There is a problem in the Mormon claim that Jesus was once a man like us, who became the God of this world and like Him, we too can become gods of our own worlds. The claims of God (Jesus within that Trinity which Mormons do not accept) to be eternal, unchangeable, all knowing, all powerful and omnipresent are invalid if God was once a man himself. It is very hard to be eternal if you have a regular starting point in History as a man. Jesus alone can claim to be eternal as part of the trinity being 100% God and man. The Mormon concept, on the other hand, claims Jesus was a man like us who achieved the position of a god, so the divine attributes do not apply. The problem is that the Book of Mormon does not back this up, when it ascribes to Jesus divine and eternal attributes and confuses who is the Father and who is the Son.
2 Nephi 26:12, “And as I spoke concerning the convincing of the Jews, that Jesus is the very Christ, it must needs be that the Gentiles be convinced also that Jesus is the Christ, the Eternal God”
Mosiah 3:5, “For behold, the time cometh, and is not far distant, that with power, the Lord Omnipotent who reigneth, who was, and is from all eternity to all eternity, shall come down from heaven among the children of men, and shall dwell in a tabernacle of clay, and shall go forth amongst men, working mighty miracles, such as healing the sick, raising the dead, causing the lame to walk, the blind to receive their sight, and the deaf to hear, and curing all manner of diseases.”
Alma 13:9, “Thus they become high priests forever, after the order of the Son, the Only Begotten of the Father, who is without beginning of days or end of years, who is full of grace, equity, and truth. And thus it is. Amen.”
Doctrine & Covenants (D&C) 20:17, “By these things we know that there is a God in heaven, who is infinite and eternal, from everlasting to everlasting the same unchangeable God, the framer of heaven and earth, and all things which are in them.” – But all these things are ascribed to Jesus in Mosiah 4:2, “for we believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who created heaven and earth, and all things.”
So it’s as if, to be close to the Bible, Smith could not lose his grip on the trinity, but as theologians have a hard time describing it, he was not sure how much credit to give or take away from Jesus. We wouldn’t ascribe divinity to Jesus if he was once a man, living like us, within another parallel type of world, which existed before ours, who out of that world ascended to the position of a god, and so granted permission to be god of this world. If Jesus was once a man (as just described), then the attributes of eternity and such do not properly belong to him. He is more like a superman from another planet, come with powers to rule (however generously) over us.
D&C 130:22, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us,” (conflicts with John 4:24). There is no reason to attribute flesh and bone to God the Father unless Smith is trying to state that the Father was once a man too. If that is the reason then he cannot possibly have the incommunicable attributes associated with the definition of God.
The Trinity was something confusing for Smith that got more confused as he wrote. (Emphasis mine)
2 Nephi 11:7, “For if there be no Christ there be no God; and if there be no God we are not, for there could have been no creation. But there is a God, and he is Christ, and he cometh in the fullness of his own time.” – There seems to be a unity of God and Jesus, yet in a very singular way.
2 Nephi 31:21, “And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.” – Now we seem to have the Trinity the way Christians would describe it, except with a repeat of Christ and the Son, almost as if there are four. Here the Mormon has a hard time denying the Trinity being the language is so precise.
Mosiah 15:2-5, “And because he dwelleth in flesh he shall be called the Son of God, and having subjected the flesh to the will of the Father, being the Father and the Son. The Father, because he was conceived by the power of God; and the Son, because of the flesh; thus becoming the Father and Son. And they are one God, yea, the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth.
And thus the flesh becoming subject to the Spirit, or the Son to the Father, being one God, suffereth temptation, and yieldeth not to the temptation, but suffereth himself to be mocked, and scourged, and cast out, and disowned by his people.” – We seem to have Son and Father, but then they both seem to come from a division God. But there is again the positive statement that “they are one God.”
Mosiah 16:15, “Teach them that redemption cometh through Christ the Lord, who is the very Eternal Father. Amen.” – In the Bible Jesus does not speak of himself as being the Father. He is one with the Father and so on, but there is a distinction to where the Son is not the Father, nor the Spirit either, and yet they are one God.
Alma 11:38-39, 44. Now Zeezrom saith again unto him: Is the Son of God the very Eternal Father? And Amulek said unto him: Yea, he is the very Eternal Father of heaven and of earth, and all things which in them are; he is the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” … “Now, this restoration shall come to all, both old and young, both bond and free, both male and female, both the wicked and the righteous; and even there shall not so much as a hair of their heads be lost; but everything shall be restored to its perfect frame, as it is now, or in the body, and shall be brought and be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil.” – Again there seems to be a confusion of roles. The Son is not the Father. Yes the trinity is difficult to explain but theologian just admit the difficulty, they do not start confusing the Father with the Son.
Alma 18:26-29, “And then Ammon said: Believest thou that there is a Great Spirit? And he said, Yea. And Ammon said: This is God. And Ammon said unto him again: Believest thou that this Great Spirit, who is God, created all things which are in heaven and in the earth? And he said: Yea, I believe that he created all things which are in the earth; but I do not know the heavens.” – The Holy Spirit equated with being God, and yet is still not quite the triune nature the Bible speaks of.
3 Nephi 11:27, 36, “And after this manner shall ye baptize in my name; for behold, verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one.” … “And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.” – Jesus teaching about baptism, in a kind of a mix of New Testament passages. Still I do not see how they deny the Trinity when the nature of their passages seems to teach it. Although they confuse the roles of the persons of the Godhead, the teaching is still very much there.