Having grown up in the LDS faith, there are a lot of things I just accepted without much thought. They were repeated frequently enough as statements of fact that I never asked to see the facts. Once I started looking for the facts, what I thought was a rock solid foundation turned out to be quite sandy. The identity of Jehovah is one of those topics.
In the third Lecture on Faith, we are told that “a correct idea of [God’s] character, perfections, and attributes” is necessary to exercise faith in God. It also states, “we are indebted to the revelations which he has given us for a correct understanding of his character, perfections, and attributes; because without the revelations which he has given to use, no man by searching could find out God.”
Mormons are taught that “when one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to; that is, Elohim. All mankind are His children. The personage known as Jehovah in Old Testament times, and who is usually identified in the Old Testament as LORD (in small capitals), is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God.” (Bible Dictionary, “God”). The temple ceremony teaches this, but do the scriptures? Is it possible we are mistaken on something as fundamental as the real identity of God?
Elohim is an English transliteration of the Hebrew word אלהים, but that word is translated into several different words in the English Bible—Elohim does not actually appear in the English translation of the Bible. To keep it simple, whenever the scriptures use אלהים, I will use ELOHIM.
Jehovah is an English transliteration of the Hebrew word יהוה. The KJV Bible has translated יהוה as either the LORD or GOD, in all capitals, to differentiate from other words that mean lord or god. When you see all capitals, you know it is a representation of the name יהוה. Some translations use the name Jehovah. In this post, I will use YHVH whenever the scriptures use יהוה.
Original KJV: Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Modified KJV: Hear, O Israel: YHVH our ELOHIM is one YHVH:
If you use the Mormon names-of-God theory, this doesn’t make sense. Jehovah our Elohim is one Jehovah? I thought these were two different people? Surely this is just one mistranslated or corrupted verse in the Bible. Let’s see.
2 Ye shall utterly destroy all the places, wherein the nations which ye shall possess served their ELOHIM (gods), upon the high mountains, and upon the hills, and under every green tree:
3 And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their ELOHIM (gods), and destroy the names of them out of that place.
4 Ye shall not do so unto YHVH your God.
The Israelites were supposed to destroy the nations that worship ELOHIM? And to destroy the graven images and names of ELOHIM? But to not do that to YHVH? If Jesus is Jehovah and the Father is Elohim, then Jesus is orchestrating a coup d’état and trying to overthrow the worship of the Father.
But we know that can’t be accurate, so we need to question our assumptions. The word ELOHIM is not a name. It’s a noun that can be translated several ways. It is often used to describe God. But it is also used to describe false gods. Or groups of people. Even an earthquake! Here are some examples of ELOHIM being used to describe things other than deity:
1 Samuel 14:15
And there was trembling in the host, in the field, and among all the people: the garrison, and the spoilers, they also trembled, and the earth quaked: so it was a ELOHIM (very great) trembling.
1 Samuel 28:2 – Saul asks a woman with a familiar spirit at Endor to conjure up the spirit of Samuel.
And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw ELOHIM (gods) ascending out of the earth. 14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.
Let’s look at some more scriptures now that we have a different perspective.
1 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
2 And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other ELOHIM (gods), which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
3 Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for YHVH your ELOHIM (God) proveth you, to know whether ye love YHVH your ELOHIM (God) with all your heart and with all your soul.
4 Ye shall walk after YHVH your ELOHIM (God), and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
5 And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from YHVH your ELOHIM (God), which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which YHVH thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
If Elohim is a name, any prophet that told us to worship the Father (ELOHIM) would be a false prophet, which would make Jesus a false prophet who violated this commandment in Deuteronomy. With this new understanding, we know ELOHIM isn’t the Father, but any god, either true or false, and the command is against any prophet that teaches you to worship any god other than YHVH.
13 If that thou hearken unto the commandments of YHVH thy ELOHIM (God), which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them:
14 And thou shalt not go aside from any of the words which I command thee this day, to the right hand, or to the left, to go after other ELOHIM (gods) to serve them.
1 And ELOHIM (God) spake all these words, saying,
2 I am YHVH thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other ELOHIM (gods) before me.
11 And YHVH said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians…
13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other ELOHIM: wherefore I will deliver you no more.
With the old notion, Elohim says his name is Jehovah, and we aren’t supposed to worship Elohim before Jehovah. With this new understanding, God is declaring his name is Jehovah and commanding that no other gods be worshiped.
The New Testament sources we have today are in Greek, so we can’t see יהוה or a Greek equivalent to YHVH in the Greek texts. The Greek texts use κύριος, which means lord. So as we compare between Old Testament and New Testament usage, we have to use other clues because the Greek does not use a name, just a title.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of YHVH
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Jesus declared the he came in the Father’s name, and Psalms 118 tells us that name is YHVH. Jesus seems be to saying the name of the Father is JHVH.
YHVH your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him.
16 For this is what you asked of YHVH your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly when you said, “Let us not hear the voice of YHVH our God nor see this great fire anymore, or we will die.”
17 And YHVH said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
3 Nephi 20: 23, 26
Behold, I am he of whom Moses spake, saying: A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that prophet shall be cut off from among the people.
The Father having raised me up unto you first, and sent me to bless you in turning away every one of you from his iniquities; and this because ye are the children of the covenant—
The Old Testament tells us that YHVH will raise up a prophet. Jesus declares that he is that prophet and His Father raised him up. Which means His Father, not Jesus, is YHVH.
In the Old Testament, the name YHVH is used 6,800 times. Every Jew knew the name of God was YHVH, so when Jesus refers to the Father’s name, YHVH is the name he is referring to. If he were to preach any other name, he would be violating the commandments (for example, Exodus 20:2-3). Jesus taught repeatedly that His Father was God, that Jesus came in His name, and Jesus declared the Father’s name.
I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:
Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me,
For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.
And I know that his commandment is life everlasting: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.
He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.
O righteous Father, the world has not known you: but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
And I have declared unto them your name, and will declare it: that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
In the Old Testament, YHVH put his name on the temple. In the New Testament, Jesus says the temple is his Father’s house. Again, Jesus seems to think YHVH is his Father’s name, not his own.
1 Kings 9:3
And YHVH said unto him [King Solomon], I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith YHVH.
And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
YHVH says he will not give his glory to another. Yet Jesus gives the glory to the Father. If Jesus is Jehovah, he is contradicting himself.
I am YHVH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
But, behold, my Beloved Son, which was my Beloved and Chosen from the beginning, said unto me—Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine forever.
Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
We can even go back to the beginning of Christ’s ministry and see him distinguish himself from Jehovah. In Luke 4, Jesus goes to Nazareth and stands up to read in the synagogue. He turned to Isaiah and read:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
Here notice what it says in Isaiah 61:1-2
The Spirit of the Lord YHVH is upon me; because YHVH hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of YHVH.
Jesus could not have anointed himself! Nor would it make sense to say Jesus’ own spirit is upon him (don’t we all have our own spirits upon ourselves?). Jesus is saying that the Father, Jehovah, had placed His spirit upon Jesus, and the Father, Jehovah, had anointed Jesus for his ministry.
At this point, if you are ready to accept that the Father is Jehovah, you are going to have to let go of some other false precepts. Mormons have taught that after the Fall of Adam, the Father had little to no interaction with humanity and the pre-mortal Jesus was the God of the Old Testament. The scriptures disprove that. The God of the Old Testament, of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (and Moses, and Isaiah, and Elijah, etc.) is YHVH, Jehovah, the Father.
Book of Abraham
If we believe that Jesus is the God of Abraham, we have some problems with some of the content of the Book of Abraham. But if we believe that the Father is the God of Abraham, and the God interacting with Abraham, everything is fine.
And the Lord said unto me: These two facts do exist, that there are two spirits, one being more intelligent than the other; there shall be another more intelligent than they; I am the Lord thy God, I am more intelligent than they all.
First, let’s check this against Isaiah.
I am YHVH, and there is none else, there is no ELOHIM (God) beside me.
If this is the pre-mortal Christ speaking to Abraham, he is declaring that he is more intelligent than the Father and inconsistent with what he said during his mortal ministry. He is also saying in Isaiah that there is no Father, because there is none else. This can’t be. Jesus always acknowledges his Father, and always puts the Father as the greatest.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all.
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I.
In both the Book of Abraham and Genesis, YHVH/Jehovah spoke with Abraham and made him promises. The God that appears to Abraham is named YHVH.
Abraham 2: 8–11
My name is Jehovah, and I know the end from the beginning; therefore my hand shall be over thee.
And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee above measure, and make thy name great among all nations, and thou shalt be a blessing unto thy seed after thee, that in their hands they shall bear this ministry and Priesthood unto all nations;
And I will bless them through thy name; for as many as receive this Gospel shall be called after thy name, and shall be accounted thy seed, and shall rise up and bless thee, as their father;
And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse them that curse thee; and in thee (that is, in thy Priesthood) and in thy seed (that is, thy Priesthood), for I give unto thee a promise that this right shall continue in thee, and in thy seed after thee (that is to say, the literal seed, or the seed of the body) shall all the families of the earth be blessed, even with the blessings of the Gospel, which are the blessings of salvation, even of life eternal.
And YHVH appeared unto him, and said, Go not down into Egypt; dwell in the land which I shall tell thee of:
Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these countries, and I will perform the oath which I sware unto Abraham thy father;
And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;
It’s pretty clear that a God named YHVH/Jehovah made the promise to Abraham that in his seed all the people of the earth would be blessed. The resurrected Jesus, when teaching the Nephites, declares that it was the Father who made that promise!
3 Nephi 20:25, 27
And behold, ye are the children of the prophets; and ye are of the house of Israel; and ye are of the covenant which the Father made with your fathers, saying unto Abraham: And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
And after that ye were blessed then fulfilleth the Father the covenant which he made with Abraham, saying: In thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed—unto the pouring out of the Holy Ghost through me upon the Gentiles, which blessing upon the Gentiles shall make them mighty above all, unto the scattering of my people, O house of Israel.
Jesus doesn’t say the he (Jesus) made the covenant with Abraham, nor that he (Jesus) spoke to Abraham. He says the Father did the speaking and the covenanting. And the Books of Abraham and Genesis clearly state that YHVH/Jehovah was the speaker. The Father is Jehovah
Book of Mormon
During Jesus’ ministry among the Nephites, he quotes three Old Testament prophets. We can compare the Old Testament version with the version in 3 Nephi to show that the resurrected Jesus declared the name of the Father to be YHVH.
He quotes from Malachi 3, but prefaces the quotation by stating that it was the Father who spoke unto Malachi:
|3 Nephi 24||Malachi 3|
|1 …Thus said the Father unto Malachi: Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts.||1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith YHVH of hosts.|
|6 For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.||6 For I am YHVH, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.|
|11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the fields, saith the Lord of Hosts.||11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith YHVH of hosts.|
If the Father is the one speaking unto Malachi, then the Father’s name is YHVH and he is the Lord of Hosts, or YHVH of Hosts.
Jesus does the same thing with Isaiah, using the Father in place of YHVH:
|3 Nephi 20||Isaiah 52|
|32 Then shall their watchmen lift up their voice, and with the voice together shall they sing; for they shall see eye to eye.
33 Then will the Father gather them together again, and give unto them Jerusalem for the land of their inheritance.
|Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye,
when YHVH shall bring again Zion.
|34 Then shall they break forth into joy—Sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem;
for the Father hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
|9 Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem:
for YHVH hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
|35 The Father hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of the Father; and the Father and I are one.||10 YHVH hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our ELOHIM.|
Here and in the next verse, the Father is identified both as YHVH (his name), and an ELOHIM.
|3 Nephi 21||Isaiah 52|
|29 …and they shall not go out in haste, nor go by flight, for I will go before them, saith the Father, and I will be their rearward.||12 For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for YHVH will go before you; and the ELOHIM of Israel will be your rearward.|
Jesus also identifies the Father with YHVH while quoting Micah:
|3 Nephi 21||Micah 5|
|14 … for it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Father, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots;||10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith YHVH, that I will cut off thy horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:|
While quoting three different Old Testament prophets, Jesus replaces the name YHVH used in the Old Testament with the Father. Jesus, both during his mortal ministry and after his resurrection, seems to believe the name of the Father is Jehovah.
Even Joseph Smith used the name Jehovah when speaking of the Father.
History of the Church 5:127–128
Thou eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Jehovah… let faith on the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ…
Times and Seasons; Vol. 3, p.358; November 15, 1841
We believe in God the Father, who is the great Jehovah and head of all things, and that Christ is the Son of God, co-eternal with the Father
In Doctrine & Covenants 109, Joseph alternates between addressing God as “Jehovah”, “Lord”, and “Holy Father”. Mormons will say that Joseph keeps changing who he is talking to…talking to the Father for a bit, then Jesus, and back and forth. But the commandment is clear, we pray to the Father. Joseph knew who he was talking to. Incidentally, from the brief research I did, this notion of Jesus being Jehovah didn’t begin to be taught until the 1880s.
For me, this was an embarrassing discovery. All my life I had ignored the facts in the scriptures and believed the traditions of my fathers. This is one area where mainstream Christianity is more correct than modern Mormonism. We need to repent of our false traditions, and use the scriptures to measure every doctrine. The scriptures are a powerful tool for testing and discerning. We remain under condemnation for taking them lightly and not using them as we have been commanded to.
Our Father in Heaven is not some distant, uninvolved God that has outsourced his children to a caretaker. Our Father, Jehovah, has remained intimately involved with the affairs of this earth and the people on it. The sooner we realize the true identity of Jehovah, the sooner we can begin to develop and exercise true faith in Him.