The Iron Rod Podcast
The Iron Rod Podcast
Iron Rod 020 - The Name of the Father

Modern Mormonism teaches that Elohim is the name of the Father, and Jehovah is the name of Jesus before his earthly ministry. This is taught in the temple and from the pulpit. But it’s not taught from the scriptures. In this episode, we review how the scriptures use Elohim and Jehovah to consistently paint a dramatically different picture than what the LDS Church paints. We also review the how this doctrine changed over the course of 75 years until it finally stabilized on what we know today.

Key Scriptures:
Deuteronomy 6:4, 13:1-5, 28:13-14
Exodus 15:11, 20:1-3
Judges 10:11-13
Joshua 22:22, 24:19
1 Kings 8:23, 9:3
Jeremiah 7:11, 23:18
Psalms 97:9
John 1:1-3, 2:16, 10:29, 14:28, 17:11
Isaiah 42:8, 45:5
Moses 4:2
Philippians 2:5-11
Ezekiel 1:1-3
Ether 3:14, 4:12
3 Nephi 1:14
Mosiah 3:5, 7:27, 13:34, 15:1-5
Mormon 5:17, 9:12
Moses 1:6
JST Luke 10:22

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16 comments on “Iron Rod 020 – The Name of the Father

  1. I am still confused but I am working on it. It almost seems like the Lord had to be schizophrenic like when he was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane. I have a request. Could you please do a podcast on doctored history side by side,or direct me to a blog if this has already been done. An example is the ellipsis in the Pelatiah Brown incident in Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and the fill in for those missing words from the book The Words of Joseph Smith. I know I have heard a YouTube episode by Watcher where he shows something added to the history of the church in a quotation by Joseph Smith which totally altered the meaning. Fortunately, Joseph’s original words are in the Joseph Smith Papers. Also, you have stated that Orson Hyde is a source of disinformation. I know somewhere I read a quotation by Orson Hyde claiming that Mary and Martha were the wives of Jesus. I don’t accept this. He was trying to justify polygamy, I guess. I am guessing that he has more little gems like this. So my request is a side by side of doctored and undoctored and some other gems from Orson HydeI like the earthquake at winter quarters. I figure you have done thousands of hours of research already and this is probably at or close to your fingertips. Thank you for all your good work and thank you for considering this request. Jim

  2. Thanks for the refresher on the name of God. Just a few things I think are important to add, which I think help to clarify why we have this problem in the church today.
    In my Hebrew class I remember my professor mentioning the fact that YHWH is in fact a verb, which I had never thought about before, so it can besides being used as a proper name, actually be a title as well. It literally means “He who causes to be” or “He who creates” or perhaps “he who exists”. It perhaps can carry all of those meanings simultaneously. You can see this in the old testament when Moses asks God who he should say sent him when the Israelites ask him. God responds in Exodus 3:14 “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” In Hebrew it says literally word for word:
    ויאמר אלהים אל־משה אהיה אשר אהיה ויאמר כה תאמר לבני ישראל אהיה שלחני אליכם
    And said elohim to Moses I am he who causes to be and he said thus you will say to the children of israel I am/I create sent me to you.
    If you look at the verb instead of YHWH it says AHWH. The Y (yod) prefix is the verb conjugation for “he does/will do” whatever the verb root is. The A (aleph) prefix is the verb conjugation for “I do/will do” whatever the verb root is. So the fact that the Father and the Son share the same name makes perfect sense as it’s simply a verb anyways showing their creative and self existent nature. What power in the universe is greater than the power of creating worlds without end? In the book of Moses God the father even tells Moses that he created worlds without end through the Son. So the Son was given the powers of creation by the Father thus he also can say of himself AHWH, or I cause to be.
    Also I think that Adam was in the premortal council and helped with the creation of the earth if you look in the book of Abraham 3:24-7
    24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

    25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

    26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

    27 And the Lord said: Whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man: Here am I, send me. And another answered and said: Here am I, send me. And the Lord said: I will send the first.
    Notice there are three distinct people who are not the Father, who is referred to as Lord in these verses. The “one that was like unto God”, “the one like unto the Son of Man”, and “another”. The one like unto the Son of Man is obviously Jesus Christ as he is the one who is chosen. The “another” is obviously lucifer. In hebrew Michael means “he who is like God” and from D&C we know that Michael the Archangel is Adam the father of all living. So perhaps Brigham stumbled upon a half truth in that the scriptures support a prominent role for Adam/Michael/one who is like God in the creation, however, he is clearly distinct from God the Father.


      Also here’s a wikipedia article with more info.

    • Looks like we have an actual Hebrew scholar instead of a pretender like me! Thanks for the extra insight.

      I have a slightly different interpretation of Abraham 3. The one who was like unto God seems to me to be the second YHWH, Christ, who was in the bosom of the Father. It says one who is like unto God, but it doesn’t say God himself. He is the one leading the divine council activities as vice-regent. Then you have the two volunteers. One like unto the Son of Man isn’t the Son of Man himself, but one like unto him. I could see that being Adam. There isn’t enough data to conclusively nail it down, but I would agree that it does appear that there is support in Abraham 3 for Adam/Michael being involved.

      But yes, one problem is that Brigham’s “innovations” mingled truth with falsehood, making it difficult to discern where truth ends and falsehood begins.

      • Well I’m a Hebrew minor, but I agree that in Abraham 3 it could be read as you see it as well. Though I lean towards my interpretation on linguistic grounds. Ultimately it’s not super important but the understanding of how The Father and Christ are both YHWH is important. Too bad we removed the doctrine portion from our doctrine and covenants.

  3. One Who Is Thirsting Apr 23, 2019

    I recently read D&C 109 as was confused that Jospeh was addressing Christ in the prayer when he was using the term Jehovah.

    Especially when section 110:3-4 says that Christ is Jehovah.

    3His eyes were as a flame of fire; the hair of his head was white like the pure snow; his countenance shone above the brightness of the sun; and his voice was as the sound of the rushing of great waters, even the voice of Jehovah, saying:
    4I am the first and the last; I am he who liveth, I am he who was slain; I am your advocate with the Father.

    I found it confusing when reading the dedicatory prayer in verses 34, 42, 56, and 68 it was referencing Jehovah as the Father.

    This podcast really makes sense that they’re one and the same. Thanks again for sharing your insights.

  4. I love each of your blogs, and your podcasts! I’ve listened to them all several times, and shared them with others as well. At times my mind has been officially blown (in a good way)! However, you used the word “trinitarian” in this podcast, and that confused me since that term doesn’t really seem accurate in describing your views nor the scriptural teachings. As the Lectures on Faith says, “There are TWO personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things….They are the Father and the Son. ….the Son…possessing the same mind with the Father; which Mind is the Holy Spirit…” So the holy spirit is not a personage at all, but is the mind of the Father and the Son. I’ve been studying up on some history, and it seems that Matt. 28:19 was altered to match the trinitarian doctrine, which didn’t enter into the Christian church until around 325 A.D. See and
    So if the Son attained a oneness with the Father, and if the bible shows that early Christians were baptized into the name of Yahshua (Jesus) alone, NOT according to the trinitarian formula “Father, Son, and Holy Ghost”, then I am trying to understand why Moses 7:11, D&C 20:73, and D&C 68:8 use the trinitarian formula. What are your thoughts on this? Also, the name of the Father is Yahweh (four consonant-vowels: ee-ah-oo-eh), not Jehovah ( And during his mortal life, the name of the Son was Yahshua, not Jesus. The “J” words weren’t invented until after the year 1600. I’m trying to unlearn all false traditions of our fathers.

    • Glad to hear you’re enjoying the podcasts. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that we’re not religious scholars, so misusing a term like trinitarian doesn’t surprise me. As you picked up, we do adhere to the definition in Lectures on Faith, and were trying to contrast that with the modern LDS perspective of three separate “men”, two with bodies and one waiting to get a body, forming the Godhead.

      As for the “trinitarian” formula being used in D&C and Moses, even the Lectures on Faith states that the Holy Spirit is part of the Godhead, and that “these three are one, or in other words, these three constitute the great, matchless, governing, and supreme power over all things; by whom all things were created and made, that were created and made: and these three constitute the Godhead and are one.” So I don’t see aproblem with baptismal prayers and such being done in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As for the issues with the New Testament, I can’t really comment.

      Regarding the pronunciation of YHVH and Jesus/Yashua, I think the important takeaway is understanding who bears the name. The pronunciation, while interesting, doesn’t appear to matter as much. God speaks to us “according to [our] language, unto [our] understanding.” (2 Nephi 31:3) When dealing with Joseph Smith, God was content for the English names Jesus Christ and Jehovah to be used instead of the Hebrew versions. I remember seeing a statue for “Giorgio Washington” in Italy – I knew exactly who they were referring to. It doesn’t appear to bother God that English speakers say “Jesus” while Italians say “Gesù”, but, intellectually, it is fun to learn the original Hebrew names.

      • Thanks, that makes perfect sense. It’s amazing how tolerant God is in working with us and speaking to us according to our language(s), customs, and understanding. In Japan we said “Iesu” and “Kirisuto” (the latter being the Japanese attempt to pronounce Christ, which is the English rendering of the Greek word “Christos”, smeared with oil, which was apparently the closest thing Greeks could come up with for the concept of being anointed, the anointed one being Mashiach in Hebrew, or Messiah in English). I wonder if God will someday ask us to revert to the correct original words and names. As knowledge improves in the world, we are already in some cases reverting back to correct original place-names like Beijing & Mumbai rather than continuing to mangle and alter their names for no good reason except that it has become “tradition”. The world should go back to calling Florence Italy “Firenze” i think, and correct our past mistakes wherever we can.

      • D&C 88:15 gives us an interesting formula:

        And the spirit and the body are the soul of man.

        We often think of the terms soul and spirit as interchangeable and many scriptures appear to support that. But here it is given that the spirit and the body make up the soul of man. I wonder if this applies to God as well, and that is why we have the trinitarian view of Him.

        God the Father is a personage of Spirit.
        Jesus Christ, the Son, is a personage of tabernacle (that could mean flesh/body although it could also mean a temporary habitation)
        The Holy Spirit is the mind of God – might this be similar to what D&C 88:15 calls man’s soul?

        Thus, while not a personage, the Mind of God may be thought of as another entity, the soul of God: combining both the Spirit (Father) and Body (Christ)?

        This view may not be a perfect fit, but it may explain what Jesus meant in the Gospel of John when he says that he must return to the Father in order to send the Comforter on the day of Pentecost, who he has previously defined as the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) and speaks of the Comforter as another entity, even referring to the Comforter as a ‘he’.

  5. One Who Is Thirsting Dec 25, 2019

    I was studying John 17 and was wrestling with a few verses.

    6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world …

    11 … Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    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.

    26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it

    I was asking the question, what is the Father’s name and how is Jesus one with the Father and the Father in him.

    I came across this article and it spells it out quit nicely.

    Something of interest is that it states the Father’s name is Yahweh, not Jehovah. That the “J” was added in the 17th century and that calling God by a name that’s made up isn’t really calling him by his name. Interesting.

    What’s even more insightful is that God’s name, Yahweh, is also in his Son’s name — Yahshua.

    Notice the family Name YAH, the first syllable of both Yahweh’s and Yahshua’s names.

    Which brings me to Book of Mormon. At least 150 years before the Savior was born an angel appeared unto King Benjamin and declared in Mosiah 3:8

    8 And he shall be called Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth, the Creator of all things from the beginning; and his mother shall be called Mary.

    17 And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.

    I recall reading once that Joseph Smith even acknowledged that Jesus’s name was actually Joshua, but I can’t find the reference as of late.

    Just wondering how accurate the temple endowment is with this revelation and what is the true name of the Savior.

    • Yes, there are some cool things with the names. First the Yahshua/Yahweh thing. Plus Yahshua is the Fred/Fredrick version of Yahoshua, which can be translated as salvation. So we can say that Jesus’ name is literally salvation. There’s probably a lot more that we’re not aware of.

      As you pointed out, Jehovah is a anglicized version of the name. But Heiser and others don’t agree that the exact pronunciation is known (or matters).

      Thinking about English for a minute. Which pronunciation is correct, a British accent or an American accent? English went through a change in pronunciation about 500 years ago called The Great Vowel Shift. Go back another 500 years and there was the transition from Old English to Middle English ( I doubt many of us can properly pronounce most English words from 1000 years ago, and the spellings have changed as well.

      There were over 1,000 years between Moses and Jesus. The Hebrew language changed during that time, just as the English language changed over 1000 years. Even the Hebrew alphabet/script changed, so the written language looked completely different. In the Book of Mormon, Mormon 9:33 tells us that the Nephites changed the Hebrew over the 1000 years since they had departed Jerusalem. The idea that how Josephus pronounced YHWH in the Roman era proves how Moses pronounced YHWH is problematic. I sometimes jokingly wonder if the way God pronounces his own name is unpronounceable by a mortal mouth, and he had to give Moses a simpler version that could be pronounced. Wouldn’t that be an ironic twist to the proper pronunciation focus?

      I also don’t think it matters to God. If it bothered him, he would not have had the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants use Jesus Christ and Jehovah. If you believe the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God, and the majority of the Doctrine and Covenants received as true revelation from God, then God chose to use the anglicized versions of him name and approves of their use. 2 Nephi 31:3 tells us that God speaks to us according to OUR language, unto OUR understanding. So Jesus Christ is the “true” name for English speakers, Gesù Cristo for Italians, Iesu Kirisuto for Japanese, etc. God knows when we’re talking about him, even if we all use different versions of the name. Not once in scripture does God tell us that the proper pronunciation, spelling, language matters to him. People don’t get extra favors from God by using the “right” name or pronunciation. Deaf or dumb people aren’t disadvantaged in their standing before God because they lack the capabilities to verbalize the name properly. It’s an interesting academic topic, but not doctrinally important.

      As for the temple endowment, I think the Apocrypha rule applies: There are many things contained therein that are true. There are many things contained therein that are not true. Therefore it is not needful.

      • One Who Is Thirsting Dec 26, 2019

        I guess my question was more along the lines that if the Book of Mormon descendants came from Jerusalem 600 years before Christ and from a Hebrew society, why would the angel tell King Benjamin that the Savior’s name was a Greek one?

        • I don’t think the angel used the Greek name…we have a translation of that conversation. The angel also didn’t use the English words “the Son of God, the Father of heaven and earth…” but instead used Hebrew-based words king Benjamin would understand. But if Joseph had printed those Hebrew words in the English translation of the Book of Mormon, we English speakers wouldn’t have understood it.

          We have the same situation with names. Jerusalem isn’t the name Nephi used, it would have been Yerushalaim. Isaiah’s name is Yeshayahu. Jeremiah’s name is Yirmiyahu. So when Nephi was writing his record, he was likely writing the Hebrew names he was familiar with (but to further complicate things, he was writing those Hebrew names in Reformed Egyptian!). During the translation process, the names were translated into English equivalents that English speakers would recognize. Few English speakers would recognize the name Yeshua Hamashiach, but all recognize the name Jesus Christ. So the entire conversation, including the names, was translated into the English equivalent.