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Godhead Doctrines

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Godhead Doctrines

Most of the material in this section comes from two of the last major sermons of Joseph Smith. Both of these, a Conference talk given on April 7, 1844 (commonly known as the "King Follett Discourse") and the discourse of June 16, 1844, deal with the subject of the plurality of Gods and the concept that God was once a human being as we are now.

View scanned images of original published sources which document the Mormon doctrine that God was once a man, and that there are many Gods.

It was partly because of this "new revelation" on the nature of God that a number of Joseph's followers began crying "fallen prophet". In response they published The Nauvoo Expositor, a newspaper which only published one issue denouncing the 'many Gods' teaching. This newspaper also exposed Joseph's plural marriages. Joseph Smith had the Expositor declared a public nuisance and ordered it destroyed; for this he was arrested and put in the Carthage, Illinois jail, where he was brutally murdered.

Contrast Joseph's teaching of many Gods in this 1844 period with his earlier views affirming only one God in the 1835 D&C - Lectures on Faith, and the nearly orthodox views of the Trinity in the Book of Mormon (2 Nephi 11:7; 26:12; 31:21; Mosiah 3:5; 7:27; 15:1; 16:15; Alma 11:26-31,38-44; 18:24-28; 22:8-11; 41:8; 3 Nephi 11:27, 36; 24:6; Mormon 9:9-12,19; Moroni 8:18). (Article on Joseph Smith's progressing doctrine of deity.)

Note also the LDS view of the "Virgin Birth" as outlined in the final quotes by Mormon apostle Bruce R. McConkie.

Click on the links below to view scans of documents cited.

  • Joseph Smith - Start of Section V on the subject of the Godhead. 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 52 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - The Father is a personage of spirit, the Son is a personage of tabernacle (flesh and bone). 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 53 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - The Father is a personage of glory and power. 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 55 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - The Son is a personage of tabernacle (physical body). 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 56 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - Holy Spirit is shared mind of Father and Son. 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 57 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - Father, Son and Holy Spirit constitute the Godhead. 1835 Doctrine & Covenants - Lectures on Faith, p. 58 (1835)
  • Joseph Smith - Start of discourse on plurality of Gods. History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 473 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. "I will preach on the plurality of Gods. ... Hence the doctrine of a plurality of Gods is as prominent in the Bible as any other doctrine." History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 474 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. Joseph claims the Apostle Paul was here teaching plurality of Gods. History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 475 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Joseph ridicules Christian concept of Trinity saying such a God would be a giant or monster.History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 476 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. God the Father also laid down his life like Jesus had done. History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 477 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. "Sons of God who exalt themselves to be Gods, even from before the foundation of the world, and are the only Gods I have a reverence for." History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 478 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse concludes. History of the Church, vol. 6, p. 479 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Joseph introduces discourse prompted by death of Elder King Follett. Will speak in so far as he has ability and is prompted by the Holy Spirit. Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 1 (1844); also found in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 342-362
  • Joseph Smith - "There are but very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. ... My first object is to find out the character of the only wise and true God, and what kind of being he is; ..But if I fail to do it, it becomes my duty to renounce all further pretensions to revelations, inspirations or to be a Prophet." Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 2 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. Joseph says he will prove the world wrong. "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted Man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens. ... We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea ... 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. Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 3 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. "Here then is eternal life — to know the only wise and true God ; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you" Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 4 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. "Thus the head God brought forth the Gods in the grand council. ... In the beginning, the head of the Gods called a council of the Gods; and they came together and concocted a plan to create the world and people it."Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 5 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. The word for create in Hebrew means to organize, using existing material. "Element had an existence from the time He [God] had." "The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is coequal with God himself. ... The intelligence of spirits had no beginning, neither will it have an end. That is good logic. That which has a beginning may have an end. There never was a time when there were not spirits; for they are co-equal with our Father in heaven." Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 6 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. "The first principles of man are self-existent with God. ... This is good doctrine. It tastes good. I can taste the principles of eternal life, and so can you. ... The greatest responsibility in this world that God has laid upon us is to seek after our dead." Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 7-9 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse continues. Mothers will have their children with them in heaven but the children will never grow. They will stay just as they died, "but possessing all the intelligence of God. ... Eternity is full of thrones, upon which dwell thousands of children reigning on thrones of glory, with not one cubit added to their stature."Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 10 (1844)
  • Joseph Smith - Discourse concludes. "No man knows my history. I cannot tell it: I shall never undertake it." Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 11 (1844)
  • Wilford Woodruff - "God himself is increasing and progressing in knowledge, power, and dominion, and will do so, worlds without end." Journal of Discourses, vol. 6, p. 120 (1857)
  • Brigham Young - There are many earths that exist. Every earth has its redeemer and every earth has its tempter.Journal of Discourses, vol. 14, p. 71 (1870)
  • Orson Pratt - God the Father was begotten by his own Father in Heaven who was begotten by still an earlier father on an earlier world and the regression is infinite. The Seer, p. 132 (1853)

Conception of Jesus' mortal body

  • Brigham Young - "When the time came that His first-born, the Saviour, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father cam Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it."Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 218 (1857)
  • Brigham Young - "The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood — was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." Journal of Discourses, vol. 8, p. 115 (1860)
  • Brigham Young - "The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband." Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p. 268 (1868)
  • Bruce R. McConkie - "Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers." Mormon Doctrine, pp. 546-547 (1966)
  • Bruce R. McConkie - Jesus is literal offspring of the Eternal Father. "There is nothing figurative or hidden or beyond comprehension in our Lord's coming into mortality. He is the Son of God in the same sense and way that we are the sons of mortal fathers." The Promised Messiah, pp. 467-468 (1978)
  • Orson Pratt - Each God has more than one wife. The Virgin Mary was wife of Heavenly Father. "The fleshly body of Jesus required a Mother as well as a Father. Therefore, the Father and Mother of Jesus, according to the flesh, must have been associated together in the capacity of Husband and Wife; hence the Virgin Mary must have been, for the time being, the lawful wife of God the Father." The Seer, p. 158 (1853)