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Mormons have not been favored by similar clarity from their self-described "prophets" who receive "direct revelation" from the gods. As such, he retains forever his flesh-and-bones body. Aside from some temporary detours (Orson Pratt said the Holy Ghost was a spiritual fluid that filled the universe; Brigham Young taught that Adam is the god of this world), the Mormon church has constantly taught that God the Father is a perfected man with a physical body and parts. "Thou shalt not have strange gods before me." What is stranger than a God who starts off as a single Spirit, eternal and all-powerful; who then becomes, perhaps, two gods in one, and then three; who never changes, yet was once born a man, lived, sinned, repented, and died; who was made God the Father of this world by his own God; and who will make his own children gods someday of their own worlds?
A prayerful game of poker, unrepented, will bar the member from the temple and ultimate salvation; a prayerful, by-the-book abortion, unrepented, wont. " The singular is used 50 times in the second and third chapters of the Book of Moses (1831). In another of Smiths earlier works, the Book of Mormon (1830), there are no references to a plurality of gods. Smith thus introduces the notion of a plurality of gods. The clearest exposition of this departure from traditional Christian doctrine is seen in Smiths tale of a "vision" he had as a boy of 14.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints preaches a belief central to most religions: one must know the true nature of God. There is continual evidence that the first Mormon leader taught a form of bitheism: the Father and the Son are separate gods. Smith had acquired some mummies and Egyptian papyri. In the King Follett Discourse (a funeral talk he gave in 1844), Joseph Smith left his church with the clearest statement to date on the nature of God: "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens[.] That is the great secret.
"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God" (Teachings of Joseph Smith, 345ff). He proclaimed the writings to be those of the patriarch, Abraham, in his own hand, and set out to translate the text. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in formlike yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man.
While the Mormon baptismal rite refers to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Mormon beliefs about the identity of the three persons is so different from Catholic and mainline Christian belief that "one cannot even consider this doctrine to be a heresy arising from a false understanding of Christian doctrine," said a Vatican explanation of the ruling. Terrence Fitzgerald, vicar for the Salt Lake City, Utah, diocese, said the Vatican ruling doesn't imply "that the Catholic church has a judgment on an individual Mormon's relationship with Jesus." He said the "good working relationship" between Catholics and Mormons in Salt Lake will continue.
Mormon missionaries visited my home recently and, among other things, condemned as unbiblical the Catholic custom of paying priests and bishops. In verses 7-12 Paul takes up this very topic, asking, "Whoever serves as a soldier at his own expense? Or who shepherds a flock without using some of the milk from the flock?