Friday, July 11, 2008

The Father and The Son: Separate and Distinct

“We ought to be real students—students like no one else. … If we, in this lay Church, don’t become proficient in learning the gospel of Jesus Christ, who on earth will? If the elders of Israel do not become profound theologians, who on earth will? If you mothers and mothers-to-be don’t learn the gospel sufficiently to teach your children, who on earth will? And, you missionaries, if you don’t learn the message the Lord would have you teach, who on earth will? Many painfully discover the obvious—you can’t teach well that which you do not know!” (Joe J. Christensen, “Learning Is Everybody’s Business,” Ensign, Feb. 1979, pp. 64–65).

I’m going to focus on this quote as I blog about missionary work over the next several weeks. I will be writing about the basic beliefs of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in hopes that those who are not of our faith can learn more about us, and those of us who are LDS can strengthen our knowledge and be more effective as we teach the gospel to others.

The First Article of Faith states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” As we consider this basic belief, we must also contemplate the First Vision wherein Joseph Smith literally saw the Father and the Son.

One of the most important aspects that we learn from the First Vision is that young Joseph saw two distinct personages. Both the Father and the Son appeared and both spoke to him (Joseph Smith History 1:17-20). Many churches today believe in the trinity, that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one being, not distinct separate, beings. We have been blessed to know that each member of the Godhead is distinct and separate from the other.

When I was a little girl, my mother was in search of the truth. After my father’s death, she desperately wanted answers. As a result, we investigated many different religions. I remember a specific instance when I was in a class and asked about where Jesus resided. The teacher responded that Jesus was all around us. I asked if he was in my heart and she said he was. I asked if he was in my hair and she said he was. I then asked if he was in my fingernail and, again, she replied that he was because he was everywhere all the time. Even though I was young, this simply did not make sense to me. I couldn’t believe that Jesus was everywhere all the time. I had always envisioned him as a person (in fact, I would say my prayers and then open my eyes as quickly as possible because I was sure he was there and I was determined to see him before he left my room). The idea that he was some sort of mist that could be everywhere at the same time didn’t seem right to me.

After my mother’s death, I discovered the LDS Church and soon learned that Jesus was once a mortal man who walked on the earth. He is now a resurrected being with flesh and bones, as is Heavenly Father. “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; . . .” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22). Heavenly Father and Jesus are separate personages.

This makes perfect sense to me.

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Tristi Pinkston said...

What an awesome article, and I love the quote you started with. Thank you!

Hey, I'm setting up a virtual blog tour for a friend and wonder if you'd like to be a host. Would you pop me a note at tristi AT and I'll share details?

Josi said...

Great stuff, Rebecca. You always inspire me and make your point.

Rebecca Talley said...

Thanks for your comments :)