I just recently finished reading “Mormon Doctrine” by Apostle Bruce R. McConkie. I noticed something in his entry on Monotheism that indicated that he was on the path to unintentionally discovering and agreeing with the doctrine of the Trinity.
Monotheism is the doctrine or belief that there is but one God. If this is properly interpreted to mean that the Father, Son and Holy Ghost–each of whom is a separate and distinct godly personage–are one God, meaning one Godhead, then the true saints are monotheists. Professing Christians consider themselves monotheists as distinguished from polytheists, those pagan peoples who believe in a host of gods, whose powers are exercised only in their own fields.
I agree. I’m sure with my agreement McConkie would choose to define some of those words in a particular way so as to decline his creedal confirmation. But he illustrates for us how the doctrine of the Trinity began to form. First with an affirmation of monotheism, then with an attempt to understand how three persons could be one God.
I think Mormonism better fits the definition of henotheism. Had McConkie chosen to identify Mormonism with henotheism he would not have been caught in this unintended ascent to Trinitarianism. What’s interesting is that McConkie also had an entry on henotheism and condemned the idea that ancient Jews were henotheist (an argument routinely made by FAIR).
I’m not saying that McConkie was a Trinitarian, he makes it quite clear in other places that he is not, but I think it shows that if his thinking had been pushed a little bit further he would either have had to drop monotheism or embrace at least a limited form of Trinitarianism.