Mormons And The Trinity

By David E Lister and Jason Catizone

One of the most difficult mysteries and doctrines to explain within Christianity is the doctrine of the Trinity. But we do want to state that while difficult, it is not impossible to teach or defend.

Mormons have a “trinity” but that “trinity” is not the Trinity of The Scriptures. The “trinity” within Mormonism is the doctrine that proposes there are a Father, Son and Holy Ghost who exist as three separate persons, three separate gods, and three separate natures, yet united in one purpose. Unlike historic Christianity, which teaches that there is The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit, Who is of one substance, and He is God. In other words The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are one God by nature.

Often times when Mormons want to show positive proof that there are three separate gods, they turn to the Bible and point to the stoning of the first Christian martyr, Stephen. Picking up in the book of Acts 7:55-56, “But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.

The Mormon will often say at this event, Stephen sees two distinct gods/persons and this proves that the “godhead” is made up of more than one god. It is at this point that we inform the Mormon that we will be glad to offer our defense of the Trinity and One true God by nature if he wants to continue with the subject. But we offer him a way out before we start as he will now have a hard time defending his own doctrine, the belief that we are to worship one God and pray only to the Father. If the offer is refused, we affirm with him the following:

We start by showing him that there is only one God in historic Christianity. Deuteronomy 6:4 states, “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!” We next take him to 1 Corinthians 8:4, “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.”

We then move to show the Mormon that the Father is God. Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle (not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead.” Followed by 2 Thessalonians 2:16 & 17, “Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace, comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word.”

We next show the Mormon that the Son is God. Titus 1:3 & 4, “but at the proper time manifested, even His word, in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior, to Titus, my true child in a common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.” At Titus 2:10 & 13, “” ¦not pilfering, but showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect,” and “” ¦looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus.” Again, Titus 3: 4 & 7, “But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,” and “” ¦whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Or 1 Timothy 1:15-17, “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

It should be stated that there are many other verse that support or show that Jesus is God.

We next point out in Acts 5:3 & 4 that The Holy Spirit is God. “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land? While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.'”

After showing the Mormon that all three within the Godhead are God, the Mormon will agree with you and the Bible. Next we will talk about how there is no perfect comparison to God. Isaiah states it this way, in Isaiah 46:5, “To whom would you liken Me, and make Me equal and compare Me, that we would be alike?” And in v.9,”Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me.”

We next show them this illustration:

After going over and explaining the illustration with the Mormon, we then ask the following questions and use these verses to support our answer.

How many Gods should we worship? The Mormon will answer, “One!” We will then show them the following verses: Exodus 20:1-5, “Then God spoke all these words, saying, ‘I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me.” Also, we show them Matthew 4:10, “Then Jesus said to him, ‘Go, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.‘”

Now this is where the Mormon will start to become uncomfortable with his own teachings. We then turn to the Book of Mormon and show them 2 Nephi 25:16, where worship is to be given to the Father. “And after they have been scattered, and the Lord God hath scourged them by other nations for the space of many generations, yea, even down from generation to generation until they shall be persuaded to believe in Christ, the Son of God, and the atonement, which is infinite for all mankind – and when that day shall come that they shall believe in Christ, and worship the Father in his name, with pure hearts and clean hands, ” ¦

After this we slip down to 2 Nephi 25:29, and show the Mormon that worship is also to be given to the Son. “And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul” ¦” This is also shown in 3 Nephi 11:17. “Hosanna! Blessed be the name of the Most High God! And they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.” Now the Mormon is in conflict, as he has to give worship to two gods according to his own book. He is no longer in agreement with historic Christianity and historic Judaism where there is to be worship of one God, and one God only. The Mormon will try and point out or misuse the word worship, and apply a different meaning to it when it applies to Jesus, saying that it only means obeisance or obedience. However, the context does not allow for that understanding. We point out to the Mormon that there’s no problem in our theology in worshiping one God and one God only, as The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit are – by nature – one God. The gods of Mormonism, however, are a godhead made up of three gods, with different natures. Scripture reminds us in 1 Corinthians 8:5 that “even if there are so-called gods whether in heaven or on earth, as indeed there are many gods and many lords,” Galatians 4:8, “” ¦when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.”

We now ask the Mormon, “Is it right to pray to anyone but God?” Their usual response will be to say that we should only pray to the Father. It is at this point that we show them from the Book of Mormon that prayer is offered to the Father, “And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father” (3 Nephi 17: 15). We then take them to 3 Nephi 19:18, where prayer is directed to the Son – “And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God.” Here again the Mormon is in conflict by praying to two gods.

A couple of other things need to be pointed out to the Mormon. In Acts 7:59, Stephen is being stoned and he calls out to The Lord Jesus – the Greek case he uses is what is called the vocative case, which indicates that he is clearly speaking to Jesus Himself. Also, in Mormon theology, Jehovah is Jesus, and Elohim is God the Father. (‘Jehovah’ is an {incorrect!} representation of God’s Personal Name in Hebrew, YHWH, and ‘Elohim’ is one of the Hebrew words for God.) Mormons believe that the Scriptures show two different gods. Yet there are some Scriptures that the Mormon will have a hard time applying to their theology. In Psalm 100: 3 the scripture reads, “Know that the LORD” (‘YHWH,’ in Hebrew) “Himself is God” (‘Elohim,’ in Hebrew). And in Deuteronomy 4: 24, the same type of problem exists for the Mormon. “For the LORD” (‘YHWH,’ in Hebrew) “your God” (‘Elohim,’ in Hebrew) “is a consuming fire, a jealous God” (‘El’, in Hebrew). And in verse 31 it says, “For the LORD” (‘YHWH’) “your God” (‘Elohim’) “is a compassionate God” (‘El’). As you can see, the Hebrew does not support their interpretation of two gods.

It is clear from historic Christianity that true Christians have worshipped one God, and one God alone. Mormonism is not in line with historic Christianity, and even it’s own doctrine is confusing and does not support that we are to worship the One True God. As such, the Mormon is worshiping a different Jesus, who brings a different gospel, and a different spirit” ¦ a spirit that brings confusion in order to blind the Mormon to The True Jesus and True God of Scripture” ¦ a deity that cannot give them eternal life.

Biblical Scripture references are from the NASB version.
Book of Mormon quotes are from the 1981 edition copyrighted by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

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