Spirit or Body
Elder, I was reading in our missionary manual -- Preach My Gospel, where it states that we are to teach our investigators about the nature of God.
The manual refers us to the Book of Mormon account of two young men who were serving their missions to the Lamanites.
You’re talking about Ammon and Aaron who taught and converted Lamoni and his father.
Yes! But the manual asks us,
“What did these missionaries teach about the nature of God?”
Then it asks,
“How can you follow their examples?”
So, what’s the concern?
Well, I think we should read that story in the book of Alma and discuss it, because I’m confused.
Okay, let’s check it out. The suggested reading on page 32 from the Preach My Gospel is Alma 18:24-40 and 22:4-23.
Let me read the verses that really caught my attention.
“And Ammon began to speak unto him with boldness, and said unto him: Believest thou that there is a God?
And he answered, and said unto him: I do not know what that meaneth.
And then Ammon said Believeth thou that there is a Great Spirit?
And he said, Yea.
And Ammon said: This is God.”
Then let’s jump over to Alma 22 to continue this conversation.
“And the king said: Is God that Great Spirit that brought our fathers out of the land of Jerusalem?
And Aaron said unto him: Yea, he is that Great Spirit, and he created all things both in heaven and in earth. Believest thou this?
And he said: Yea, I believe that the Great Spirit created all things, and I desire that ye should tell me concerning all these things, and I will believe thy words.”
Interesting! I get what you’re concerned about. The manual asks us: “What did those missionaries teach about the nature of God?” It’s obvious that Ammon and Aaron taught that God was a personage of Spirit!
That’s right! A Spirit with no body mentioned - whatsoever. Doesn’t it seem odd they didn’t correct king Lamoni’s understanding that God is a Spirit? I mean we believe he has a body!
I don’t know, Elder… I would be hesitant to ever share these chapters in Alma with our investigators. They might get the wrong impression about what we believe as far as God having a physical body of flesh and bones. I noticed, after checking, that nowhere in the entire Book of Mormon does it teach God is more than Spirit.
Yeah, I see your point. And, look what verse 34 in Alma 18 says:
“Ammon said unto him: I am a man; and a man in the beginning was created after the image of God.”
Since God has been defined here in the Book of Mormon as a Great Spirit, with out the mention of a body, this verse confirms that man was created after the “spirit” image of God – not a physical image.
This teaching that God is a spirit falls right in line with the Christianity belief in God.
And contradicts what the Prophet Joseph Smith taught about God.
We should pray about this!