In his lecture, Terryl Givens presents one with a new way to approach the prophecy of Enoch that was received by Joseph Smith. Contained in this short narrative is a new, innovative conception about God that differs greatly from traditional Christianity. This notion is that of a passible deity, a God that is susceptible to feeling and emotion. It is a God who weeps, a God who is vulnerable and suffers emotional pain. God, as defined by the Christian creeds, is one who lacks passions.1 Givens, in drawing attention to the passible deity, is illuminating just a small portion of a much larger tension that exists between Mormonism and traditional Christianity. The God of Mormonism is not just a slight modification of the God of the creeds. Traditionally Christians, who now will be referred to as orthodox, have endorsed a view of deity that is more or less in line with the God of Classical Theism, or the God of the philosophers. However, the difference between these two conceptions of God is much greater than this one attribute. The God of Mormonism has undergone such a vast transformation from the God of Classical Theism that it no longer resembles its predecessor. In this essay, I’m arguing that the God of Mormonism is not only different than the God of orthodox Christianity in terms of passibility, but is different in every other major characteristic.
Harman, Benjamin Wade, "What has Athens to do with Mormonism?" (2012). Arrington Student Writing Award Winners. Paper 9.