The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,
with Exegetical Refutations
on every cover of the Book of
Mormon (recent edition) is the phrase, “Another Testament of Jesus
Christ.” Undoubtedly, this statement is quite accurate; the Jesus of The
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (hereafter LDS) is
indeed, another Testament of
Jesus Christ. Notwithstanding the polished Christian vocabulary in which
young LDS missionaries employ, the LDS Church embraces a decidedly
heterodox Christology. Because of a distorted view of the doctrine of
the Trinity, the LDS’ chief Christological assertion is clear: Jesus
Christ did not eternally exist
as God. As will be demonstrated, the Jesus of Mormonism had to earn
His salvation whereby becoming a God (in the fullest sense). Mormons are
quick to point out that Jesus Christ is the “eternal” God (cf. Book of Mormon: preface) but what they mean is that His “matter”
has always existed.1
Only in that sense, is He tagged as a “God.” As with all
non-Christian cults, the Mormons pour a meaning into the term “Son of
God,” which is far removed from the biblical definition. When Mormons
are asked, “Who is Jesus?” they confidently respond by saying, “He
is the Only Begotten Son of God in
the flesh.” Concerning this LDS motto is the last phrase “in the
flesh.” This is very significant in LDS theology. LDS Apostle Bruce R.
McConkie explains “Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers” (emphasis
“Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am4 He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24; Note: All biblical citations hereafter are from the New American Standard Bible, unless indicated).
The full deity of Jesus Christ is the very foundation of orthodox Christianity. Only because Jesus Christ is the divine Mediator, is salvation a reality. Nevertheless, the LDS position stands firm: Jesus Christ the Son of God did not eternally exist as God. Rather, He became a God by obedience to law when He lived on earth.
Distortion of the Trinity
Before examining the LDS Christological postulation, one must understand its distinctive doctrine of Exaltation. Exaltation is the heart of Mormon theology. Exaltation, in LDS vernacular, simply means: man progressing to Godhood, that is, salvation in its truest sense. Accordingly, exaltation to Godhood is the ultimate goal of nearly all devoted Mormon males. First president and founder of the LDS Church, Joseph Smith, explains:
I will go back to
the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of being God is. .
. . God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits
enthroned in yonder heavens. . . . it is necessary we should understand
the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going
to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that
God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away
the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some,
but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the
Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man
converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that
God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus
Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible.
. . .
then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have
got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to
God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from
one small degree to another, and from
a small capacity to a great one. . . . (Smith’s emphasis).5
Therefore, the LDS Jesus had to learn how to become a God “the same as all Gods have done before.” Hence, Mormons envisage Jesus as one of the three separate, but one in purpose, Gods for this world. The Mormons have replaced the biblical doctrine of the Trinity with a crude tritheistic concept. LDS Apostle and scholar, James E. Talmage, explains the LDS analysis of the Trinity:
LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie, who was honored for his scholarship by former LDS president, Ezra Taft Benson, comments on the LDS version of the Godhead:
Clearly, the LDS Christological assertions are based primarily on their faulty view of the doctrine of the Trinity. To properly understand LDS Christology, a clear cognition of how they envisage the doctrine of the Trinity is key.
The LDS main assertion: Jesus Became a God
As with many ancient heresies (e.g., adoptionism), the Mormons teach that Jesus Christ obtained His deity at a point in time. Thus, like Father like Son; He lived as a man learning and “growing in wisdom” on earth. Jesus, according to Mormon theology, had “worked out His own salvation.” He eventually, after His resurrection, was exalted to Godhood by His Father, who was exalted by His Father, et cetera. Presently, as Mormons maintain, He exists as one of the three separate Gods for this world. However, in LDS thinking, all who are Gods now were once mere men who became Gods. LDS Apostle Lorenzo Snow, who later became the fifth president of the Church, sums up the LDS man-to-God doctrine in a short, but most quoted, couplet: “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.” Accordingly, in LDS theology, man and God are of the same species. Parley P. Pratt, who was one of the original LDS apostles, explains that men, angels (i.e., spirit children), and Jesus Christ have all originated8 from the same source:
In other words, according to this exclusively LDS idea, there is no quality difference between mortal man and Jesus. The only difference is, Jesus is exalted as a God presently, while man must live out his life here on earth; hoping for a future exaltation. This is why Mormons refer to Jesus as their “elder brother”—literally. Moreover, Mormons utilize the term “firstborn” to describe Jesus’ origin as the first literal spirit child born to God the Father.
In his definitive doctrinal glossary Mormon Doctrine, under the title “Firstborn,” LDS authority Bruce R. McConkie affirms that “Christ is the Firstborn, meaning that he was the first Spirit Child born to God the Father in pre-existence. (D. & C. 93:21; John 1:1-5; Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:15).10 In his book The Promised Messiah, McConkie goes on to say:
Christians must be familiar with Mormon vocabulary on this issue. Mormons claim that Jesus is Lord, Savior, and eternal God. As seen however, the phrase “eternal God” means simply that Jesus is God presently, but only His “intelligence” has eternally existed. Only when LDS terms are defined, is the full import of their Christology revealed. Additionally, what is extraordinarily problematic in LDS Christology is the explanation of how Jesus was a God in His preexistent life.
In Mormondom, one must go through a probationary time on earth as a mortal and earn his Godhood. This entire process: preexistence, to mortality,12 to Godhood (if worthy enough), in LDS doctrine is termed as Eternal Progression. The doctrine of Eternal Progression teaches of man’s journey from their “first estate” as spirit children, to their “second estate” on earth where they acquire mortality. Then, subsequent to their death and resurrection, they will proceed to their final abode in one of the three kingdoms, or heavens. In LDS theology, to progress to the highest level of heaven (i.e., the celestial kingdom), is ultimate Godhood. To reach this level, the Mormon male would have had to live a near perfect life on earth. Moreover, he must have possessed the Melchizedek priesthood; having been married and “sealed” in the LDS Temple. This is what Mormons call “true” salvation or eternal life. However, the question remains: How did Jesus become a God whereby skipping His eternal progression? Not much literature has been written on the subject. However tenth president and prophet of the LDS Church, Joseph Fielding Smith, gave an explanation in his Doctrines of Salvation, under the title: CHRIST WORKED OUT HIS OWN SALVATION:
page later Smith explains that even though Jesus was “God before he
was born into this world,” He was not God in the fullest
sense until after His
By maintaining that Jesus was a God (in some sense) in His preexistence, before He eternally progressed, and before He was supposedly married, contradicts the LDS fundamental doctrine of Eternal Progression. To circumvent the doctrine of Eternal Progression, LDS General Authorities like Joseph Fielding Smith simply asserted that Jesus was “lacking some things which he did not receive until after his resurrection.” Such is the common feature of every non-Christian cult: Jesus had a beginning. In His preexistence, the LDS Jesus was an incomplete God. Nothing unique, nothing special about this God, only that He is now one of the separate non-eternal Gods of, what Mormons call, the Trinity.
To effectively refute LDS Christology, an adequate and exegetical description of the doctrine of the Trinity must be provided. Mormons, as well as many professing Christians, generally confound and misrepresent the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. Sound Christology can only be accomplished if the doctrine of the Trinity is correctly apprehended. What should be established first is that the very foundation of the Trinity is ontological monotheism:16 “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” (Deut. 6:4). As noted previously, the Mormons vandalize the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. They assert that the Trinity is three separate Gods, which is tritheism, not Trinitarianism. The biblical doctrine of the Trinity simply states that there exist three coequal, codistinct Persons or Selves, who share the nature of the one Being.
The biblical data for the Trinity is massive.17 Unequivocal monotheism is the foundation of the Trinity. However, the LDS denial of monotheism has been the theological starting point from which their distinctive Christology was first formed.
In sharp contrast to the
teachings of the LDS Church, the Christian church has always taught that
there is one true eternal God, Creator of all things. The early church
markedly distinguished creation from the Creator. Scripture speaks
clearly of God’s eternal status:
To communicate God’s eternal nature, the usual term utilized by the early church was agennētos (i.e., “uncreated”), which denoted His self-existence or unoriginateness (cf. Justin Martyr 1 Apol. 14.1). In his letter to the Ephesians, Ignatius of Antioch (c. A.D. 107) strictly applies agennētos to Jesus Christ:
The plain exegesis of John 1:1, as treated below, presents Jesus Christ as eternally subsisting as the eternal Logos, God Himself. The passage presents Jesus Christ subsisting on the same plane of deity as that of the Father. Thus, Jesus Christ as God was “from everlasting to everlasting.” It is important to remember that the LDS assertion that Jesus became a God at a particular point in time comes exclusively from LDS sources.18 Hence, there is absolutely no biblical support for this LDS assertion.
Scripture clearly and straightforwardly demonstrates that Jesus is fully God.19 Justification of the sinner rests on the full deity of Christ. As man, He was the perfect representation; as God His atonement had infinite value. Much too frequently, Christians make the mistake of simply trying to prove the deity of Jesus Christ. This is not an efficacious witnessing approach with the Mormons because the Mormons believe that Jesus is a God, but what they mean is that He became one of the Gods for this world.
Therefore, to effectively refute the Mormon position is to show that Jesus Christ has eternally existed as God Himself. To adequately refute something is to provide the evidence that it is false. Scripture, on its own merit, will be the chief instrument of refutation. The texts that will be utilized are John 1:1-14; Philippians 2:5-11; and the absolute egō eimi, (“I AM”) claims of Jesus Christ. If the passages are allowed to speak for themselves, they plainly and distinctly demonstrate that Jesus Christ eternally existed as God.
the beginning was
[ēn] the Word, and the Word was with
God [ēn pros ton theon] and the Word was God [
theos ēn ho logos]. He
was in the beginning with God. All
things [panta] came
into being [egeneto] through
Him, and apart from Him nothing came
into being [egeneto]
come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men
To defend against
Christological heresy and clearly teach that Jesus Christ eternally
existed as God, the early church has enjoyed the prologue of the Gospel
of John. Clement of Alexandria (c. A.D. 195) writes that “the Son was always the Word is
signified by saying, “In the beginning was the Word.”20
Brilliant theologian and polemicist, Tertullian of Carthage (c. A.D. 213),
used John 1:1 to refute the Modalism of Praxeas:
prologue of John’s Gospel thoroughly destroys every Christological
heresy from first century Docetism
to the present-day theology of every non-Christian construct. The LDS
denial of the eternality of Jesus Christ as God is
clearly refuted in light of the
grammar of John’s prologue.
the very first clause, John presents his first argument for the
eternality of Christ: Ēn
archē ēn ho logos
[the] beginning was the Word”). The Greek verb ēn is the imperfect tense of eimi.
imperfect tense indicates a continuous
action normally occurring in
the past. Hence, the verb reveals that the Word did not originate
at a point in time but rather in the beginning of time, the Word already
existed. But then in verse 3, John utilizes the aorist egeneto.22
This verb, as opposed to imperfect ēn
clearly refers to a point of time or origin, which, in this context,
creation is in view: All things
(“came into being”) through Him (cf. vv. 6, 10,
14). Noticeably, John strongly contrasts the verb ēn referring to the Word and egeneto
referring to all
created things, including John the Baptist: “There came [egeneto]
a man sent from God, whose name was John” (v. 6; emphasis added).23
The same contrast is found in John 8:58. Here Jesus draws a clear
distinction between His unoriginated existence as the eternal God,
(“I AM”) and the beginning of Abraham’s life
(using the aorist genesthai,
the same contrast (created vs. eternal) is found in Psalm 90:2:
the striking parallel between this passage above and John 8:58: Abraham
“was born” (created) is contrasted with Jesus as the “I AM”
(eternal). And the same in Psalm 90:2: the mountains that “were born”
(created) is contrasted with God, “You are” (eternal).
John’s prologue, egeneto is applied to “all things” created, whereas in verses 1-13 he applies
the verb ēn exclusively to the Word alone. As an imperfect tense, this Greek verb
destroys the LDS Jesus who became a God. It is not until verse 14 that
John applies egeneto to the Word, pertaining to His incarnation: Kai ho logos sarx egeneto, “And the Word flesh became.” The
always-existing Word, as John declares, “became flesh.”
John, in 1:1b, states: kai ho logos ēn pros ton theon, “and the Word was with
the God.” John purposely uses the expressive Greek preposition
to clearly differentiate God the Father (ton
theon) from the Word (
As John concludes his definitive Christological
presentation, he affirms the centrality of Scripture: theos
ēn ho logos
(“God was the Word).” Properly, theos occupies the first word in the clause drawing emphasis on the Word’s
quality as theos. Commenting on the high Christology of John 1:1, preeminent biblical
scholar Benjamin B. Warfield points out:
Concluding, John 1:1
systematically debunks the Mormon view of Christ. In
his prologue, John immediately asserts grammatically and contextually
that (a) the Word has always
subsisted, (b) the Word existed distinct
from His Father (pros ton theon),
(c) the eternal Word was Himself
ēn ho logos).
Where the LDS Jesus was a non-eternal insufficient God who was a mere
instrument of creation; John 1:3 presents the eternal Logos
as the Agent of creation:
All things came into being through Him, and apart
from Him nothing came into being that has come into being (cf. Col.
attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God [hos
en morphē theou huparchōn] did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made
himself nothing, taking the very nature
of a servant [morphēn doulou] being made in human likeness. And being
found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to
death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest
place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name
of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the
earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus
Christ is Lord [kurios
Iēsous Christos] to the glory of God the Father (NIV; emphasis added).
Philippians 2:5-11 was a very early Christian hymn, worshipping Christ as God. In seven short verses the Person and finished work of Jesus Christ is clearly expressed. Paul, as in all of his Epistles, was utterly consumed in proclaiming the two-natured Person, Jesus Christ (e.g., Rom. 1:3-4; 9:5). A full treatment of Philippians 2:5-11 will not be necessary here; however, there are some grammatical aspects that incontrovertibly demonstrate the eternal preexistence of Jesus Christ as God. First, instructing the Philippians on humility, Paul gives the ultimate example of humility—Jesus Christ. Then in verse 6, Paul declares: hos en morphē theou huparchōn (“Who in nature God being [or subsisting]).” The word translated “nature” or “form” as in the NASB, is from the Greek word morphē. The meaning of morphē denotes the specific qualities or essential attributes of that something. Concerning Paul’s usage of morphē in this passage, Warfield accurately notes:
That one denies that Jesus was truly the morphē of God is to deny that Jesus was truly the morphē of man as in verse 7: “taking the very nature [morphēn] of a servant.” Again, it must be stressed: Mormons agree that Jesus was a God, but disagree that He eternally existed as God. Conversely, the Apostle Paul cannot resist in establishing that Jesus Christ eternally existed as God. Further, the word translated “being” is from the Greek participle huparchōn. As a present tense participle, huparchōn clearly indicates a continuous existence or continually subsisting. Hence, Jesus did not, as the LDS claim, become a God at a certain point in time. Scripture does not allow for such; He always existed as God just as Paul explicitly indicated.
Christ: The Eternal
In his gospel and epistles, the Apostle John clearly and cogently presented the Person and finished work of Jesus the Christ. The Jesus that John passionately preached was God the eternal Word who became flesh. In the New Testament (primarily in John’s gospel), Jesus made seven (possibly eight) “absolute”27 egō eimi (“I AM”) declarations. These would be Mark 6:50;28 John 8:24; 8:28; 8:58; 13:19; 18:5; 18:6; and 18:8.
To understand the full theological significance of the phrase egō eimi the Old Testament background must first be considered. Most commentators and well meaning Christians seize John 8:58 and then hastily connect it with Exodus 3:14. There is, though, a solid connection between Jesus’ divine claim in John 8:58 and Exodus 3:14. However, to envisage the full theological impact of Jesus’ divine declarative, egō eimi should be contextually juxtaposed with the Hebrew phrase ani hu (“I am He”). The import of the phrase egō eimi is directly connected to the Hebrew phrase ani hu. This phrase was a frequent title for Yahweh (esp. in Isa.), in which the LXX renders as egō eimi, “I AM” (e.g., Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). Thus, the Jews understood clearly that egō eimi was a title reserved for Yahweh alone. I will expand on this point shortly.
As pointed out above, in John 8:58, egō eimi (“I AM”) is set in sharp contrast to genesthai (“was born”). Jesus drew a shining contrast between Abraham, who had a beginning (“was born”),29 and Himself, who eternally existed (“I AM”).30 Hence, Jesus distinguished Abraham’s origination with His unoriginate existence. The same contrast can be seen in the prologue of John (vv. 1-14; see above). The contrast supplied in John 8:58 (eimi vs. genesthai) clearly distinguishes Abraham’s origin and Jesus’ timeless existence.31
eimi and the LXX
Unquestionably, I see Jesus’ statement of egō eimi as a pointed parallel to the LXX rendering. Consider also that the LXX was a practical corresponding translation of the Hebrew Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh. Hence, the Exodus 3:14 (LXX) to John 8:58 correlation is quite compelling. In John 8:58 Wallace positively sees Jesus drawing from the LXX:
if egw eimi is not a historical present, then Jesus is here claiming to be the one who spoke to Moses at the burning bush, the I AM, the eternally existing One, Yahweh (cf. Exod. 3:14 in the LXX, egw eimi o wn).32
Egō eimi: Eternal God
As briefly discussed, the Old Testament background plays a most vital role in accurately determining the meaning of egō eimi. The Hebrew phrase ani hu which was translated as egō eimi in the LXX was an exclusive and recurring title for Yahweh (cf. Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4). Again, Jesus claimed to be the egō eimi (“I AM”) in the absolute seven (or eight) times (cf. Mark 6:50; John 8:24; 8:28; 58; 13:19; 18:5; 6, 8). In fact, in John 13:19 Jesus’ words are identical (minus the extraneous words) with Isaiah 43:10 (LXX):
In conclusion, when Jesus Christ claimed to be the egō eimi He purposefully and appropriately applied the divine name to Himself. And the Jews unequivocally knew what He meant: “Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him. . . .” (v. 59). If He were merely claiming that He preexisted Abraham, as the JWs assert, He certainly would not have been a candidate for stoning (cf. John 10:30-33).33
Jesus definitively claimed that He was the Yahweh of the Old Testament.34 Hence, at John 8:58 most meaningful translations render egō eimi correctly as “I AM.” “Undoubtedly,” says Robertson, “here [John 8:58] Jesus claims eternal existence with the absolute phrase [i.e., egō eimi] used of God”35
The Christian church has consistently used this wonderful passage to demonstrate that Jesus was and claimed to be the eternal God. However, Mormons still do not consider Jesus’ affirmation of being the eternal God, egō eimi. In John 8:24, Jesus warned of rejecting His eternality as God:
Note above that the translators italicized “He” indicating that “He” was not in the Greek text.35 According to Jesus, believing that He was the egō eimi that is, the eternal God, was a necessity for salvation; in which, as seen, was already substantiated back in Isaiah 43:10
His divine sovereignty over the winds, sea, and all creation. Creation
itself is subject to its Creator. God is Creator whereby He creates all things that exists. Scripture presents Jesus Christ as
the actual Agent of creation (cf. John. 1:3; Col. 1:16-17). Conversely,
the Mormon Jesus was anything but Creator. In LDS doctrine, Elohim instructed His Son Jesus along with Michael the archangel
the already existing “matter” into an earth.39
Consequently, the Mormons regard Jesus only as the leading “helper”
in creation rather than the Creator. In sum, the Jews clearly understood
that egō eimi was a title strictly reserved for Yahweh alone (cf.
Exod. 3:14; Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4; 43:10; 46:4; cf. LXX). Hence, when
Jesus affirmed Himself to be the absolute egō eimi eight times in the New Testament,40
He unequivocally established Himself as being the eternal God; of the
same essence as that of the Father.
In the objective light of biblical exegesis, the LDS Christological assertions are decidedly unbiblical and utterly blasphemous. The Mormons have aggressively removed the Jesus of biblical revelation and present a repackaged non-eternal, non-Creator Christ. That Jesus was a start-up God flies directly in the face of Scripture: “Who, being in very nature God.” The eternal Word was (ēn) always with (pros) the Father, and eternally existed as God Himself (theos ēn ho logos). The Mormon Jesus, though, had to earn His own salvation by obedience to law. The LDS doctrine of Eternal Progression attacks the very Being of God Himself. The Mormons have no problem heralding their distinctive doctrinal position to the world: God the Father and Jesus Christ are merely two separate polygamous Gods in a pantheon of created Gods that were once mortal men working out their own salvation.
Joseph Smith deceived the world when he proclaimed: “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.”41 To be sure, LDS Christology is the obvious result of a distorted view of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity (i.e., a tritheistic view), as McConkie put it, “these three are the only Gods we worship.”42 When the Tri-Unity of God is misrepresented in any way, shape, or form, the second Person of the Trinity is de facto perverted. By denying the biblical Christ, the Mormons are disqualified from true salvation. “Whoever denies the Son,” the Apostle John teaches, “does not have the Father” (1 John 2:23). Sadly, LDS Christology hides salvation from its devotees. Notwithstanding the overuse of smooth “Christian lingo,” the LDS Church embraces a Jesus disconnected from Scripture. In this fashion, the Mormons enjoy announcing to potential proselytes that their Church “bears the name of Jesus Christ.” In the introduction to his voluminous book Jesus the Christ, LDS Apostle James E. Talmage stated:
At first glance, the above statement sounds very Christian. However, LDS leaders define these so-called Christian terms only in light of their own theology—hence, pouring LDS meanings into the terms. The sacred name of Jesus Christ does not mean anything unless it is the Jesus of biblical revelation. In anticipation of the “different” Christ, the Apostle Paul gave this sober warning:
1 The Mormons propose a complex and awkward meaning to the term “eternal.” In LDS theology, “matter” or intelligence has always existed. Tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith explains: “The intelligent part of man was never created but always existed” (Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, comp. Bruce McConkie, 3 vols. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954], 1:12). Hence, in that sense, Mormons can say that God and man are eternal. Thus, Mormons do not believe that God was always God, only that His “matter” or “intelligence” has eternally existed.
2 Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed., rev. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 547.
3 LDS General Authorities include: The First Presidency (i.e., The LDS President and his two Counselors), Council of Twelve (i.e., the so-called Twelve Apostles), the Patriarch to the Church, Assistants to the Twelve, First Council of the Seventy, and Presiding Bishopric. Therefore, only the LDS General Authorities determine what and what is not LDS doctrine.
4 The full force of Jesus’ assertion is striking: ean gar mē pisteusēte hoti egō eimi, apothaneisthe en tais hamartiais humōn (“For if you shall believe not that I AM [egō eimi] you will die in the sins of you”). Hence, “I AM” (egō eimi) and not “I am He” is the literal rendering. Jesus clearly asserts here that salvation rests on believing that He is the eternal God.
Joseph Fielding Smith, ed., Teachings
of the Prophet Joseph Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book
Company, 1976), 345-47.
6 James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to the Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern, 33rd ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973), 32.
7 McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 576-77.
8 “Originated” in the sense that “eternal intelligence” or “eternal matter” was merely “organized,” thus not actually created by God. In Smith’s mind: “God never had the power to create. . . . ” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 354).
Parley P. Pratt, Key to the
Science of Theology, 10th ed. (Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book, 1948), 33.
10 McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 281.
11 Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1978), 165. Note, Mormons use the terms “firstborn” and “begotten” to show that (a) Jesus was the first spirit child, and (b) that He was sexually procreated by His Father and the Virgin Mary (see pp. 2-3 above). However, unfamiliarity with biblical languages causes LDS teachers to misdefine and confuse the Greek word monogenēs, “begotten” (cf. John 1:18; 3:16) and prōtotokos, “firstborn” (cf. Col. 1:15). In that they conjured up the idea that Lucifer, being the “second born,” was Jesus’ literal spiritual brother. Of course, what quickly demolishes their argument is that Scripture teaches that Jesus created ta panta, “all things” (cf. John 1:3; Col. 1:16-17; 1 Cor. 8:6), whereas Satan was a created angel (cf. Ezek. 28:13).
12 “Mortality” in LDS vocabulary simply means possessing a physical body for this life and after.
13 This reference is not contained in the authentic writings of the Apostle John it is only found in the LDS standard work: Doctrine and Covenants (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1961), 93:6-16. Mormons are enamored with the practice of interpolating their own theology into the mouths of the biblical authors.
14 Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:32.
15 Ibid., 33.
Ontology is the study of
“nature” or “being.” Thus, ontological monotheism, meaning
that there is one true God by nature. Mormons believe that there are
countless true Gods by nature, clashingly contradicting the words of
the Apostle Paul: "However
at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those
which by nature are no gods" (Gal. 4:8).
E.g., Matthew 28:19; Luke 1:35; 10:21; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians
13:14; Ephesians 2:18; 4:4-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5-7; 1
Peter 1:2-3. Furthermore, the many passages which clearly reveal the
Father and the Son having intimate loving fellowship before time
strongly substantiates the doctrine of the Trinity (e.g., John. 1:1;
18 E.g., Doctrine and of Covenants, official LDS publications, and statements from LDS General Authorities.
19 E.g., John 1:1; 18; 8:58; 20:28; Romans 9:5; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 2:9; Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; Hebrews 1:3, 8, 10; and Revelation 1:8.
Clement of Alexandria Fragments
of Clemens Alexandrinus, ed. Alexander Roberts and James
Donaldson in The Ante-Nicene
Fathers: Translations of the Writings of the Fathers down to A.D.
325, vol. 2 (1885-1887, reprint, Peabody: Hendrickson, 1994),
21 Tertullian Against Praxeas 15, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 3:610.
22 Egeneto is the aorist indicative form of ginomai. The aorist tense indicates an undefined action normally occurring in the past. Reformed theologian James R. White comments on the aorist egeneto:
23 Egeneto anthropos,
apestalmenos para theou, onoma autō Iōannēs.
Apostle John deliberately used
“toward”) with the accusative. It should be well noted that in
the New Testament the predominate usage of
denotes an intimate relationship between distinct
persons (e.g., 1 Cor. 13:12: “for we shall see face to
special relationship that Christians will experience with
the Lord: “to be . . . at home with
the Lord” (2 Cor.
5:8). In Romans 5:1, Paul teaches that since the believer has
been justified (dikaiōthentes)
by faith alone, they
now presently have (echomen)
peace “with the God” (pros
Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical
Doctrines (Carlisle: The Banner of Truth, 1988), 191-92.
26 Warfield, Biblical Doctrines, 177.
“Absolute” meaning that the phrase egō eimi (“I AM”)
comes at the end of the clause without supplying a predicate (cf.
Archibald T. Robertson, Word
Pictures in the New Testament [Nashville: Broadman Press, 1933],
28 Some do not see Mark 6:50 (cf. John 6:20) as an absolute egō eimi statement (e.g., James R. White, The Forgotten Trinity, Recovering the Heart of Christian Belief [Minneapolis: Bethany, 1998], 209); D. A. Carson, “‘I AM’ Sayings” in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984], 541). However others such as Protestant theologian Robert Reymond see it as a potential “I am usage” (although he cites the parallel passage in John 6:20; cf. Robert L. Reymond, A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith [Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998], 231).
The verb genesthai is
the aorist middle infinitive of ginomai. This verb clearly
denotes origin (i.e., Abraham’s): “To come into being through
the process of birth or natural production, be born, be produced”
(Walter Bauer, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and
Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed., rev. and
ed. Frederick W. Danker [Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
30 The verb eimi is a present active indicative denoting an ongoing action with no indication of origin.
31 Robertson sees the grammatical contrast in both John 1:1 and 8:58:
32 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament, with Scripture, Subject, and Greek Word Indexes (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 531.
According to Hebrew Law there were five reasons in which stoning
would have been legal: familiar spirits (cf. Lev. 20:27); blasphemy
(cf. Lev. 24:10-23); false prophets (Deut. 13:5-10; 18:20); a
stubborn and rebellious adult son (cf. Deut. 21:18-22); and lastly,
adultery and rape (cf. Deut. 22:21-24).
The NT authors clearly envisaged Jesus Christ as the Yahweh of the
OT. Hence, they often cited OT passages referring to Yahweh and
applied them to Christ (e.g., Ps. 45:6-7 with Heb. 1:8-9; Ps.
102:25-27 with Heb. 1:10-12; Isa. 6:1, 10 with John 12:40-41; Isa.
8:12-13 with 1 Pet. 3:14-15; Isa. 43:10 with John 8:24 and 13:19;
Isa. 45:23 with Phil. 2:10; Joel 2:32 with Rom. 10:13).
35 Robertson, Word Pictures, 5:158-59.
35 Greek: ean gar mē pisteusēte hoti egō eimi apothaneisthe en tais hamartiais humōn, . Lit. “For if you should believe not that I am [egō eimi], you will die in the sins of you.” His audience did not miss the clear and cogent way Jesus communicated His eternality as God: “Therefore they picked up stones to throw at Him. . . .” (John 8:59; cf. 10:31-33).
36 Greek: pantes gar
auton eidan kai etarachthēsan ho de euthus elalēsen met’
autōn , kai legei autois tharseite egō eimi mē
37 Cf. Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 157.
38 Cf. Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:74-75; McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 169.
39 In the three volume set, Doctrines of Salvation, tenth LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith explains Jesus’ role in creation:
CREATED MANY WORLDS. Under the direction of his Father, Jesus
Christ created this earth. No doubt others
helped him. . . . It is true Adam helped to form this earth. He
labored with our Savior Jesus Christ. I have a strong view or
conviction that there were others also who assisted them. Perhaps
and why not Joseph Smith,
and those who were appointed to be rulers before the earth was
formed? (1:74-75; Smith’s emphasis).
40 Cf. Mark; 6:50; John 8:24, 28, 58; 13:19; 18:5, 6, 8.
41 Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345.
42 McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 576-77.
43 James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission According to the Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern. 33rd ed. (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1973).