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A follow-up to this question, if the LDS church teaches that men can become gods, how does it reconcile this with the concept that there is only one God?

Isaiah 45:5:

I am the LORD, and there is no other; apart from me there is no God. I will strengthen you, though you have not acknowledged me,

Exodus 20:3:

“You shall have no other gods before me.

share|improve this question – user23 Nov 8 '11 at 17:23
up vote 8 down vote accepted

I suppose if you wanted to split hairs, you could technically consider the LDS faith to be polytheistic, since Mormons believe God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost to be separate and distinct individuals.

Outside of that, it's pretty simple. Mormons worship God the Father, through the Son. While we believe that there are other gods out there, they are not our God. I find that an analogy helps me think about this clearly: At work, I have one boss. He is my boss and no one else is. There are other bosses, but I do not report to them, they do not affect my quarterly reviews, and I don't really interact with them in any sort of manager-underling relationship. The same goes for God.

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So how does this view explain the verses stating there is only one God ? for example, Isaiah 45:5 " I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God besides me;"(Inspired Version) – 2tim424 Sep 15 '11 at 22:15
And when God says he is unaware of any other gods? Isaiah 44:8 "Fear ye not, neither be afraid; have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? yea are even my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no God; I know not any."(Inspired Version) – 2tim424 Sep 15 '11 at 22:35
But you just mentioned three "separate Gods" in your answer... Are not the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit within the scope of our existence? – Flimzy Sep 15 '11 at 22:48
@WhatAboutJohn3_17 sounds like great fodder for a new question – Dave DeLong Sep 15 '11 at 23:18
<friendly reminder that comments are disposable> David & @WhatAboutJohn3_17: Don't forget to take action on these and either edit your answer or ask new questions as appropriate. – Caleb Sep 16 '11 at 20:47

LDS doctrine reconciles the two concepts quite easily, in fact. From Moses 1:35:

But only an account of this earth, and the inhabitants thereof, give I unto you.

The revelations we are given are limited in scope to this world and the people living on it, and how they can find salvation. And within that scope, they are correct. Any knowledge beyond that does not affect us, nor does it have any bearing on where we'll end up spending eternity, so we don't really need to worry about it; we've already got our hands full with trying to live up to the basics!

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That's not a reconciliation, that's a side-stepping. If the honest answer is "we don't know" I could accept that... but the other answer to this question suggests that it has been thought about, and answered... at least by some Mormons. Maybe the views in @Dave's answer aren't "official"? – Flimzy Sep 16 '11 at 6:41
I wouldn't consider @Dave's answers to be official. Being a member of the LDS Church is quite different from being one with the authority to state doctrine with official authority. – Vladhagen Feb 7 '14 at 0:40

I don't have time for a well researched answer right now, but I want to offer two quick thoughts:

  • LDS doctrine refers to a "Godhead" consisting of three distinct individuals: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Because they are perfectly united in purpose and goodness, we refer to them as one God. Jesus taught this concept by saying that all who know him know the Father and by saying that he only does what the Father sent him to do. We follow Jesus' example and only pray to the Father and only worship the Father. There is no other God outside of His power and authority.

  • God the Father is the ruler of the universe. As His children, He is willing to share His power with us and make us like Him should we prove our willingness to obey His will. But we will always recognize Him as our Lord and Father just as Jesus does. In this way we wholeheartedly accept the commandment that we shall have no Gods before him.

I wanted to quickly contribute to the discussion even though I don't have time to find these concepts explained anywhere authoritative. Hopefully someone else can fill in the gap.

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To my understanding, believing the existence of multiple gods is polytheism. I don't believe "worship" is a requisite to the matter. So it would seem Mormonism is polytheistic.

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I believe the best way to answer this question is to give LDS interpretation on all of Isaiah chapters 40-48. There are many verses that discuss there being only one God. I will start by discussing the purpose of these verses being written. Isaiah is speaking to many people who are looking to "Other gods" to be saved. People are trying to create their own Gods, and overall turning from their God. People often interpret these verses as there is only one God in exhistance, but LDS interpret them as there is only one God who we can turn to to be saved. I will give an example.

Isaiah 43:10 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. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour. (KJV)

LDS interpretation is based on the subject being reffered to, or in other words the idea of going to other gods to be saved. It is specified in verse 11 that there is no savior. In other words it is interpreted by LDS that we only have one God we can turn to to be saved. One God that is our God.

Some verses that add a better definition to the phrase "No God beside me" are

Isaiah 47:8 Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:

10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

Based on these verses it adds a second meaning to the phrase. When used here only a few chapters later it isn't meant the mean the only one in existence, but the greatest, or most powerful. "none else beside me" can be taken to mean that none can overthrow, or none can challenge.

Due to shortness of time I cannot give a long answer but I may add to this one in a few days. I hope this at least helps put that interpretation in context.

For a more detailed answer this site has good information on the subject:

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