In a recent exchange with a critic of Mormonism I put together the following commentary on Alma 11:21-33. This is the oft-quoted discussion between Amulek and Zeezrom in which Amulek affirms that there is only one God. I argue that they use the word “god” in the sense of a “supreme being”, and that this is perfectly in line with modern LDS thought.
Zeezrom tempts Amulek with money, asking him to deny the existence of a “Supreme Being.”
Amulek declines the offer, and chastises Zeezrom for it. Amulek then restates what Zeezrom tried to do, but instead of using the title “Supreme Being” Amulek uses the title “true and living God.” So in verse 25 Amulek has equated “Supreme Being” with “true and living God.” That is important.
Zeezrom basically repeats the same question as before, but this time uses the title that Amulek used. Zeezrom asks Amulek if he believes in a “true and living God”, and Amulek affirms that he does.
Zeezrom then asks, “Is there more than one God?”. It is important for us to understand what exactly Zeezrom has in mind here. What does he mean by “God”? It seems rather clear from the context of their discussion that Zeezrom has in mind the sort of God who could be described as a “Supreme Being” or as a “true and living God.” I don’t know how else you could interpret this.
Amulek replies with a “No.” There is not more than one “Supreme Being” or “true and living God.” So far, this is all perfectly in keeping with other LDS scriptures. As I showed in my previous post, in various places in the LDS canon God the Father is described as being the Most High. Within the LDS doctrinal framework there are multiple “gods”, but only one of them is the “true and living God”.
Zeezrom asks Amulek how he knows this, and Amulek says that an angel told him.
Zeezrom asks Amulek about “he that shall come”. This is a reference to Alma’s sermon that they all just listened to in chapter 9. Zeezrom refers to him as “the Son of God”, the same title that Alma used in 9:26. Amulek responds by affirming that “he that shall come” is indeed the “Son of God”. In summary, they establish that the person who Alma prophecied would come is the son of the Supreme Being they have been discussing.
From there they get into a debate about what exactly the Son of God will do. But by now they have already left their dicussion about the Supreme Being, of which there is only one, and are discussing the Son of the Supreme Being and what he will do.
The bottom line is that when Zeezrom asks “is there more than one God?” it is in the context of their discussion about the Supreme Being. There is not more than one Supreme Being, at least not in my interpretation of Mormonism.