Gordon B. Hinckley on the Father and the Son

I know that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son, the Redeemer of the world, who gave His life that we might have eternal life and who rules and reigns with His Father. I know that They are individual beings, separate and distinct one from another and yet alike in form and substance and purpose.

From General Conference, April 2002:

lds.org/general-conference/2002/04/we-look-to-christ?lang=eng

Do you think Mormons have any understand of what traditional Christians teach about the Godhead? I ask this because I recently heard a talk at an LDS Church meeting in which the speaker (an ex-Catholic) said that Christians believed the Father and the Son were one person. I don’t think your normal Mormon has any idea regarding what Christians are saying when they talk about person or being or substance.

I agree, I think their understanding tends to be rather simplistic because they lack the two thousand years of study and development of understanding that we benefit from in the Catholic church. Their understanding is based on their understanding of our understanding.

Of course Mormons don’t agree with development of doctrine. They want it all by direct revelation or it isn’t worth anything. If you read Hinckley’s entire General Conference talk there would be very little with which a traditional Christian would disagree.

I agree. I don’t think they really want to know.

I saw “homoiouisios” in his talk.

Heresy!

If he had said, “I know that Jesus Christ is His Only Begotten Son, the Redeemer of the world, who gave His life that we might have eternal life and who rules and reigns with His Father. I know that They are individual persons, separate and distinct one from another and yet alike in form and substance and purpose” he would have almost been orthodox. I really do think most Mormons use “person” and “being” interchangeably whereas we use “being” and “substance” interchangeably.

The LDS do not teach what others believe with any specificity. We teach what we believe…go figure. So really, the only way LDS will know what others believe, is if they study it outside of church or are a convert from another faith.

And yes, we do not use “person” and “being” in the same way Trinitarians do. To us, a person is a being, and two persons are two beings.

**This is the official statement from the Doctrine and Covenants about the nature and substance of God:
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“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us.” -D&C 130:22

**And here is another pericope regarding the Mormon God (Source, MormonWiki):
**
The early Mormon church held to this belief, with it’s very origination being found on the lips of their founder, Joseph Smith,
“…the earliest latter-day discussion of divine embodiment is best understood as a rejection of traditional doctrine concerning God and the metaphysics that makes that doctrine possible and perhaps even necessary. Joseph Smith’s most clear statement of God’s embodiment comes as part of a denial of Nicean trinitarianism: ‘That which is without body, parts, and passions is nothing. There is no other God in heaven but that God who has flesh and bones.’” (James E. Faulconer, Element: the Journal of the Society for Mormon Philosophy and Theology, vol. 1, issue 1, spring 2005, p. 4).

He said “alike in form and substance”.

Orthodox Christianity postulates that they are the same on substance. Arianism postulates that they are merely alike in substance.

He is the leader of their church. If this is his belief does it mean we may not understand what they really teach or that he is just telling lies to the members of their church?

Mormons have no concept of the term “substance”. It is foreign to them and without meaning. The most understanding they will have is the familial relationship between a father and a son. They have distinct minds and are of the same kind of flesh. Anything beyond that is beyond their theology.

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