“Book of Mormon: Is it Necessary for One to to Know if God the Father of Jesus Christ Had/ Has a Body in order to Have Faith in Jesus Christ?”
I am continually astounded by the ad nauseum arguments over whether God has a body or not. Frankly, does it matter? Maybe only if you’re trying to know the character of God and His plans. To some LDS doctrine, it’s important: God is our father, we are his children, we will become as Him, the resurrection is for all and it’s permanent, etc. But must it be a central point of contention, especially at the beginning?
However, interestingly, in the Book of Mormon, it seems it’s not important; at least it wasn’t to the brother of Jared at the time of his great faith. I doubt most anyone—ChristianTM or LDS—has the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ that the brother of Jared had. Something finally struck me (after who knows how many times of reading the story)… He was surprised when he saw the pre-mortal Lord in human form, as if He had a body:
Ether 3:6 And it came to pass that when the brother of Jared had said these words, behold, the Lord stretched forth his hand and touched the stones one by one with his finger. And the veil was taken from off the eyes of the brother of Jared, and he saw the finger of the Lord; and it was as the finger of a man, like unto flesh and blood; and the brother of Jared fell down before the Lord, for he was struck with fear.
Ether 3:7 And the Lord saw that the brother of Jared had fallen to the earth; and the Lord said unto him: Arise, why hast thou fallen?
Ether 3:8 And he saith unto the Lord: I saw the finger of the Lord, and I feared lest he should smite me; for I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.
Ether 3:9 And the Lord said unto him: Because of thy faith thou hast seen that I shall take upon me flesh and blood; and never has man come before me with such exceeding faith as thou hast; for were it not so ye could not have seen my finger. Sawest thou more than this?
Ether 3:10 And he answered: Nay; Lord, show thyself unto me.
Ether 3:11 And the Lord said unto him: Believest thou the words which I shall speak?
Ether 3:12 And he answered: Yea, Lord, I know that thou speakest the truth, for thou art a God of truth, and canst not lie.
Ether 3:13 And when he had said these words, behold, the Lord showed himself unto him, and said: Because thou knowest these things ye are redeemed from the fall; therefore ye are brought back into my presence; therefore I show myself unto you.
Ether 3:14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.
Ether 3:15 And never have I showed myself unto man whom I have created, for never has man believed in me as thou hast. Seest thou that ye are created after mine own image? Yea, even all men were created in the beginning after mine own image.
Ether 3:16 Behold, this body, which ye now behold, is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and even as I appear unto thee to be in the spirit will I appear unto my people in the flesh.
You’ll notice that the Lord mentions the brother of Jared’s faith–twice (verses 9, 15). Notice also the important thing was not whether the Lord had a body or not, or even if God the Father and Jesus Christ are the same, but… Do you believe Jesus’ word? Do you have faith in His word? There was much leading up to this experience of the brother of Jared’s, and it had mostly to do with his great praying and his acting on the answers he received from the Lord.
In the great preachings to and conversions of the Lamanite kings, we read a lot about God and his plan, but nothing about God’s having a body or not having a body, or even of his being our Father (in fact, it’s possible that it was actually skipped on purpose—there was good chance for mentioning it, if the prophets at that time even knew it; must they have known it?). Ditto for the great discourses of Alma. Lehi, Nephi, Jacob, Benjamin, Mosiah, Alma the elder and younger, Helaman, Nephi, Mormon, Moroni—nothing. In fact, the only time it’s a main point of doctrinal discussion in the Book of Mormon is when the prophets talk about Jesus Christ coming to earth and gaining a body, in relation to the resurrection and atonement. (There are a few in the book who speak of seeing and speaking to Jesus Christ.) And yet, the Book of Mormon stresses faith in Jesus Christ and repentance all the time.
The account of the brother of Jared makes it clear that to have faith in Jesus Christ—in fact, *exceeding* faith—strong enough to see him and all spiritual things–
it is *not* necessary to know what God looks like.
And if Joseph Smith, who claimed he saw God in human form shortly after he was fourteen years old, and upon which the whole restoration story starts, really invent the Book of Mormon, how did he forget to write in the Book of Mormon, the landmark book of Mormonism, anything about God the Father having the form of a body?