- In his First Vision, Joseph Smith saw two distinct personages, two beings, thus clarifying that the then-prevailing beliefs concerning God and the Godhead were not true.
Joseph Smith instructed us in the Doctrine and Covenants about the nature of the Godhead.
- We know that the three members of the Godhead are separate and distinct beings. We know this from instruction given by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “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.”
A brief explanation of the plan of salvation is explained and why we needed a Savior to complete the plan of our Heavenly Father.
- As spirit children of God, in an existence prior to mortality, we desired a destiny of eternal life but had progressed as far as we could without a mortal experience in a physical body. To provide that opportunity, our Heavenly Father presided over the Creation of this world, where, deprived of our memory of what preceded our mortal birth, we could prove our willingness to keep His commandments and experience and grow through the other challenges of mortal life. But in the course of that mortal experience, and as a result of the Fall of our first parents, we would suffer spiritual death by being cut off from the presence of God, be soiled by sin, and become subject to physical death. The Father’s plan anticipated and provided ways to overcome all of those barriers.
Elder Oaks speaks about each of the Godhead individually and their unique role in the Plan of Salvation.
- God the Father is the Father of our spirits. We are His children. He loves us, and all that He does is for our eternal benefit. He is the author of the plan of salvation, and it is by His power that His plan achieves its purposes for the ultimate glory of His children.
- On those unique and sacred occasions when God the Father personally introduced the Son, He has said, “This is my beloved Son: hear him.” Thus, it is Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the Lord God of Israel, who speaks to and through the prophets. So it is that when Jesus appeared to the Nephites after His Resurrection, He introduced Himself as “the God of the whole earth.” So it is that Jesus often speaks to the prophets of the Book of Mormon and to the Latter-day Saints as “the Father and the Son.”
- The Savior promised that the Comforter will teach us all things, bring all things to our remembrance, and guide us into all truth. Thus, the Holy Ghost helps us discern between truth and falsehood, guides us in our major decisions, and helps us through the challenges of mortality. He is also the means by which we are sanctified, that is, cleansed and purified from sin.
Knowing the truths we know as member of the church provides us the greatest knowledge concerning our purpose here in life. We understand the mind and will of God in bringing us home to Him again after this life.
- Because we have the truth about the Godhead and our relationship to Them, the purpose of life, and the nature of our eternal destiny, we have the ultimate road map and assurance for our journey through mortality. We know whom we worship and why we worship. We know who we are and what we can become. We know who makes it all possible, and we know what we must do to enjoy the ultimate blessings that come through God’s plan of salvation. How do we know all of this? We know by the revelations of God to His prophets and to each of us individually.
Finally, Elder Oaks provides this memorable quote about what the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation does for us.
- In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ challenge us to become something.
I love looking a the three of four key points of doctrine that make the LDS Church different from all other religions. The first truth that makes us different is our belief in separate beings in the Godhead. I love that this simple knowledge was restored in the Sacred Grove when Joseph Smith experienced the First Vision. How grateful I am to know that I can have a personal relationship with the Savior and learn more about the Father and the Son through the Holy Ghost. Elder Oaks gives us great insights into the nature of the Godhead, tells us their Plan of Salvation for us, and gives us hope that we can return to live with God after this life. The plan is real and we have a loving Father in Heaven who desires all of His children to return to Him.