Mormon Doctrine of Deity

Out of Print

The Roberts-Van Der Donckt Discussion

by B. H. Roberts
David L. Paulsen, foreword
Signature Mormon Classics Series No. 3
Paperback / 300 pages / 1-56085-111-2 / $14.95

The Mormon Doctrine of DeityWhen two local ministers criticized Latter-day Saint beliefs about God in 1901, Elder Brigham H. Roberts of the LDS hierarchy defended the following doctrines:

“First, we believe that God is a being with a body in form like a man’s; . . . that in a word, God is an exalted, perfected man.

“Second, we believe in a plurality of Gods.

“Third, we believe that somewhere and some time in the ages to come . . . man at last may become like God—a God.”

Roberts critiqued Catholic and Protestant theology, calling it “paganized Christianity”—a characterization that prompted the now famous rebuttal from the Reverend Cyril van der Donckt of Pocatello, Idaho. To this, Roberts penned an even more comprehensive rejoinder.

Published as The Mormon Doctrine of Deity, this debate forms one of the most engaging and complete considerations of the topic ever compiled. It not only showcases two brilliant, quick-witted theologians, it also surveys authoritative historical sources for both the Mormon doctrines and traditional Christian concepts about God.

Brigham Henry Roberts was born in England in 1857. Among his other achievements, he was president of the LDS First Quorum of Seventy and Assistant Church Historian. His numerous books include: (historical) A Comprehensive History of the ChurchJoseph Smith: The Prophet-TeacherThe Life of John TaylorOutlines of Ecclesiastical History, and (theological) A New Witness for God, the Mormon Doctrine of Deity, and the Seventy’s Course in Theology—all of which are considered authoritative, and for which Roberts earned the epithet, “Defender of the Faith.” He died in 1933.

David PaulsenDavid L. Paulsen—JD, University of Chicago; Ph.D., University of Michigan—is a Professor of Philosophy and former Richard L Evans Professor for Religious Understanding at Brigham Young University. He has published in Analysis, Faith and Philosophy, Harvard Theological Review, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion, and elsewhere.