Questions and Answers: Implications and Polytheism

I stayed up late reading again last night! I did manage to go to bed an hour earlier than the previous night though, and I woke up earlier to boot. Also, I finished The War of the Worlds. I sometimes struggle reading books like that, but not because they’re hard to read: I feel as though I should be reading educational books or something. Am I wasting my time reading books just for fun? As fun as it is to curl up on a couch, fire blazing, and read The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics I just can’t do that all the time. So I have to remind myself that it’s perfectly OK to read books just for fun.

Also, I don’t know a thing about quantum mechanics and I’m sure that book would blow my mind. I used that because it had the most complicated title I could find.

Subject change! So I received a few questions regarding my post a few days ago. The questions are about my beliefs in the Trinity (what I call the Godhead). I said I believe God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost to be 3 distinct individuals, whereas the Trinitarian belief is that they are 1 being. The questions and my answers are as follows.

Question #1: “What are the implications of one vs. three?”

One implication is that the LDS faith is often considered non-Christian because of this unorthodox belief.

The main implication, and the one that in my opinion really envelops all others, lies in one verse of scripture from the Bible.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Just as if you want to spend some real time with someone you have to get to know him or her first, the Christian belief is that to live with God in Heaven you have to get to know Him. Learning God’s nature lies at the core of getting to know Him. Are we literally his children or did he just create us? Is He a spirit, a man-like being, a mysterious presence in the universe? Is he three Gods in one, or just one God?

C.S. Lewis describes “The Three-Personal God” through different dimensions. He states that a creature living in a one-dimensional world could never understand two dimensions, and one living in a two-dimensional world could never understand three-dimensions. He compares the Trinity to a 3D cube and us, being in a two-dimensional state of mind, cannot comprehend this. Or maybe I’ll just let him say it.

"In God's dimension, so to speak, you find a being who is three Persons while remaining one Being, just as a cube is six squares while remaining one cube. Of course we cannot fully conceive a Being like that: just as, if we were so made that we perceived only two dimensions in space we could never properly imagine a cube."

In my other post I linked to an article that describes my feelings of this better than I can, so I’m including a quote from it:

All three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted "mystery of the trinity." They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible. We agree with our critics on at least that point—that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible. With such a confusing definition of God being imposed upon the church, little wonder that a fourth-century monk cried out, "Woe is me! They have taken my God away from me, … and I know not whom to adore or to address." How are we to trust, love, worship, to say nothing of strive to be like, One who is incomprehensible and unknowable? What of Jesus's prayer to His Father in Heaven that "this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent"?

In summary, the implications of one vs. three run deep. To gain eternal life one must know God, and at the very root of knowing Him lies his very nature. The LDS doctrine is that they are 3 distinct individuals. I’ll explain a bit more about that in answering the next question.

So I hope that answers the question. I am curious what others out there have to say on this. Have I misrepresented anything? Serious commenters only, I am not interested in arguing.

Question #2: “Also, doesn’t three cause a problem that you would be believing in multiple Gods?”

We believe in, and worship only one God. This worship is done in the name of Jesus Christ, which is often confused for polytheism. A typical prayer will go something like this:

1) Address God by saying something like “Dear Heavenly Father,” or “Our Father who art in Heaven” 2) Express gratitude for blessings 3) Ask for forgiveness, needs, answers to questions, etc. 4) End by saying “in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.”

We worship God the Father, in the name of Christ because Christ is the Savior of all mankind, and therefore our advocate with the Father. Redemption comes only in and through Christ so we recognize him as the link between us and God. The Holy Ghost is God’s messenger. The Holy Ghost guides, comforts, and teaches.

Also, I should probably add that we believe (again from that article I linked to) “They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance.” For example, they are one in purpose (to bring Salvation to everyone), just as individuals in a country can be united in the purpose of protecting itself, or as a husband and wife can be united in raising their children. One might also consider on Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:11,20-23. Are Christians to believe that Christ intended for everyone to become part of some mysterious being? I think he meant that we should be united in purpose, in loving and caring for one another, just as They are.

I hope that explains it. Also, I should say that although I’ve tried my best to accurately explain LDS doctrine, I certainly could be wrong somewhere. If any other Mormons are out there reading, please correct me if I’ve made a mistake. Thanks!

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