One of the Come, Follow Me ideas for personal scripture study for the week of July 22-28, 2019 is Paul’s declaration that “Forasmuch as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device” (Acts 17:29). He was teaching people who worshipped powers, forces, pleasures, laws, or non-living creations. Paul was trying to help the various religions and philosophies in Athens understand that we are children of a loving Heavenly Father.
Understanding the Godhead
The doctrine concerning the nature of the Godhead continues to be something that most people still do not believe or accept. One of the key truths that the boy Joseph Smith learned in the spring of 1820 when he went into the woods near his home to pray is the true nature of the Godhead. He describes: “When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!” (Joseph Smith—History 1:17) From this vision, Joseph knew that the Eternal Father and Jesus Christ are two distinct heavenly beings.
On March 1, 1842, Joseph Smith wrote a letter to John Wentworth, editor of a Chicago newspaper, outlining the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and its foundational beliefs. Joseph wrote that the Church’s first standard of truth is: “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1). These three beings make up the Godhead and preside over the earth and all other creations of our Heavenly Father.
On April 2, 1843, Joseph Smith received the following revelation: “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Each member is a separate being. God and Jesus Christ are glorified, physical beings. The Holy Ghost is a spiritual being: “And by the power of the Holy Ghost [we] may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5). The members of the Godhead are three distinct beings with distinct roles, yet they are perfectly “one” (John 17:11): united in the purpose of bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation for his children.
Christ Bestows Power to Overcome
Today the divine truth about the Godhead is beautifully taught when children and adults sing the Primary song “I Am a Child of God.”
The truths taught in the lyrics are profound:
- All human beings are children of God and have been sent to earthly parents.
- We all need help in learning God’s words during our lifetimes.
- Blessings come by doing God’s will so that we can live with Him again.
For some, the most powerful message comes in the chorus: “Lead me, guide, walk beside me, Help me find the way. Teach me all that I must do to live with him some day” (“I Am a Child of God,” Children’s Songbook, 1-2).
We will never forget what one returning member told us about what helped him again to begin attending sacrament, Sunday School, and priesthood meetings. For over 20 years, he had attended only a few gatherings of the restored Church of Jesus Christ because of his addiction to smoking cigarettes. Then, one day, after repeated invitations from his family and home teachers, he decided to come back. He told us that in order to gain the power not to smoke another cigarette—he would repeat the chorus of “I Am a Child of God” over and over again in his mind. Even years later, he could barely mention the title “I Am a Child of God” without tears coming to his eyes. He testified that with the help of this song he was able to accept callings, become temple worthy, and eventually serve as a temple worker.
Jesus Can Heal
Elder Brian K. Taylor, of the Seventy, relates the following story. As a teenager, a friend named Jen caused a serious car accident that resulted in the death of the other driver. After Jen’s physical injuries healed, she still suffered from severe spiritual wounds. For a while, she hid her feelings and became isolated and emotionally numb. She thought that there was no way that God could still love her. After a year, an inspired counsellor invited her to write the phrase “I am a child of God” and say it 10 times daily. Jen recalls that writing the words was easy, but she could not speak them without weeping. After several months, Jen was able to do both. She explains, “I poured out my whole soul, pleading with God. … Then I began to believe the words. … Christ felt my pains, my sorrows, my guilt. I felt God’s pure love and had never experienced anything so powerful! Knowing I am a child of God is the most powerful knowledge I possess!” (“Am I a Child of God?” Ensign, May 2018, 12-14).
Truly, the Savior’s great atoning sacrifice can mend a wounded soul. Simply knowing that we are the “offspring of God” as the Apostle Paul taught can bring each one of us comfort and courage. As children of God, may we seek the power to overcome and the healing that comes from knowing “the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] hast sent” (John 17:3).