The first Article of Faith of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, often inadvertently called the “Mormon Church,” states, “We believe in God the Eternal Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost” (Articles of Faith 1:1.)
The Lord Jesus Christ is the glorious Being adored and worshiped by Latter-day Saints (“Mormons”.)
The reestablishment of The Church of Jesus Christ in modern times began by an event known to Latter-day Saints as The First Vision. After studying the tenets of religion and wanting to follow God’s commandment to be baptized, Joseph Smith read James 1:5 which states, “If any of you lack you lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not.” Emboldened by God’s promise to answer his sincere prayer, Joseph knelt alone in a grove of trees to ask God which church he should join.
I saw a pillar of light, exactly over my head above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. … When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description, standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other–This is my Beloved Son. Hear Him! (See Joseph Smith-History 1:16-17.)
God the Eternal Father and His Beloved Son Jesus Christ appeared to Joseph Smith! The First Vision revealed God the Eternal Father and the Lord Jesus Christ again to mankind. Their personal visitation corrected erroneous beliefs about the nature of the Godhead.
God the Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate and distinct personages. “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” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22.)
The Plan of Salvation and the Mission of Jesus Christ
Mormons believe that mankind existed before this lifetime in the presence of God as His children. “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and … has a divine nature and destiny” (The Family: A Proclamation to the World).
Before gaining physical bodies, each soul lived as a spirit. God the Eternal Father prepared this earth for His children to receive a body, experience mortality, and hopefully choose to return to live with Him again. He chose His Son Jesus Christ to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world, for He knew mankind would sin and need a way to repent and return to Him. Part of Heavenly Father’s plan of salvation and happiness includes life after death. A soul determines its eternal destination based on life choices, which includes correctly accepting Jesus Christ’s Grace and Atonement.
Who Was Jesus Christ?
God the Eternal Father, an immortal and exalted being, and Mary, a mortal being, parented Jesus Christ. After He was born in a stable, angelic hosts proclaimed his birth to shepherds who left their flocks to find the Christ Child. Wise men from the East followed a heavenly star to Bethlehem and acknowledged Jesus as their Savior and King. Jesus escaped the murderous destruction of King Herod when his earthly step-father Joseph heeded an angelic warning to take Mary and Jesus and flee to Egypt until Herod’s death. Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man” (Luke 2:52).
At age twelve, Jesus answered the chief priests’ questions in the temple. His ministry began at age 30. Jesus sought out John the Baptist so He could be baptized according to the commandments of God. He began to preach the Gospel and called Twelve Apostles from among His followers. By the power of God, Jesus healed any who would receive Him—the physically blind, lame, deaf, diseased, and possessed, as well as the spiritually blind, lame, deaf, diseased, and possessed. He taught the people how to repent, changing from old habits and sins to a higher, and more obedient, standard of living. He proved the importance of God’s commandments as an example of living them and reiterating them throughout His ministry. (See 2 Nephi 31:5; Matthew 22:37-40; and Matthew 5:17.)
Jesus exemplified love. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). He taught the people that God was His Father. “[I] ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (John 20:17).
At the close of His ministry, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. As He entered the city, throngs of people heralded Him as the promised Messiah. Jesus celebrated the Passover feast, which became known as the Last Supper, with His Apostles, and instituted the Sacrament, and even identified His betrayer, Judas Iscariot. After Passover, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus wrought the Atonement—where in an incomprehensible act of love and mercy, Jesus took upon Him the sins, pains, sorrows, and sicknesses of mankind and paid Justice’s horrific price to ransom men from corruptibility to incorruptibility. Betrayed by Judas to the Jewish leaders, Jesus was arrested in the garden and taken to the halls of judgement where He was illegally tried and condemned to death based on His assertion to be the Son of God. The Jews did not have power to exact capital punishment, so they took Jesus to the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate, and accused Jesus of sedition and demanded His crucifixion. Pilate declared that he found no fault in Jesus, but delivered Him up to be crucified. Three days after His death, Jesus Christ rose from the dead with a perfected body of flesh and bones and showed Himself to His Apostles and disciples as a witness of His resurrection.
Jesus Christ truly is the Son of God, the Savior and Redeemer of the World. The Old Testament prophet prophet Isaiah extolled Jesus’ glory and kingship, “[H]is name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
“I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked”
As a child, my mother often sang a favorite song, “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked” which describes the songwriter’s experience of walking the streets of Jerusalem and eventually climbing the hill of Calvary where Jesus died. This song instilled a deep, burning desire for me to do the same. When I was 19 years-old, I went to Jerusalem for a summer to walk where Jesus walked. I loved Jerusalem’s Old City, its limestone streets, the temple mount with the gorgeous Dome of the Rock, the Garden of Gethsemane’s ancient olive trees, and especially the Garden Tomb. The city infused itself into me. I loved every moment spent in those holy places. One day while sitting on the Mount of Olives overlooking Jerusalem, I realized that my quest had changed. While my experiences were amazing and life changing, my true quest in life was not to walk WHERE He walked, but HOW He walked. I needed to know for myself and testify to others that He LIVES and that His Atonement can be a tangible reality in every person’s life! I needed to repent of my sins and follow Him in every thought, to believe Him when He said that only through Him can we return to live with God the Eternal Father!
I know He lives! His restored Church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has the fulness of His Gospel on the earth today! I invite you to pray to God the Father in the name of Jesus Christ to know if He lives. You are His child and He loves you. I know He will answer your sincere prayer in a way that you can understand because He promised to do so in James 1:5. Joseph Smith received an answer to his sincere prayer. I received an answer to mine.
I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have moved 64 times and have not tired of experiencing this beautiful earth! I love the people, languages, histories/anthropologies, & especially religious cultures of the world. My life long passion is the study & searching out of religious symbolism, specifically related to ancient & modern temples. My husband Anthony and I love our bulldog Stig, adventures, traveling, movies, motorcycling, and time with friends and family.