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Are Mormons Polytheists?

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MisterSwig
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In researching Mormons I've learned that they don't believe in the Trinity. Rather, they believe that there are separate personages in Heaven, namely Heavenly Father, Heavenly Mother, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. According to Mormons, there are other entities in Heaven, but those four get the most attention.

My question then: Does this make Mormonism a polytheistic religion? Or can it properly still be considered monotheistic? (As far as I can tell, Mormons deny the charge of polytheism.)

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Are all considered Gods?

Mormons believe in the "Godhead", which consists of Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. The Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are "tangible, separate beings with flesh and bones." And the Holy Ghost is a "personage of spirit." Each member of the Godhead is "a separate being", but they are all "one in purpose."

Mormons don't refer to each member of the Godhead as individual gods.

However, it is clear that there are three separate beings that make up the Godhead of Mormon theology. Whether Jesus and the Holy Ghost are actually gods seems to be a real puzzle. After all, they are part of the Godhead, and at the same time they are distinct entities from the Heavenly Father. So, if they aren't gods, what are they?

Despite what Mormon's say, does this level of individuation of the members of the Godhead make Mormonism polytheistic? Or is the Godhead still united enough to fall under monotheism? Or is it perhaps something different?

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The arguments I've heard for the polytheism of Mormonism all relate to its treatment of the afterlife.

Those who live the ideal Mormon life, and are granted access to the Temple in Salt Lake City, will be rewarded with the highest honor possible, the powers of a God and their own world to rule over.

The quote I've heard is that man "has the full potential of God." Which is of course only realized as a reward in the afterlife after a life of debasing servitude and duty to God.

The problem I see with lumping Mormonism into polytheism is that no one worships these afterlife Gods on other worlds. They only worship this one God/Godhead.

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According to Mormon doctrine, there is only one god of this earth: Jesus. God the father is a separate being (as it doesn't make much sense in the other Christian religions how Jesus could be his own father ;) ), and also a god, but in this life human beings don't have anything to do with him directly. The holy ghost is another separate being, and the third member of the godhead, but is not himself a god, but has tasks and powers appointed to him by the two senior members of the godhead. And, as Atlas462 mentioned, every true believer has the potential to become a god or goddess him or herself, as their reward in the afterlife for living this life in abject, selfless obedience. So, the god issue is a matter of context: in the context of this life, human beings have one god (Jesus Christ, the creator and savior of this world) they are commanded to worship; but in the wider, metaphysical context, they certainly believe in more than one god. Technically, I suppose that would make them polytheists, but essentially I think they have much more in common in practice with the other monotheistic religions than the do with any polytheistic one.

:lol: Those crazy Mormons!

(I was raised Mormon, and since I take ideas seriously, I got to be quite an expert on Mormonism until my expertise led to my awareness of all the contradictions and the lack of a base of factual evidence supporting their religion. In other words, it's because I took it--and ideas in general--seriously that I eventually rejected it. So if you have any questions about Mormonism, I can probably answer them accurately for you. But I am also curious about why you want to know.)

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"I got to be quite an expert on Mormonism until my expertise led to my awareness of all the contradictions and the lack of a base of factual evidence supporting their religion."

What, you doubt the story of the angel Moroni and the golden tablets buried in the forest that required magic seer stones in order to be translated into english?

Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb, dumb. :lol:

Perhaps this site will help you:

http://www.exmormon.org/

"A site for those who are Questioning their faith in the Mormon Church And for those who need support As they transition their lives to a normal life."

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Yes, I've seen that site before, but I see no point on focusing on it anymore since I am no longer questioning my faith in the Mormon religion--I obviously have none--and am no longer in a state of "transition." Thanks for the link though--it's not a bad site from what I recall, and may be of help to others (though not as much help as studying a rational alternative, i.e., Objectivism).

To be fair though, Mormonism is really no dumber than any other religion--they're all equally arbitrary in the end (and at least the Mormons deny, on the surface anyway, some of religion's worse teachings, like Original Sin)...

...but yes, it is dumb. :lol:

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BTW, I was curious why you want to know?

I want to know, because I am doing research for a paper I might write on Mormonism. It is the fourth largest and fastest growing religion in America. I'm trying to figure out why.

I believe it has to do with a few key aspects of the religion, one being that it is more polytheistic than other major Western religions. So far, I am attempting to trace this move toward polytheism in three distinct stages: Judaism (God), Catholicism (Trinity), Mormonism (Personages).

In Judaism you have the closest thing to one god, with perhaps some hints of other supernatural entities. In Catholicism, you have the idea of the Trinity, which I believe is the start of the disintegration of the idea of God, breaking him up into three aspects/manifestations/essences, or whatever you want to call them. You also have better-defined additional supernatural beings, such as the Devil and Angels. Then in Mormonism the Trinity is rejected, and God is split into three actual personages, with separate bodies. More supernatural creatures enter the picture, such as Heavenly Mother and Spirit Children, along with previous entities, like Angels and Satan.

So, hopefully you can see the trend toward polytheism here. Perhaps the next step would be to actually call these different beings "gods" and ascribe very limited powers to each, which would be full polytheism.

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So, hopefully you can see the trend toward polytheism here. Perhaps the next step would be to actually call these different beings "gods" and ascribe very limited powers to each, which would be full polytheism.

some random comments;

Have you investigated Animism? has it been spreading? Do you suppose it will be spreading?

As I understand it, some elements of Judaism follow the Doctrine that "God is within all of us" Do you think that type of theology has been spreading? When I was in some Christian Theology classes, the teaching was that "it is just as much of a sin to hurt yourself as it is to hurt someone else?" do you think that is a growing attitude?

Also, have you followed the extent to which ritualistic practices have arisen in new forms in industrialized societies?

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