The Mormon God
The first Article of Faith (thirteen statements about Mormon beliefs written by Joseph Smith) says, “We believe in God, the eternal Father, in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” But what kind of God do Mormons believe in?
Mormon is a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mormons consider themselves to be not a Protestant religion, but a complete restoration of the New Testament church, containing all the elements the New Testament said were necessary for Christ’s church.
19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:19-20).
Mormons believe that God is our literal Father in Heaven. They teach that He created our spirits and allowed us to live with Him before coming to earth, during a time in which we could learn the gospel, develop a relationship with Him, and begin becoming the person we wanted to be. Some were more valiant than others there, just as some are more valiant today. When we came to Earth, we lost the memory of our time with Him, but brought with us the ability to recognize truth if we wanted to recognize it. Through the promptings of the Holy Ghost, we can know when we’re hearing the gospel we once knew.
Mormons accept the Biblical teaching that we are created in God’s image. This means He has a body much like ours, but perfected and glorified. Mormons don’t believe God is some odd species, but that His decision to make us like Him is further proof of His great love for us. What loving parent does not want His children to have the best of what he has? He is our Father and children are always made like their own parents.
That said, Mormon beliefs on this subject have been misrepresented by many. Official Mormon doctrine does not always line up with the personal opinions of some Mormons, particularly of Mormons in the early days of the church. Mormons accept the Biblical teachings found in these Bible verses:
“The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17). Mormons do not try to explain what that will mean in the future. We do know we were commanded to be like Jesus and Jesus is like God, but what form that will take in the eternities we do not know. Therefore, it is not true that Mormons believe they will be gods and it is also not true they believe they will have their own planets. While some individual Mormons might believe it, it is not church doctrine and is not taught. It is, actually an inside joke among Mormons.
Mormons believe in a very personal God. They believe He is entirely accessible through prayer. James 1:5, in the Bible, tells us that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God to help us. Mormons are taught to pray to God through Jesus Christ, when they need guidance or comfort, and also to make prayer a daily part of life.
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. John 16:23-24.
They believe God is both just and merciful. He balances the two, which is one reason He gave us a Savior. He knew we could not live a sinless life and would need atonement in order to return home to Him someday.
Mormons believe Jesus Christ, the Savior, is the only begotten Son of God. They do not teach that Mary and God had an intimate relationship, since both the Bible and the Book of Mormon teach that Mary was a virgin when Jesus was born. While we do not know how the conception occurred, we do know it was respectful to both Mary and God. They also do not accept that the Holy Ghost is Jesus’ father, since the Bible makes it clear God is the father.
Mormons believe that God has a plan for each of His children and for the world as a whole. He is in charge of the universe and Mormons feel comforted knowing that He loves us and wants us to have all the happiness He planned for us. Mormons have a favorite scripture that says, “Man is that he might have joy.” For Mormons, that joy is not dependent on having sufficient worldly things or even a trial-free life. It comes from knowing we are a child of God and that he loves us and we love Him.