Joseph Smith’s Changing Doctrine of Deity
VIEWED IN SCRIPTURAL ORDER
The Mormon scriptures are not progressive. Viewed chronologically, beginning from the most ancient period, they move from teaching the plurality of Gods, to monotheism, then back to the plurality of Gods.
2000 B.C. Book of Abraham 4:3-7 Plurality of Gods
600 B.C. to A.D. 400 Book of Mormon Modalistic Alma 11:26-29 Monotheism
A.D. 1830 Early (April 1830) Doctrine & Covenants 20:17, 19, 28 Monotheism
A.D. 1830 - Joseph Smith Translation Modalistic Monotheism
A.D. 1834-1835 Lectures on Faith, 5th Lecture Binatarian Monotheism, or Bitheism
A.D. 1839 Later (March 1839) Doctrine & Covenants 121:26, 28, 32 Possibility of Plurality of gods
A.D. 1839-1843 Doctrine & Covenants 131:17-18; 132:20, 37 Plurality of gods (but unlike in the Book of Abraham)
A.D. 1844 [King Follet Discourse*] Plurality of Gods
Original 1830 Text
Current, Altered Text
And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of God,after the manner of the flesh.*
And he said unto me, Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God. (1 Nephi 11:18)
And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Eternal Father!
And the angel said unto me, behold the Lamb of God, even the Son of the Eternal Father! (1 Nephi 11:21)
And I looked and beheld the Lamb of god, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Everlasting God, was judged of the world.
And I looked and beheld the Lamb of god, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world. (1 Nephi 11:32)
These last records . . . . shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.
These last records . . . . shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Son of the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world. (1 Nephi 13:40)
Original 1830 Text
1 Nephi 3, p. 32 These last records … shall make known to all kindreds, tongues, and people, that the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Savior of the world.
1 Nephi 11:32 And I looked and beheld the Lamb of God, that he was taken by the people; yea, the Son of the Everlasting God, was judged of the world.
The King Follet Sermon By President Joseph Smith, Sunday, April 7, 1844. History of the Church, Volume 6, page 302.
God An Exalted Man
I will go back to the beginning before the world was, to show what kind of a being God is. God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! You have got to learn how to be gods yourselves. priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to anot! her, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation
A Council of the Gods
In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted [prepared] a plan to create the world and people it. the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos - chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had.
The Immortal Intelligence
All learned men and doctors of divinity say that God created it in the beginning; but it is not so: the very idea lessens man in my estimation. I do not believe the doctrine; I know better. Hear it, all ye ends of the world; for God has told me so. The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal [coeternal] with God himself. I know that my testimony is true. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are coequal [coeternal] with our Father in heaven. I might with boldness proclaim from the housetops that God never had the power to create the spirit of man at all. God himself could not create himself…Knowledge saves a man; and in the world of spirits no man can be exalted but by knowledge.
The Doctrine and Covenants states, “God is a glorified and perfected man, a personage of flesh and bones. Inside his tangible body is an eternal spirit.” (130:22)
Brigham Young wrote, "We cannot believe for a moment that God is destitute of body, parts, passions, or attributes."
Brigham Young, the second president taught “That God the Father was once a man on another planet who ‘passed the ordeal we are now passing through. . .’”