Question: Does the Book of Mormon teach that God is a spirit?

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Question: Does the Book of Mormon teach that God is a spirit?

The Book of Mormon is not discussing Nicene trinitarianism, and does not contradict the doctrine that God or Jesus possess a physical body

Critics who object to the LDS position that God has a physical body claim that the Latter-day Saints are being inconsistent, since the Book of Mormon teaches that God is a spirit. However, the Book of Mormon is not discussing Nicene trinitarianism, and does not contradict the doctrine that God or Jesus possess a physical body.

Critics typically drawn on such Book of Mormon scriptures as Alma 18:26-28 or Alma 22:8-11, and then contrast them with DC 130:22.

The critics ignore several key points:

  • The Book of Mormon scriptures describe missionary efforts to teach the pagan Lamanites about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Missionaries begin their efforts by explaining that what the Lamanites called "The Great Spirit" was God. This is not an attempt to give a theological description of God's nature, but a starting point to build on common beliefs.
  • To the Lamanites, being "The Great Spirit" did not preclude being corporeal—Alma was mistaken for the great spirit, and yet he clearly had a body, could perform physical actions, etc. So, the concept of "spirit" used by the Lamanites is not (as the critics assume) the same as the non-physical and metaphysical "spirit" of Nicene trinitarianism.
  • The God to which the Book of Mormon scriptures refer is Jesus Christ, or Jehovah. In LDS doctrine, Jesus Christ was a premortal spirit that did not yet have a physical body when the scriptures in Alma were given. Thus, the description of Christ as a Spirit was accurate before His birth even in LDS terms.

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