Answering a Mormon on the Trinity

On one of my popular Mormon videos, there is a lot of discussion, and that is putting it mildly. There are over 6000 comments of discussion to be precise. One thing I have realized is that Mormons reject the Trinity, which is the central doctrine of Christianity. However, I have never met a Mormon who understands the doctrine of the Trinity, or the divinity of Christ, or gets the beliefs correct.

Mormons believe that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three separate beings and three separate gods (lds.org) whereas Christians believe God is one being in three distinct (not separate) persons.

In speaking with a Mormon recently, I mentioned that the Book of Mormon calls Jesus the one eternal God several times. Naturally, I asked this Mormon if Jesus is God and another God.

Below is his answer brief answer before pontificating on why the Trinity is wrong and why Christianity is wrong. He offered questions and challenges that I took upon myself to answer. This article then will help everyone to understand a bit more the nature of the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.

Mormon: Yes, Jesus is another God and one with God. On the other hand, the Trinity and Nicene creeds make absolutely no sense when applied to the Scriptures. In both the Bible and in the Book of Mormon, this is proven by events that occurred and by things that Christ Himself said. For example,

  1. In the Garden of Gethsemane, was Christ praying to himself?
  2. How can the Father be greater than the Son if they are one frequency wise?
  3. Why doesn’t Christ know when his Second Coming is if they are one and the same? Jesus specifically stated that only the Father knows.
  4. How could Christ receive the Holy Ghost on earth if he already had the Holy Ghost?
  5. If the Father and the Son are one and the same frequency wise how can they have two different wills? Christ continually said that he came to do his Father’s will and not his own. If the Father and the Son share a body, as some say, how could the Father be in heaven while the Son is on earth?
  6. If you know the history of Christianity as you claim to, you should know that the Trinity and Nicene Creeds were invented by a political vote. Congregations were arguing and the emperor told them to come up with something they agree upon. All the congregations wanted credit so they mixed everything up. Then, the emperor adopted this false sense of Christianity. That’s why we are so different to other Christian denominations. While your doctrines are built upon a political vote of man, the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the original lost truth restored.

My Response:  

I simply asked if Jesus was God, and you offered a whole long diatribe of an unrelated answer. However, you affirmed that Jesus is God and another God, and that’s all I needed to know. So, Mormons believe in multiple gods! That’s a huge problem.

For the record and from experience of discussing the Trinity with you in the past, you have many misunderstandings and misconceptions regarding the Trinity. You have presented many strawmen arguments regarding it. Thus, it is no surprise then you attack it.

However, you have some good questions, and I will answer them now.

Answer to # 1:

In Gethsemane, was Christ praying to himself? No Christ was not praying to Himself. He prayed to the Father in heaven. This is possible because while the Father and Son are one in being, they are distinct in person making them able to be in relation together.

Answer to #2-4:

How can the Father be greater than the Son if they are one frequency wise?_The Father is “greater” than the Son because Jesus emptied Himself of His glory and “took the form of a slave” (as it says in Philippians, chapter 2). He became a lowly man like us.

So, while Jesus is God, He became man and took on human flesh (Jn. 1:14). While Christ walked on earth, Jesus was  fully human a man, thinking and acting as a man (in other words living his human nature out) in order to teach us men how to follow God and how to achieve salvation.

Thus, in His human nature, and living as a mere human, the Father was greater than He was. This is also why Jesus would say things like “Only the Father knows the day or hour…etc.” Jesus in His human nature with a finite brain did not know these things. Human minds are only finite and Jesus was limited in His human person.

However, from all eternity, Jesus is and has been God. The Bible specifically states that Jesus is the Word, the wisdom, and the power of God (Jn. 1:1; Cor. 1:24). So, from eternity Jesus has been the power of God and the wisdom of God. The Power and wisdom of God are eternal, infinite, and one with Himself.

Thus, Jesus so is one in nature with the Father and cannot be separated from Him. This is why Jesus always claimed to be one with the Father in a special way even claiming to be God. (Jn. 1:1; Jn. 5:18-19; Jn. 8:58; Col. 1:15; Heb. 1:8) People even worshipped Jesus and He accepted it, which would have been blasphemy if He was not God (Jn. 20:28, Jn. 9:38; Mt. 28:9; Lk. 24:52).

Answer to #5:

If the Father and the Son are one and the same frequency wise how can they have two different wills? Christ kept saying he was here to do his Father’s will and not his own. Good questions. The answer is similar to the last in that Jesus is a divine person who took on a human nature. This is important. This means that while He is eternally divine, When He took on human flesh. He was also fully human. Thus, He had two wills – a divine will and a human will. Therefore, when speaking about accomplishing the Father’s will, He was referring to His human nature and speaking from His human side which He was operating in.

If the Father and the Son share a body as some say how could the Father be in heaven while the Son is on earth? I’m not sure where you heard that. I have never encountered that in Christian thought. In Christianity, God is a spirit (Jn. 4:24) and therefore does not have a body. Jesus alone possesses a body because He took on a human nature for our sake in order to die for us. The Father and the Son do not share a body. They are intimately united but do not share a body.

#6. History and the Trinity: Yes, I do claim to know history well as I have my degree in church history. Therefore, I know full well that what you claim about Nicaea is false. Conversely, you have given a whole host of false and problematic assertions.

First, you said multiple times, “the Nicene Creeds.” There was only one creed, not multiple. That tells me how little you know about this.

Second, the “Christian denominations” would not exist for another 1,300 years, and so for you to assert that they were invented when arguing over the Trinity shows a complete lack of historical knowledge. Even at an elementary level. There were not arguing congregations. That’s not even close to the truth.

Third, the doctrine of the Trinity was not invented by a popular vote. That is a myth. How could something that already exists be invented?

Christians have always believed in the Trinity and in the divinity of Christ (which was being attacked at Nicaea). The Catholic Church just upheld what had always been believed by Christians since the time of Christ. Christians believed in the Trinity and the equality of the Father and the Son long before Nicaea in 325A.D.

Thus, your assertion that congregations were “arguing” about this is grossly incorrect. It was one man who argued this. He was a heretic and priest, named Arius. Arius was who was the first person to claim that Jesus was created and was not eternal. In addition, Arius only a few followers in the beginning. You could count them on one hand.

So, it was not this big war of different congregations raging against each other before Nicaea. The purpose of the Council of Nicaea was to deal with Arius’ heresy and address his attacks and reaffirm what the Catholic Church had always believed.

This can be demonstrated by quoting from just two people (of many) who believed this and were writing 100 years before Nicaea. Again, how can something be invented that already existed?

These quotes prove that the Trinity was not something “invented” at Nicaea but something Christians had believed before that. You will notice they (and every early Christian) confirm what I have already stated.

Gregory the Miracle Worker (265 A.D.): Perfect Trinity in glory, and eternity and sovereignty, neither divided or estranged.  Wherefore there is nothing either created or subservient in the Trinity, nor anything caused to be brought about as if formerly it did not exist, and afterwards introduced … Wherefore neither was the Son lacking to the Father, nor the Spirit to the Son, but without variation and without charge, its the same Trinity forever.

Tetullian (213 A.D.): “We have already said that God fashioned the whole universe by His word, His wisdom, and His power. We hold that this which was begotten by God and which was begotten in that utterance, because of the unity of substance, is called God and Son of God. For God is Spirit. Even when a ray is shot forth from the sun, it is not separated from its substance, … but it is extended as light comes forth from light.  …  So also, that which proceeds from God is God and the Son of God. Both are one. Likewise, Jesus is Spirit from Spirit, and God from God, and … at the same time the mystery of the oikononia is safeguarded, for the unity is distributed in a Trinity.”

So, as you see, the Catholic Church did not invent anything new at all but merely upheld what had always been believed since the beginning of Christianity. This is easily provable based on the early Christian writings out there. This means that the Mormon understanding of the Godhead is the one that is new, invented, and incorrect.

**Thanks for reading. If you are interested in my YouTube videos on Mormonism or in learning more about Mormons, see resources below.

Resources

10 Things Mormons Won’t Tell You – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fR4kEsiGDwA&lc=UgxWVXopDoMRMpLyIBZ4AaABAg

Are Mormons Christian? – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MzzyGuSBBws

For a deeper understanding of the Divinity of Christ from the Bible – http://www.catholicbryan.org/blog/the-divinity-of-jesus-from-the-bible/

Inside Mormonism, by Isaiah Bennett – https://www.amazon.com/Inside-Mormonism-Isaiah-Bennett/dp/1888992069

About Bryan Mercier

Bryan Mercier is a professional Catholic speaker, retreat leader, author, YouTuber, and a Catholic apologist who has been teaching and preaching for almost two decades. He has also been aired on TV and radio in different states, including Relevant Radio, Ave Maria Radio, Sirius XM Satellite, and EWTN. He is the founder of "Catholic Truth," a non-profit dedicated to the New Evangelization and helping Catholics to know, love, and live their faith with purpose and passion each day!
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