Is God a WHO or a WHAT?

[this may well be the most controversial topic I have ever written about. As with all my posts, you are encouraged to search out the passages of scriptures and history for yourself and take the Holy Ghost as your guide.]

In the series on the LAST TESTIMONY, which is still not finished I cover the importance of the testimony of the Father and the Son contained in section 76.

I hope to finish that series someday.

In the mean time, I would like to point out that the last testimony that is going to be sealed up in the 3rd watch, originally provided the foundational experience that resulted in the true explanation of the Godhead.

Section 93 speaks of the importance of knowing how to worship God

However, despite the myriad of scriptures that refer to God as a who, section 93 reminds us that God is also a what!

And I, John, bear record, and lo, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Ghost descended upon him in the form of a dove, and sat upon him, and there came a voice out of heaven saying: This is my beloved Son.

16 And I, John, bear record that he received a fulness of the glory of the Father;

17 And he received all power, both in heaven and on earth, and the glory of the Father was with him, for he dwelt in him.

18 And it shall come to pass, that if you are faithful you shall receive the fulness of the record of John.

19 I give unto you these sayings that you may understand and know how to worship, and know WHAT you worship, that you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fulness.

20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive of his fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.

Obviously, “the Father” appears to be a WHO, if we accept the term “Father” to represent a person, personage, personality, etc.

Numerous scriptures verify that God the Father is a who.

But the passage above also informs us that the God we worship is a WHAT.

In fact, it seems to be putting emphasis in the fact that God is a WHAT… perhaps it is necessary to understand that he is a what in order to know HOW to worship him…. or at the very least it assures us that we will better comprehend the WHAT nature of God after we obtain the record that is to come forth.

I long for the time when that record spoken of in section 93 will come forth but I think we need to be searching for additional truth in the mean time.

What does the Lord mean when he uses the term WHAT in describing the nature of God in that scriptural context?

One thought is that it might be referring to the following definition of what, as contained in the 1828 version of the Websters

What is used as an adjective, of BOTH GENDERS

That is very intriguing.

In Moses 2:26, 27 God informs us that he created man, male and female, in his own image and in the image of his Son. In otherwords, God is telling us that He himself ane His Son are both composed of both male and female intelligence.

But I have already addressed the composite gender of exalted souls and the Gods in another article.

I think that is an important part of the puzzle, but I want to focus on the bigger picture in this post.

Another thought that I have had is that WHAT could be speaking about the glory of God as a power, or essence that permeates the universe instead of pointing out the personal, or personality aspect of his attributes.

Section 76 points out that the Son resides in the bosom of the Father.

Other passages in scripture inform us that the Father resides in the Son.

InLuke 10:22 the King James Version of the Bible quotes Jesus as saying

All things are delivered to me of my Father: and no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”

However Joseph Smith changed that in the Inspired Version to say-

All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.

Pretty metaphysical don’t you think?

Part of the mystery of Godliness is in understanding that although the Father and Son can manifest themselves independently as distinct beings, and although God is independently described in Lectures on Faith and in the scriptures as a personage of Spirit, while the Son  is independently described in Lectures on Faith and in the scriptures as a personage of tabernacle, they dwell in each other and constitute ONE GOD!

Section 88 speaks of the “face of him who sitteth upon the throne and governeth and executeth all things.

It points out that God “comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.”

It goes on to provide a rather esoteric, all encompassing characterization of the fact that if you have seen anything God has created, you have seen God.

The earth rolls upon her wings, and the sun giveth his light by day, and the moon giveth her light by night, and the stars also give their light, as they roll upon their wings in their glory, in the midst of the power of God.

46 Unto what shall I liken these kingdoms, that ye may understand?

47 Behold, all these are kingdoms, and any man who hath seen any or the least of these hath seen God moving in his majesty and power.

Let me suggest those mystical passages contained in sections 76, 88, and 93 are not there for their poetry. They are literally true. More on that later.

Anyway, those verses in section 93 seem to be saying that if we are faithful we shall receive the fullness of the RECORD of John.

Section 93 has been a source of controversy because some people think it is speaking about the testimony from heaven that John the Baptist received when he bore witness of Christ at the baptism, while others believe that it is speaking about the testimony from heaven that John the Revelator received, possibly during his visions on Patmos, from which we get the information contained in the Book of Revelation.

Section 93 contains passages from both of the John’s.

So, if we are faithful, we can receive the fullness of the record of John.

What is the record of John?

Is that speaking about his written testimony of what he saw and heard when the heavens were opened to John or is it saying that we ourselves can receive the same open vision and the same TESTIMONY that John had?

Or, is it saying both?

Perhaps it is the written RECORD that will come forth of what John saw and heard that will ignite sufficient faith in each of the elect to initiate our own experience in rending the veil of unbelief and seeing the Father and the Son, just as John, the Brother of Jared and the Seer and the Spokesman and many other prophets have all seen and heard.

The LAST TESTIMONY
of the Seer and the Spokesman
reveals the Godhead

After having the heavens opened to them and seeing the Father and the Son, the Seer and the Spokesman bore testimony that they had seen the Father and the Son.

In a desire to bring others to that same testimony, and by commandment, they published their own record containing a testimony and description of the Godhead and had it canonized.

Then they formed the school of the prophets to teach these concepts to others.

The primary goal of the school of the prophets was to facilitate others of the elect to comprehend God and see him and Know him so that they could become Saviors on Mt Zion and help to bear testimony and bring others to the knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In the Lectures on Faith which appears to have been written and taught by Rigdon in the school of the Prophets but approved and endorsed by Joseph Smith, the following distinctions were made.

(The following passages may well be the most profound knowledge ever given about the Godhead and about the nature of who and what God is that has been given to our generation)

Lectures on Faith

There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things, by whom all things were created and made…

They are the Father and the Son, the Father being a personage of spirit, glory, and power, possessing all perfection and fullness, the Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man….

And He being the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, and having overcome, received a fullness of the glory of the Father, possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit, that bears record of the Father and the Son, and these three are one; or, in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things; by whom all things were created and made that were created and made, and these three constitute the Godhead, and are one;

the Father and the Son possessing the same mind, the same wisdom, glory, power, and fullness…filling all in all; the Son being filled with the fullness of the mind, glory, and power; or, in other words, the spirit, glory, and power, of the Father, possessing all knowledge and glory, and the same kingdom, sitting at the right hand of power, in the express image and likeness of the Father, mediator for man, being filled with the fullness of the mind of the Father; or, in other words, the Spirit of the Father, which Spirit is shed forth upon all who believe on His name and keep His commandments;

and all those who keep His commandments shall grow up from grace to grace, and become heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ;

possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image of Him who fills all in all; being filled with the fullness of His glory, and become one in Him, even as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are one.power over all things, by whom all things were created and made…they are the Father
and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory, and
power…The Son…a personage of tabernacle…The Only Begotten of the
Father…possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit…”

The above passage from lectures on Faith is making a distinction between the Father who is a “personage of spirit, glory and power”  vs. the “personage of tabernacle” we refer to as the Son, vs. the Holy Spirit which is a intelligent spirit essence that is NOT A PERSONAGE at all.


Mosiah 15 reminds us that that the reason Christ was called the Son is because he dwelt in a tabernacle of flesh-

“And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father”  mosiah 15

Another great key given to us in those passages from Lectures on Faith is that “The Holy Ghost is the Mind of God.”

At first blush that seems problematic because we Latter day Saints have been conditioned to think of the Holy Ghost as the third member of the Godhead who is a spirit personage and is subject to the Father and the Son, and below them in authority, hence, it seems odd that he is the intelligence powering their thoughts.

We learn from the scriptures however, that the term Holy Ghost, like many other terms, such as “soul”, “redemption”, “resurrection, etc. is used in separate and distinct ways in the scriptures depending on context. Which is why the things of God must be discerned by the power of the God.

The term Holy Ghost is sometimes used in modern LDS terminology to refer to a third personage in the Godhead.

And yet Lectures does not acknowledge three personages in the Godhead, clearly, the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, according to Lectures, is the spiritual essence that powers the two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things. It fills the immensity of space and is in all things and through all things.

According to Lectures on Faith, the following three entities are separate, distinct and different from each other, and yet they form a composite God that is ONE.

Lectures clearly distinguishes the Father and Son as a personage of SPIRIT and a personage of TABERNACLE respectively. It also reveals that the Holy Spirit is not a personage-

  1. The Father is a “personage of spirit, glory and power
  2. The Son is a “personage of tabernacle
  3. The Holy Spirit is a spiritual essence which is the mind of God and which bears witness of the Father and the Son.

The testimony of the Father and the Son as contained in section 76 resulted in the School of the Prophets and the inspired content contained in Lectures on Faith.

So important were the Lectures on Faith that they were originally included in the Book of Commandments and the Doctrine and Covenants.

In fact, they represented the “Doctrine” part of the Doctrine and Covenants.

The Revelations received by Joseph Smith represented the “Covenants” part of the Doctrine and Covenants.

The light and truth contained in the Lectures on Faith was so bright and glorious that the gentiles could not comprehend it and they began to doubt the accuracy of many of the things contained therein.

Shortly after the gentiles rejected the fulness of the gospel, they took the Lectures on Faith out of the D&C because leaders of the church doubted many of the things contained therein.

Technically, the current Doctrine and Covenants should be called “The Covenants” or the “Book of Covenants” because the doctrine that God commanded the Seer and the Spokesman to give to the Saints has been removed.

The Proof is in the Pudding

The vision of the Father and the son documented in section 76 resulted in the school of the Prophets and the Lectures on Faith, which in turn resulted in several of the believing gentiles seeing the Father and the Son for themselves. Shortly thereafter, the heavens closed and the fulness of the gentiles came to an end in the 2nd watch.

Zebedee Coltrin is one of several remarkable High Priests who attended the school of the prophets that gave an account of seeing the Father and the Son while attending the school of the prophets.

His testimony is 100% congruent with the doctrine about the Godhead in the Lectures on faith and in the other sections of the Doctrine and Covenants-

His testimony confirms that the Father and the Son are two different types of personages.

Christ is a personage of tabernacle while the Father is a glorious “personage of spirit, glory and power

His testimony might just be one of the most important corroborating descriptions of the Father and the Son that has been given to our generation because it parrots what Joseph and Sidney described in modern revelation and what they taught in the lectures on Faith-

REMARKS OF ZEBEDEE COLTRIN

Source: Minutes, Salt Lake City School of the Prophets, October 3, 1883.

Presidents John Taylor and George Q. Cannon, Apostles Erastus Snow, Brigham Young, Francis M. Lyman, and Heber J. Grant, and Elders L. John Nuttall and Zebedee Coltrin present.

Brother Zebedee Coltrin said: I believe I am the only living man now in the church who was connected with the School of the Prophets when it was organized in 1833, the year before we went up in Zion’s Camp.

President Taylor: How many were then connected with the School at that time?

Brother Coltrin: When the Word of Wisdom [D&C 89] was first presented by the Prophet Joseph (as he came out of the translating room) and was read to the School, there were twenty out of the twenty-one who used tobacco and they all immediately threw their tobacco and pies into the fire.

There were members as follows: Joseph Smith, Hyrum Smith, William Smith, Frederick G. Williams, Orson Hyde (who had the charge of the school), Zebedee Coltrin, Sylvester Smith, Joseph Smith, Sr., Levi Hancock, Martin Harris, Sidney Rigdon, Newel K. Whitney, Samuel H. Smith, John Murdock, Lyman Johnson and Ezra Thayer.

The salutation as written in the Doctrine and Covenants [D&C 88:136-141] was carried out at that time, and at every meeting, and the washing of feet was attended to, the sacrament was also administered at times when Joseph appointed, after the ancient order; that is, warm bread to break easy was provided and broken into pieces as large as my fist and each person had a glass of wine and sat and ate the bread and drank the wine; and Joseph said that was the way that Jesus and his disciples partook of the bread and wine. And this was the order of the church anciently and until the church went into darkness. Every time we were called together to attend to any business, we came together in the morning about sunrise, fasting and partook of the sacrament each time, and before going to school we washed ourselves and put on clean linen.

At one of these meetings after the organization of the school, (the school being organized_ on the 23rd of January, 1833, when we were all together, Joseph having given instructions, and while engaged in silent prayer, kneeling, with our hands uplifted each one praying in silence, no one whispered above his breath, a personage walked through the room from east to west, and Joseph asked if we saw him. I saw him and suppose the others did and Joseph answered that is Jesus, the Son of God…. Afterward Joseph told us to resume our former position in prayer, which we did. Another person came through; he was surrounded as with a flame of fire. He (Brother Coltrin) experienced a sensation that it might destroy the tabernacle as it was of consuming fire of great brightness. The Prophet Joseph said this was the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I saw Him.

When asked about the kind of clothing the Father had on, Brother Coltrin said: I did not discover his clothing for he was surrounded as with a flame of fire, which was so brilliant that I could not discover anything else but his person.

I saw his hands, his legs, his feet, his eyes, nose, mouth, head and body in the shape and form of a perfect man. He sat in a chair as a man would sit in a chair, but this appearance was so grand and overwhelming that it seemed I should melt down in his presence, and the sensation was so powerful that it thrilled through my whole system and I felt it in the marrow of my bones.

The Prophet Joseph said: Brethren, now you are prepared to be the apostles of Jesus Christ, for you have seen both the Father and the Son and know that they exist and that they are two separate personages.

From the account of brother Coltrin it is obvious that the Father is a personage of spirit power and glory while the Son is a personage of tabernacle.

These two separate personages make up one God in conjunction with the Holy Spirit.

The Son had been created in the same image of God the Father.

Both of them have the same mind, it is the Holy Spirit which is in all things and through all things.

These three form a composite entity which the scriptures refer to as the one eternal God.

This composite entity makes up the only true God that is the creator of all things!

It appears, from what we have covered, that Christ is a “who” personage of tabernacle that resides in the bosom of the Father. The Father is a “who” personage of spirit that resided in the bosom of eternity.

Both can manifest themselves to men.

The Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost is the “what”, intelligent light force that is the mind of both the father and the Son. It empowers and actuates and bears witness of them both.

It is in all things and through all things

Why is this important?

Because according to section 93, we must understand who and what God is, in order to properly worship him.

In my own personal experience, I have found that if I ponder the truths about the Godhead that have been revealed in the TESTIMONY of the FATHER and the SON given by the prophet and the Seer as contained in section 76, other sections of the D&C, their associated teachings in Lectures on Faith and the testimony of those who have also seen the Father and the Son, that my prayers seem to have much more power.

We are to pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Although it is futile to explain infinite concepts in finite terms, the above graphic was created in an effort to resemble the mystical relationship between the three entities that comprise the Godhead as revealed by Joseph, Sidney and Zebedee.

It may well be that the term “throne” is a term representing the power, authority and intelligence.

I believe that if you picture the Father as a personage of Spirit, glory and power that is plugged into the light force that is in all things and through all things, you will be more capable of exercising enough faith to believe that God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent.

But wait…

If you are a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, you are probably feeling a little conflicted in your mind right now after reading the above descriptions of the Godhead.

Why?

Because you have been taught all your life that-

“The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s..”

That passage from section 130 of the D&C has probably had a profound effect on your perspective of God.

The above passage contradicts the testimony of Joseph, Sidney, Zebedee, Lectures on Faith and modern revelation.

So how did this conflicting doctrine it get into the scriptures, when was it put there and who put it there?

When was the D&C defiled with the above passage?

The reminisced statements of Joseph Smith were put into the D&C in 1876 by Orson Pratt under the direction of Brigham Young.

These statements were never considered to be a revelation before that.

Those statements were taken from a journal entry. It was supposedly entered into the journal two days after the date that Joseph Smith gave some instructions at a friends house.

The original entry is in the hand writing of Williard Richards who apparently was not even present when the remarks were given.

Secondly, Joseph never made public mention of those remarks in a sermon and in fact was killed shortly after these statements were supposedly made.

Historians tell us that the original version of the manuscript is different than what shows up in the D&C, with verses 10, 11, 16, and 17 being added at later times.

Verses 9 and 14 are entirely different in the original than what is in the D&C.

It is now understood that the instructions given by Joseph Smith as recorded in section 130 is a composite of statements he made on two  separate occasions.

We simply don’t know how historically accurate the alleged statements from Joseph Smith are.

We know that under the direction of Brigham Young and the members of the 12 that chose to follow him, much of the journal entries that make up the current sanitized history of the church were doctored up. Some events were deleted while others were revised.

I don’t pretend to know if Joseph really made those statements or not.

If he did, he was contradicting what he had taught a decade earlier.

The biggest concern of course is not whether Joseph actually stated those things.

The concern is whether those things are true.

The next question is, why did Brigham and Orson want to canonize the doctrine that the Father has a body of flesh and bones?

Was it to justify another doctrine they had been teaching?

Mary was not a Virgin?

Brigham, Orson and others of the Masonic 12 apostles had rejected the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Virgin Birth that is taught in the New Testament.

Despite the fact that Joseph Smith validated the doctrine of the virgin birth contained in the New Testament using both the Book of Mormon and the JST, Brigham and Orson apparently didn’t get the memo.

They taught that the Father came to earth in a physical body and had carnal sexual intercourse with Mary.

That, they pontificated, is how the baby Jesus was conceived. The biblical and Book of Mormon accounts of her being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit apparently seemed a little to impractical to them.

Their teaching lacked credibility in light of what the Lectures on Faith and the scriptures taught about the Father being a personage of spirit, so they needed to canonize a statement, allegedly from Joseph Smith that would back them up.

Lets return to the verse in question that was canonized into scripture by Brigham and Orson.

The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s 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

WOW!

Two false doctrines contained in two short verses.

The Father has a body of flesh and bones?

Not according to the original doctrines of the restoration

The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit?

Not according to the original doctrines of the restoration!

Again, the alleged statements now contained in section 130 were supposedly made by Joseph Smith at a friends house in 1843.

They were made after Hyrum was called to be the Prophet Seer and Revelator of the Church and Joseph publicly acknowledged in a general conference that he was no longer acting as the prophet of the church.

The alleged statements were made after the gentiles had rejected the fullness of the gospel

The alleged statements were made after the church had been rejected with its dead.

Most importantly, the new doctrines contradicted the testimony of Joseph, Sidney Zebedee and the four standard works.

Which doctrine pertaining to the Godhead should we believe?

The one taught by the scriptures and by Joseph Smith, Sidney Rigdon and Zebedee Coltin who all were personally transfigured and saw the Father and the Son, or the teachings of Brigham Young, someone who openly admitted that he had never seen God and did not expect to until after he died.

Joseph Smith clearly believed in the miraculous conception and the doctrine of the Virgin Birth, as taught in the New Testament, the inspired version and the Book of Mormon.

Nevertheless, Brigham, Orson and company were apparently a little too wise to believe such nonsense.

The doctrine they chose to believe and teach required a God with a physical tabernacle, hence, section 130.

In a previous post I referred to the Gospel of Brigham Young.

Indeed, Brigham Young introduced numerous doctrines that contradicted the original doctrines taught by Joseph Smith.

This may sound strange to you because TPTB have done an incredible job of giving the general perception that the doctrines of Brigham were congruent with the doctrines taught by Joseph.

However, a close analysis will show that they were not harmonious.

Just to name a few-

The Gospel according to Brigham Young

  • Joseph taught that a prophet is only speaking as a prophet when the spirit of prophecy descends upon him and that the person was otherwise giving their personal opinion. Brigham taught that everything in all his sermons were worthy of being called scripture.
  • Joseph accepted the literal interpretation of the creation story, with Adam being created from the dust of the earth. He even provided other books of scripture to verify it. Brigham taught that the creation story in Genesis was a fairytale and that Adam was transported to this earth as a resurrected being.
  • Joseph taught that the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible would be an integral part of Gospel Law and needed to be published to the world before Zion could be redeemed but Brigham scoffed at the importance of the inspired version and taught that the King James version of the Bible was sufficient for the Saints.
  • Joseph taught the literal New Testament account that Mary conceived the baby Jesus as a virgin as a result of the Holy Spirit overshadowing her. Brigham and Orson taught that the Father descended in a physical body and had carnal sexual intercourse with her.
  • Joseph taught that the Father was a personage of Spirit. Brigham, using the alleged words of Joseph, taught that the Father is a personage of tabernacle.
  • Joseph taught that the Holy Spirit is the mind of the God and not a personage of spirit. Brigham taught that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.
  • Joseph taught that Christ created Adam. Brigham taught that Adam was the father of Christ.
  • Joseph taught that it was contrary to gospel law to take a persons life. He openly worried that some of his enemies might die in their sins before they had the opportunity to repent. Brigham, on the other hand, taught that if someone was evil, it was a merciful act under his version of the law of blood atonement to send them on their way.
  • Joseph taught that God knows all things and that there is not anything that he does not know. In fact he taught that it is impossible to have enough faith to be saved if you did not believe that God knows all things… and could make a mistake. Brigham taught that God does not know all things and that God is always learning new things.

Let me acknowledge that the above teachings of Joseph were all documented during the early period of church history when the fullness of the Gentiles was taking place… during the 3 1/2 years that the fulness of the gospel was being offered to the gentiles.

There are lots a apocryphal accounts of statements from Joseph in the later Nauvoo years that seem to contradict some of these early doctrines in Lectures in faith.

Clearly, the scriptures and the Holy Ghost must be the foundational guide as we sift through the doctrinal maze of the restoration movement.

The atonement statute and scapegoat doctrine in the later years may have had a part to play in how Joseph handed the idolatrous Saints over to the God they wanted to worship.

Let me apologize to those of you who accept Brigham Young as a Prophet Seer and Revelator and find him to be a credible gospel scholar, I am sure these statements are offensive to you, but time is short.

I believe the servants are going to return shortly and they are not going to mince words. They will boldly declare the TRUTHS found in the foundational doctrines of the kingdom.

They will bear the last testimony.

They will teach the true nature of the Godhead.

It is important to understand the truths taught about each of the three entities discussed, but then, as the scripture continually remind us, we must remember that these three ARE ONE GOD.

If we think of these three entities as a composite God, then all of the scriptures about God that appeared to contradict each other are now congruent.

God is a spirit.

God did come down and take on flesh in the form of the Son.

The father dwells in the tabernacle of the Son just as the tabernacle of the Son dwells in the spiritual dimension of the Father.

The Father dwells in all of our tabernacles, indeed, as one of the Book of Mormon prophets noted, the “great spirit” that created the earth also dwells in men-

And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.

And yet section 130 dismisses the word of this Book of Mormon prophet by telling us that “the idea that the Father and the Son dwell in a man’s heart is an old sectarian notion

I guess one of the reasons that Brigham spent very little time reading and expounding the doctrines in the D&C and Book of Mormon is because he felt they were full of old sectarian notions.

As stated earlier in this post, God “comprehendeth all things, and all things are before him, and all things are round about him; and he is above all things, and in all things, and is through all things, and is round about all things; and all things are by him, and of him, even God, forever and ever.”

The Servants will return and teach these great foundational truths again.

They will seal up the TESTIMONY of the Father and the Son for those who will accept it.

Those who reject their testimony, will be rejecting the Lords Servants and the Marvelous Work and will not be included in the upcoming true endowment and in seeing the Face of God.

VERILY, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am

And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world;

And that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one—

The Father because he gave me of his fulness, [by receiving the same mind and power of the Holy Spirit?] and the Son because I was in the world and made flesh my tabernacle, [It is his tabernacle of flesh that distinguishes him from the Father!] and dwelt among the sons of men.

I was in the world and received of my Father, and the works of him were plainly manifest.” (93:1-5)

“1  AND now Abinadi said unto them: I would that ye should understand that God himself shall come down among the children of men, and shall redeem his people.
2  And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son—
3  The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son— Mosiah 15
4  And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.

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15 Responses to Is God a WHO or a WHAT?

  1. Hell Raising Love Monster says:

    Wow!

    What I liked best was the description of how the sacrament was administered in the school of the prophets. Imagine coming into sacrament meeting at sunrise, having “fasted all night”?, and smelling bread being baked, and then being served a generous portion of hot bread, with a goblet of wine(grape juice?) to drink! Why are we so skimpy in the serving the sacrament today? Where did the change happen?

    I have finally reconciled myself with BY. It is not my place to judge him. It is my place to keep my covenant I have made. So…I have come back to church (although I missed this morning)just to keep my covenant. I still have questions about giving blessings stating that it is under the authority of the “Melchizedek priesthood that I hold” in light of the fact that we only have the Aaronic Priesthood. I also have a question about putting my garments back on, knowing that it is a ceremony that is masonic in nature. I acknowledge that I made those covenants already, and if I do not honor them, then I am breaking them. And if I break them, then why am I keeping my baptism covenant, by coming back to church? I have many unanswered questions.

    Anyway, I really appreciated the article. I remember praying on my mission, I would pray and pray until I would feel the Spirit, then my prayers took off, and I was able to pray with words just coming. Since then, I have stopped praying, because it seems like such an effort to get that Spiritual state again that I experienced on my mission.

    Thanks, again.

  2. “What I liked best was the description of how the sacrament was administered in the school of the prophets. Imagine coming into sacrament meeting at sunrise, having “fasted all night”?, and smelling bread being baked, and then being served a generous portion of hot bread, with a goblet of wine(grape juice?) to drink! Why are we so skimpy in the serving the sacrament today? Where did the change happen?”

    Love Monster-

    Mrs Watcher and I were just discussing that.

    What a wonderful experience that would be.

    My personal belief is that it would be fermented wine.

    Imagine how happy your heart would feel having warm bread and a full glass of wine after fasting under the influence of the Spirit!

  3. I just got some questions by a friend who just read the post but does not like to enter comments on this blog.

    I thought I would share his questions and my answers

    Q….. I just read your latest post…good one. So, if Christ is a tabernacle of flesh and resides in the bosom of the Father, is he a composite (androgenous) being? Or is only Father androgenous? Or are they both?

    A….. I think the male/female composite is one of the keys of existence and power and eternity. I believe that both The Father and the Son are made of both.

    Q….. Furthermore, do you believe that Christ (being God) and the Father had previously gone through a mortal probation?

    A…..That is an incredible great question and it shows just how far this topic has caused me to challenge my previous beliefs. I have not believed that The Father has a tabernacle or went through a probation for a long time.

    Furthermore, I am not sure that Lectures on Faith and the scriptures justifies the teaching that we will become Adams of other worlds as Brig taught nor that we will become Christs after we are exalted, like others of the Masonic 12 taught.

    While I don’t categorically reject that possibility of the progression of the Gods that was taught in the King Follett sermon, I am now very skeptical. Lectures claim that the Father and the Son created all past worlds and will create all future worlds. I realize that in a sense one could still believe in the progression of the Gods via divine investiture and the fullness of the father”, etc. however, I just don’t see why it is necessary for other Christs to make “infinite atonements” for future worlds like one of the Masonic 12 once taught.

    I am frankly even wondering if Christ himself necessarily had to go through a probation like us. I see him as being different than any of us will ever be, although, through the gospel plan and his grace, we will become equal with him.

    I believe the Father and the Son are separate and distinct in eternity from any of us (with regard to their origination and their place in eternity) after we become equal with Christ.

    I am thinking that after the gentiles rejected the fullness of the gospel they began to exalt themselves in their hearts and minds and God gave them some doctrines that tickled their ears.

    Q……do you discount that whole “man is as God once was” doctrine?

    A……. I have a hard time finding it in the scriptures and lectures on faith… again, I am open, but I have a healthy dose of skepticism.

    Q…… And if the Holy Ghost is not a personage of spirit, how do you reconcile 1 Nephi 11:11? Is Nephi saying that the Spirit of the Lord is not a PERSONAGE, but it can transform itself into the FORM of a man?

    A…… I do not believe 1 Nephi 11:11 is speaking about the Holy Ghost, in fact a few verses later the “spirit of the Lord” showed Nephi how the virgin was carried away by the “Spirit”. It is at this time that the spirit of the Holy Ghost is introduced into the text.

  4. Brand Nu says:

    “……. It is not wise to throw Brother Brigham under the bus, he isn’t evil nor wicked neither was he a fool. ….”

    [Parts of this response was edited out because they challenged the teachings of Lectures on Faith and the scriptures without providing any rationale or credible scriptural evidence. The respondent simply made random statements as if he speaks for God.]

  5. Brand NU-

    I am not judging Brigham the man, I am judging some of the doctrines that he taught.

    I have a right and a responsibility to do that.

    My salvation is at stake.

    I am willing to believe everything Brigham Young taught as long as it squares with the holy and infallible word of God.

    You told me in an email that you don’t have any sacred cows.

    I would suggest that you do have sacred cows and Brigham is one of them.

    It sounded to me in some of your email comments as if you have received ordinations via some LDS fundamentalists who obviously hung on every doctrine that Brigham taught…. including his hatred for Black, and his belief in the Spiritual Wife Doctrine.

    Are you blocking out the truth because it challenges the validity of those you have put your trust in?

    Do you have the ability to focus on the message rather than the messenger… Rather than having such a huge investment in personalities?

    I believe few people revere the office and calling of Joseph Smith more than I do and yet I have also challenged some of his words in this article.

    He has been quoted as saying that the Holy Ghost was in his mortal probation on earth and would gain a resurrected body if he was valiant in his mortal probation.

    while I am not so sure any more how credible those notes of his discourse are, I don’t find those comments congruent with what the Lectures on Faith and the scriptures teach about the Holy Ghost.

    Does that mean Joseph was not a prophet if he taught a false doctrine?

    Not at all,

    It means he was not speaking under the influence of the spirit at the time.

    It isn’t about Brigham or Joseph. It is about you and me.

    The Lord has given us the mandate to take the spirit as our guide and to not be deceived.

    I have already shown from scripture that God used true and false prophets to test if people will remain faithful to God and to the truths he has taught.

    The ultimate test for us is in determining truth, not in determining which mortal we want to follow or which mortal we want to be infallible.

    One of the main issues this post brings up is this-

    Did fulness of the Gospel and of truth touch down early in the LDS restoration movement and then begin to fade and be replaced by false doctrines

    OR

    Did just a little bid of partial and incorrect truth touch down and then need to be developed and corrected many years later in Nauvoo as Joseph and the Saints became ready for it?

    The corporate church would have us believe the latter.

    They would have us believe that Joseph was struggling to understand things during the early Kirtland years and that the Morley Farm experience was either a deception or grossly misunderstood, followed by a huge apostasy in Kirtland. A decade later by the Nauvoo period, Joseph finally began to expand upon doctrines which had been incorrectly taught in the early days… etc., etc., etc.

    I believe that is what TPTB would have us believe… that Joseph was very confused on numerous issues during the first decade of his ministry but he finally started getting things right in Nauvoo.

    I disagree. I think the opposite happened.

    I am suggesting that the fulness hit like a ton of bricks at the very beginning and then it was rejected. All within a very definable 3 1/2 year period.

    After that God began answering the Saints according to the idolatry in their hearts.

    This is what Christ prophesied in 3rd Nephi… The gentiles would reject the fulness and then God would remember his covenant with Israel… hence the reason for the secret events of section 110 and the restoration of the Gospel of Abraham and the preparatory, which is the preparatory gospel with carnal commandments.

    After that, tremendous darkness and confusion began to descend upon the Saints resulting in the loss of the fulness of the priesthood and the abominations taking place in Nauvoo as clearly documented in section 124.

    The restoration and revealing of the fulness of the Priesthood and the revealing of the Father and the Son at the Morley Farm was the real deal but the Saints could not comprehend it.

    The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost is a real heavenly endowment that would have and could have enveloped the Saints and enabled them to redeem Zion by the appointed time in 1836 if the Saints, collectively, would have humbled themselves and offered up a sacrifice of a broken heart and contrite spirit.

    Let go of your sacred cows and embrace the facts based on the spirit, not on justifying your priesthood ordination lineage through fundamentalists that blindly followed BRigham Young.

    Put your trust in the scriptures and the Holy Ghost, not mortals.

  6. OWIW, boy this is a lot to chew on. However, I find myself agreeing with many things. Everytime I read a discussion on deeper doctrines, I find my mind going back in time to many instances where I questioned what was being taught but decided to let it go. These flashbacks so to speak are now slowly being reconciled with the new things I read and the increase in knowledge I am gaining. I had no idea that so much doctrine and information was being cleverly held back/in check/ dare I say hidden from members and non-members alike. There is soooo much to learn and at times I feel like there is very little time left to learn these hidden things, understand them, live them. I at times marvel at the time and energy that you and others that I read (LDSA and all those contributors)have spent and the knowledge gained thru much study,prayer and fasting. With my young family, it is so difficult to do all I need to to provide for my family, stay engaged with life’s myriad pursuits, stay awake, deal with my different medical issues and then get the energy to keep studying reading and being a husband and father. Phew, sooo much to do and I am soooo not very good at it. But, you have more years behind you and this is just the impatience of youth talking.

    Anyway, thank you so very much for your diligence. Perhaps your contribution is to be in the place you are now, able to do the things you can now to give them to those of us who are searching and have awakened and who are now watching.

    Keep it coming.

  7. wewingtonheet

    A few weeks ago one of my sons voiced similar things to me while we were working on an earth sheltered greenhouse together. He spoke of how busy he was with his family and work etc. and how little time he has had to study the church and the gospel very deeply… furthermore, he seemed disturbed that he did not seem to have the passion for digging into the scriptures and history of the church that I have.

    My comment to him was that, although I think knowledge is very important, it is quite secondary to the foundational faith in Christ.

    The more I study the gospel, the more amazed I am at how truly simple it really is and how much it rests on the foundation of having a child-like faith in Christ and his atonement.

    Each of us have different spiritual gifts, some have knowledge, some have discernment, some have wisdom some have the gift of healing, seem to be blessed with charity for others, etc.

    I think it is great that you have a desire to learn the deeper things and are being led to learn deeper things during this very busy time in your life, but you need to remember, that faith and repentance followed by obedience to the saving ordinances is really the essence of the gospel.

    Those of us willing to repent and receive the ordinances when the servants return will be on a firm foundation regardless of what degree of additional knowledge we have obtained.

    Thank you for visiting and for your words of encouragement.

  8. John says:

    I have read a few dozen of your posts and unfortunately this one is not quite as impactful to me. Not that I disagree about ‘ol brother Brigham. Somehow this post comes across more as an appeal to the secular world. An attempt to explain that the Joseph Smith view of God is more in line with the rest of the world. As I read it, it makes me feel like your motives are about reconciling your beliefs with the world more than open minded thinking. Hopefully, you won’t find my feedback offensive, because in general i have very much enjoyed your posts.

    I am nothing near the scriptural heavy weight that you have demonstrated to be, however, my thoughts on who God is and what He is I am quite comfortable with. I get very uneasy whenever I hear anyone declare that they know a bit more about the who-and-what of God than the average man and that their knowledge is even important (Brother Brigham included!!)

    The scriptures regarding God are confusing for a reason. We don’t have consensus for a reason. lt may be because we can’t handle the truth. It may be that we have no way to describe the reality of what HE is. I think ultimately that truth is waiting for us when we have a foundation of understanding far beyond what any of us have today. For my prayers and my meditation the actual physical nature of God is not important. What He wants me to work on in my life is.

  9. Sorry to disappoint you.

    I have said in other posts that the term “mystery of Godliness” is a literal declaration. I don’t think anyone who has not personally met and conversed with God knows who or what he is. I think one needs to part the heavens and be infused with the spirit of God to partially comprehend the mystery of Godliness.

    Nevertheless, God has given us much information about who and what he is and it appears that he wants us to ponder these things preparatory to being endowed with the spiritual eyes to comprehend the mysteries.

    All I am trying to do is understand what he has given us in the scriptures to ponder. Before doing that, one needs to separate out all of the contradictory stuff.

    With regard to the following statement:

    “Somehow this post comes across more as an appeal to the secular world. An attempt to explain that the Joseph Smith view of God is more in line with the rest of the world.”

    If “Biblical Christianity” is your definition of the “secular world” and, the “rest of the world” then you are right, I am suggesting that secular Christianity has the more accurate intellectual understanding of who and what God is, although my appeal is directed more towards latter day saints than protestants, since few protestants read this blog.

    Although I believe protestant Christianity is as deficient as God declared them to be in the early years of the restoration movement, I believe that four generations later, they actually have a much more accurate intellectual perception (from a limited mortal perspective) of the true nature of God, than the bastardized belief system that the modern church now teaches, simply because they use the Bible as their resource, instead of the false doctrines that have entered into the apostate church.

    That’s what apostasy does to God’s church. It perverts the truth that was originally given. When the saints reject the truth, God takes away the higher knowledge previously given.

    I am simply stating that the original teaching about the nature of God in the early Kirtland years, IE, Lectures on Faith & modern revelation, which came fresh off of the heels of Joseph and Sidney seeing God, is more accurate than the perverted, contradictory “King Follett” sermon and other later innovations about God that infiltrated the church after the heavens began closing.

    You may want to be open to the possibility that the reason that this post was not as impactful to you, is because you are having a more difficult time shaking the definition of God that has been ingrained in you.

    Thanks for visiting.

    I appreciate your candid observations.

    Watcher

  10. Ty says:

    Watcher,

    I know this is a little off topic, but I’ve been wondering for quite some time about your thoughts on the Book of Abraham. I recall reading that the Lord never commanded the saints to have it canonized as scripture. I also know of the controversy surrounding the authenticity of the papyrus. Any information would be greatly appreciated on the subject.

    As always, thanks for your time and devotion in bringing these things forth.

    Ty

  11. Ty

    I am hopefully within a few days of doing a post on the Book of Abraham that will address the controversy and provide what I believe to be irrefutatable doctrinal proof of its divine origin, for those with a deep understanding of doctrine and the spirit of discernment.

    The learned empty vessels of course, will never be convinced until it is too late.

    You are correct though, the saints were never commanded to canonize it to my knowledge.

    Watcher

  12. Ryan says:

    This was very good to read.

    I went back to my LoF and re-read my notes in the margins.

    Upon reading these a few years back I too had questions about God the Father being a personage of Spirit.

    Like does Christ not have the same type of body of the Father? Does Christ for some reason not have the Fullness of the Father, even though it says he does, which doesn’t make him a personage of Spirit?

    And finding no answers I just left it alone.

    One thing that was hard to reconcile was how Christ in John 5:19 says that he “can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doest the Sone likewise.”

    Joseph Smith commenting on that verse said, “Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did and take it up again.” (TPJS p. 346).

    So does God the Father have a physical body?

    I’m really interested to know where you got that verse 22 was added by BY through OH in 1876.

    I know that verses 4,10, 11, 16, and 17 being added later.

    I consulted Robert Woodford’s 1974 dissertation The Historical Development of the Doctrine and Covenants where he confirms the fact of those verses and includes the paragraph that was taken out about England invaded the United States. However, he doesn’t mention verse 22.

    And of course going back to the HC doesn’t help either.

    Please pass that info along to a brother seeking to know more.

    Also, if you have a link to the Gospel of Brigham blog post, I’d love to read that and free myself of the false doctrines that I’ve been so accepting of.

    Thanks again for this blog as a wonderful free resource to those of us seeking to know the truth and deepen our relationship with God… Who and What He is…

  13. stockoneder says:

    If God has created billions and even trillions of worlds and Jesus Christ is the Savior of them all wouldn’t it make sense that He went to each of them and performed the same ministry? How could you convince people of a savior which lived and died on another planet not even in your galaxy? That would be very hard to swallow. And if Jesus is a manifestation of God why couldn’t there be billions or even trillions of that same manifestation on each respective planet?
    That would seem to be a lot more fair and believable than just one Savior being born and living and dying and finally resurrecting only here out of all those planets. I mean what are the odds of that just happening here? Trillions to one? Quadrillions to one?

  14. stockoneder says:

    Lorenzo Snow said, “As Man is…God once was…As God is…Man may become.”
    JS said in his King Follet discourse, “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.”
    Couldn’t those statements both be true if Jesus Christ and God are the same being?
    Jesus was mortal and dwelt on an earth and since Jesus is God God did those things also as Jesus.

  15. Great questions stockoneder

    There are a few things I would have you consider.

    First, Jesus was not a mortal.

    Although he inherited flesh from his mother, he did not inherit the ability to generate mortal blood resulting from the fall of Adam, from mortal parents. If Christ had been mortal, he would not have been able to atone for the sins of the world.

    The Book of Mormon expressly states: “For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of MAN, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl; for IT SHALL NOT BE A HUMAN SACRIFICE; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice. Now there is not any man that can sacrifice his own blood which will atone for the sins of another.

    This is why the D&C declares that it was GOD that died on the cross, not MAN.

    See this post for more info

    http://threewatches.blogspot.com/2008/10/he-was-born-not-of-blood-nor-of-will-of.html

    Secondly, the legitimacy of the doctrines taught in the King Follett Discourse must be seriously questioned since –

    a) Joseph Smith blatantly contradicted passages of scripture in the Bible as well as passages of scripture which he had been instrumental in brining forth, and-

    b) The King Follett Discourse took place during the window of time in which Joseph had been replaced as the prophet of the church and he was teaching the spiritual wife doctrine and other heresies.

    During the King Follett Discourse Joseph taught that there were other Gods before God the Father. This blatantly contradicts God’s word in scripture about Himself. He has always been an unchangeable God without beginning or end. There has never been another God BESIDE him. (2 Sam 7:22) This is one of the objections that William Law noted when he was attempting to get the Saints to have a reformation and to return to the pure doctrine of Christ as taught during the Kirtland era:

    and inasmuch as they have introduced false and damnable doctrines into the church, such as a plurality of Gods above the God of this universe, and his liability to fall with all his creations..

    It is also impossible for an all knowing and all powerful God to transgress and fall, as pointed out in the Lectures on Faith, which is another reason why Law objected to the King Follett Discourse, as noted in the statement above.

    Lastly, regarding the King Follett Discourse, Joseph stated: “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea…

    By refuting that idea, Joseph was destroying the credibility and integrity of the Bible and the revelations he personally brought forth because the Bible (including the inspired version) and passages of scripture that God had revealed through Jospeh during the Kirtland era, all testify that the great God of heaven is from all eternity to all eternity, with no beginning and now end.

    The book of Mormon states: “For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity.

    The Inspired Version of the Bible says Enoch says: “How is it that thou canst weep, seeing thou art holy, and from all eternity to all eternity?”

    The Lord was giving the saints a test in Nauvoo to see if they would hearken to the holy and infallible word of God as documented in scripture or if they would allow their infactuation with a prophet and their idolotry in “prophet worship” to seduce them into rejecting the Holy Word of God which had already been revealed, accepted and canonized by the saints.

    The King Follett sermon given in April of 1844 blatantly contradicts the Lectures on Faith given in the school of the prophets in the early 1830’s in Kirtland, which became the “doctrine” part of the “Doctrine and Covenants” and was sustained as inspired scripture by the church.

    (sorry , I can’t remember which posts address this topic in detail 🙂 )

    I realize this is a bitter pill to swallow.

    In my early years in the church, I always loved the Lectures on Faith that Joseph and Sidney gave in Kirtland, and I have loved the doctrines taught in the King Follett Discourse, although I have struggled over the years to wrap my mind around some of the concepts in both works.

    It is only recently, within the last ten years, that I realized that many of the doctrines taught in Lectures on Faith and the doctrines taught in the King Follett Sermon are diametrically opposed to each other. (They cannot both be true)

    If you will carefully compare Lectures on Faith with the King Follett Sermon, I think you will see what I am talking about.

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