Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Godhead

Who are these Beings we worship, anyway?

Yep, it's time for another meaty doctrinal post.

The Godhead consists of three personages: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

The Father
The Father is our Heavenly Father - literally the Father of our spirits. He is God, the Almighty. He is not a floating rainbow cosmic sparkle spirit; He is a person like you and me, with a body of flesh and bone. However, He is glorified and perfected and supreme. He loves His children just like we do, only with a far superior and more powerful love than we can even imagine. He has no beginning and no end. He has created an infinite number of worlds. He has all power and knows everything.

The Son
The Son is, of course, Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is not His own father. He is not the same person as our Heavenly Father. Before I joined the Church, it never made any sense to me that other churches believed the Father and the Son to be the same person. It never made sense to me that Jesus would pray to Himself, or say that He had sent Himself, etc.

This is because Jesus is not God the Father - He is His only begotten Son. It can be a little confusing sometimes in the scriptures, because it often says that they are "one." But that just means "one" in purpose, not "one" as in "the same person." My wife and I are one, but we are not the same person - we each have our own bodies and minds. (Jesus wasn't suggesting gene splicing when He said that a man and his wife should be "one flesh.")

A great description of who Jesus is can be found here, and also in the Church document, The Living Christ. President Gordon B. Hinckley's awesome testimony of Jesus can be read here.

The Holy Ghost
This is the third member of the Godhead. As such, He too is a god, all-powerful and all-knowing. He is the only member of the Godhead who does not currently have a body. This is so that He can inhabit people's hearts and be in more than one place at once. Additional names for the Holy Ghost include the Comforter and the Holy Spirit. Read more about Him here.

What Makes the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Different?
To me, the definitive discourse on the nature of the Godhead can be found in Elder Jeffrey R. Holland's talk from the October 2007 General Conference, The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent. Here he clearly spells out the Church's position and beliefs and explains them and offers detailed reasons for them, and bears powerful apostolic testimony.

What I Believe
I add to that my own testimony that I know that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are three distinct individuals, and that they know me and love me. I testify that God makes sense - that He is not some incomprehensible pseudo-being whom we cannot know, understand, or strive to be like. He is a perfect, all-powerful, all-loving being, and we, His children, are in a lot of ways as much like him as our own children are like us - at least the analogous relationship is more accurate if you think of a parent and a newborn baby, since God is so much greater than us.

Like any other parent-baby relationship, He created us, we depend on Him for everything, we learn from Him, He sets the example, He is always there for us and loves us, He wants us to be with Him forever, and we have the potential to become like Him as we keep His commandments.

He will always be our Eternal Father, will always be supreme, and loves us perfectly. Wouldn't you sacrifice anything for your own child or children? That's what He did when He sent His son.

The Godhead, and our understanding of it in the Church, is a key differentiator from other Christian churches and an important reason that I know this is the true church of God.

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