Mormon Beliefs: The Godhead, or the Trinity
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church, is unique. Most Christian denominations believe in the Trinity, the concept that God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit are all different manifestations of the same being. In holding this belief, it is necessary to also believe that each of these entities is spirit and not flesh and bone. Otherwise, they could not possibly be one and the same. There are several scripture references in the Bible which may appear to support this interpretation. For example, John 10:30 and 1 Corinthians 8:6, which state Christ and the Father are one, and that the Apostles believed in one God after Christ’s death. There are even more scriptures, also found in the Bible, to contradict this interpretation, though: Matthew 3:17 shows that God said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” when the Savior was baptized; John 20:17, where Jesus says, “I ascend unto my Father.” The current concept of the Trinity was settled upon by early Church fathers in 325 A.D. at the Council of Nicaea.
When Joseph Smith received his First Vision, he learned that this notion is false. He saw God and Jesus Christ as two separate beings, both of flesh and bone. The Mormon doctrine of the Godhead states that God is a perfect being of flesh and bone. Jesus Christ is His only begotten son, who was created spiritually before He came to this world to save all mankind. He began as spirit, but then gained a body and was resurrected. Now his spirit and body are united eternally. The Holy Ghost, however, is still spirit.
Mormon doctrine teaches that each being in the Godhead is necessary to our salvation. God created us and wants us to return to Him. Once our spirits come to this world, however, they are fallen and are unworthy to return to God. An eternal sacrifice had to be made on our behalf in order for us to be able to return to God. Jesus Christ, as the only begotten son of God, had power to pay this price for all mankind, which he did pay through His Atonement. We gain access to this power through the Holy Ghost. God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate, distinct beings, but all have one purpose: to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man (Moses 1:39). When we follow Christ’s commandments, or the conditions He has set for us to gain access to the power of the Atonement, we can repent and be purified by the power of the Holy Ghost. Because only God knows our hearts, the Holy Ghost is a fair judge of whether we have truly repented or not.
Each member of the Godhead is essential to our salvation, but it is only through the willing sacrifice of Jesus Christ that we are even able to look forward to meeting our Heavenly Father again.