The Godhead – January 2015

My assignment for this year is to teach from the Come Follow Me manual. It’s the same manual that the youth have been learning from. This gives us the opportunity to learn what they are learning, to share the lessons with them, to follow up with Family Home Evenings, all kinds of things. Think of the Sunday Dinner conversations!

They have these lessons every Sunday, we will only have them one Sunday a month. That leaves me with the task of combing through a lot of information and trying to choose, hopefully by the spirit, what we need to learn. So when you talk to your kids or grandkids you can not only have the flavor of what they are learning but you will also be able to share with them the discussions and perspectives that we share in this room.

Secondly, these lessons are not about me standing up here and lecturing, I am only the guide. There are parts of the lessons where I have no idea where we are going to go and where we will end up. Come prepared to share and discuss and get involved! We are here to learn from each other.

So, there is a lot of information in these lessons from the Come Follow Me Manual. As I pondered and read through it all it was a little overwhelming, lots of information, lots to study, but I have to choose. So after taking a few days to read through a lot and think on it, what I decided I wanted to do was to learn more about who the Godhead is.

So these are the questions I want us to ponder and explore in this lesson, Who are they? What does each of them offer us? What does each of us learn from them? How will knowing them affect my life? My choices?

So today we are going to learn more about just who the Godhead is.

Elder Jeffrey R Holland tells us that Post New Testament History explains the Godhead this way

In the year A.D. 325 the Roman emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicaea to address – among other things – the growing issue of God’s alleged “trinity in unity.”

What emerged from the heated contentions of churchmen, philosophers, and ecclesiastical dignitaries came to be known (after another 125 years and three more major councils) as the Nicene Creed, with later reformulations such as the Athanasian Creed. These various evolutions and iterations of creeds – and other to come over the centuries – declared the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be abstract, absolute, transcendent, immanent, consubstantial, coeternal, and unknowable, without body, parts, or passions and dwelling outside space and time. In such creeds all three members are separate persons, but they are a single being, the oft-noted “mystery of the trinity.” They are three distinct persons, yet not three Gods but one. All three persons are incomprehensible, yet it is one God who in incomprehensible.

Are we confused yet? I have read that several times and I wonder if anyone realizes how many conflicting things are in that paragraph.

In the Book, True to the Faith – we read this definition

The first article of faith states, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.” These three beings make up the Godhead. They preside over this world and all other creations of our Father in Heaven.

The true doctrine of the Godhead was lost in the apostasy that followed the Savior’s mortal ministry and the deaths of His Apostles. This doctrine began to be restored when 14- year old Joseph Smith received his First Vision. From the Prophet’s account of the first vision and from his other teachings, we know that the members of the Godhead are three separate beings. The Father and the Son have tangible bodies of flesh and bones, and the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.

Although the members of the Godhead are distinct beings with distinct roles, they are one in purpose and doctrine. They are perfectly united in bringing to pass Heavenly Father’s divine plan of salvation.

Much better! However that is a very brief explanation of who they are and what they do. So lets learn more!

Let start with our Father in Heaven – President Boyd K Packer said

One eternal truth that I have come to know is that God lives. He is our Father. We are His children.

Of all the other titles that He could have used, He chose to be called “Father.” The Savior commanded, “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father who art in heaven”. His use of the name “Father” is a lesson for all as we come to understand what it is that matters most in this life.

It would seem natural and easy for us to understand the love of a Father for his children. But for those of us that didn’t have a wonderful loving experience, it’s like speaking a foreign language. It is harder to feel the love of your Father in Heaven if you haven’t felt the love of your earthly father or had a great relationship with him. So in an effort to help us understand what a good father feels for his daughters I have asked Berkley Marshall to talk to us about his love for his daughters.

Give Berkley Time – Remember to thank him

( Berkley Marshall gave us some wonderful insights. He talked about why the Father and the Son are often referred to as “one”, they are “one in purpose, one in spirit”. He also talked to us about the title of Father. He says it is a title that it is earned. For instance as we are baptized into the gospel we become the “children” of Christ and so He is referred to as the Father of this world.

Then he talked to us about his children. He became very emotional as he told us that in order to save his children there is no corner he wouldn’t cut, no storm he wouldn’t brave, he would beg and plead and fight to the end. So if he feels that strongly about his children how much stronger does the father feel about us? He has infinitely more understanding and more capacity to love than we as mortals do, so his love for us must be so much greater than we are capable of.)

Now lets see what we can learn from the Hymns, I call them musical sermons!

Open your hymnbooks to I know My Father Lives – and O My Father – take a minute to read the versus, tell me what you learn about your Father in Heaven.

(We had a good discussion about the things we learned from the hyms)

I want to take just a minute to talk about using sacred language when we pray. Words like Thee and Thou, why do we use this language in prayer instead of you and your?

We are taught the language of prayer in the scriptures – the Lords prayer is specific.

Respect, deference, It’s different than talking to your neighbor. It should be a higher language.

Next, lets learn about Jesus Christ

Open your scriptures to the topical guide, review the list of entries after the headings. Find words or phrases that describe Christs role or mission. What can we learn from this list?

Some things I liked – The way, the truth, and the life, Without Jesus Christ we can do nothing, Atonement offers peace, bear our burdens with ease. The fact that he is our advocate with the Father was a good one too.

Open your Hymnbook to the topics section, look up Jesus Christ. Find a hymn that speaks to you, turn to it, what does this hymn teach you about Christ and what he has done for you? Why does this hymn speak to you?

President Packer teaches us

Foremost and underpinning all that we do, anchored throughout the revelations, is the Lord’s name, which is the authority by which we act in the Church. Every prayer offered, even by little children, ends in the name of Jesus Christ. Every blessing, every ordinance, every ordination, every official act is done in the name of Jesus Christ. It is His Church, and it is named for Him.

The Living Christ: The Testimony of the Apostles

He was the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament, the Messiah of the New. Under the direction of His Father, he was the creator of the earth. “All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3) though sinless, He was baptized to fulfill all righteousness. He went about doing good yet was despised for it. His gospel was a message of peace and goodwill. He entreated all to follow His example. He walked the roads of Palestine, healing the sick, causing the blind to see, and raising the dead. He taught the truths of eternity, the reality of our premortal existence, the purpose of our life on earth, and the potential for the sons and daughter of God in the life to come.

He instituted the sacrament as a reminder of His great atoning sacrifice. He was arrested and condemned on spurious charges, convicted to satisfy a mob, and sentenced to die on Calvary’s cross. He gave His life to atone for the sins of all mankind. His was a great vicarious gift in behalf of all who would ever live upon the earth.

We solemnly testify that His life, which is central to all human history, neither began in Bethlehem nor concluded on Calvary. He was the Firstborn of the Father, the only Begotten Son in the flesh, the Redeemer of the world.

The Holy Ghost

President Packer teaches us about the Holy Ghost, he says

He is the third member of the Godhead. His mission is to testify of truth and righteousness. He manifests Himself in many ways, including feelings of peace and reassurance. He can also bring comfort, guidance, and correction when needed. The companionship of the Holy Ghost is maintained throughout our lives by righteous living.

The gift of the Holy Ghost is conferred through an ordinance of the gospel. One with authority lays his hands on the head of a new member of the Church and says words such as these “Receive the Holy Ghost”.

This ordinance alone does not change us in a noticeable way, but if we listen and follow the promptings, we will receive the blessing of the Holy Ghost. Each son or daughter of our Heavenly Father can come to know the reality of Moroni’s promise, “By the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things” (Moroni 10:5)

Lets again turn to the topical guide and look up the Holy Ghost, what do we learn about him?

Some of my favorites

The comforter can teach us and bring all things to our remembrance

The Spirit bears witness that we are children of God

The Holy Ghost will show us what we should do

He fills us with hope and love

He teaches us truth

Now the hymnbook, under topics, look up Holy Ghost. Share some lines from these hymns that teach you or that you love.

We do not have time to cover it here, but I would encourage you to read a conference talk from Elder Craig C Christensen titled An Unspeakable Gift from God, it’s a wonderful talk all about the Holy Ghost and it is truly inspired and will help you learn more.

Now we know a little more about the Godhead. How will this affect your choices this week? This year? How will this knowledge affect who you are and who you can become? What will you do to improve your relationship with each member of the Godhead?