Is Mormon christology Trinitarian in the sense of seeing Jesus as having always existed? Or is it Arian as seeing him as the first being created by God and used as the agent in creation of everything else? Is it adoptionist in viewing Jesus as being born a mere man and exalted or "deified" at some later point? Or is it a type of Sabelianism (i.e. Jesus being a man but with the Father dwelling in him)? Does it accept him as the Platonic logos?

  • You've set up a false dichotomy, supposing that "Trinitarian" and "Arian" are the only options. Mormon christology is neither Trinitarian nor Arian. In fact, Trinitarianism and Arianism are far from the only two options in "classical" Christianity, either. It's often thought that Trinitarianism was the view against which Arianism was fighting, but that's not true. Trinitarianism wasn't an established doctrine until roughly 50 years after the first Nicene creed. At the time, Nicene christology viewed the father and son as the same in essence, and person*, in contrast to Arianism... – Flimzy Sep 10 '14 at 12:32
  • ... Trinitarianism is as much in contradiction to Arianism as it is to strict (early) 'Nicene christology'. (*I say they saw the Father and Son as the same person--although they would not have used this terminology, as the concept of "person(s) in the Godhead" is a Trinitarian concept which had not yet been developed). – Flimzy Sep 10 '14 at 12:34
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    @Flimzy, I didn't say that Trinitarianism and Arianism are the only options. I happened to also ask about Sabelianism and adoptionism. – david brainerd Sep 11 '14 at 2:34
  • @Flimzy, Before there was Trinitarianism as we know it today, there was this strange view that God's mind (the logos) once existed as his mind, only to later be "begotten" and shot out from him as another person. Arianism developed from this by making this thing a created being rather than God losing his mind in giving birth to a new divine person. I've been reading up on all this lately which is why I was wondering what the Mormon position is. I'm trying to find if there is any modern group that rejects the idea of Jesus as the "logos" entirely. – david brainerd Sep 11 '14 at 2:40

None of the above, Mormon christology is Mormonism.

Although this wikipedia article names The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as a modern Christian group which may be seen as espousing some of the principles of Arianism.

Latter-day Saints believe God the Eternal Father to be our literal father in Heaven, the father of the spirits of all mankind, just as literally as our fathers on earth are the fathers of our bodies. Jesus Christ is the eldest spirit child of our father in heaven, and only begotten in the flesh, chosen before the creation of the universe to be the saviour and redeemer of all mankind.

Below is an excerpt from chapter 4 of the LDS Sunday school doctrines of the gospel student manual.

Jesus Christ, the Son of God

Jesus Christ is literally the son of God the Eternal Father.

  1. Jesus Christ is the firstborn spirit son of God (see D&C 93:21; Colossians 1:13–15; Hebrews 1:5–6).
  2. Jesus Christ is the only begotten son of God in the flesh (see JST, John 1:1, 13–14; 1 Nephi 11:14–22; Jacob 4:5, 11; Alma 5:48; D&C 20:21; 76:22–24).

Jesus Christ is a being of glory, might, and majesty.

  1. Jesus Christ has a resurrected body of flesh and bones (see D&C 130:22; Luke 24:36–39; 3 Nephi 11:12–15).
  2. Jesus Christ possesses all power in heaven and on earth (see D&C 93:17; 100:1; Matthew 28:18; 1 Peter 3:21–22).
  3. Jesus Christ possesses a fulness of the perfection, attributes, and glory of the Father (see 3 Nephi 12:48; D&C 38:1–3; Colossians 1:19; 2:9–10; D&C 93:4, 12–17).
  4. Jesus Christ is the light and the life of the world (see D&C 88:5–13; 93:2, 9; John 1:4; 8:12; 3 Nephi 9:18).
  • +1 I looked at a lot of sites online supposedly comparing Mormon christology to Trinitarianism, and none of them ever gave any of these details. – david brainerd Sep 11 '14 at 2:37
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    Every detail about the church can be found on lds.org. But you would have difficulty finding anything about topics such as, "christology" because it is not a term that mormons use. Try instead to search generic terms (ie. for the identity of Christ, enter 'Jesus Christ' as your search terms), the LDS church does not make side-by-side comparisons to other faiths, they only teach one perspective; the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. – ShemSeger Sep 11 '14 at 16:22
  • How does this explain when Jesus says "My God and Your God": biblegateway.com/passage/… – public static Sep 26 '14 at 16:47
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    Very simply and literally. Christ worships God the Father, the same God we worship. Christ is the eldest of the Father's spirit children, we are spirit children of the Father as well. Romans 8:16-17 – ShemSeger Sep 26 '14 at 16:58

There is nothing new under the Sun, Mormon Christology is a mixture of many theological positions:

  1. Arianism, 'There was time when the Son was not.' Mormon and Arian believe the Son was not pre-exist prior to His generation as the Father's First Born in Heaven. But supposed Joseph Smith Jr., were living during the Arian controversy Arius would condemned him because he denied that God is eternally divine. Mormon believes God the Father was once a man.
  2. Origenism, 'The pre-existence of soul before living on the Earth.' Mormon and Origenist believe the soul existed before we were born on Earth. But supposed Joseph Smith Jr., were living during Origen's lifetime he would be condemned by Origen because he denied that our pre-existent souls were merely human not divine. Mormon teaches that we were once divine children of the Father in Heaven.

So it's imprecise to say that Mormon Christology is none of the above. Mormonism is unique in a sense that modern day Jehovah Witnesses is distinct from Arianism, because while JWs believe the Logos was an archangel Michael Arians never believed such thing. There is nothing new under the sun and Mormonism is no exception. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is a modern Christian group which may be seen as espousing a mixture of the principles of Arianism, Origenism, and many other.

  • 2. Our souls did not exist before we were born, our spirits did. Spirit and body combined equate to a living soul. – ShemSeger Mar 2 '15 at 20:59

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