I had talked about many of the things that the first article of faith reveals to us in my first post Are mormons christian? Much of what I say here is directly taken from that post. I figured why write again what I had already written.
The First article of faith, a clear and concise statement of the nature of the God Head. It states in short, concise and clear words that each member is a different individual separate and distinct from each other but united in purpose and spirit. This statement clearly distinguishes from each of the members, separating each member with the word “and”.
This is one of the things I love about modern day revelation. It was revealed to Joseph Smith; for the first time in nearly 2,000 years that God and Christ are in fact 2 Different persons, Separate from on another. Joseph smith learned this when he went to pray in the sacred grove to know which church is true. He tells of this remarkable revelation he received in verse 17 of Joseph Smith History in The Pearl of Great Price
“17 It no sooner appeared than I found myself adelivered from the enemy which held me bound. When the light rested upon me I bsaw two cPersonages, whose brightness and dglory defy all description, estanding above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My fBeloved gSon. Hear Him!”
God and Christ, 2 separate beings, one next to the other with Christ on the right hand of God. God the father pointing to the other and declaring him his son. His son evidently a separate entity and person from God himself. In this vision God did not point at his own reflection so to speak, declare him self to be his own son and tell Joseph Smith to hear what he had to say about himself.
The idea that God, Christ and the holy spirit are 3 separate and distinct individuals is nothing new and has been part of biblical and ancient religious faith for thousand of years. The idea of a holy trinity, one being, 3 different persona’s, is relatively new in religious history. This knowledge of the God Head as it is truly composed is ancient knowledge restored to earth once again. Scriptures both ancient and modern confirm this as a truth restored to us from God. One such scripture and story from the old testament is the story of Abraham and his son Issac. Abraham was commanded to sacrifice his son not himself in similitude of God’s sacrifice of his son for mankind. Elder Tad R Callister explained this best when he said
“…God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, are two separate, distinct beings. The Bible… tells us that the Son submitted His will to the Father (Holy Bible, Matthew 26:42)…., but what would have been the depth and passion of Christ’s submission or the motivational power of that example if the Father and the Son were the same being and in reality the Son was merely following His own will under a different name? The scriptures give further evidence of this great truth: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son” (Holy Bible, John 3:16). It is symbolized by the touching story of Abraham and Isaac (Holy Bible, Genesis 22). But if the Father is the same being as the Son, then this sacrifice of all sacrifices is lost, and Abraham is no longer offering up Isaac—Abraham is now offering up Abraham. (Tad R Callister, General Conference, Oct 2009) The Latter Day Saint doctrine that God the Father and Jesus Christ are two different beings is clearly supported in scripture.”
There are many examples within the bible and other scriptures that Latter Day Saints hold to which clearly show that God, Christ and the holy spirit are in fact three different and distinct individuals. Some would include the baptism of Christ. “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straight way out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the spirit of God descending like a dove, and lightning upon him. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Holy Bible, Matthew 3:16-17) Stephen saw Christ on the right hand of God in a vision. “ But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, and said, behold, I see the heavens opened, and the son of man standing on the right hand of God.” (Holy Bible, Acts 7:55-56).
The idea of monotheism was something developed as a direct result of priesthood authority being lost and taken from the earth after the death of the apostles. The church became corrupt and lost the guiding spirit of revelations and thus lost the spirit to understanding the scriptures as they were taught. Elder Holland taught this idea and explained how the idea of the holy trinity is not scriptural based in his explanation of the Nicene creed
“In the year 325 A.D. the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address—among other things—the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.” What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils) as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds—and others to come over the centuries—declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who is incomprehensible. We agree with our critics on at least that point—that such a formulation for divinity is truly incomprehensible. ”
Another thing that we learn from this Article of faith is that God the Father and Jesus Christ have glorified and resurrected bodies.
“Most Christians believe (based on the Nicene creed) that God has no body, parts or passions, but is some omnipotent form with unlimited knowledge and power and Christ was merely God in human form. In this respect the LDS church differs from other Christian groups, but does so on the authority of scripture. The Latter Day Saints view of God is based in Biblical scripture that He has a body of flesh and bone. Latter Day Saints also believe that He has form. In the Bible we read “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” ( Holy Bible, Genesis 1:27) So as we can see from this scripture, we are created after the image of God. If God is a formless being and we are created after His image as the scriptures suggest, then logically we should be without body, form or passions as well. If a body was neither necessary, nor desirable by deity, then one might ask why then did Christ reclaim his body from the grave and ascend back up to heaven. Christ also stated “Handle me and, see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Holy Bible, Luke 24:39). Elder Tad R Callister of the Seventy from the Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints states
Paul taught, “Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Holy Bible, Romans 6:9). In other words, once Christ was resurrected, His body could never again be separated from His spirit; otherwise He would suffer death, the very consequence Paul said was no longer possible after His Resurrection.” (Tad R Callister)
God Christ and the holy spirit are 3 separate and distinct individuals, united for a common purpose “For this is my work and my glory; to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39)