Ontological Monotheism: The belief in one God by nature (biblical Christianity).
Polytheism: The belief in more that one true God (LDS doctrine).
LDS founder Joseph Smith: (The King Follet Discourse, August 15, 1844):
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 370; emphasis added).
Brigham Young, second President and Prophet:
There was never a time when there were not Gods and worlds, and men were not passing through the same ordeals that we are now passing through (Brigham Young, Discourses of Brigham Young, 22-23).
Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt declared:
In the Heaven where our spirits were born, there are many Gods, each one of whom has his own wife or wives which are given to him previous to his redemption; while yet in his mortal state (Orson Pratt, The Seer, 37- 38; emphasis added).
In devastating contrast to LDS doctrine, Scripture has always taught that there is only one true God. Anything can be called a god, money, your job, your car, etc. However, the position of Scripture is unavoidable- ontological monotheism, that is, by nature there exists one God. John 17:3 states: "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent." Whereby all other so-called gods are false.
The apostle Paul makes a crystal clear demarcation of false gods and the one true God in 1 Corinthians 8:4-5, "There is no God but one... many 'gods' many 'lords' yet for us there is but one God." Underlining this central theme of Scripture, Paul reminds the Galatians, when they did not know God- they were slaves to those who by nature were not gods (cf. 4:8). Mormons champion polytheism, thus by maintaining this false notion, the Mormons have deviated from the essential truth of God.
Again, this must be stressed: the fundamental difference between historic orthodox Christianity and Mormonism is that Christianity maintains the belief in one immutable, Eternal God by nature. He does not grow, change, or progress (cf. Mal. 3:6). He is God from all eternity, Creator (not organizer)1 of everything that exists. Absolute monotheism has always been the distinctive principle "norm" of the Jews and Christians alike. Never has the church or any of the church Fathers held to the pagan doctrine of many Gods.
Pure monotheism (ontologically) is the core of Christian theology from which all other doctrines flow. The first lie ever told to humankind was from Satan, in the Garden of Eden. "Ye shall be as gods. . ." (Gen. 3:5). Satan is the originator of polytheism. That is why, I believe, many non-Christian cults postulate this decidedly unbiblical doctrine. The monotheism of the Jews is what separated them from all the pagan nations that accepted the existence of other Gods.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD (Deut. 6:4; emphasis added).
Literally: "Hear, O Israel: Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah." The Mormons argue: "we don't worship those other Gods." But, whether or not someone worships these "other Gods" is wholly irrelevant, the question is: how many Gods are there? For the Mormon there is an infinite number of Gods.
To ensure that no one will be confused God explains again and again that no other Gods exists! Particularly in the book of Isaiah, where absolute monotheism (one God by nature) is incontrovertible:
Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: That ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he; before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me (Isa. 43:10; emphasis added).
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of host; I am the first, I am the last; and beside me there is no God (Isa. 44:6; emphasis added).
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know of not any (Isa. 44:8; emphasis added).
God asks the question: "Is there a God beside me?" The Mormon who believes the LDS doctrine would have to say yes, but God responds sharply: "NO, there is no God, I know of not any."
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from tee womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretch forth the heaven alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself (Isa. 44:24; emphasis added).
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me. . . . (Isa. 45:5; emphasis added).
All throughout Scripture God consistently affirms that He is the only true God:
Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightiest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him (Deut. 4:35)
Know ye that the LORD he is God (Ps. 100:3)
In the New Testament, one of the scribes had asked Jesus, "Which is the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus answered: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD."
The polytheistic teaching of the LDS Church certainly contradicts the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Reducing God to the same species as man while denying that God was always God for eternity, Joseph Smith plainly defines the doctrine of the LDS Church:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens… it is necessary we should understand the character and being of God and how he came to be so; for I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and suppose that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see. These are incomprehensible ideas to some, but they are simple. It is the first principle of the Gospel to know for a certainty the Character of God, and to know that we may converse with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible. Here then, is eternal life--to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priest to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one. . . .(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 345-347; emphasis added).
I will preach on the plurality of Gods . . . I have always and in all congregations when I have preached on the subject of Deity, it has been the plurality of Gods. . . . Jesus Christ a separate and distinct personage from God the Father, and that the Holy Ghost was a distinct personage and a Spirit: and these three constitute three distinct personages and three Gods (ibid., 370; emphasis added).
Mormons worship a changing god that is not eternally God. What he was before, he is not today. Mormons say that God was once a man that lived on a planet similar to this one. He progressed and was exalted to become the God of this planet by His Father God Who Himself is an exalted man that lives on the planet Kolob.2 Without question, the faithful followers of the Mormon Church reject the Word of God: "For I am the LORD, I change not. . . . " (Mal. 3:6).
The doctrine of many Gods then, will always be the primary and fundamental difference that excludes the Mormon religion from bona fide orthodox Christianity and hence true salvation. Polytheism is the radical corruption that disturbs sound biblical theology. Christianity is cradled in monotheistic Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD." Remember, Joseph Smith did not invent polytheism: "the day you eat thereof . . . you shall be as god. . . " (Gen. 3:5)--- Satan did.
Standard Mormon Arguments
1) Gen. 1:26, 27, "Let us make man in our image."
Response: Verse 27 says God created man: "in His own image." Not- " in their image." Man is not in the image of angels hence the Members of the Trinity were conversing (cf. John 14:23). Also, God is invisible He does not have physicality (cf. 2 Ch. 6:18; esp. John 1:18; Col. 1:15; 1 Tim. 1:17; 6:16).
2) John 10:34, (Ps. 82:6) "I said Ye are gods."
Response: First of all in John 10:34 Jesus said, "Ye are gods" is in the present tense, ruling out the possibility that they were really true Gods on earth. Note that in LDS theology, the hope of becoming God is in the future. Thus, this passage provides no comfort for Mormons.
In John 10:34, Jesus is quoting from Psalm 82:6. The defining context of verses 1 through 8 is speaking of wicked judges. Verse 2 says, "How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked?" Verse 5 says, These wicked judges "walk in darkness" Verse 7 says, "ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes." Die like men? That does not sound like true Gods.
The context of John 10:30-36 is clear. In verse 30, Jesus claims to be equal with God. Because of that, the Jews wanted to kill Him (v. 31). In verse 33, the Jews understood His claim to be God. Jesus then quotes Psalm 82: "Ye are gods." Jesus here (John 10:34-36) that the Father called them "gods" (Ps. 82) not because they were true deity but they were "to whom the word of God came" (John 10:35) and were supposed to be the representatives and judges for God (called Elohim).. However, the genesis of men being representation of and even called Elohim is back in in Exod. 18:17-27. Thus (because they represented God) subsequently these judges were actually termed Elohim starting in Exod. 21:6; cf. 22:8, 9, etc.
These judges in Ps 82, however, were wicked; hence, God called them "gods" in irony. In verse 36, Jesus goes on to explain if the wicked Judges were called gods in irony, how can you stone me for claiming I am the true Son of God?
Even LDS scholar and Apostle James E. Talmage agrees. In his book Jesus the Christ, Talmage explains John 10:34-36 under the heading :
"Divinely Appointed Judges Called Gods-In Psalm 82:6. . . ." (James E. Talmage, Jesus The Christ, 501; 15TH ed.).
3) Matt. 3:16, 17; Ac. 7:55, 56, Two personages (hence in LDS thought: 3 separate Gods).
Response: These verses do not conflict with the doctrine of the Trinity that states there is three distinct (not separate) Persons that share the nature of the one Being (cf. Matt. 28:19; John 1:1; 2 Cor. 13:14; Eph. 2:18).
In Acts 7:55, Stephen sees the glory of God and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. The term "right hand" must be understood in a Jewish context. "Right hand" was a Jewish idiom that meant, "place on honor" or "position of authority" (e.g., Exod. 15:6, 12; Job 40:14; Ps. 48:10; 73:23; Isa. 41:10; Matt. 26:64). The text does not say Stephen saw two Gods.
4) 1 Cor. 8:5, "many gods and many lords."
Response: The entire context of the chapter deals with idols. You can call anything a god: money, car, job, hay, wood, stubble, but these would be false gods (idols). By nature, there is exists one true Eternal God (Gal. 4:8). Notice Paul declares that there is only one God (v. 6).
For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens and the earth (1 Chron. 16:26).
There exists one Eternal God by nature that has always been God: e.g., Deut. 4:35; Isa. 43:10; 44:6, 8, 24; 45:5; Ps. 90:2; 100:3; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 17:3; Gal. 4:8
Note the plain reading of Isaiah 44:6, 8:
Thus saith the LORD [Jehovah] the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. . . .
Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is NO God; I know NOT ANY (emphasis added).
1, In LDS theology God does not create anything He merely "organizes" eternal matter. Joseph Smith explains:
I am right, I might with boldness proclaim from the house--tops that God never had the he power to create the spirit of man at all (Teaching s of the Prophet Joseph Smith, p. 354).
Of course, this idea does not, in no way shape or form, square with Scripture. The Bible presents God as Creator (e.g., Gen. 1:1; Isa. 44:24; 45:18; Jer. 10:10, 11; John 1:3; Col. 1:16-18; Heb. 1:2, 10).