The Trinity Error in the Book of Mormon?

prepred by Don R. Hender

    "We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost." ~ LDS 1st Articles of Faith

    "And the priest [high priest], whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments:" (Lev. 16:32). The patterns and shadows of the performances and ordinances of the Old Testament were but a shadow of the order of heaven and the gospel plan. That Jehovah is the same as Jesus Christ must be understood. And that his Father, our Father in Heaven, is that Elohim who did Anoint and Consecrate and thus 'Empower' him to act in all things in The Father's Stead as The Man of Holiness' his LORD's (Ps. 110:1) Advocate in all things pertaining unto the temporal order of the ages of time 'cut' from out of eternity to Minister, as only Jehovah who is Jesus Christ could (D&C 130:5), unto the children of God in the Great Plan of Happiness which is the joint work and glory of God to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39), this also must also be understood. That in this They Are One united and undivided and the Son takes upon himself all the names, titles, positions and powers of God our Heavenly Father Elohim with the exception that Jehovah/Jesus Christ IS NOT 'God the Father of Spirits', as only Elohim stands in that postition and reality as our Heavenly Father, whose spirit children we are. And in this united work they, Jehovah and Elohim stand as One God in Mind and Purpose and as we come to also join them in this eternal work and glory, we may also become One, even as They Are One (The Gospel of John teaches this). ~ drh

    Little mean spirited men of limited integrity and of low intelligence and understanding have pretented to there being an error in the Book of Mormon of monumental LDS doctrinal development as viewed singularly through the myopic lens of the 'Doctrine of the Trinity' in a pretence of understanding what is the actual Doctrine of the Godhead as held by the LDS Church from the Beginning. They criticize that Joseph Smith, in order to cover up his own lack of understanding the nature of God as even taught in the Book of Mormon consistently, made some intentional changes in the text of the Book of Mormon to cover up his own Book of Mormon errors, They hold that Joseph Smith authored the text and could not keep track of such doctrinal differences consistantly throughout the Book of Mormon text.

The fatal error in such Mormon critics' arguments is that they themselves have very little understanding of the true nature of God as taught in Mormon [LDS] theology as well as having only a 'vague mystery' of any understanding of what their own religion teaches as the 'Mystery' and 'Doctrine of the Trinity'.

Thus the best approach to addressing this 'Book of Mormon error' is to begin with establishing just what is the LDS theological understanding of the nature of the Godhead, which the 'little' of mind critics has here first failed to even attempt to come to a proper understanding of that.

What the Nephites Knew

To any scincere reader of the Book of Mormon it becomes quite clear that the Nephites knew will the truth of that matter for which the learned Jews did prosecute Jesus for, representing himself as being the very son of God, and they would judge him worthy of death for having stated to them exactly who it was that he was. The Nephites knew and understood that the 'Spirit God' of the Old Testament Jehovah was the same entity and person of Jesus Christ the coming Lord and Savior of the New Testament. Now the Jewish leaders at the time of the mortality of Jesus Christ, would neither accept Jesus as the Lord God Jehovah, the God of Abraham, come in the flesh to save his people; nor could or would they accept Jesus as the Only Begotten Son of God come in the flesh. To them, not only did this seem contradictory, but they, the Jewish leadership would not have it either way. They did not or would not accept the 'Messiah' as being either God come in the flesh nor would they accept that the 'Messiah' as the Son of God. This is not to say that many Jews, particularly among the common people, did accept and believe that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and also the very God of Spirit whom Abraham had esteemed as God. These truths the believing Nephites understood and accepted. Also these truths of the Godhead the LDS Church knows to be true and accepts them as doctrine with further light and understanding, which explains the fuller details of the matter.

Thus when Nephi wrote concerning his visions of Mary who was to be the Mother of God as well as also, as it were, the mother of the Son of God, Nephi merely engraved upon the small plates of Nephi that which the angel had said to him that the virgin which he saw was 'the mother of God, after the manner of flesh.' (1830 Edition of the Book of Mormon) The angel knew that the Christ child born to the virgin Mary was in deed in fact none other than the same being and person as Jehovah, the God of the Old Testament, come to redeem his people. Though true, this seems to be 'strong doctrine' not easily grasped or understood how the Lord God Jehovah would now come to earth to be born unto such as Mary, the Mother of God after the manner of flesh.

Now while it was true that the Lord God Jehovah, the Spirit God of the Old Testament did condesend to be born of woman after the manner of flesh in order to come to save the world, it is also just as true and correct doctrinally that Jehovah being born of Mary was in fact 'the Only Begotten Son of God the Father in the flesh'. And that concept of Mary being the 'mother of the Son of God' does seem less strong, that is more easily accepted and understood by the common Christian of Joseph Smith's day and age. Remember, the Christianity of the Catholic Church and their 'Mary Mother of God' was not the favorite concept of the Christianity of the Prodestant Reformation.

Now I do not know the exact mind of the Prophet Joseph Smith as to exactly why he did what he did, but I can well suppose why he might have done it. In the first instance where Nephi had reported the virgin Mary as being 'the mother of God' like unto the title of the Catholic Church had laid upon Mary, Joseph Smith, the prophet of the restoration did edit those texts which stated 'mother of God' to a less mind challenging concept of Mary the virgin being the 'mother of the Son of God. (See 1 Nephi 11:18 (15-18)) Now was Nephi incorrect in stating that the virgin Mary was the 'mother of God'? NO! Was Joseph Smith incorrect in stating that the virgin Mary was the 'mother of the Son of God'? NO! Both are true and neither is actually a doctrinal error. But little critics with little minds like to attack Joseph Smith and Mormons over the littlest nit-picky things.

Now in the context of Nephi's discussion with the angel, the angel had asked Nephi if he 'Knew concerning the condescension of God?' And the angel's explanation of God's condescension was that God himself was to come down and take upon himself a body of flesh and bone and be born of woman in order to save the world. Now of course the God spoken of by the angel is the Lord God Jehovah, the very Spirit God of Abraham of the Old Testament. Now herein comes the rest of the story which those of the myopic mind of a Trinitarian fail to grasp. While Jehovah was certainly the Lord God of the Old Testament, as David and Jesus Christ himself taught and referenced as that David's 'Lord', that is the Lord God Jehovah, had a 'LORD' GOD and Father 'over' or 'above' him. (Psalm 110:1; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42; Acts 2:34; Hebrews 1:13 etc.)

    "THE LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool." ~ Psalm 100:1

As known by Joseph Smith from his first vision, so was it known by Stephen of the seventy from his last vision. That is that God our Father in Heaven and Jesus Christ-Jehovah are two separate and distinct beings, Father and Son. Jehovah was not his own father. God our Father in Heaven was both the spirit father and natural father of Jehovah, Jehovah being the first born of every creature according to the spirit, and the Only Begotten of the Father as per the flesh. And this doctrine that Jesus-Jehovah was the very Son of God, was also rejected by the Jewish leadership of Jesus day and the prime charge against Jesus was that he said he was the Son of God. And it was at this same declaration where the Jewish leaders did stop up their ears in anger and cast out Stephen into the streets to be stoned to death, for he also in his declaration of his vision did testify of both Father and Son and that Jesus was indeed the very Son of God.

Now in further understanding the true nature of God there is a little chart ] prepared from the statement of the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles in 1916. In governing the Plan of Salvation, God Our Father in Heaven, needed to select one of his spirit children to act in his stead in all things. This the ancient Hebrew performances did type and shadow as stated in Leviticus 16:32 that 'the Son was to stand in the stead of the Father in all things.' That is God the Father of Spirits was already an exalted Celestial God and Being of Glorified Eternal Flesh and Bone, and only those who did pertain unto this realm could be called upon to minister unto it (D&C 130:5). Thus the Father Elohim selected, anointed, ordained, empowered, consecrated and positioned his Firstborn son in the Spirit, Jehovah, to stand in his stead in all thing pertaining unto this temporal creation. And it was by the Divine Investiture and Empowerment of the Father that Jehovah, a Ministering God of Spirit did, under the direction of the Father, so create all things temporal, the earth and the heavens thereof as John so set out in John 1:1-4. And thus it is and was that Jesus-Jehovah did take upon himself all that was the power and the position of the Father excepting that he was not the Father of Spirits. And this that he might be our Ministering God as well as our Advocate, Intercessor, Mediator, Savior and Redeemer, acting for our benefit in the stead of the Father in all things to our benefit and unto the fulfilling of the grant mutual purpose of God, that this is the work and the glory of God, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). And thus jointly they are as one God in this divine work and glory of fulfilling the Eternal Plan of Progression, God's Eternal Plan of Happiness and Salvation for the benefit of man. Joined as one in purpose in all things, being the Father of Creation, of Salvation and of all things. God our Father in Heaven working in the Celestial Heaven and Jehovah/Jesus the Son working among men, ministering unto them in the stead of the Father in all things, positions and callings as though he were the Father. And thus they are one as even we too may become one with them in this their grand design and Eternal Plan of Exaltation of the children of God and man, to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

Now this grander nature of God had not the Jewish leadership of Jesus' day, at least they refused to choose to understand it, and neither did many of the day and age of Joseph Smith. Yet they determined to judge Joseph Smith, not knowing that far beyond their own corrupt convolution of flawed innovation of thought concerning the nature of the Godhead formed into the false doctrine of the Trinity. They having bypassed the purer understanding of such. As Bishop Eusebius of Caesarea had set out in his Ecclesiastical History of the Church, he therein knowing of the true relationship between the Father and Son and as set forth in the first chapter of his firtst book of that history. And rather they determine to create of their own selves a corruption of thought which mingled the philosophies and innovations of men, with which they made of the the nature of God a none understandable mystery, where one plus one plus one equaled but one, and also that there is even three in one. And while first stating that there were truthfully three, Father, Son and HolyGhost, they would then but contrive of their own selfs hat those three were to be but one corporally, which thing Bishop Eusebius thus contented with them about during the Council held at Nicea.

And thus with such a twisted doctrine of God they did take to criticize such as Joseph Smith in whom there was but the pure truth of understanding to be had as taught in the pages of the Book of Mormon, which they would critize and demean.

So 'error' in truth? No. A change to facilitate and soften a matter unto understanding while the growth of comprehension did develop? Yes.

Book of Mormon Error or Alternative Perspective of Same Truth?

today's reference
Today States Stated in 1830
1 Nephi 11:18 'mother of the Son of God' 'mother of God'
1 Nephi 11:21 'behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father' 'behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father'
1 Nephi 11:32 'the Lamb of God, ... the Son of the everlasting God' 'the Lamb of God, ... the Everlasting God'

Again, every name, title and position does the Son take upon him of the Father as he was so Selected, Appointed, Anointed, Consecrated, Ordained, and Empowered to do before the foundation of the earth, with the single exception that Jesus/Jehovah was not The Father of Spirits, Which Father is our Heavenly Father Who Art in Heaven. Now, thus from the 'knowing perspective' that the Son stands in the stead of the Father in all things as though he were the Father, having the same names and titles of the Father excepting that of being the Father of Spirits, is there in truth any error here? Mary was the mother of the Son of God and Mary was as it were the mother of God, that God being Jehovah/Jesus the Son of God his Father, the Father of Spirits, even Elohim. And as Jehovah/Jesus stands in the stead of the Father in all things, either Jehovah and/or Elohim may be addressed by any and every shared name and title, such as 'The Everlasting God' or even 'The Everlasting Father'.

Was the Lamb of God even the Son of the Ethernal Father? Yes, in that the name title Eternal Father applies to and can mean either/or Jehovah and/or Elohim. And so it is also that Jehovah 'the Lamb of God' is also to be known as the Eternal Father as well for he stands in His stead in all things.

Is there any error in this change of perspective? NO. For both apply from their own perspective and the teachings of the rest of the Book of Mormon confirm the truth that both perspectives are true and neither contradicts the other as both are true. As it stood in the original 1830 Book of Mormon it was true. As it was clarified by the Prophet Joseph Smith that Jesus/Jehovah was also the Son of God it is also true. Perhaps the only perspective which may be dimmed in this is that in Joseph Smith's 'clarification' that the God of the Old Testament Jehovah was indeed the very Son of God, is that some of incomplete understanding will loose the Immensity of the concept of 'the condescension of God'. But on the other hand, unless one understands that there is both entities and beings of the two separate 'Gods' of Jehovah the son even Jesus Christ, and Elohim the Father of Spirits as Our Father in Heaven, one cannot grasp the fullness of the 'Condescension of God' in that both the Father and the Son did so participate in it even as did Abraham and Isaac co-participated when Abraham did proceed to sacrifice his son Isaac.

It is even as it is said by the prophet Isaiah:

    "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wounderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." ~ Isaiah 9:6-7

prepared by Don R. Hender
Rev. 24 May 2014