A Correct Idea of the Godhead
READ LoF 5:1-3
Why does Joseph Smith say there are “two personages” who constitute the supreme power over all things? Aren’t there three personages - what about the Holy Ghost?
Joseph Smith knew, from first-hand experience, how many personages constitute the supreme power over all things – he saw them in the Sacred Grove, in countless visions in heaven including D&C 76 and in the School of the Prophets in Kirtland; if his knowledge continued to expand past 1835 (when the Lectures on Faith were canonized), he had opportunities to update this scripture based on new revelation but he never did and we have no information suggesting that he ever considered it. So the question really could be – did Joseph Smith understand the government of heaven or not? And if not, which subsequent Church leaders/prophets understood it so much better?
The Holy Ghost is not a “personage of spirit” in the way we have been taught (see discussion of Orson Hyde’s doctrinal error in the post on D&C 130 – July 25, 2021 post “Question and Answer Session with Joseph Smith”).
When Joseph created what we now call the temple endowment ceremony and performed it with select individuals in the Red Brick Store, he did not introduce a character named the Holy Ghost but instead featured Michael/Adam, who was symbolic of all mankind; Michael is not the Holy Ghost as we would think of the HG (in the same way that Jehovah was born as Jesus of Nazareth), but Michael had the opportunity, through sanctification, to become holy as God is holy – to be one with God and a joint heir with Christ; he was given the promise that his spirit or ghost could become holy like Christ’s is; and we are all to consider ourselves as if we were Adam and Eve – so we should all be seeking to become holy and one with God.
If God the Father was once a Savior on another planet (see TPJS 390-392; John 5:19), how can Joseph say that the Father and Son are the supreme power over all things and have created all things throughout the immensity of space, as the Father must have been a Son to another God?
They are the supreme power in this cosmos and eternity; within the dimension and epoch that we exist, there are none greater!
However, since becoming a God requires being one and co-equal with all other Gods, the fact that other Gods exist in other cosmoses and eternities means that while none are greater than the Father, they are all equal to Him (see LoF 3:19).
With regards to the progression of mankind and the building and redeeming of earths and the children of God who come to reside on them for a season, there are always “two” personages – a Father and a Son; that is not to say that there are only two Gods in all the dimensions of the heavens but that there are only two who constitute the supreme power over all things in that cosmos, dimension and eternity in which any given probation will take place; in the heavens where the Gods dwell in everlasting burnings, there are many mansions – many Gods and Sons of God.
What does it mean that the Father is a personage of spirit, glory and power, possessing all perfection and fullness but is not a personage of tabernacle?
There is no such thing as immaterial matter - all spirit is matter but it is more fine or pure and can only be discerned by purer eyes (D&C 131:7) - so the Father’s body is composed of physical matter.
However, that matter is so refined - is resonating at such a high frequency and is composed of element or energy so glorious and powerful, that it would dwarf the sun billions of times over in its intensity.
He is an inseparably connected soul or spirit and body; they are one entity now – He does not live in a temporary abode or tabernacle of clay.
What does it mean that the Son is described as a personage of tabernacle?
A tabernacle was a temporary structure; it was a portable “temple” and was required for worship in the wilderness but not when the Israelites finally arrived at their destination, the promised land. In the same way, these mortal bodies are temporary abodes or “tabernacles” while we reside in the wilderness that is this fallen, mortal sphere.
Christ came to earth to inhabit a temporary structure - a mortal body of corruptible element or “clay” - to do a job.
When He was resurrected, His physical body could pass through the ceiling of an upper room in Jerusalem and could ascend to heaven through a conduit of light! But could also be handled by mortals and eat fish - it is a “physical” body now but not like ours. It is not bound by the laws governing a mortal tabernacle. Again, it is made of more refined matter; for additional scriptures, see: Mosiah 3:5; Alma 7:8; D&C 93:4 & 35.
Why are the bodies of the Father and the Son compared in this way?
What is being laid out here is the difference between a god who has previously attained to the resurrection of the dead and a fullness of glory (the Father or Ahman) and a “Son of God” whose mission it was to attain the resurrection of the dead and a fullness of glory during this eternity (the Son or Jehovah/Jesus).
To us in this eternity, the Father is the “personage of glory” while the Son is the one who left His glory in heaven and condescended to earth to live in a mortal “tabernacle” so He could work out the atonement.
Since the Father loves the Son with a perfect love and because a God of Light will always sacrifice to save His children, the fact that the Father sent the Son to be sacrificed implies that the Father could no longer perform that specific role – He could no longer lay aside His glory to condescend to take upon Himself a tabernacle of clay; since we know He (the Father) had previously attained to the resurrection of the dead Himself (see TPJS 390-393), we can imply that once a God attains to this level of glory via this kind of infinite and eternal sacrifice, that they can no longer lay aside their glory (their body), even if they wanted to because their spirits and bodies are permanently welded together (see D&C 93:33); within this context it makes sense to describe the Father as a personage of “glory” and the Son a personage of “tabernacle” (see Mosiah 3:5; Alma 7:8).
What did Christ do before the foundation of this world to qualify to perform the role of Savior here?
Christ had proved Himself able to work out the atonement and attain to the resurrection in some “first place” before this world was ever designed, let alone created (see Alma 13:3-5) – and because of this, He was ordained to be called a Son of God. That being said, He’d never performed the work as He was expected to do here (which might be why He asked the Father to remove the “cup” from Him, when it came down to the moment He had to actually perform it – but to His everlasting credit, He did it regardless).
He had already become a God – in the express image or likeness of the Father, through His obedience to God’s commandments or eternal law, up to that point; implied is that there are various levels of godhood.
He had gained the ability to suffer all that a god can suffer, even though He had not yet done it.
What did Christ’s role as the Son of God require of Him?
To descend below all things or experience more suffering and temptation than any mortal man could experience and live (while being mortal Himself).
While keeping the Law of God/Eternity and remaining without sin.
To show that it is possible to condescend to leave heaven, take upon oneself mortality, alienation, and the fall of man with its veil of forgetfulness and corruption (the flesh) and still remain connected to heaven by keeping ALL of the eternal laws of the universe (God’s commandments) perfectly.
To set the standard of judgement against which all the rest of mankind will stand condemned.
And THEN, to suffer the guilt of all the sins and afflictions of the world and die unjustly (as death is the wage of sin, and yet He was sinless), to win the victory over death and save all who would come unto Him.
When did Christ receive a fullness of the glory of the Father and what does this mean?
After He had overcome all things in this world and attained to the resurrection of the dead (see D&C 93:12-14; 3 Nephi 12:48; Matthew 5:48).
Christ now possesses all the fullness of the Father or the same fullness with the Father; Christ is one with the Father and shares a fullness of His (the Father’s) intelligence (mind or Holy Spirit or glory or light), character and attributes.
He received this after He had performed or experienced the eternal and infinite atonement and attained to the resurrection of the dead Himself, as His Father had done before Him (see TPJS 390-393).
What is the Holy Spirit?
The “mind of God”.
The “Spirit of the Father”.
The intelligence, light, glory, truth or Spirit of God; it is part of God and extends from Him to fill the immensity of space; it is the “unified field” of super-refined energy which is in and through all things and holds them together because it is the energy or element of which all things are created.
It is not a personage – of spirit or anything else (see post on D&C 130:22-23).
If the Holy Spirit is not a personage but is the mind or intelligence or light of God, why does Joseph Smith describe these “three” as composing the Godhead?
The godhead is composed of the Father, the Son, and any who accept their invitation to rise up and reconnect with them as a god themselves via receiving a fullness of the mind of God or Holy Spirit -to become Holy, a “Holy Spirit” or “Holy Ghost” or a Holy Personage with a celestialized body of spirit, power, and glory.
This is the “great secret” = that we can become gods ourselves, part of the (or a…) Godhead.
If we keep God’s commandments (abide by eternal law – i.e. become precisely as Christ is), we have the opportunity to rise up and, by that same Spirit, be partakers of the same fullness and enjoy that same glory.
We can become one with the Father and the Son as they are with each other; possessing the same mind, being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image.
Our spirits or “ghosts” can become holy like Christ’s is; and the Holy Spirit (which is the light and glory of God which fills the immensity of space) is the element that binds us all together if we will welcome it into our bodies and become one with it in our spirits.
We can become part of the “Godhead” by submitting completely to the mind of God or Holy Spirit, so that it truly becomes our mind; this is not a matter of assimilation and loss of identity but of transformation so that through understanding the will and mind of God, one agrees with it so completely that they adopt it – it becomes their way of thinking and being; at that point it is not submission to a higher power but rather choosing to be perfectly aligned because you ARE perfectly aligned – it that makes sense.
Why is the Lord, through Joseph Smith, going to the trouble of describing doctrines which most people feel are unnecessary for our salvation?
Because we cannot exercise faith unto salvation in a God that we do not correctly understand; you can’t have saving faith in something that is not true; so in other words, understanding these things IS necessary to our salvation, whether most people understand that or not.
If we don’t know who we really are and where it is God would have us go and be, we will never consider taking the journey which leads to true salvation.
Joseph is laying out how it was that Christ (and God the Father Himself) came to be God; when we get to section 7 we will learn that to be saved we must be precisely like Christ; and in section 6 we learn that we must sacrifice all things to transcend this earth and be one with God (doing the same things that those who came before us did, see TPJS 390-393); Joseph is giving us a hint of who we really are and what the path is to fulfill the measure of our creation; and when he says we must descend below all and ascend to the highest heaven, he wasn’t using hyperbole – you think you have to exercise faith now, think about what it will take for sinful, weak you to become precisely like Christ! If Christ makes you a promise of your exaltation, He is promising you that, as crazy as it sounds now, you will accomplish the climb back to heaven to become as God is – that is exercising faith in Christ and His promises.
How do we become One with the Father and the Son?
We become one when we receive the Holy Spirit or mind of God, the record of heaven, the Comforter, the truth of all things, that which quickens all things, and has all power
Receiving a fullness of the Holy Spirit means being transformed into the same image or likeness, even the express image - it is the Holy Spirit that does this – sanctification (see Moses 6:61).
But remember that it already abides in you; the kingdom of God is within us – we must tap in to and embrace the light that is already there – and be open to receiving more and more until we receive it all.
What should you do if you are confused by the doctrine taught by Joseph here (who had seen the Father and the Son AT LEAST twice by this point, and more likely many more times) when compared with the doctrine taught other places (D&C 130:22) or over the pulpit in General Conference?
Find out for yourself FROM GOD! This is a perfect opportunity to go to God to understand something that He said is critical to our exercising faith unto salvation! He wants you to know the truth and will make Himself known unto you (see LoF 2:54-56).
Or be damned by our careless indifference (2 Nephi 32:4 and 7).