Why do Mormons call God the Father Elohim?
Someone who has spent a good deal of time hanging around Mormons and listening to Mormon beliefs has probably heard the word Elohim used once or twice. No, we don’t believe it's the name of a planet, contrary to some less than inspired comments. Rather, it is sometimes used as the title for God the Father. Even some conference talks have stated that God's name is Elohim and it's even found in the LDS scripture study helps with the topical guide heading of "God the Father, Elohim."
So why do Mormons use the word Elohim to refer to God the Father? Where did this word come from?
No, Mormons did not make the word up. Elohim is actually the Hebrew word for God. It's written in the original language of the Old Testament as אֱלֹהִ֔ים. Hebrew is written from right to left, and when pronounced the word sounds out as 'ello-heem.' In the Bible and the Book of Mormon the word God is often used to refer to God the Father and Jesus Christ synonymously, however Latter-day Saints believe that they are two separate distinct beings. Because of this Latter-day Saints have sometimes adopted the title of Elohim to refer to God the Father in order to clarify who it is that they are referring to.
Interestingly ים (pronounced "yeem") is a plural suffix in Hebrew, much like the letter s in English. However, in the Hebrew Old Testament the word Elohim is usually used with a singular verb. For example at the start of Genesis 1:26. The English translation starts as "And God said …". If we translate directly from Hebrew it would read "And said Elohim … ". The Hebrew word that becomes "said" (אמֶר) is singular, meaning that one person said it even though Elohim is plural. In this case it is the same said as in "he said". If the said was "they said" it would appear as אמֶרוּ. In some cases in the Old Testament the verb is plural, and in others the verb is ambiguous, but more often than not it's singular.
Even more interesting is how that plural noun and singular verb fits into Latter-day Saint theology. Latter-day Saints believe that God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings, but that they are united in purpose and voice. So, while there are three that could be considered gods, they form one, known as the Godhead, and the Godhead speaks and acts as one. Thus, a plural entity with a singular voice. Be careful not to be confused on this though, because even though each member of the Godhead could be considered a god, Latter-day Saints believe that there is one God, which is God the Father, and that Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost both act in authority as and on behalf of God the Father. So while Latter-day Saints worship Jesus Christ as Lord and God, we believe that He in turn gives all that glory to God the Father.