Dear Reader,


A Latter-day Saint who believes that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its leaders are authorized of God doesn’t necessarily accept whatever the church puts forth as “gospel.” On the contrary, anyone who wants a better church tomorrow really ought to speak up today. We aren’t potted plants. Let's face it: Theological malarkey gets a long lease on life when members merely say “amen” to it all.

That is the main reason this site exists.

It also exists because I want to assure Latter-day Saints who are struggling with their faith that, although I agree the church has many flaws and its leaders often err, there are very strong reasons to believe that the restored church is indeed the Lord’s church.

Each article is listed below with a title, short synopsis and a link. They were written by Steve Warren (bio below). Articles by others may be added.

Keep the faith.

Steve Warren
West Valley City, Utah

“God is actually trying to create a much more profound relationship with us. We can only do that if we are actually wrestling with issues at hand.”
--Fiona Givens

Christ moves closer to us as we move from dogma toward truth.

Steve Warren was raised in Heppner, Oregon, and has lived in Utah for 43 years. He attended Ricks College for two years, served a mission to Colombia-Venezuela, and graduated from BYU in 1973 with a degree in communications. He and his wife, JaNiece, have two sons and a daughter. He wrote and published Drat! Mythed Again, Second Thoughts on Utah in 1986 and was a copy editor at the Deseret News from 1988-2008. He wrote and printed 100 copies of a novel, Beyond the Finish Line, but has yet to find a real publisher. (February 2017)
Knowing, believing, seeing Insights into our borderline dysfunctional LDS relationship with the word “know.”

Pathway to heaven The Scriptures show one sure way to return to God’s presence: possess a heart that pleases him.

Obedience gone awry Strictly following the prophet is an excellent idea—at least as long as he’s right.

Falling short, staying put Living prophets constantly err, but that’s not a good reason to leave the Lord’s church.

What in the world? Certain strange features of the Book of Mormon add to its credibility.

Some kind of miracle Fiction. An invitation to speak in sacrament meeting begins a Utah couple’s wild ride.

The cross = victory The cross is a worthy, positive symbol because it reminds us that it is the dying Christ who saves us.

Pilate tried Jewish religious leaders sought to kill Jesus; Pontius Pilate sought to set him free, so let’s give the man a break.

Father, Father, Father Why do we repeat the name of Deity so often in prayers these days?

Witnesses Multiple witnesses provide a compelling reason for anyone to ponder the claims of Mormonism.

Who is God? The Book of Mormon emphatically teaches that Jesus is our God and that he acts and speaks as both the Father and the Son.

Creation stories Teachings about the Creation tend to turn wobbly when they go beyond “God created the earth.”

Short takes Brief quotes, comments and reflections on a variety of gospel topics.
A few heresies... that would make for a more interesting sacrament meeting.
Oopsy-daisy 40 foul-ups.







Thursday, October 22, 2015

Who is God?



The church teaches “When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to.” (Bible Dictionary)  In referring to Jesus Christ, Latter-day Saints use terms such as Lord, Savior, Redeemer and Son of God.  

In the Scriptures, however, the word God usually refers to Jehovah or Jesus Christ, not to the Father.  In the Book of Mormon, “the most correct of any book,” the message is emphatic:  Jesus is God. 

In recent years, The Church of Jesus Christ seems to be drifting toward Heavenly Father this and Heavenly Father that, with members repeating the name of the Father in prayers multiple times and often declaring Father, we love thee.   While it is true that those who love the Father also love the Son, recognizing that God in the Scriptures usually refers to Christ elevates our Lord to the stature he deserves; namely, that he is God over the whole earth and that he alone lifts us to exaltation.  He is the central focus of our worship, observed President Gordon B. Hinckley in April 2002. 

As will be explained later, the fact that the mortal Jesus and many scriptures connected to his earthly sojourn refer to his Father as God does not change the fact that Christ is the God who grants eternal life even to those who lived on earth during his mortality.  Yes, Heavenly Father answered prayers of mortals during Christ's 33 years, but as is noted below, Christ as possessor of all power over the earth has been the God who has both heard and answered prayers in the the 4,000 years before his birth and in the nearly 2,000 years since his ascension. (Matt. 28:18; D&C 19:3, 93:17; 1 Nephi 9:6, Alma 26:35, Ether 3:4. etc.). 

The mortal Messiah honored his Father by commanding us to direct our prayers to God the Father.  This single act by the Son assured that Heavenly Father from that time forward would be held in constant remembrance by the faithful.  But directing prayers to God the Eternal Father doesn't mean that the term God ceased to apply to Christ and now applies primarily to his Father, as though the Lord's mortality somehow demoted him.  Instead, the fact that God (Christ) made himself a little lower than the angels in order to be born, crucified and atone for our sins gives mankind even more reason to continue to honor him with his rightful title of God while simultaneously recognizing that the term God the Father applies to Heavenly Father. 

Indeed, the term God not only refers to Christ before he was born in Bethlehem and after he was resurrected, but it sometimes refers specifically to Jesus during his mortal life. Examples:  O then why not the Son of God come, according to his prophecy? . . . And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him (Helaman 8:20, 23).  God himself shall come down among the children of men (Mosiah 15:1).  He cried mightily to his God . . . and the voice of the Lord came unto him, saying:  Lift up your head and be of good cheer, for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world  (3 Nephi 1:11-13).  In the 1830 Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 11:18 reads: Behold, the virgin which thou seest, is the mother of God. after the manner of flesh.  In later editions, mother of God was changed to mother of the Son of God to clarify that Christ (God) and his Father (God the Father) are distinct persons.  

When Latter-day Saints use God as a synonym for Heavenly Father—which is nearly always the casewe likely do so because we fail to understand the contexts in which Jesus, prophets and writers of scripture used the term God. 

Not only do all four Standard Works teach that God primarily refers to Christ, they connect the term God to Christ earlyvery early.

In the Book of Mormon, even before we get to the first verse, we are told in the title page that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD, which are the only words in the title-page text that are entirely capitalized.  Verse one of the Bible says, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  (Christ was the creator.)  The first words of the Pearl of Great Price are: “The words of God, which he spake unto Moses at a time when Moses was caught up into an exceedingly high mountain.  And he saw God face to face, and he talked with him . . . ”  (The God who spoke to Moses was Jehovah or Christ.)  And in Section One of the Doctrine and Covenants, Christ tells us three timesthree times!that he is GodGod the Lord, even the Savior of the world” (v. 20). “Behold I am God” (v. 24) and “the Lord is God” (v. 39).  Let us not forget that Christ himself directed that Section One be placed first and that it is viewed as the Lord's preface to the book. How much clearer can it be that the God of the Scriptures from Page One is primarily Jesus Christ?

After Adam and Eve left the Garden, believers worshiped and prayed to Yahweh/Jehovah/Godwho was later born as Jesus Christ.  The first commandment Jehovah gave to Moses refers to himself: Thou shalt have no other gods before me.  When Jesus was born into mortality, the relationship between God (Jesus) and man changedbut only for 33 years.  As a mortal, Jesus learned line upon line and obviously did not  pray to himself.  Today, in correctly teaching that Christ is our God, it makes no difference that Jesus in referring to Heavenly Father spoke, for example, of ascending to my God and your God because your God was a temporary designation.  It remained in effect only for the time it took him to bid adieu to his disciples and rise to heaven, where your God again became Christ himselfas it has been for the other 6,000 years (or 99.5 percent of the time) since the Fall.

Similarly, when the risen Jesus visited the Nephites he continued to humbly pray, to display obedience and to show reverence toward God the Father, thereby offering himself as an exemplar for mortals in the New World just as he had done in the old.  However, his departure from the Nephites signaled the end of his short mission as the praying, kneeling, learning Jesus and allowed him to return to his I am the Father and the Son (Ether 3:14) stature and to fully reclaim his mantle of the Lord your God, even Jesus Christ, the Great I Am, Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the same which looked upon the wide expanse of eternity, and all the seraphic hosts of heaven before the world was made; the same which knoweth all things, for all things are present before mine eyes (D&C 38:1,2) and the Lord Omnipotent . . . who was and is from all eternity to all eternity. (Mosiah 3:5)

The first scriptural record of the faithful praying to the Father before Christ's coming is 2 Nephi 32:9.  One chapter earlier, Nephi had prophesied of the mortal Christ humbling himself before the Father, observing that mortals should follow his example, which would include praying to the Father (2 Nephi 31:16).  However, even in the Book of Mormon, the transition from praying to Jehovah/Christ/the Lord God of Israel and praying to the Father in the name of Christ is not smooth.  For example, it is clear that in Enos and Omni, prayers were directed to Christ, the Lord God (Enos 15, Omni 25, 26).  Additionally, Old Testament mentions of the Father generally refer to Christ in one of his roles as Father.  (See Christ is the Father in 7 ways below.) 

Perhaps as a church we could also do better in explaining why Christ is both Father and Son.  If we were to do that, members would understand that it was Christ on Sinai who spoke the words, this is my work and my gloryto bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1:39) After all, he alone is the giver of eternal life, and Moses 1:1 affirms to us that the God speaking as both Father and Son in Moses 1:39 is indeed Christ.

Until the Lord's Prayer, the faithful had seldom prayed to Heavenly Father; instead, they had prayed to God (i.e., Jehovah and various other titles for Christ, including Everlasting Father, Eternal Father and God Almighty).  Moreover, if we taught that Christ is the God of the whole earth, we would more easily understand that although we pray to God the Father, who hears our prayers, the Son is the god who both hears and answers them. 

“It is true that when we pray to the Father, the answer comes from the Son,” wrote Elder Bruce R. McConkie in the January 1976 Ensign.  Elder McConkie noted that whenever Joseph Smith asked the Father, in the name of the Son, for answers to questions, “the answering voice was not that of the Father but of the Son.” This is hardly surprising because there is no record of the Father dealing directly with man except to bear witness of the Son.  Answering prayers is merely part of the job description of he who possesses all power over the earth and who declares at my command the heavens are opened and are shut; and at my word the earth shall shake; and at my command the inhabitants thereof shall pass away. (Ether 4: 9) The song In Humility, Our Savior, correctly states our prayer relationship with Christ: Let our prayers find access to thee in thy holy courts above.

McConkie also observes that Christ's role as our father “is over, above and in addition to” Heavenly Father's role as the father of our spirits. (BYU, Jan. 28, 1975, italics added)

For members who suggest that the first Article of Faith (We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in his Son Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.) means that we should refer to the Father, rather than Jesus, as God, here are two thoughts:  First, the Scriptures teach that all three members of the Godhead bear the title God.  Second, in the remaining Articles of Faith, the term God primarily applies to Christ.  In the fifth article, the God who calls man and gives authority in The Church of Jesus Christ is always Christ (See Mosiah 18:17,18).  In the ninth article, God the revelator is always Christ.  And Almighty God in the eleventh article is a scriptural term that applies primarily to Jehovah/Christ: And I appeared  unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known unto them.  (Exodus 6:3 Also: Isaiah 9:6; 2 Nephi  28:15; Mosiah 3:17,18,21; Moses 1:3, etc.) 

A rather intriguing aspect of recognizing that Christ is the god who rules and reigns over the earth is that by doing so, we may also come to better appreciate the Father (about whom little has been revealed) because I am even as the Father; and the Father and I are one. (3 Nephi 28:10) 

A clear grasp of why Jesus Christ is indeed our God requires a clear understanding of the relationship among Father, Son and us.  Briefly stated: Our relationship with the Father is significantly different from Christ’s relationship with him.  The Father has lifted the Son to godhood.  It is the Son who lifts us to godhood. 

Joseph Smith’s First Vision is the only scriptural record of the Father appearing to man and is an excellent teaching moment because the Father does something with great symbolic meaning—he points to Christ as he says, “This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” The message is not only for Joseph Smith to look to Christ, it is for the whole world to look to him.  To Joseph Smith, the centrality of Christ in the First Vision was so clear-cut that in his brief first written account of it, he mentioned only Christ.

Christ glorifies the Father and the Father glorifies the Son.  But the will of the Father is for us to come unto Christ: whosoever will not repent and come unto my Beloved Son, them will I cut off . . . ” (3 Nephi 21:20)  In other words, a key reason why we should place Christ first and foremost in our lives and as the central focus of our worship is to obey the Father.  The Nephites certainly were obeying the Father when they wrote: “We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins.” (2 Nephi 25:26) 

From start to finish, the Book of Mormon teaches that, for us, Christ is God.  Seventeen examples follow:

“And also to the convincing of the Jew and Gentile that JESUS is the CHRIST, the ETERNAL GOD . . . ”  (title page)

“there is one God and one Shepherd over all the earth.”  1 Nephi 13:41

the Lord their God, their Redeemer . . . loveth those who will have him to be their God.  1 Nephi 17:30,40

“For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation.  But there is a God, and he is Christ . . . ”  2 Nephi 11:7

“it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God.”  2 Nephi 26:12

come unto God, the Holy One of Israel . . . I would that ye should come unto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel . . . ” Omni 1:25,26

“Christ, the Lord God Omnipotent . . . is God above all.”  Mosiah 5:15

“And because he said unto them that Christ was the God, the Father of all things . . . and that God should come down among the children of men, and take upon him flesh and blood . . .”   Mosiah 7:27

“Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.” (Mosiah 16:15)

whosoever were desirous to take upon them the name of Christ, or of God, they did join the churches of God; and they were called the people of God.  Mosiah 25:23,24

“Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and earth . . . ”  Alma 11:38, 39

And behold, he is God, and he is with them, and he did manifest himself unto them, that they were redeemed by him; and they gave unto him glory . . .  Helaman 8:23

“I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole Earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.”  3 Nephi 11:14

“thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel—the God of the whole earth shall he be called.”  3 Nephi 22:5

“that Jesus, whom they slew, was the very Christ and the very God.”  Mormon 3:21

Behold, I am Jesus Christ . . . And he ministered unto him even as he  ministered unto the Nephites; and all this, that this man might know that he was God  Ether 3:14, 18

Listen to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord and your God.” Moroni 8:8

Elder Neal A. Maxwell said, “It is all so wondrously Christ-centered. Whether in the structure of the atom or of the galaxies, or in the truths about temples and families, for those who have eyes to see, all things . . . are designed to point us to Christ, typifying Him, so that we might follow Him, have faith in Him, and keep His commandments.” (April 1986 General Conference; see also Alma 34:14)

Elder Maxwell also said, “One cannot have adequate faith in a Christ whom he does not adequately know.”  We certainly do not adequately know Christ unless we recognize that throughout our mortality, into the spirit world and until we are resurrected, he is the God who possesses all power over us.

The Scriptures are Christ-centered.  He was the Jehovah of the Old Testament and Pearl of Great Price, the Messiah of the New Testament, the Eternal God of the Book of Mormon and the revelator of the Doctrine and Covenants. 

Christ is the Father in 7 ways

We routinely teach that Father and Son are separate, but I don’t recall ever attending a Sunday class on the subject of how Christ also serves mankind as both Father and Son (except for the priesthood class I taught in September 2016), but the Scriptures offer lots of insight on the subject.  It is worth noting that Joseph Smith changed Luke 10:22 to read: “no man knoweth that the Son is the Father, and the Father is the Son, but him to whom the Son will reveal it.” (The uncorrected King James version reads: “no man knoweth who the Son is, but the Father; and who the Father is, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him.”)

Abinadi’s words cited above suggest that in the Church we need to be teaching that the Son is the Father:  “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father.” (Mosiah 16:15)

There are at least seven ways in which Christ qualifies as Father.  In 1916 The First Presidency and the Twelve published “The Father and the Son,” a doctrinal exposition that covers in greater detail the first three items listed below.

First, Christ is the creator of the earth and numerous other worlds.  The Book of Mormon calls him “the Father of heaven and earth.” (Mosiah 3:8; Hel. 14:12; 16:18; Ether 4:7)

Second, he is the Father of those who are spiritually reborn and receive eternal life. “They who shall believe on my name . . . shall become my sons and my daughters.” (Ether 3:14; Mosiah 5:7, 2 Cor. 6:18, etc.)

Third, he has power to speak and act as though he were literally God the Father. This is sometimes referred to as divine investiture of authority and occurs often in scripture.  Numerous passages seem to refer to the Father rather than Christ when, in fact, the “Father” cited is the Son speaking or acting as the Father. (“Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son.” Ether 3:14)  For instance, the Lord God throughout the Old Testament who speaks to and interacts with Israel is Jehovah, the premortal Christ.  In Moses 6 and D&C 29, the god who speaks of “mine only Begotten” is actually Christ in his role as Father referring to himself as the Son.  In Moses 7: 35, Christ says, “Behold I am God; Man of Holiness is my name.”
 
Fourth, the premortal Lord is the creator or father of the physical bodies of Adam and Eve.  He tells the Brother of Jared:  “Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit . . . ”  (Ether 3:16)  “For by the power of my Spirit created I them; yea, all things both spiritual and temporal.” (D&C 29:31.  See also Mosiah 26:23; Alma 5:15;  Isaiah 54:5, 1 Nephi 17:36, etc.)  His creation of the physical bodies of Adam and Eve obviously is related to the fact that all mortal bodies come from the dust (or elements) of the earth, which he created. Because we are descendants of Adam and Eve, Christ is the first father of our physical bodies. When the Scriptures speak of the God who created us, they usually are referring to Christ as the creator of our physical bodies.

Fifth, the crucified and resurrected Christ is the Father of our resurrected bodies.

Sixth, as the God who reigns over the earth, he interacts with mortals as a father or parent.  He compares this relationship as that of a hen who would gather her chickens and as a shepherd and his sheep. He refers to us as his little children. (D&C 50:41; John 13:33; Mosiah 5:7)

Seventh, the mortal Messiah was the Father.  Abinadi says Jesus was “the Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son.” We may infer from Mosiah 15:1-5 that as the mortal Christ grew, he became the Father because he subjected the flesh (being the son of Mary) to the Father (being the son of the Father) [see also 3 Nephi 1:14].  It’s difficult to think of the younger Jesus as the Father, because he learned line upon line. During his ministry, however, we get a strong hint of why the mortal Messiah is also the Father when he says to Phillip, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father.” (John 14:9) We get another clue when the outraged Jews say “he makes himself equal to God” and when Paul taught that Jesus “thought it not robbery to be equal with God.” (Philippians 2:6) Additionally, in the 1830 edition, 1 Nephi 13:40 reads: the Lamb of God is the Eternal Father and the Saviour of the world.  (Changed to is the Son of the Eternal Father in later editions. Similar changes were made in 1 Nephi 11.) 

Some suggest that Christ may be a father in one or two other ways—as the married father of children on earth and/or in heaven—but this is non-scriptural speculation.

If we taught the scriptural message that Christ is Father and Son, we would better understand their relationship and would be less tempted to parrot such notions as “Jesus works under the direction of the Father.” (Bible Dictionary)  It is not sound theology to try to remake the Godhead into a celestial First Presidency in which Christ is first counselor and needs “direction” or needs someone to preside over him ostensibly because he lacks knowledge, power, authority or leadership skills.  Nor does such a notion honor the Father because it turns him into a backseat driver.  Correct theology is to teach that Christ is the God in whom resides “all the fullness of the Godhead” (Col. 1:19; 2:9; D&C 93:4).  Interestingly, in terms of the Godhead and Christ, when the Savior speaks of being baptized in “my name” in 3 Nephi 11:23-38, “my name” refers to Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

The Son has ascended to the throne of God where he is at the right hand of the Father.  Being at the right hand means neither below nor above nor behind nor in front of.  It means side by side or on the same level.  Indeed, a celestial flow chart depicting yesterday, today and tomorrow might show yesterday with the Father at the top, with Jesus and all spirit children of the Father below. The today phase would show Christ directly right of the Father, with the earth and all mortals and those awaiting resurrection below him. The tomorrow chart would show the Father and Son side by side, perhaps with other exalted beings on the same level. Unexalted beings would be at different levels below them.

Rather than continuing to follow the unscriptural practice of using God as a synonym for Heavenly Father, if we better understood that Christ, the God of the whole earth, is both Father and Son and that his role as Father is over and above that of our Heavenly Father, we would understand that when the term God stands alone, it usually refers to Christ.  In The Church of Christ, it should be used that way.  In cases where we intend God to refer to Heavenly Father or to the Godhead rather than to Christ, we would be well-advised to state that distinction explicitly.  

Perspectives on Christ

There are three perspectives on Christ that in particular deserve our attention. 

First, the mortal Messiah is our exemplar.  He teaches us to pray, exercise faith, love one another, resist temptation, cope with difficulties and as children to be subject to parents.  While it may be useful to follow the example of the mortal Messiah as he subjected himself to the will of the Father and taught his disciples to do likewise, it is important to remember that the risen Christ who we worship is different from the mortal who learned line upon line and precept upon precept.  As a mortal, for example, he prayed often.  As the risen Lord, perhaps he has not prayed in 2,000 years.  As a mortal, he counseled his followers to “be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48) As the risen Lord speaking to the Nephites, however, he counseled us to first be like him, saying, “ye should be perfect even as I, or your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” (3 Nephi  12:48) Notice how in the second passage, with its singular verbs, he appears to be speaking of himself as both Father and Son.

Also, in delivering the Sermon on the Mount during his mortal ministry, he never uses the words “come unto me.” But during a similar sermon as the risen Lord, he three times commands the Nephites to “come unto me.”  

Second, it is the dying Christ who saves us.  As Elder Jeffrey R. Holland stated, “It is the wounded Christ who is the captain of our soul.” (Ensign, November 1995) When Mormon tells his son Moroni to “keep the death and sufferings of Christ in your mind … forever,” (Moroni 9:25) he is reminding him that the living Christ has power to save only because the dying Christ conquered death and hell. “For us on Calvary’s cross he bled, And thus dispelled the awful gloom That else were this creation’s doom.”  (“While of These Emblems We Partake,” hymn 174.) See “The cross = victory” elsewhere on this site.

Third, the Christ who we worship is the living, risen God of the whole earth.  His disciples interacted differently with the mortal Jesus and the risen Lord.  During his ministry, they often had difficulty grasping his teachings, sometimes behaved in ways that showed lack of faith, and one of them betrayed him. But when the risen Lord appeared to them, Matthew and Luke tell us “they worshipped him.”  (Matt. 28: 17; Luke 24:52))  When the risen Lord appeared to the Nephites and showed them the wounds in his body, “they did fall down at the feet of Jesus, and did worship him.” (3 Nephi 11:17)

Is Christ God of Gods?

Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote that Christ is the “God of Gods.” (Mormon Doctrine, p. 129), a concept that also is taught in the Bible (Deut. 10:17 and Daniel 2:47).  Whether this is true or not, it certainly is worth considering.

Let's begin by reminding ourselves that the Scriptures and modern prophets teach that worlds without number were created by Christ. (Moses 1:33, 35) There are at least three reasons to believe that Christ may be the Savior of all these worlds.  

First, Joseph Smith said so. Church publications and speakers credit the prophet with writing or co-writing the following poetic lines based on Doctrine and Covenants Section 76 verse 24: “By him, of him, and through him, the worlds were all made, Even all that careen in the heavens so broad. Whose inhabitants, too, from the first to the last, Are sav’d by the very same Saviour of ours.” (Italics added)

Second, in the Plan of Salvation, it was essential for Christ to die for our sins.  Apparently, he came as a mortal to this earth because the prospects of being killed were far better here than elsewhere.  As we read in Moses 7:36, this earth was the most wicked of all the worlds he had created. Moreover, even with all the wickedness on this earth, the Book of Mormon tells us there still was only a single nation here that would actually crucify him. (2 Nephi 10:3)  In other words, if Christ had dwelled on another world, the people would not have been wicked enough to crucify him, thereby frustrating the Plan of Salvation in all worlds.

Third, the words universal and infinite, which often are used to describe the Atonement, suggest that it has no bounds or limits. In other words, if the Atonement were limited only to this earthor only to the worlds that Christ createdit would have limits and, therefore, would be neither infinite nor boundless.  To say that the Atonement applies to our universe alone misconstrues the definitions of both infinite and universe.

The boundless nature of the Atonement is reflected in the fact that it was in force long before it occurred.  Early prophets knew that Christ would successfully atone for sin. Both the Old Testament and Book of Mormon teach that repentant sinners were receiving forgiveness thousands of years before Christ entered Gethsemane.  But the Atonement’s impact may go back much further.  If Christ indeed is the Savior of worlds, then his Atonement also would have been in force on worlds that existed before our 4-billion-year-old planet.  How do we know worlds existed before ours?  In the Pearl of Great Price, Christ tells Moses: “There are many worlds that have passed away by the word of my power.” (Moses 1:35)

We also get a glimpse of the boundless nature of the atonement in D&C 19 where Christ declares that Endless is my name (v. 10), then states I, God, have suffered these things for all . . . Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble
. . .  (vs. 16,17)

Furthermore, if Heavenly Father was indeed once a mortal and committed sins, perhaps the infinite and retroactive power of the Atonement of Christ also remitted his sins.  (LDS leaders have taught that the Father lived on an earth and apparently committed sins.  For example, Joseph Smith said that the Father is an exalted man, and Lorenzo Snow taught that as man is, God once was.”  Elder Bruce R. McConkie observed that the Father worked out his salvation by obedience to the same laws he has given us so that we may do the same.

We may need to expand our horizons (along with our capacity to speculate) when we consider Christ’s words: “Other sheep I have which are not of this fold.” The Lord’s Atonement may have redeemed all beings anywhere in the universe.  Is this why McConkie and the Old Testament describe Christ as “God of Gods” ?

Conclusion

It is always correct to refer to the Father first when we speak of the Father and Son. He is the heavenly parent of us all.  We love him and address him in prayer.  We worship  him and his Son.  We seek to dwell again with him.  But the Father has placed Christ as the God who rules and reigns over the earth and “hath given all things into his hand” (John 3:35).  He both hears and answers prayers.  As our God, the risen Lord instructs mortals to “look unto me in every thought” (D&C 6:36) and that we are “subject unto him” (2 Nephi 9:5).  For us, when the term God stands alone, it generally means Christ in his roles as Father, Son or both.  He is our advocate and our judge.  In him alone resides the fullness of the Godhead and all power. He alone is the giver of eternal life.

The message of the Book of Mormon and other scriptures that Christ is God is well worth understanding, appreciating and sharing.


P.S.  2 cases in point

The book of Mosiah uses the term God numerous times.  For example, God is often mentioned in conjunction with his commandments” and is used in referring to the God to whom we pray.  Most members of the Church assume that God in Mosiah refers to the Father.  They are wrong.  In every case, God in Mosiah is Christ.  Even in their prayers, the Nephites recognize that the God they pray to is Christ.  Indeed, when God answers a prayer directly, the God who answers is Christ. (Mosiah 26:14-32)  In Mosiah the church is alternately referred to as the church of Christ or as the church of God because, to them, Christ and God were the same.  (Mosiah 18:17; 25:22,23 Note: It is church of God OR the church of Christ, not the church of God AND the church of Christ.)  Unlike in the church today, worship God meant worship Christ.  It is not until the resurrected Christ appears to the Nephites that he gives clear instructions for their prayers to be directed to his Father. However, the Scriptures also make it clear that he is both Father and Son, meaning that any prayer directed to the Father is also a prayer directed to him.  Interestingly, even after he instructs them to pray to the Father, they continue to pray to himold habits die hard.  As stated earlier, Heavenly Father and Christ hear our prayers; Christ answers them. 

In Moroni 10, the final chapter in the Book of Mormon, the word God appears 23 times. Only once, however, does it specifically refer to the Father: I would exhort you that ye would  ask God, the Eternal Father . . .   Chapter 10's other mention of the Eternal Father, in verse 31, clearly refers to Jehovah.  Elsewhere in the chapter, the word God may appear to reference the Father but on closer examination actually speaks of Christ.  For example, when we read that a gift is given by the Spirit of God, (v. 9). we may be uncertain who is God, but verse 17 gives us the answer: all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ.  Or, when we read of appearing at the bar of God, (v. 27) some may believe God” is the Father, but the final words of the Book of Mormon tell us that the bar of God is the pleasing bar of the great Jehovah, the Eternal Judge of both quick and dead. Amen.”  How notable that just as the book begins by telling us that Jesus Christ is the Eternal God, its final page offers a similar message.  Note: Moroni 10 also twice refers to the kingdom of God.  While God in this phrase may elsewhere mean Father, Son or both, the Book of Mormon's common use of God as a synonym for Christ suggests that God in this context is Christ.  This certainly is in harmony with the ninth Article of Faith, because we know that the God who reveals things pertaining to the kingdom of God is Christ.

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