In the Book of Mormon Zeezrom asks Amulek, “Is there more than one God?” and Amulek answered “no” (Alma 11:28-29). Other Book of Mormon scriptures speak in similar terms. Nephi speaks of “the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God” (2 Nephi 31:21). Likewise, Mormon speaks of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost “which are one God” (Mormon 7:7). Do these scriptures contradict LDS teachings concerning the plurality of gods?

Joseph Smith First Vision MormonThe Book of Mormon teaches that there is a Father, a Son and a Holy Ghost (2 Nephi 31:21; Alma 11:28-29; 3 Nephi 11:27,32,35-36; Mormon 7:7). These three, according to the Book of Mormon constitute a godhead or government of heaven from which proceeds “the only true doctrine” (2 Nephi 31:21), to which they each unitedly agree and testify (3 Nephi 11:32-36). Though the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are described as “one God” there is nothing in the Book of Mormon to suggest that these three are of “one substance.” They are portrayed as separate and distinct individuals. When Nephi saw “the Spirit of the Lord” in vision he stated, “I spake unto him as a man speaketh; for I beheld that he was in the form of a man; yet nevertheless, I knew that it was the Spirit of the Lord; and he spake unto me as a man speaketh with another” (1 Nephi 11:11). From this passage it is clear that the Spirit is a separate personage from the Son because he tells Nephi that after having seen the Spirit that he has yet to see and testify of the Son of God (1 Nephi 10:7, 20-33).

The Father and the Son are also described as distinct. Nephi seems to recognize a distinction between the Father and the Son. Christ “witnesseth” obedience unto the Father (2 Nephi 31:7), and keeps the commandments of the Father (2 Nephi 31:7-11). In Jacob’s day, the righteous Nephites worshipped the Father in Christ’s name and saw the story of Father Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of his Son Isaac as “a similitude of God and his Only Begotten Son” (Jacob 4:5-6), which strongly suggests that they are separate individuals. Other passages describe Jesus as in complete harmony with but still subordinate to his Father (3 Nephi 11:32-36). Jesus prays to the Father (3 Nephi 17:13-18; 19:19-34), is sent by the Father (3 Nephi 27:13), the Father introduces the Son (3 Nephi 11:3-7), the Father commands the Son (3 Nephi 15:16; 16:10), the Son like an advocate for the defense hold the righteous guiltless before his Father at the day of judgement (3 Nephi 27:16). Since the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are all described in the Book of Mormon as separate and distinct individuals, they constitute “one God” or divine government which is unified in purpose, will, doctrine and testimony.

At the time of Amulek’s discussion with Zeezrom, idolatry was a serious problem among unbelievers (Alma 1:32; 31:1), as was Nehorism. Many of the people of Ammonihah were of the order of Nehor (Alma 14:16; 15:15). They believed that all men would be saved no matter what they did (Alma 11:4; 21:6), did not believe in Christ (Alma 21:9), and consequently did not believe in the repentance of sins (Alma 15:15; 21:6). The Book of Mormon also explains that Zeezrom was attempting to get Alma and Amulek to contradict themselves so that he could “make him cross his words, or contradict the words which he should speak” (Alma 10:16) and thus discredit their testimony of the gospel and destroy them (Alma 10:13-16; 11:21). So Zeezrom’s question (“Is there more than one God?) was very loaded. Since Alma and Amulek had testified that salvation only came about through Christ’s atonement (Alma 9:26-29; 11:40; 12:32-37), what Zeezrom was really asking was if there is salvation through any other God. If Amulek had said “yes,” Zeezrom could have easily dismissed their testimony of Christ since the Amonihahites probably worshipped other gods or idols. So Amulek said “no,” but then he went on to explain how in the resurrection and the judgement all men will “be arraigned before the bar of Christ the Son, and God the Father, and the Holy Spirit, which [Father, Son and Holy Ghost—the Godhead] is one Eternal God, to be judged according to their works, whether they be good or evil” (Alma 11:44). When Amulek speaks of there being only “one God,” he was speaking of the only legitimate government of heaven though which the true doctrine and means of salvation can be obtained.