Vision vs. Explanation: LDS Godhead and the dogma of the Trinity

Andrew brought up a point that I often scratch my head about: Why does it matter whether you describe God as the Godhead or the Trinity?

I am not quite sure how my understanding of the Trinity influenced my new understanding of Christ. But given that a greater understanding of the Trinity may have played an important part, I don’t think the LDS should not reject the creeds simply because creedal Christians reject LDS doctrines.  I think it is reasonable to accept the LDS view of Godhead as a summation of literal interpretations of the visions of God found in the scriptures, but it is not reasonable to fail to affirm the Trinity as a extremely important explanation that fits in with a larger body of philosophy.

The LDS claim that all we know about God comes from direct experience with God (spiritual experience) and thus we can only really grasp God through spiritual practice, which includes asserting as doctrine the literal meaning of scripture.  Joseph Smith’s theology was not in the words themselves, but in the knowledge brought through the Spirit when pondering the words and applying them to life. Joseph Smith  describes this position at the tail end of his most important revelation about the three-tiered nature of heaven (D&C 76):

But great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; Neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him; To whom he grants this privilege of seeing and knowing for themselves; . . .


Doctrines are words attached to mystery. Any LDS who thinks that the scriptures explain God should keep this in mind. God is inexplicable, all knowledge of God is going to be essentially beyond explanation to others.  Whatever explanations we do formulate are simply to orient our understanding of God within the other knowledge, perceptions, and beliefs.

The Godhead is a summation of the visions of God.  The Trinity does not do this, it is just a philosophical attempt at defining the mystery of why there is only one God that is three persons.

Joseph Smith taught that spiritual visions were more important and carried more authority than philosophical explanations. This may be true, but even so, it would not eliminate the utility of philosophical explanations and catechism for pointing to spiritual truth.  It is perfectly reasonable to accept a Trinitarian explanation of God in precisely the same way it is reasonable to accept rights-based interpretation of human government.  Likewise, it is fine to conceive of God as a divine Man – as Stephen did in the vision recorded in Acts – because that is how God shows up for some people.  What is not reasonable is to take a vision for a reasonable/philosophical/historical explanation, just as it is not reasonable to explain matter by simply re-telling what it looks like.

As I mentioned before, all theology and creeds are existentially the same as the whistling of beavers.  The difference between theologies is most simply, the attitude they produce in those who speak and hear them as truth.  In some ways, denying the value of the Trinity is similar to denying the value of Newtonian physics. Even if you have proven the validity of the theory of General Relativity, it does not make sense to reject Newton’s theory as vitally useful. Thus, it may be reasonable to posit dogma such as transubstantiation, the Trinity, the hypostatic union, etc. to consistently orient our understanding of scripture with the body of intellectual work that girds our philsophically-minded view of the world — even when these explanations conflict with the literal wording of certain visions.

Serious Mormon Questions for Evangelicals

A frequent commentor named Ray has asked a series of questions. I appreciate these questions because they get at some of the most deeply seeded controversies between Mormons and Evangelicals. A full post (or book) could be written on each question so don’t expect my answers to be completely comprehensive, just an introduction to each issue. The comments section might be a great place to direct Ray and other Mormons to further resources on each topic.

You’ll notice that I will not make a lot of Bible references in my answers. This is not because my answers are not informed by the Bible but because I can answer these questions much quicker and make the length much shorter if I leave them out. To be sure, I can direct anyone interested to the Biblical texts that support my answers.

I have proposed that continuing in sin can cause some one to lose their salvation. Do you agree or do you think once saved always saved? What does “endure to the end” mean to you?

Continue reading

Hearts of the Scattered

A controversy has emerged in the Evangelical community of Utah.  Shawn McCraney announced on his television show his rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity.

I watched the program and found that Shawn seems to be reacting against Mormonism and Mormon apologetics perhaps more than the orthodox teachings of Christianity.  His arguments are first and foremost a rejection of tri-theism (a belief in three gods) and second a anti-parrallel driven narrative.  Whereas some Mormon apologist are quick to pick up on any parallel from the ancient world as evidence that LDS particulars are justified, Shawn has adopted the inverse argument that any parrallel to anything outside of Christianity proves it must be heretical (This argument is often employed against Christian spiritual disciplines as proof that they are New Age).  What’s even more troubling is that one of his primary sources is a dubiously conspiratorial, Anti-Catholic book called “The Two Babylons”.

I wasn’t so much concerned with his emphasis against the existence of three gods as much as I was by his unwillingness to engage the arguments that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three distinct persons. Towards the end of the program a caller challenged him with an argument that’s a low entry point into Trinitarianism and he was unwilling to engage the argument.

Shawn has a confrontational style and without a force to oppose I think he loses what makes him interesting to watch. This is not the first, nor I think the last time he will set himself up against the Evangelical community in Utah. I’m sure many Mormons are pleased to see this fracture, proclaiming a pox on both of their houses.  It will be interesting to see how Shawn and Utah Evangelicals interact in the near future. Some responses have already begun to appear.  My guess is that without correction, Shawn will be disavowed by Evangelicals and his teachings declared just as heretical as Mormonism’s.

Christ Came Down

The simple birth of a baby in an overcrowded village came to mean a great many things:

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us:

One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; like us in all things, sin apart; before the ages begotten of the Father as to the Godhead, but in the last days, the Self-same, for us and for our salvation (born) of Mary the Virgin Theotokos as to the Manhood; One and the Same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten; acknowledged in Two Natures unconfusedly, unchangeably, indivisibly, inseparably; the difference of the Natures being in no way removed because of the Union, but rather the properties of each Nature being preserved, and (both) concurring into One Person and One Hypostasis; not as though He were parted or divided into Two Persons, but One and the Self-same Son and Only-begotten God, Word, Lord, Jesus Christ; even as from the beginning the prophets have taught concerning Him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself hath taught us, and as the Symbol of the Fathers hath handed down to us

The NY Times and Religious Controversy

The New York Times recently ran an Opinion piece titled “I’m a Mormon, Not a Christian”. The piece has a few praise-worthy sentiments and is a fun piece of writing but seemed to me mostly just an exercise is poking everyone in the nose.

This response at Patheos summed up most of my feeilngs about the NY Times article. If Romney weren’t running for President and if the author didn’t have an axe to grind against Christianity it’s doubtful the NY Times would have run this piece. If you’re going to slam Christians for believing in the Trinity, at least describe the orthodox understanding of it rather than The Book of Mormon understanding.

Bruce Was On to Something

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.

The Trinity is the Gospel

Christian J recently posted this comment

Does the Jesus I believe in have power to save the human family? Is that salvation extended with mercy and grace? I don’t believe that these questions are dependent on esoteric understandings of the eternities.

I wanted to answer this but I recently read a review by an ex-Mormon of “The Deep Things of God” by an that I think answers it. You should also see my review of the book.

In short, the book doesn’t make sense out of the Trinity as much as it shows that the Trinity makes sense out of everything else in Christianity. If you struggle to understand why Evangelicals are so hung up on the Trinity and are confused about why Mormons are excluded based on this esoteric doctrine, this book is a great place to start.

The Nature of God Illustrated

The Nature of God Illustrated The chief differences between Mormonism and Christianity are often difficult to decipher. I recently attended a seminar presented by Carl Mosser in which he tried to spotlight the different faiths in terms of contrasting worldviews. It’s one thing to say that they are similar because they both feature Jesus as the Savior of humanity. It’s another to broaden the picture to the origins of the universe itself. Is Jesus the only self-existing Creator ever or is he one of many self-existing beings? Perhaps he’s part of a vast universal system that forms matter together into beings that in turn form more matter together.

In a good faith attempt to illustrate the various religious views on the nature of God (and the capital “U” Universe”) I created this diagram. A comment by Christian J inspired the reptilian illustration. Virtually no one sees God as some sort of reptile, it’s merely a humorous attempt at illustrating the ideas that each worldview presents.

I will gladly admit that the Mormon section was the most difficult to capture. Depending on the Mormon you talk to, and the day you talk to him, I’m sure there are many different ideas floating around. Blake Ostler for instance will give a picture more inline with Social Trinitarianism. So go easy on me if you think I got it wrong. If you disagree, I’m interested to know how you would have drawn it.

Click the image to see the full-size version, you may have to click the image again when it pops up to see it in full magnification (browser dependent).

*Made a few clarifying edits on 11/8/11.

Review: The Deep Things of God

There are 3 things that Evangelicals want to know about the Trinity:

1. Is it Biblical?

2. Does it make sense?

3. Does it matter?

Fred Sanders, in his book ” The Deep Things of God: How the Trinity Changes Everything decides to charge at these three questions in a different way. The book in no way offers an overview of the historic development of the doctrine. It does not delve into the philosophical mathematics of the Trinity. It doesn’t even offer “triadic prooftexts” to support the doctrine.  Instead Sanders spends his entire time on the third question “Does it Matter?” I came away from just the first couple of chapters with the impression that the Trinity isn’t just one of many Christian doctrines, it is probably our most important and most defining doctrine. Everything we say and do as Christians is a testimony to the existence of the Trinity.

Many Evangelicals are Christ-centered, Father-forgetful and Spirit-ignoring.  There is a general malaise toward the doctrine of the Trinity that causes Evangelicals to think “it’s kind of weird, it’s not something I want to think about, and I’ll go no further than to sheepishly agree because I don’t quite get it.” The book challenges those notions by fine-tuning our understanding of all our other doctrines so that we can see how the Trinity is at the center of action of all of them.

Many would prefer to prioritize “What does faith do for me?” over “Who is God?” It makes sense that people would do this because it’s practical and has an affect on their day-to-day lives.  But Sanders responds “a better way of underlining what God has done on our behalf is to keep it securely anchored in his own inherent goodness.”

This diagram illustrates his point that the doctrine of the Trinity can be useful in understanding how and why God has acted in a particular way toward us.

A person may be satisfied and not ask any further questions after being given salvation, but typically when someone steps into faith they begin to seek understanding.  The ripple effects of salvation leads the believer to question “How did Jesus bring about this salvation?” then on to “Who must Jesus be to save in this way?” and then on to “Who must God be, if that is true of Jesus?”

“If you notice. . . how much bigger the outer circle is, you can begin to see how Trinitarian theology can help us maintain a proper sense of proportion. The Trinity is bigger than you and your salvation and has other things going on in the parts of the circle that don’t overlap with your circle. Those other parts of the Trinity are the rest of the fullness of God’s own life, the happy land of the Trinity. It is not possible to draw it to scale, because it is infinite, boundless and finally inconceivable. There are parts of that happy land that you don’t go to, and you never will. I cannot describe to you what happens there and neither can anybody else, for God has remained silent about those regions.” (page 74)

My take away from the book is that by finely tuning our religious practice into the frequency of the Trinity we get a much greater sense of who God is, what he is doing and why we are allowed to participate. Instead of making the Trinity an item on a list that we affirm “our tacit Trinitarianism must be coaxed out, articulated and confessed. . . . it does us little good if we continue to be radically Trinitarian without knowing it. We are at risk of staying in the shallows when God calls us to the deep things.”

I think Sander’s real gem is found in the introduction. He cites two great problems facing Evangelicalism, shallowness and Trinity-forgetfulness. Not coincidentally they are related.  Evangelicals would like to emphasize four things: the Bible, the cross, conversion and heaven.  Those are probably the right things for us to emphasize.  But being emphatic is different than being reductionist.  If we emphasize those four things by isolating them out of the main body of Christian truth, we very quickly create an anemic faith. Shouting “the cross! the cross! the cross! the cross!” over and over again very quickly makes the cross meaningless.  “The gospel reduced to four points ceases to make sense unless its broader context can be intuited.”

“Knowing what to emphasize in order to simplify the Christian message is a great skill. It is not the same thing as rejecting nuances or impatiently waving away all details in order to cut to the main point. There is a kind of anti-intellectualism that is only interested in the bottom line, and considers everything else disposable. Certainly that kind of ant-intellectualism can be found in evangelical history, but it is a deviation from the true ideal. Emphatics are not know-nothings. The emphatic approach to Christian witness has a different impulse. It knows that the only way to emphasize anything is precisely to keep everything in place, not to strip it away.” (page 17)

I’m frustrated by Evangelicals who wish to declare Mormonism to be Christian by reducing Christianity to its most simplistic confessions. This explanation of emphatic Evangelicalism vs. Reductionist Evangelicalism perfectly nails down my thoughts on why I’m bothered by it.

“A blade is not all cutting edge. In fact, the cutting edge is the smallest part of the knife. The rest of the knife is the heavy heft of the broad flat sides and the handle. Considered all by itself, the cutting edge is vanishingly small — a geometric concept instead of a usable object.” Christianity reduced to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved” is meaningless outside of the much larger context of who Jesus is, how Jesus saves and why we need salvation.  The Reductionist successfully brings Mormonism into the camp of orthodoxy by effectively declaring “there is no camp.”

Deep Thinking About God

I thought I’d highlight two different blog posts.

The first is a reflection of God’s past in the LDS view and whether or not it’s possible God was once a sinner.  I appreciate that there is someone giving the issue some reflection.  Check it out over at Lehi’s Library.

The second is a post about a new book on the Trinity, why it matters and how it changes everything.  You can read Dr. Sanders synopsis of his book and his three steps to the doctrine. It can be found at Scriptorium Daily. If you’re wondering how and why the Trinity is so important to Evangelicals and how it impacts our faith, I can’t think of a better source than Dr. Sanders.

Explain the Trinity To Me

My church recently presented a sermon on the Trinity. It’s a thorough explanation of why we embrace a seemingly contradictory doctrine about the nature of God. If you’re interested in why we would believe such difficult doctrine this will be a great resource for you. I encourage you to listen.

Direct link

Mormons believe in a Mother in Heaven

Since Tim is gone, I thought I would back him up by writing a Tim-Style Post.  i.e. throw out a controversial LDS doctrine in sort of a challenging way and then open it up for comments.

Few Mormon doctrines are more radically paradigm-shifting than the believe in the existence of a Heavenly Mother.

What equally interesting to me is what this particular doctrine tells about how Mormonism works.

I think Evangelicals often stand with open-mouth when they read that those crazy Mormon’s believe such things because they are nowhere to be found in the Bible.  Aside from being a radical shift in understanding of God and Man between Protestants and Mormons, the doctrine also shows a fundamental difference in the way Mormons form their personal theology vs. the way Evangelicals seem to go about it.  This is what I want to explore with this post.  To try to explain to bible-focused (limited?) Evangelicals why Mormons believe in a Mother in Heaven, even when its not in the bible.  For this I am going to have to call on the usual bunch of commentators.

Few people, if any, know the ultimate origin of the idea that we have a Mother in Heaven.  Joseph Smith does not seem to have spoken directly about it in his life and there is no reference in the LDS Canon.

The first time we see it in writing comes from a woman, Eliza R. Snow, in a hymn, “O My Father”  President Kimball acknowledged that “O My Father” was a “doctrinal hymn” and dozens of prophets and apostles have reiterated this idea.

President Lorenzo Snow explained that Eliza Snow got the doctrine from Joseph shortly before he was murdered.

President Spencer W. Kimball in a general conference address:

“When we sing that doctrinal hymn … ‘O My Father,’ we get a sense of the ultimate in maternal modesty, of the restrained, queenly elegance of our Heavenly Mother, and knowing how profoundly our mortal mothers have shaped us here, do we suppose her influence on us as individuals to be less?” (Ensign, May 1978, p. 6.)

The doctrine of the hymn is pretty straightforward, there is a mother in heaven and we will return to live with Her and the Father, and that they together sent people on their mission to earth:

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal

Tells me I’ve a mother there.
Let me come and dwell with you.
With your mutual approbation
All you sent me forth to do,
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?

So there we have it, a revolutionary new way of looking at God and heaven that turns traditional notions on their ear.

Mormons believe it, but I can see the Evangelicals left scratching their heads:

  1. The doctrine is not found in scripture, including Mormon Scripture
  2. The doctrine was not explicitly taught or explained by Joseph Smith (even though it is pretty clear that he was claimed that he originally  taught the doctrine)
  3. It really shifts away from all traditional interpretations of the Bible.

I can see how an Evangelical is probably left dumbfounded:  “You can’t win with those Mormons, how can I teach them correct theology whenthey are going to beleive stuff like this with such slim support or understanding?”

Here we have, in my mind, the genius as well as the vulnerability of  Mormonism. . . our willingness to believe in things that are not in the Bible.  To some Mormons, this doctrine is very uncomfortable.  We sometimes downplay it and even reproach those that make “too much” of it due to the little we “know” about it.  To others, agreeing with Eliza R. Snow, it makes religion make more sense: i.e. “If man is made in the image of God, why wouldn’t there be family in heaven as well as on earth. ”

I think if we can give a good explanation to our Evangelical friends  of why we believe this doctrine, they will be a lot closer to really understanding Mormonism.  (and we might have a clearer way of understanding our own view of how “doctrine” is born).

So Mormons, explain to Evangelicals :

1. Do you believe in a Mother in Heaven? and

2. Why?

3. What is the significance of the doctrine to you, to the Church, and to the world?

Evangelicals, we know you don’t believe it, and we know its not in the Bible, if you try to understand why we believe you may learn a lot about Mormonism in general that will enlighten you on how we do religion in other areas.

Three Good Questions About The Trinity

Direct Link

In this lecture about the doctrine of the Trinity, Fred Sanders answers three questions about the Trinity.

  1. Is it Biblical?
  2. Does it make sense?
  3. Does it matter?

I think he does a great job of summarizing all of the main arguments for the Trinity. Bible in hand, he thoroughly answered if the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each God. For discussions with Mormons, I think the lecture could have focused more on whether or not the Bible says there is only one God. But as a means of increasing understanding about the doctrine I think this is great listening. Sanders, despite having earned a PhD on the Trinity, does a good job of keeping the talk conversational and understandable.

I really should be encouraging my Evangelical friends to listen to this more than my Mormon friends.

One Stop Trinitarian Shopping

My sister-in-law goes to a church in Seattle called Mars Hill.  Their pastor, Mark Driscoll, is becoming a nationally recognized Evangelical speaker.  This is a sermon he gave on the doctrine of the Trinity.  He is typically not comfortable preaching unless he can talk for a full hour.  This gives him the ability to hit just about every issue related to the Trinity in this sermon.  If you have any questions about the doctrine it is most likely answered in this sermon. It’s really a comprehensive over view of the arguments for and against the doctrine.

While not the focus of his sermon he does spend some time on Mormonism and its rejection of the Trinity (He calls it polytheistic or tr-theistic). I don’t think he in any way slanders Mormonism, but he doesn’t pull any punches either concerning anyone who claims to be a non-Trinitarian Christian.

One aspect of Trinitarian doctrine that I think I have overlooked is why do we consider the Holy Spirit to be God.  I was grateful for his attention to detail.

Direct Link

Video Link with a video Q&A

Through Him All Things Were Made

I wanted to lend some insight into the orthodox notion of the Trinity and the doctrine of creation ex nihilo. Check out this verse.

John 1:3 (New International Version)

Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

Pretend that your mouse cursor is Jesus. Now place him in the appropriate box according to John 1:3

Saying that Jesus is in the the group “all things made” creates a paradox because that would require him to have created himself.  So, Jesus fits better into the “uncreated” category. This makes Jesus the uncreated Creator of all things, a self existent being.

This is an attribute of Jesus that John chooses to lead off with in giving us an understanding of who Jesus is.

What’s The Big Deal About The Trinity?

I’ve had a couple of comments asking if I think some one is not saved just because they don’t buy into the doctrine of the Trinity. It’s an important distinction between Classical Christianity and Mormonism. So it’s worth talking about it as often as needed.

First off, I’m not the judge and I’m not pretending to be. Second, I do not think personal confusion over the doctrine of the Trinity is going to keep anyone out of heaven. No way. Not in the least. The only thing that has the power to save us is the grace of Christ. Nobody has to pass a theology exam to get in. All they have to do is repent from sin and believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

I’m pretty sure that if I walked into any Evangelical church a large number of people would give a theologically inaccurate description of the Trinity. I would hear everything from modalism to tri-theism. I’m also sure that the more I separated those people by theological education, the better their description would become. And with greater theological training comes greater responsibility to understand and avoid heresy.

Whereas I don’t think confusion or misconception about the Trinity will separate anyone from God. I DO think that an outright rejection of the Trinity is a serious problem. Why? Because we have to repent from our sins. One of our chief sins against God is idolatry. Idolatry does not only involve holding on to false gods, it also is about holding on to false ideas about God. If someone understands the doctrine of the Trinity and understands why Christianity describes God as a Trinity but utterly rejects it, then I have some questions.

Do they reject the Trinity because:
1) they do not believe the Father is God and is worthy of our worship as God?
2) they do not believe Jesus is God and is worthy of our worship as God?
3) they do not believe the Holy Spirit is God and is worthy of our worship as God?
4) they do not believe that only one God can necessarily and logically exist?

A rejection of any of these 4 ideas based on an educated reading of the Old and New Testaments (heck I’ll even throw in the Book of Mormon) I believe will pose a problem for anyone facing Christ on Judgment Day. In some way rejecting each of these ideas is rejecting God. It’s hard for me to reconcile someone rejecting God and receiving a place with him.

My question for Mormons is why do you reject the Trinity? My understanding of Mormon doctrine is that the rejection of the Trinity is founded first and foremost based on the First Vision. Between The Book of Mormon and the First Vision account, which has undergone the most revisions outside of spelling and grammatical changes? Which can be trusted as the most authoritative? Which did Joseph Smith say was the most accurate of any book? Which did you receive a spiritual testimony about?

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 true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end.

3 Nephi 11:22-27, 36

And again the Lord called others, and said unto them likewise; and he gave unto them power to baptize. And he said unto them: On this wise shall ye baptize; and there shall be no disputations among you. Verily I say unto you, that whoso repenteth of his sins through your words and desireth to be baptized in my name, on this wise shall ye baptize them–Behold, ye shall go down and stand in the water, and in my name shall ye baptize them. And now behold, these are the words which ye shall say, calling them by name, saying: Having authority given me of Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. And then shall ye immerse them in the water, and come forth again out of the water. 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.