Who is Jehovah?
The Book of Mormon teaches that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the
God of Israel, was crucified:
- “And the God of our fathers, who were led out of Egypt, out of bondage,
and also were preserved in the wilderness by him, yea, the God of Abraham,
and of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, yieldeth himself, according to the
words of the angel, as a man, into the hands of wicked men, to be lifted
up, according to the words of Zenock, and to be crucified, according to
the words of Neum, and to be buried in a sepulchre, according to the words
of Zenos, which he spake concerning the three days of darkness, which should
be a sign given of his death unto those who should inhabit the isles of
the sea, more especially given unto those who are of the house of Israel...And
as for those who are at Jerusalem, saith the prophet, they shall be scourged
by all people, because they crucify the God of Israel, and turn their hearts
aside, rejecting signs and wonders, and the power and glory of the God
- (Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 19:10-13).
- "And he also has shown unto me that the Lord God, the Holy One of
Israel, should manifest himself unto them in the flesh; and after he should
manifest himself they should scourge him and crucify him, according to
the words of the angel who spake it unto me."
- (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 6:9).
- "Wherefore, as I said unto you, it must needs be expedient that Christ–for
in the last night the angel spake unto me that this should be his name–should
come among the Jews, among those who are the more wicked part of the world;
and they shall crucify him–for thus it behooveth our God, and there is
none other nation on earth that would crucify their God."
- (Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 10:2).
The Book of Mormon is emphatic in identifying Jesus Christ as the God of Israel:
- "Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into
my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands
and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God
of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world."
- (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11:14).
- "For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power,
the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to
all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and
shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay. . ."
- (Book of Mormon, Mosiah 3:5)
The Book of Mormon teaches that it was Jesus Christ who covenanted with
His people Israel:
- “And it came to pass that when Jesus had said these words he perceived
that there were some among them who marveled, and wondered what he would
concerning the law of Moses. . .Behold, I am he that gave the law, and
I am he who covenanted with my people Israel; therefore, the law in me
is fulfilled, for I have come to fulfill the law; therefore it hath an
- (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 15:2-5).
That is to say, the Book of Mormon wants it understood that the Eternal
Father covenanted with the house of Israel:
- “And awake, and arise from the dust, O Jerusalem; yea, and put on thy beautiful
garments, O daughter of Zion; and strengthen thy stakes and enlarge thy
borders forever, that thou mayest no more be confounded, that the covenants
of the Eternal Father which he hath made unto thee, O house of Israel,
may be fulfilled.”
- (Book of Mormon, Moroni 10:31).
Though subsequent Mormon apologists would stretch themselves into
pretzel shape trying to squeeze Joseph's later tritheism into these passages,
at the time he wrote the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith taught that Jesus
Christ is both "the Father and the Son":
- "Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world
to redeem my people. Behold I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father
and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life...and they shall become
my sons and my daughters.”
- (Book of Mormon, Ether 3:14).
- ". . .saith Jesus Christ; for I am he who speaketh. . .For behold,
I am the Father, I am the light, and the life, and the truth of the world."
- (Book of Mormon, Ether 4:8-12).
Though he would later veer in quite a different direction, at the time
he wrote the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith was a modalist:
The modalism of this early work would give way in time to polytheism. Joseph Smith
veered from one extreme to the other without stopping to check in at the way-station
of orthodoxy, which teaches that there is only one God, and that the Father
is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. How can a player run
from left field to far right field without crossing through center field?
The closest approach Joseph made to orthodox trinitarianism was in his
'Lectures on Faith,' which were originally part of the Doctrine and Covenants
but have since been removed. In this work he describes Father and Son as
two "personages." He still
clings to an incarnational sonship: ". . .and is
called the Son because of the flesh. . ." He does not count the Holy
Spirit as a "personage." It does seem, though, that he is trying
to incorporate the helpful advice he was undoubtedly given by trinitarians,
a helpful people, after the Book of Mormon. Though he has by this point
abandoned modalism, he continues to concede that "these three are
one:" ". . .these three are one; or, in other words, these three
constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things;
by whom all things were created and made that were created and made, and
these three constitute the Godhead, and are one. . ." He defines the
oneness of God in terms of the Holy Spirit, not mere agreement: ".
. .possessing the same mind with the Father, which mind is the Holy Spirit.
. ." This treatment was no longer felt to be satisfactory after he
and the Mormons following him took up mockery of the Trinity.
The God of the Old Testament is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There are
many valid New Testament proofs that Jesus Christ is Jehovah God. . .just
as there are that God the Father is Jehovah God, and that the Holy Spirit
is Jehovah God. It is true that most of the Old Testament theophanies were
appearances of the pre-incarnate Christ, but it is not helpful to
make the sweeping and exclusive identification of the God of the Old
Testament with the Son only as Mormon theology still holds: "Christ
is Jehovah; they are one and the same Person." (Mormon Doctrine,
Bruce R. McConkie, p. 392). The Gnostics of old ejected 'God the Father' from the Old
Testament, portraying Him as a strange god newly entered onto the scene
in the New Testament. Contemporary Latter-Day Saints, though they have
abandoned Joseph Smith's early modalism, follow him in identifying the
God of Israel with Jesus Christ, the Son. Identifying the God of the Old
Testament with one person of the trinity is a distinctly unpromising route to go down, because God does not
change (Malachi 3:6); He is ever what He was and what He will be. Unlike the Gnostics Mormons find the Father in the Old Testament,
but in unaccustomed places; Brigham Young found Him in Adam at the Garden of Eden!
But it is just as easy to prove the God of the Old Testament is the Father as it is to prove He is
the Son -- a manifest proof the God of the Old Testament is triune!:
The Father is Jehovah God.
For that matter the Book of Mormon itself concedes the Father is Jehovah
God, for instance, here quoting "the Father" as "the Lord
- “And it came to pass that he commanded them that they should write the
words which the Father had given unto Malachi, which he should tell unto
them. And it came to pass after they were written he expounded them. And
these are the words which he did tell unto them, saying: Thus said the
Father unto Malachi -- Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare
the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his
temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold,
he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.”
- (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 24:1).
The Book of Mormon here identifies the "Lord of Hosts" of Malachi
3:1, Jehovah Sabaoth, as "the Father." What a tangled skein Joseph,
in his wanderings from modalism to tritheism, left for his followers to unravel!
O Little Town of...Jerusalem?
- “And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of
our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who
shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of Holy Ghost, and bring
forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.”
- (Book of Mormon, Alma 7:10).
Mormons point out that this is approximately true, more or less.
- “The relation in which Smith stands
to the church, is that of a Prophet, Seer, Revealer, and
Translator; and when he speaks by the Spirit, or says he
knows a thing by the communication of the Spirit, it is
received as coming directly from the mouth of the Lord.
When he says he knows a thing to be so, thus it must stand
without controversy. A question is agitated between two Elders
of the church — whether or not a bucket of water will
become heavier by putting a living fish in it. Much is said
by each of the disputants; when at length, Smith decides in
the negative, by saying — "I know by the spirit, that it will
be no heavier." Any person who chooses, may easily
ascertain by actual experiment, whether the Prophet was
influenced in this decision by a true or false spirit.”
- (Ezra Booth, Letter One, quoted Chapter
XV, Mormonism Unveiled, Ed Howe).
There are instances when Joseph Smith, speaking in the character of a prophet, said things would happen which did
not happen. This is not good: