When Stephen looked into the Heavens in his Biblical vision, he saw Jesus sitting on the right hand of God:
55 But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,
56 And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7)
That scene didn’t really surprise him, but it might have surprised some modern Christians, who do not believe God and Jesus are two different beings, or that they can have bodies Stephen could see. In Biblical times, however, this information was clearly understood and taught. Many scholars of other faiths admit that Paul did not seem to know anything about a trinity theory.
Mormons do not accept the modern concept of the trinity. The word trinity is not in the Bible and neither is the definition commonly given. This concept developed post-Biblically in response to Greek philosophy and was canonized in council meetings after being put to a human vote.
Mormons instead use the term Godhead, which is found in the Bible. The Godhead consists of God, the eternal Father, His Son, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost. As we saw, two of the three were present in Stephen’s vision. All three made an appearance at Jesus’ baptism—Jesus as the one being baptized, God testifying of His Son and letting everyone know he was pleased with Jesus, and the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove.
The Bible helps us understand the nature of the Mormon Godhead. It tells us several times that God and Jesus are one. In John 17, when Jesus offers the Great Intercessory Prayer, He reveals to us what that oneness means.
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me (John 17).
In this prayer, Jesus asks God to make the apostles one in the same way God and Jesus are one. A moment of thought makes it obvious Jesus did not want to turn the apostles into a single person in several forms. He wanted them to be unified in love, doctrine, and purpose. If the apostles are to be one in the same way God and Jesus are one, we then understand they are united in the gospel, not in body or form. Although the Bible often seems to give conflicting information, when we put all the verses together and read them in context, we realize they do fit together very well and don’t conflict at all. Mormons who read the Bible (and they study it two years out of every four in church and many more times on their own) note that God often praised Jesus Christ, something Jesus would not do for Himself. He prayed to God, not to Himself. He also made a number of statements that demonstrate the separateness of each member of the Godhead:
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come (John 16:13).
This verse refers to the Holy Ghost and tells us the Holy Ghost never teaches His own thoughts or ideas. He teaches only what God tells him to teach, so we can always trust Him—but it’s clear from this the Holy Ghost is not God.
16 ¶And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. (Matthew 19)
Here, Jesus tells someone not to call Him good, because only God is good. When Jesus is in the Garden, He pleads for God to take away the pain, but also says not to do something simply because He wants it. He asks God to do God’s will, not His own. He often reminded His followers that He, like the Holy Ghost, never did anything of His own accord. He did only what God told Him to do. There is no question, when the Bible is taken as a whole, that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost are not the same being.
Of course, Mormons have even greater evidence of the separateness of God. When Joseph Smith was fourteen, he saw God and Jesus Christ, just as Stephen did. He knew they were not the same being. For Mormons, this is one more evidence of the Godhead, not the trinity as it is often understood today.