Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Where did the Mormon Gods come from?

Do Mormons believe in a first Creator God of all things? Is there a First Cause that caused all other beings to come into existence?

In the Mormon hymnal called If you could hie to Kolob (pg. 284) it reads, “If you could hie to kolob in a twinkling of an eye, And then continue onward with that same speed to fly… [you'd]... find the generation where the gods began to be?” Huh? A generation is all of the offspring that are at the same stage of descent from a common ancestor. So the Mormon chain of procreating gods goes back to a single source? Is this Originator personal or impersonal? male or female? Mormons have no answer. This sounds like the Hindu concept of Brahman that is the source of all the gods and "is the unchanging, infinite, immanent, and transcendent reality which is the Divine Ground of all things in this universe" (Wikipedia.com). Is this LDS doctrine? But wait, the LDS prophet Brigham Young said that “there never was a time when there were not Gods…” (See Journal of Discourses 7:333). So which is it, a Brahman-like orginal source or an infinite regress? Brigham Young's remark reminds me of the story of an old woman who insists that the world is carried around on the back of a giant turtle. So a reasonable young man asked, "Well, what is that turtle standing on?" And the woman retorted, "Oh no, you can't trick me young man! It's turtles all the way down!"

Where did the Mormon Gods come from? There appears to be contradictory doctrines in Mormonism; and maybe, just maybe Joseph Smith made it up?


Just one of many said...

They came straight from hell in my opinion!! Silly to think I spent so much time, energy, and money in that wacked out organization!!

Bill Kempton said...

Don't beat your self up, the LDS organization/corporation is designed to dupe even the smartest among us ;)

Steve St.Clair said...

Note this very different understanding of the King Follett Discourse by LDS Philosopher Blake Ostler, which explains the puzzling thoughts and removes any need for an infinite regress of "Gods".

On the other hand, one could understand "God from all eternity to all eternity" to refer to the Godhead rather than to any of the individual divine persons separately. It is not true that if there has always been a Godhead that all the divine persons constituting the Godhead have always been divine. Thus, when the Word was made flesh and became mortal by leaving aside the divine unity of complete oneness with the Father and Holy Ghost, the Son "emptied himself" of his divinity and became mortal while the Father and Holy Ghost remained divine as members of the Godhead. What is true of the individual divine persons separately is not necessarily true of the divine persons united as one in the Godhead. For example, atoms of hydrogen and oxygen considered separately have very different properties than two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen joined in one entity in a molecular unity to form water. Analogously, the individual divine persons could have very different properties considered individually than when the Godhead acts, thinks, and wills as one God. Thus, when the scriptures say that "God is from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God," it means that the Godhead has always manifested all the essential properties of godhood (whatever they may be), but the individual divine persons may not always have possessed all the properties of godhood individually. In other words, there was a time when the Father took on himself mortality just as there was a time when the Son became mortal, but there was a Godhead before, during, and after that time.

This latter view seems to be more consistent with the scriptures to me. Moreover, it need not entail that the Father became God after an eternity of not having ever been divine, or that there was a time before which the Father was not divine. Rather, when we say that "as man now is, God once was," it seems more consistent to say that just as the Son was divine before becoming mortal (and was in fact very God as Yahweh of the Old Testament), so also the Father was divine from all eternity without beginning before he became mortal. The scriptures seem to assert that the Godhead is the same unchangeable and everlasting God from all eternity without beginning. References to "the same unchangeable God" in Mormon scripture often explicitly refer in context to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost as one God. They also seem to say that although the Son was made flesh, he was an individual divine person before mortality from all eternity. It is often not certain whether scriptures or sermons refer to God the Father or the Son as individual divine persons or to the Godhead. However, if the Son only does what he has seen the Father do before him, as Joseph Smith asserted in the King Follett discourse, then the Father was also divine before becoming mortal just as the Son was before being made flesh. Robinson endorses the idea that we should view the Father's having once been mortal as analogous to the Son's incarnation: "To those who are offended by Joseph Smith's suggestion that God the Father was once, before the beginning, a man, I point out that God the Son was undoubtedly once a man, and that did not compromise his divinity" (p. 91). Of course, this argument is less compelling if the Father was not divine before his incarnation or condescension, for then the parallel with the Son's experience of mortality would be somewhat compromised.

See the whole thing explained on my blog at http://ldsfocuschrist.blogspot.com/2007/04/lds-thoughts-on-king-follett-discourse.html

Thanks, Steve St. Clair

B.K. said...

If I am understanding this correctly then humans now are divine or the intelligences (human souls?) are eternal and thus uncreated as was the gods of this earth. As it says in the Book of Abraham: “… if there be two spirits [spirit bodies per LDS footnote], and one shall be more intelligent than the other, yet these two spirits, notwithstanding one is more intelligent than the other, have no beginning; they existed before, they shall have no end, they shall exist after, for they are gnolaum, or eternal” (Abraham 3: 18, www.lds.org, 2009). If this is the case then there are only levels of divinity and all are basically divine by nature; humans and the gods over this earth are both divine and only differ in stages of development and/or status. Thus the gods of this earth are not the Ultimate Source, The First Cause or Creator of ALL. The gods of this earth and humans on this planet are gnolaum or eternal and both were organized by other gods. The gods of this earth are not the Creator (the unmoved Mover, the First Cause). Thus my question still stands, where did the Mormon gods come from – who organized their intelligences as they organized our intelligence on down the line into a infinite regress or an Ultimate First Cause of all the gods, including the gods of this earth. And is that First Cause or Ultimate Creator conscious or unconscious, personal or impersonal? And if Brigham Young was correct and “there never was a time when there were not Gods…” then what would happen if one could hie to Kolob in a twinkling of an eye, would they not find the generation where the gods began to be?” Either way, once again, this sounds like Hinduism.

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