord to find out for myself what is true and was is not.

    I believe that every religion has parts of the truth but that it is up to us to find out which one in our minds, studies, prayer and faith that holds all of it. (Budist, Jewish, Catholic, LDS, etc)

    When i made the comment about having an “open heart” I was refering to askig in regards to any religion. Man doesn’t have all the answers and he never will. That’s why we should let God help us with what we seek.

    Jay, as for your questions in reagrds to the following: Kinderhook plates, Joseph’s 30+ wives and polyandry (marrying other mens’ wives), stone in the hat translation, racism among early leaders, different first vision accounts given by Joseph Smith, post-manifesto polygamy.

    I have researched these things because I have been presented with the questions before.

    1. The Kinderhook plates were proven to be a fake:
    A recent electronic and chemical analysis of a metal plate (one of six original plates) brought in 1843 to the Prophet Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, Illinois, appears to solve a previously unanswered question in Church history, helping to further evidence that the plate is what its producers later said it was—a nineteenth-century attempt to lure Joseph Smith into making a translation of ancient-looking characters that had been etched into the plates.

    Joseph Smith did not make the hoped-for translation. In fact, no evidence exists that he manifested any further interest in the plates after early examination of them, although some members of the Church hoped that they would prove to be significant. But the plates never did.

    2. Jospeh Smith’s 30+ Wives, polyandry
    Polygamy was a religious principle, one that God had commanded in ancient times and one that was brought into the Church for a limited period of time, an exception to the normal rule of monogamy (Jacob 2:30). Its practice was motivated by religious principle, not lust.

    Seriously, polygamy is forbidden in the Book of Mormon, except for those times when the Lord commands it (see Jacob 2:30). For reasons I don’t understand, the Lord commanded that practice for a period of time from the 1840s until 1890. Yes, it was a Biblical practice for a time, as evidenced by Abraham (see Gen. 25:1-6) and Jacob (see Gen. 29 and 30). The prophet and king David had multiple wives (2 Samuel 12:7-9), as did Solomon (including wives who worshipped strange gods, which was forbidden), Gideon (Judges 8:30), and Jehoiada the priest (2 Chronicles 24:2-3). Deuteronomy 21:15-17 shows polygamy accepted as a valid practice and gives rules governing the inheritance for children of polygamous wives.

    Further, there is the biblical practice called the levirate, given as a divine commandment to Moses. In this practice, if a married man dies without children, his brother must take the deceased man’s wife as a wife and raise up children to ensure that the deceased man has successors (Deuteronomy 25:5-7; see also Mark 12:19-23; Matthew 22:24-28; and Gen. 38:8). This duty appears to remain in force whether the living brother is already married or not.

    Joseph Smith did have multiple wives. He did live with some of them. The Reorganized LDS church disputes even this, asking “Where are all the children?” if this were so. The paucity of evidence for children being fathered by Joseph, other than with his first wife Emma, suggests that abundant sex was not what Joseph’s polygamy was about. Most puzzling, perhaps, was the occasional practice of polyandry, in which Joseph was sealed to women who were already married to another man. While there is no evidence that sexual relations were involved in these apparently “dynastic” sealings, it is nonetheless troubling. Joseph seemed to be focused on building eternal ties for the next life, and being sealed to a woman for eternity does not necessarily imply living together during mortality. If this form of polyandry involved sexual relations, such a practice would have been even more controversial than polygamy itself, would have stirred more outrage, and would have definitely required explanation or justification in the document that officially introduces and justified the practice of polygamy, Doctrine and Covenants 132.

    3. Stone in the hat translation (Urim and Thummim)
    Joseph and several of the witnesses who saw him translate make reference to a divine tool called the Urim and Thummim that he had received from the angel to assist in the translation process. The Urim and Thummim is mentioned several times but not explained in the Bible (Ex. 28:30; Lev. 8:8; Num. 27:21; Deut. 33:8; 1 Sam. 28:6; Ezra 2:63; Nehemiah 7:65), but apparently is a divine tool which allows “seers” (those who see) to see special things with the power of God (Mosiah 8:13; see also 1 Sam. 28:6). Some of these witnesses said that Joseph looked into the instrument and could see translated words or sentences (e.g., by placing the devices in a hat and looking at them while blocking out the daylight). One recorded revelation to Joseph made mention of him having “sight and power to translate” (Doctrine and Covenants 3:12).

    4. Blacks and the Priesthood
    Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”) are often unfairly and improperly accused of being racists. Racist attitudes in various forms have permeated human civilization throughout the ages, and white Latter-day Saints in the past often shared the same assumptions and attitudes that were dominant among white Americans. However, the modern Church is outspoken against racism, and the official doctrines of the Church have long taught that all people of all races are sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father and can be heirs of salvation. However, until 1978, there was a restriction on the priesthood that excluded many blacks, and this policy, often assumed to have been motivated by nothing but racism, raises many questions and issues. Yes, racist views have existed in the Church and among some of its members, especially in past days when it permeated American society, but for decades we have been moving past that and are more fully embracing the core doctrines of the Church in LDS scriptures: namely, that we are all precious children of a loving Heavenly Father, and salvation is open to all, regardless of race.

    5. Different First Vision Accounts
    There are nine early accounts of the First Vision (in 1820) that come from Joseph Smith or from others who heard him relate the First Vision story. Two well prepared accounts were penned by Joseph Smith, one from 1832 and a later one from 1838, which is the version published by the Church. A letter from Joseph to John Wentworth briefly mentions the First Vision; it was printed and published in 1842. Another reliable account is a document published in 1840 by Orson Pratt, which Joseph apparently endorsed. An excellent discussion of the First Vision accounts and their relationship to each other and recorded historical events is given by Richard L. Anderson in “Joseph Smith’s Testimony of the First Vision,” Ensign, April 1996, pp. 10-21.

    Do reliable documents written or approved by Joseph contradict each other? No (a possible exception: in one place the wrong town may have been mentioned), but the accounts focus on different aspects of a significant and overwhelming experience. This is not real evidence of fraud, any more than Paul’s varying accounts of his first vision in the New Testament make Paul a deceiver. Hundreds of details are associated with any major event in history or in one’s life, and which ones are included and given focus is a function of the mindset, purposes, and maturity of the writer. The 1832 version was a private writing as Joseph began working on a history of the Church. It focused on what may have been most important to young Joseph at the time: being told by Christ that he had been forgiven of his sins. The 1832 does not speak of seeing God and Christ, but mentions seeing “the Lord.” The 1838 account speaks of seeing two Beings, the Father and the Son, and notes that the Father introduced the Son to Joseph, saying “Hear Him!” From then on, the message was presented by the Son, who has directed the restoration of His Church from the beginning. Critics cry foul, but the two documents are compatible. Leaving something unsaid is not the same as a contradiction. Later versions of the account were intended to let others know of the apostasy and the call to restore the Church of Christ.

    6. Post-Manifesto polygamy
    I will admit that I don’t know much about this but I will look into it.

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share what I believe and know. God bless you all!

  30. If polygamy really wasn’t about sex why does BY and others constantly talk about that you either have polygamy or prostitution in the Journal of Discourses?

  31. Proud to be LDS

    1. The Kinderhook plates – It sin your own church history which states that Joseph had translated a portion of them and they contain … blah blah

    Are you saying William Clayton who made the entry was lying.

    2.. Joseph Smith’s 30+ Wives, polyandry

    Using polygamy as an excuse to have sexual relations with teen housemaids doesn’t wash. Maryying other mens wives doesn’t wash either.

    The whole D&C 132 was written by Smith to excuse Smith of his extra marital practices. Including a threat to destroy his wife Emma if she rebelled. Well she did rebel over it and out lived him. He was the one who got destroyed at age 38.

    3 Stone in the hat translation

    Well this says it all. The whole thing is a farce.

    4 Blacks and Priesthood.

    This all comes from Joseph Smiths naive mind where he claims Lamanites changed colour in the Book Of Mormon. Then claims Phaoroah was cursed as to the priesthood being a decendant of Cain,in his Book Of Abraham.
    Its laughable.

    5 Different First Vision Acounts, he was just making it up as he went along.

    6 Post manifesto Polygamy. They simply ignored the Manifesto ! What is there to know.

  32. Coventry,

    That’s a good point, that never occurred to me.

    EJ,

    Chill out:) There’s no need to jump all over people. I think there is room to look at these events in more than one way. To those that choose to believe everything it is more comfortable to interpret things from a faithful perspective.

    Assuming the gospel is always the same Joseph wouldn’t of had sex with married women because that is adultery, so therefore to a faithful member he didn’t, he was just sealed to their children and them in the afterlife. I think that the scanty historical record allows for that type of belief as well as other justifications given by apologists. I personally have a hard time accepting all the justifications, but don’t discount the fact that a reasonable argument can be made to defend the LDS Church against almost every critique. This is enough for those that don’t wish to question their beliefs.

  33. Taken from an official LDS church publication

    One important task of the compilers of the History of the Church was editing and preparing original documents for inclusion in the history. Their work involved making light editorial revisions to almost all original documents included in the History of the Church. The compilers corrected misspelled words and standardized punctuation, capitalization, and grammar. Additionally, in some cases, the compilers of the history made other changes to original documents. These changes can be divided into three categories:

    1. Combining accounts. Many of Joseph Smith’s discourses were recorded by more than one observer. In some instances, the compilers of the History of the Church combined two or more accounts of the same discourse into a single version.

    2. Changing accounts from third person to first person. Many accounts of the Prophet’s teachings and activities were recorded in third person. These accounts were written primarily by his scribes, but some accounts were taken from the writings of others who knew the Prophet and from newspaper articles. As the compilers of the History of the Church worked, they wrote the history in the first person, as if the Prophet were writing. This required that some third-person accounts be changed into first-person accounts.

    3. Adding or changing words or phrases. Many of the original notes taken of the Prophet’s sermons are brief, incomplete, and disconnected. In some of these instances, Church historians reconstructed the Prophet’s sermons based on the available records, drawing also upon their memories and experiences with the Prophet. This work sometimes involved adding or changing words or phrases to fill in gaps and clarify meaning.

    I really have no opinion on the Kinderhook Plates but I think this quote should remove any credibility given to the History of the Church and invalidate any arguments that cite it as a resource. It is an interesting read and I have a copy in my library, I do not use it as proof of any event, however.

  34. Jay

    “Assuming the gospel is always the same Joseph wouldn’t of had sex with married women because that is adultery, so therefore to a faithful member he didn’t, he was just sealed to their children and them in the afterlife.”

    So he was just sealed to them?

    Why were they performed as marriages then?

    I’ve learnt in Mormonsim that

    A steel sword is not a steel sword.
    Horses are not Horses ( Tapirs ).
    Chariots are not wheeled vehicles.
    Hill Cumorah is not really Hill Cumorah.

    Now you are suggesting that Marriages are not Marriages ……………but sealings?

    It’s amazing how words and meanings can be totally nonsensically redefined in Mormonsim.

    Why was Joseph Smith sealing other mens wives to him? Are they sealed to two husbands then?
    And why is this ‘sacred’ practice discontinued today?

  35. A Prophet – Is NOT always a Prophet

    ONLY when GOD calls him to prophesy

    Is he truly a Prophet.

  36. God…….”frowns”……. on PRIDE

    and

    “Smiles”………………….on humility


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