Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wife Rule #128: Why I Love Your Mother (to my children) -- Chapter Four: The Nature of Man

I am a child of God,
And he has sent me here,
Has given me an earthly home
With parents kind and dear.
Lead me, guide me, walk beside me,
Help me find the way.
Teach me all that I must do
To live with him someday.
--Naomi W. Randall, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 301

Through ignorance, men have offered some pretty wild theories about who we are and how we got here on earth. Only slightly less ridiculous than the idea that the earth is being towed through the sky on the back of a giant turtle, there are those who would have you believe that all creation is the result of random, chance events. They would have you believe that men are descendants of ancient slime that happened to spring to life when a pool of muck was struck by lightning.

The truth of the matter is that there is a simple way to understand the nature of man, but it can only be attained by looking through the "eye of faith." And frankly, in my opinion, believing in the truth takes a lot less faith than believing in the alternate theories.

If you could reach way back into your memory, long before your body was created here on earth, you would see yourself very much alive, but as a spirit only. You would see yourself at home, similar to the home you know now, only much grander and better in almost every way. And you would see yourself as part of a family, similar to your family here on earth but much, much larger--God's family.

It may surprise you, my children, since you have been taught the truths of the gospel since your infancy, but most of the world has no idea where we came from. They read the scriptures--if they believe them at all--that talk about "Our Father who art in heaven" in a figurative sense. They don't realize that our Heavenly Father is exactly that--our father.

You understand what a father is. You have an earthly father, a person, a male, who loves you, who cares for you, and who played one of two vital parts in giving you life. Your mother and I were responsible for initiating the process by which your mortal bodies were created. Likewise you have a Father in Heaven, who, with His eternal companion, created your spirits long before you came to earth. You were, in a very literal sense, born as a spirit a long, long time ago, in exactly the same sense in which your body was born here on earth just a few years ago. You have both a father and a mother on earth, and in heaven.

Eliza R. Snow expressed these truths beautifully in this verse:

I had learned to call thee Father,
Thru thy Spirit from on high,
But, until the key of knowledge
Was restored, I knew not why.
In the heav’ns are parents single?
No, the thought makes reason stare!
Truth is reason; truth eternal
Tells me I’ve a mother there.
(Eliza R. Snow, Hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, no. 292)

I do not know why the world at large finds this eternal truth so hard to believe. It is simple enough that a small child can understand it. The pattern of family life here on earth is an exact (albeit imperfect) mirror of family life in the heavens. Talking with your Eternal Father should be just as natural and instinctive as conversing with your father here on earth. The God we pray to is a loving Father, whose divine face you can picture in your mind, because you have seen human faces here on earth. "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.... So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them" (Genesis 1:26-27). There it is, plain as day, spelled out in simplicity in the first chapter of the Bible. We are created in their image, in the likeness of our Heavenly Parents.

For some reason though, much of the world prefers to change God into something that cannot be understood. Either they deny that He exists at all, or they choose to believe He is some type of cosmic power or force, without "body, parts or passions" (The Westminster Confession of Faith [A.D. 1646]) that cannot be understood or envisioned. These false teachings are not in the scriptures; they are the inventions of men who, whether intentionally or through ignorance, have mixed eternal truths up with their own philosophies.

There are many who would suggest that to teach that God has a body that looks like our bodies, that He is a man, that He talks with His mouth, has arms and legs and feet and very much has passions such as love, disappointment, and even occasional anger, is blasphemy. They are similar to those who criticized Jesus for saying that He is the son of God:

34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?
(John 10:34-36)

On the contrary, recognizing that mankind, male and female, are fashioned in the very image and likeness of Eternal, Celestial Parents in no way blasphemes God; it doesn't "drag Him down to our level." No, it works the other way: it elevates man.

Do you see now, my children, why Joseph Smith the prophet said that "If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves" (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1938, p. 343)?

For we are the children of God! We are sparks struck from a divine blaze; and though small and weak, we have the potential to grow into fires so bright and glorious that it defies imagination. And just like I, your earthly father, want more than anything else for you grow up to have every blessing and privilege that I have and more, our Father in Heaven wants nothing more than for us to "grow up" and share in the divine perfection that is His life: eternal life.

If you could remember back to the past eons of time before this world was, you would recall that you were born, raised, and loved in the mansions of Heavenly Parents. You were afforded every chance for growth and progression possible under their divine care. You "received [your] first lessons in the world of spirits" (D&C 138:56) and were saved to come to this earth, at this time, born into this family, for wise purposes. This was all planned and customized, just for you, for your good and for the ultimate salvation of the entire human family. Our family.

God has a plan for you, and a plan for me. This divine plan of salvation has everything to do with why I love your mother so much.

Part four of a twelve-chapter essay. Read more: Ch 1 | Ch 2 | Ch 3 | Ch 4 | Ch 5 | Ch 6 | Ch 7 | Ch 8 | Ch 9 | Ch 10 | Ch 11 | Epilogue

1 comment:

Brooke said...

That is beautiful and so simple, and I believe every word. I know that it is true. Thank you for expressing it so lovingly.