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Mormons: Monolatry/Henotheism Question

Discussion in 'Religions Q&A' started by bartdanr, Nov 1, 2022.

  1. bartdanr

    bartdanr Member

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    Hi All,

    I have a question for Mormons: I've frequently heard that Mormons believe in Monolatry--the belief that there are multiple gods, but only one is to be worshipped. (I think Henotheism means essentially the same thing, but I'm not entirely certain). I also understand that in Mormon theology God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are separate beings (not just separate "Persons" as in traditional Trinitarianism, that holds they're all the same "Being").

    So if the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are all worshipped, how is this Monolatry? It seems more like polytheism, but perhaps I don't understand how you use the terms. Is "God" when referring to the Father/Son/Spirit more of a "committee", but the same exact term can be used to individuals who are NOT worshipped (like individual spirits of humans being "gods"?)

    Any help in understanding this would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
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    Mormons would say they only “worship” God the Father. They don’t “worship” Christ or the Holy Ghost.
     
  3. bartdanr

    bartdanr Member

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    I found this one blog that tried to answer the question...it seems as though it's not entirely clear, even in official statements by Church leadership: Do Mormons Worship Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, Or Both?
     
  4. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
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    It certainly is unclear. By the way, Bruce McConkie was well known for stating his own personal beliefs as gospel, which got the Church in hot water on more than one occasion, so I’d take anything he says with a grain of salt.
     
  5. Jane.Doe

    Jane.Doe Active Member

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    Actual "Mormon" here, sorry so late to the party, I'm not regularly on RF nowadays. To best answer your question I'm going to talk about what LDS Christian ("Mormon") beliefs are and are not.

    LDS Christianity is not like Islam with pure super simple monotheism (Allah and only Allah), but neither is Trinitarism. Both LDS Christians and Trinitarian Christians believe in one God, but it's not that a simple as Islam. The Father, Son, and Spirit are all three different persons, you can count them. Christ doesn't pray to Himself- He prays to the Father. His baptism is not a ventriloquist act, but rather the Father proclaiming "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased".

    So while both LDS Christians and Trinitarian Christians believe that the Father, Son, and Spirit are 3 different divine persons in 1 God, the faiths differ on the mechanics of *how* they are believed to be 1. For LDS Christians, this is because they are of 1 heart, will, goodness, glory, grace, power, etc. They are unified as 1, and fits so well in the Bible like in John 17 when Christ prays that He & His followers can be one even as He and the Father are. This differs from Trinitarian Christianity which takes a more metaphysical approach of "well, they are three persons but one being" or consubstantiality (honestly many people myself include find super confusing).



    Addressing other specific points in your question:
    - "Polytheism": No. Despite believing the Father/Son/Spirt are 3 different divine persons, neither Trinitarian Christianity nor LDS Christianity are polytheism. For an example of polytheism, please study Ancient Greek beliefs where you could totally follow Hera and go against Zues.
    - "Monolatry": No. This also fails to capture the unity between the Father/Son/Spirit.
     
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