In my Easter post, I addressed the oft-asked question, “Are Mormons Christian?” I shared my witness of Jesus Christ and included a video clip from an apostle that summarized the answer. An anonymous reader left a comment disagreeing with my declaration that Mormons are indeed Christians. He kindly shared a list of six points with which he disagreed.
I responded briefly to our anonymous friend and promised to reply in greater detail to each of the points he raised. This post addresses the first point that God is a glorified being of flesh and bones. A Google search on the subject reveals several well written articles. An equally useful search on the phrase “Does God Have a Body?” delivers some of the same results and many others.
I am not a Mormon apologist nor am I experienced in apologetics. I am just your basic member of the church. My family joined when I was very young, converting from Presbyterianism. I served a mission, was married in the Temple and have been attending church all my life. I think my religious experiences are typical of a Latter-day Saint living in Southern California.
My personal views on the nature of God
I have never had a problem with the doctrine taught that God is a glorified man and that he has a body of flesh and bones. I know some object to the idea that God was once a mortal man but it has always made sense to me. I don’t pretend to understand the complexities of the universe. For example, who was taking care of things when God was going through his mortal probation?
There are a lot of questions about God that I just put up on the shelf until some future time when I trust that they will be answered. Some get confused when others talk or write about God’s father and the whole idea of eternal progression. I know some things have been taught and revealed about that subject, but frankly, I don’t think about it much. It doesn’t bother me.
I have been taught and believe that the purpose of this life is to exercise faith in Jesus Christ and prove myself obedient to His commandments revealed in scripture, both ancient and modern. I am a very simple man, really, but it makes me happy to think of a loving Heavenly Father who understands me perfectly because He has gone through the same kind of mortal experience.
Official statements from the Church
From Mormon.org: “God is your Father in Heaven (Matthew 6:9). We call God Heavenly Father because He is the Father of our spirits and we are created in His image ( Genesis 1:27). God has a body that looks like yours, though His body is immortal, perfected, and has a glory beyond description. He knows you personally and loves you more than you can comprehend.”
From True to the Faith: “God the Father is the Supreme Being in whom we believe and whom we worship. He is the ultimate Creator, Ruler, and Preserver of all things. He is perfect, has all power, and knows all things. He ‘has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s’ (D&C 130:22). Our Heavenly Father is a God of judgment and strength and knowledge and power, but He is also a God of perfect mercy, kindness, and charity.”
From Preach My Gospel: “God is our Heavenly Father. We are His children. He has a body of flesh and bone that is glorified and perfected. He loves us. He weeps with us when we suffer and rejoices when we do what is right. He wants to communicate with us, and we can communicate with Him through sincere prayer.”
Summary and Conclusion
I know this is not a deep discussion on the subject of the nature of God. There are so many more ideas that could be addressed. This post focused on one idea: God has a body of flesh and bone. Note that we do not teach that God has a body of flesh and blood as that is a condition of mortality. God is a glorified, immortal, perfected being and we are made in His image.
It is not a hard doctrine to comprehend. Man has made it difficult through uninspired creeds and interpretations of scripture that are not correct. That is why we need Apostles and Prophets to help us come to the unity of faith. I am so grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith who bore a plain a simple testimony that he saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
So is this different from what the Christian world teaches? Yes, it is. We believe in a “Restored Christianity.” Any doctrinal disagreements we have with ministers of other faiths can be summarized in one statement: We do not rely solely on the Bible for our understanding of the nature of God. Our understanding is based on knowledge revealed through modern prophets.