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I understand that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (popularly known as Mormons) teaches that God the Father has a wife and we thus have a divine Mother as well as Heavenly Father. I also understand that unlike most other Christian denominations they do not accept the doctrine of the Trinity, the three in one God, but consider God the Father (whom they sometimes call Elohim), Jesus and the Holy Spirit to be separate beings, thus at least from an outsiders point of view making them polytheists.

In the realm of theory, these are enormous differences from the official teachings of most Christian denominations. However, I am interested in whether they make a practical difference to how Mormons/Latter Day Saints live their lives or their answers to ethical questions.

I asked this question on another internet forum (Quora) that did not allow me to give so much detail in my question. Some LDS members replied saying things like 'It makes a difference to me to know that the Holy Spirit listens to my prayers', which I am sure are important to them in their faith but did not really answer my question as Protestants, Roman Catholics and members of other branches of Christianity would say the same.

Some said that while the Mormons beliefs on these matters were important as doctrine, they did not make much difference to how they lived their lives.

One person said that believing that God the Father is himself married to a wife suggested that male/female is the proper form of marriage, and hence same sex marriage is wrong.

Your thoughts?

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    Answers to this will be anecdotal in form and therefore a matter of opinion.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 10:02
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    Welcome to Christianity Stack Exchange. We are different to other sites (such as Quora) and questions that are likely to invite opinion-based answers are likely to be closed. Perhaps you could edit your question to invite answers based on official LDS sources? Please take our tour for further information: christianity.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Lesley
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 12:03
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    Nigel J, yes, many potential answers may be from an individual's experience, either from how they live their own life or their observations of how Mormons live theirs, but I would still find them of value. You could read many books and articles about a religion in theory and still not understand what it means to its followers in their daily lives. Non-anecdotal answers could also be based on Latter Day Saints preaching or publications or surveys if any have been done.
    – Timothy
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 12:51
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    Lesley, answers 'from official LDS sources' would be fine, but I don't want to confine answers to that as apart from the 'official' view I want to know what really happens. By analogy, if you asked individual Christians who have suffered a bereavement how much difference their faith made to them personally at this difficult time, the answers might tell you things that you would not always get from 'official publications' that tell people what they ought to feel.
    – Timothy
    Commented Feb 12, 2022 at 12:59
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    This question needs to be focused on what is documented in LDS teachings (official or not). Focusing on a specific ethical question would be better. If there are multiple topics you are interested in, you can open multiple questions.
    – bradimus
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 17:23

2 Answers 2

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints do not have extensive doctrine on Mother in Heaven

As with many other truths of the gospel, our present knowledge about a Mother in Heaven is limited. Nevertheless, we have been given sufficient knowledge to appreciate the sacredness of this doctrine and to comprehend the divine pattern established for us as children of heavenly parents. Latter-day Saints believe that this pattern is reflected in Paul’s statement that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” Men and women cannot be exalted without each other. Just as we have a Father in Heaven, we have a Mother in Heaven. As Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has said, “Our theology begins with heavenly parents. Our highest aspiration is to be like them.”

This doctrine of family is central to God's plan for us, and can be found in the Family: A Proclamation to the World. So having this knowledge is important as it sets the goal/standard on which we (mankind) strive to attain.


In regards to the comment about polytheism see this answer.

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  • Would you mind explaining the point the Apostle Paul is making regarding 1 Corinthians 11:11? I'm specifically referring to your statement: "Latter-day Saints believe that this pattern is reflected in Paul’s statement that “neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” Men and women cannot be exalted without each other." Also, where in the Bible does it say or even teach that, "we have a Mother in Heaven?" Thank You!
    – Mr. Bond
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:03
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    @Mr.Bond the next sentence explains the LDS stance on that verse Men and women cannot be exalted without each other. If you want further clarification, you should probably ask another question as the answer to that is not necessarily related to question at hand directly. There isn't necessarily a biblical basis of a Mother in Heaven and the OP didn't ask for that. The closest you'll get to a biblical basis is the fact that we have a Father in Heaven.
    – depperm
    Commented Feb 13, 2022 at 15:35
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Not sure how this can be objectively answered, but these kind of doctrines certainly do make a difference, in the way that they affect ourselves and our neighbor:

The fact that LDS believe that mankind are literally children of God means that

  • Oneself is incredibly valuable, not just a creature
  • Everyone else is also incredibly valuable, not just a creature
  • Families are eternal and as such even higher value than they already are to everyone else
  • Other people are quite literally our siblings. Not just other creatures. That at least has potential to affect how one feels about others.
  • The body is in high regard due to our beliefs about resurrection and that Jesus and the Father both have a body. Men is created in the image of God, literally.
  • A personal God is maybe, possibly, easier to relate to than the abstract entity of the Trinity. Anecdotally, I have never felt a need for an intercessory prayer to someone ouside the Godhead like catholics seem to feel. That being said, of course Trinitarians also believe in persons.
  • Yes, we believe male/female marriage is the "proper" form of marriage. That has to do with our beliefs that eternal marriage is important to have offspring in eternity. That is what modern revelation says. Any belief that God is married and has a wife should be considered secondary to that, and not preceding that. Because that is NOT anywhere in our scriptures (which doesn't mean we don't believe that, we do).

Other than that, I'd say the Trinity and the Godhead we believe in (The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as individuals but working in unison) are functionally equivalent. The Trinity, as far as I can tell, just means that somehow, somewhere behind the scene the three persons are really one God. In LDS beliefs, you also can't pray to a different person of the Godhead and expect any different result than if you had prayed to the Father, for example.

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  • You say “the three persons are really one God.” Really? The LDS three persons are three gods who form ‘one divinity’ which totally violates the Christian Trinity doctrine. One is different from the other, even though existing in perfect harmony (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith [TPJSI, Salt Lake City: Desert Book, 1976, p. 372). It states 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-
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 17:02
  • 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. See answer by SLM about LDS teaching on Christ in christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/67591/…
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 25, 2022 at 17:03
  • @Anne "The Trinity, [is] the three persons are really one God." That is not LDS doctrine, that is an explanation of what the Trinity is (and exactly NOT what LDS believe). Sorry if my point isn't clear. I was comparing the Trinity to the three-individual-person Godhead LDS believe in.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 8:37
  • There may be some crossed wires here. I know that LDS teaching on the Godhead is at odds with orthodox Trinity teaching. Misunderstanding of it includes some Christians. There is not one person; there is one God. The Father and the Son share the one, divine nature, with absolute unity of the Spirit in that nature. LDS people cannot agree with that due to having more than one god in their system of belief, and saying Jesus, who became a god, was created by another god. The LDS Godhead may have 3 individual persons, but they are never of one, uncreated, divine nature. Sorry if I was unclear.
    – Anne
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 13:33
  • @Anne The point I was trying to make is, in either case you can't expect different results from praying to one of the different persons, than if you just prayed to the Father.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Feb 28, 2022 at 14:20

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