by Jon Tandy
One of the LDS teachings which is unacceptable to RLDS and many other Christian denominations is the subject of multiple gods. LDS are taught that inheritors of Celestial glory will be gods, creators and sustainers of their own worlds in eternity. God the Father and Jesus Christ are believed to be only some of many gods in existence, who like others are in a continual "eternal progression" of knowledge, power, etc.
This teaching is attributed to Joseph Smith, Jr., at least in its basics, and has been developed by later LDS leaders. Some of the sources attributed to Joseph Smith on this subject are: Book of Abraham (contained in LDS Pearl of Great Price), the "King Follett sermon", and other alleged writings of Joseph Smith. RLDS dispute each of these sources, that they do not truly represent the beliefs and teachings of Joseph. The discussion on these sources is dealt with elsewhere and is not the subject of this article.
Section 121 of the LDS Doctrine and Covenants contains a letter and prophecies by Joseph Smith, Jr., from Liberty (Missouri) Jail in the winter of 1838-1839. In this section, there are two references to plural gods that are attributed to Joseph Smith. It can be documented from history that these prophecies were altered by the LDS church subsequent to the original printing, perhaps to lend credibility to doctrine of plurality of gods. While this section does not appear in the RLDS Doctrine and Covenants, it does appear in the church's periodical Times and Seasons from 1840 while Joseph was still alive to oversee the printing of his writings.
Following is a comparison of Joseph's letter as originally printed, compared with the modified version in the LDC.
|From Times and Seasons, volume 1 page 103||As printed in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121:28-29|
|...until a time when nothing shall be withheld, when all the glories of earth and heaven, time and eternity shall be manifest to all those, who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.||...a time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld, whether there be one God or many gods, they shall be manifest. All thrones and dominions, principalities and powers, shall be revealed and set forth upon all who have endured valiantly for the gospel of Jesus Christ.|
|From Times and Seasons, volume 1 page 103||As printed in the LDS Doctrine and Covenants, Section 121:32|
|...according to that which was ordained in the midst of the council of heaven in the presence of the eternal God, before this world was.||...according to that which was ordained in the midst of the Council of the Eternal God of all other gods before this world was...|