Franklin’s statement may provide a lens through which to view some of Smith’s final statements about God(s). In the Sermon at the Grove (June 16, 1844) Smith insisted that there were multiple Gods: “the word Eloiheam ought to be in the plural all the way thro–Gods–the heads of the Gods appointed one God for us.” Franklin said there was a high God over Gods and that our God was the one who created our solar system. Franklin was probably influenced by Isaac Newton who also said there were multiple God in the universe and cited 1 Corinthians 8:5-6: “But to us there is but one God.” Smith cited the same scripture in the Sermon at the Grove.
Thus Smith taught similar ideas to what some of the West’s most important thinkers and scientists had. Franklin biographer James Parton noted that Kepler and Goethe taught the same thing. Strict monotheism would win out in orthodox Christianity (it usually did) but these great thinkers had found inclusive monotheism a better for the new conception of the universe.
For Barbara Newman, the division between inclusive and radical monotheism was one of jealously. “The biblical God is famously jealous, brooking nor rival to his sovereignty. In Greek religion, on the other hand, Stoic and especially Platonic philosophers, culminating in Plotinus, developed versions of inclusive monotheism.” Since the One was not a personal being, the potential for jealousy did not arise.”
However, Plato explicitly said that the demiurge, or the creator God who was a personal God, was not jealous, a point that Terryl Givens makes in his recent Wrestling the Angel: “In explaining the divine motives behind creation, the Platonic dialogue Timaeus envisions a deity of particular generosity. ‘He who framed this whole universe … was good, and one who is good can never be jealous of anything. And so, being free of jealously, he wanted everything to become as much like himself as was possible” (29e). Givens then declares, “Such a formulation is similar in spirit to the Mormon conception of theosis.”
Indeed, the Timaeus, more than any other document embodies the West’s inclusive monotheism that was similar to Mormonism: creation out of matter, a high God over lower Gods, human preexistence, and human potential for Godhood. I. Woodbridge Riley noted the similarities between Franklin’s “First Principals” and the Timaeus: A Father of the Gods “who formed the universe and assigned each sole a star, who was good, and being free from jealousy, desired that all things should be as like himself as possible.”
Thus for my purposes (describing early Mormon notions of inclusive monotheism) Platonic or “Timaean” monotheism may fit the best. Either way, the Timaeus was a very important document for these ideas and very influential and my next post will look at further influences.
 Words of Joseph Smith, 378-79.
 James Parton, Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin (Boston, Ticknor and Fields, 1867), 175.
 Barbara Newman, God and the Goddess: Vision, Poetry, and Belief in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003), 319.
 Terryl L. Givens, Wresting the Angel: The Foundations of Mormon Thought: Cosmos, God, Humanity (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), 266. As I mentioned in an earlier post, Plato declared that pre-mortal humans could join the Gods in their circular path around the universe to behold the true reality because “jealousy must stand outside the divine chorus.” Plato, Phaedrus, 247a.
 I. Woodbridge Riley, American Philosophy: The Early Schools (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1907), 249. Riley actually wrote the first dissertation on Mormonism, later published as The Founder of Mormonism (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1903).