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The Protestant Trinitarian view of Jesus Christ is that he is the only-begotten Son of God – begotten, not made. He is of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made. He is the Word of God who was with God in the beginning and who is God (John 1:1). He came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He is both fully human and fully divine. He was bodily resurrected from the dead and has ascended into heaven, from whence he came, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. As he ascended into heaven, so shall he return, in great power and glory, and accompanied by all the heavenly hosts, to judge and to rule.

Please note that Protestant Trinitarians believe there is only the One Being of God and that the pre-mortal Jesus was never born as a spirit son of God.

This is NOT about trying to establish who might be theologically right and who is wrong, nor is it a question seeking to establish any particular version of “truth”. I’m on a fact-finding mission, and not trying to start a theological war. Please give a biblical basis in support of beliefs held.

My question is how does the view of Latter Day Saints about Jesus Christ, the Son of God, differ from the view held by Protestant Trinitarians of the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Edit for clarification: As requested by Alex Strasser, here are specific questions I seek information on. Please be aware these are not additional questions but are all part and parcel of LDS Christology:

Was Jesus created?

Is Jesus part of the One Being of God?

When Jesus came to earth was he God incarnate?

Was Jesus resurrected as a spirit creature or did he ascend into heaven with a physical body?

  • just clarifying as you seem to mention Protestant Trinitarian views, can I assume you are looking for an answer reflecting the LDS belief about Jesus Christ or are you looking for a comparison answer? If you are looking for a comparison answer could you provide a source(website) with the Protestant Trinitarian views? – depperm Dec 13 '18 at 19:36
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    I'm looking for LDS beliefs about the person of Jesus Christ. I have given a simple overview of the Protestant view of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and want to know if LDS would disagree, and, if so, what it is they believe about the person of Jesus Christ. Was he created? Is he part of the One Being of God? When he came to earth was he God incarnate? Was he resurrected as a spirit creature or did he ascend into heaven with a physical body? I don't want to get bogged down in theological terminology, just an overview of LDS beliefs about the origins of Jesus, who he is and any biblical basis. – Lesley Dec 13 '18 at 21:34
  • Your comment here clarifies what you are asking for nicely. Perhaps post the same on the related JW question? – Kris Dec 14 '18 at 4:32
  • @Lesley Could you edit those specific questions you would like answered into your question? I think that would be helpful to the answerers of the question. – Alex Strasser Dec 14 '18 at 18:20
  • In a nutshell, LDS believe that humans are the same species as God; Literal offspring in spirit, bodies pattered after the fathers, and that we will become immortal like him when we are all resurrected. – ShemSeger Dec 19 '18 at 18:48
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As far as I can gather from the official LDS website links here, this is what they believe about Jesus: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/god-godhead?lang=eng&letter=g

Father in Heaven: The Father of the spirits of all mankind. Jesus is his Only Begotten Son in the flesh. Man has been commanded to obey and give reverence to the Father and to pray to him in Jesus’ name.

God the Son: The God known as Jehovah [in the O.T.] is the Son, Jesus Christ… he is the eldest of the spirit children of Elohim [who is not the same deity as the one known in the Bible as Jehovah]… it was actually Jesus who was the Creator under the direction of God the Father [Elohim].

Jesus Christ: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/jesus-christ?lang=eng

Jehovah: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/jehovah?lang=eng&letter=j They say the name ‘Jehovah’ denotes “the eternal I AM.” Jehovah is said to be the premortal Jesus Christ and came to earth as a son of Mary (Mosiah 3:8; 15:1; 3 Ne. 15:1–5).

Michael the Archangel: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/michael?lang=eng&letter=m The name by which Adam was known in the premortal life. He is called the Archangel. In Hebrew the name means “Who is like God.”

Adam: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/gs/adam?lang=eng&letter=a Adam is the Ancient of Days and is also known as Michael (Dan. 7; D&C 27:11; 107:53–54; 116; 138:38). He is the Archangel and will come again to the earth as the patriarch of the human family, preparatory to the second coming of Jesus Christ (D&C 29:26).

They seem to teach that it was Michael who was put on earth as Adam, and Michael was one of three gods who created this planet. Adam is said to be the incarnation of a god who is ‘related’ to man. Brigham Young said on April 9, 1852

“When our father Adam came into the Garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days about whom holy men have spoken – He is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom we have to do… the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely Elohim, Jehovah and Michael, these three forming a quorum… (Journal of Discourses 1:50-51).

It is essential to grasp this, prior to reading the Temple endowment ritual where three LDS priests represent Elohim, Jehovah and Michael, for they depict Jehovah and Elohim to be separate beings; Michael to be a god; Michael made incarnate in the person of Adam, thus, Adam is a god incarnate.

Their teaching about Adam has a direct bearing on their Christology as they claim that Jesus was the natural born child of Adam and Mary:

“When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus… he was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is his Father? He is the first of the human family. Jesus our elder brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character that was in the garden of Eden.” (Young, in Journal of Discourses 1:50-51)

As Adam is believed by them to be a god incarnate, then this god is said to have had sex with Mary, to produce Jesus in the flesh. Their doctrine of pre-mortal existence is needed to make sense of this, but I do not want to digress by launching into that.

Summary: This answers your question, ‘Was Jesus created?’ with an emphatic ‘Yes’.

As for your question, ‘Is Jesus part of the One Being of God?’ it is difficult to answer because LDS Christology has more than one Being of God. As has been shown from their quotes, Elohim existed before Jehovah did; the Archangel Michael is also said to be a god, as is Adam. I can only suggest that the Trinitarian phrase, “the One Being of God” has no place in LDS theology as they have more than one God. “The One Being of God” in Christianity is one Being who subsists in three uncreated, co-equal persons. That is not the LDS understanding although they would say Jesus is “part of” God’s Being! Just not in the Trinitarian sense.

The answer to your question, ‘When Jesus came to earth, was he God incarnate?’ requires knowing what God the LDS speak of here. They say Jesus was the God Jehovah in his pre-mortal existence, so that Jehovah incarnated in the human form of Jesus. Yet because they do not take Jehovah to be the only true God of the Bible, this is seen to be at odds with Trinitarian doctrine.

The answer to your last question, “Was Jesus resurrected as a spirit creature or did he ascend into heaven with a physical body?” appears to be that Jesus has a resurrected physical body, according to their scripture in Alma 11:42-43. Verse 43 speaks of the general resurrection of the dead, saying, “The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form, both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time.” As Jesus’ resurrection is the ‘template’ for all other human resurrections, it would appear that this also applies to his resurrection.

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The Latter-day Saints believe Jesus Christ is:

a member of the Godhead, and the Son of God:

the Only Begotten of the Father in the flesh:

the Savior and Redeemer of the world:

our Mediator and Advocate with the Father:

Other sources non-biblical that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints follows:

* denotes non-biblical references

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    While this seems to make a good answer for LDS Christology in isolation, I fail to see where you differentiate Protestant Christology and LDS Christology. Such as how LDS generally say Jesus is lower in rank than the Father, a separate being from the Father (within the Godhead), etc. See Lesley's comment for some more of the questions she would like to be answered, as well. – Alex Strasser Dec 14 '18 at 18:19
  • @AlexStrasser I'm going off of the comment to the OP I'm looking for LDS beliefs about the person of Jesus Christ. Also as there is so much written about Jesus Christ in LDS literature and other sources I provided a very brief summary and then links to more comprehensive views of the Savior from the LDS standpoint. There could be and are books about Jesus from the LDS perspective – depperm Dec 14 '18 at 18:46
  • If you look at the rest of that same comment or in the question header or the question in the question body (which is the final statement/paragraph), then you will see the things that were left unaddressed that would make your answer more relevant to the question, which concerns the differences between the two groups' Christology. Though your question does address a general intro to LDS Christology, I agree. – Alex Strasser Dec 14 '18 at 18:50
  • @deepperm – I appreciate the links you provided which give access to further information. To help me better understand the LDS view of Jesus, could you explain what you mean by Jesus as the Only Begotten of the Father? Was he born by the Father as a spirit creature before he came to earth? Who, exactly, is his heavenly Father? This seems to me to be a critical difference between the LDS view of Jesus and the Trinitarian view. – Lesley Dec 15 '18 at 9:39
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    @Lesley - Those are wonderful questions. We don't have answers to your last two. Many things are, as Christ put it in Matthew 13:11 are "mysteries of heaven." As for "Only Begotten" - Jesus Christ is the only child begotten [born] of the Father in mortality. lds.org/scriptures/gs/begotten?lang=eng – staples Dec 26 '18 at 21:01
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The Protestant Trinitarian view of Jesus Christ is that he is the only-begotten Son of God – begotten, not made. He is of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made.

Of what you wrote, this seems, to me, the only difference. As you correctly noted, Latter-day Saints are not trinitarian and believe in a pre-existence of spirits, of which Jesus Christ is one. We do hold him in special esteem in that

He is the Word of God who was with God in the beginning and who is God (John 1:1). He came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He is both fully human and fully divine. He was bodily resurrected from the dead and has ascended into heaven, from whence he came, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father. As he ascended into heaven, so shall he return, in great power and glory, and accompanied by all the heavenly hosts, to judge and to rule.

  • Could you provide links to LDS documents that explain about the pre-existence of spirits, and how the pre-mortal Jesus came into existence? This seems to be a major difference between the LDS view of the person of Jesus and the Trinitarian view of the person of Jesus. – Lesley Dec 15 '18 at 9:34
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It is true that the two views of Jesus Christ are completely different between Protestants and Latter-day Saints (LDS). While the OP asks about Protestant Trinity, it may as well ask about Catholic Trinity for the views of both on the Trinity are the same.

As the Catholic Church will acknowledge the Christian meaning, it says:

The words Father, Son and Holy Spirit, have for the Mormons a meaning totally different from the Christian meaning. -source-

The reason to show this is because in 2001, the Catholic Church decided that LDS baptism is invalid. If an LDS comes to a Christian church, s/he will need to be baptized. Here are the reasons.

The [baptismal] formula used by the Mormons might seem at first sight to be a Trinitarian formula. The text states: "Being commissioned by Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" (cf. D&C 20:73). The similarities with the formula used by the Catholic Church are at first sight obvious, but in reality they are only apparent. There is not in fact a fundamental doctrinal agreement. There is not a true invocation of the Trinity because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are not the three persons in which subsists the one Godhead, but three gods who form one divinity. One is different from the other, even though they exist in perfect harmony (Joseph F. Smith, ed., Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith [TPJSI, Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1976, p. 372). -ibid-

It goes on to state the LDS doctrine:

God the Father has a wife, the Heavenly Mother, with whom he shares the responsibility of creation. They procreate sons in the spiritual world. Their firstborn is Jesus Christ, equal to all men, who has acquired his divinity in a pre-mortal existence. Even the Holy Spirit is the son of heavenly parents. The Son and the Holy Spirit were procreated after the beginning of the creation of the world known to us (cf. EM, Vol. 2, p. 961). Four gods are directly responsible for the universe, three of whom have established a covenant and thus form the divinity. -ibid-

And finally, the document shows the difference in origen of the two rites. For LDS, baptism originated with Adam, not with Christ. This means LDS baptism is not into the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ Jesus per the Christian baptism.

The Baptism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which originated not in Christ but already at the beginning of creation (James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith [AF], Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1990, cf. pp. 110-111), is not Christian Baptism; indeed, it denies its newness. The Mormon minister, who must necessarily be the "priest" (cf. D&C 20:38-58.107:13.14.20), therefore radically formed in their own doctrine, cannot have any other intention than that of doing what the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does, which is quite different in respect to what the Catholic Church intends to do when it baptizes, that is, the conferral of the sacrament of Baptism instituted by Christ, which means participation in his death and resurrection (cf. Rom 6,3-11; Col 2,12-13). -ibid-

  • Appreciate those insights showing how LDS beliefs about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not in harmony with Catholic (and Protestant) beliefs about the Godhead. – Lesley 55 mins ago

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