The first article of faith is the center of all other believes. It says, “We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.”
You’ve learned something about this topic during your lessons with the missionaries. Most Christian churches believe in these three beings, but most have different ideas about the subject than we do. We don’t, for instance, believe they are all the same personage—the trinity. Instead, we believe that each member of the Godhead is a separate individual, but unified in purpose and teachings.
God is literally the Father of our spirits. He created us and loves us. Like any parent, He has to make rules for us and enforce them. The various churches of the world have differing views on what type of being God is. We know Him to have a body that is like ours, but perfect. We also know Him to be a kind and loving God. He doesn’t take pleasure in punishing us and does so only because we’ve chosen disobedience over obedience, thus deciding for ourselves our path. He wants us to be happy, to learn, and to grow, and to eventually return home to Him.
Jesus is our Savior. The church is named after Him. He came to earth to become like us, to experience what we experience, and ultimately, to take our sins upon Himself.
The Holy Ghost is somewhat different from the other members of the “Godhead.” He doesn’t have a physical body, but without him, it would be nearly impossible to make it back to Heavenly Father for most of us. We depend on him to help us make choices and to provide comfort when life gets hard.
Elder Jeffrey R. Holland wrote:
“Indeed no less a source than the stalwart Harper’s Bible Dictionary records that “the formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament].”
So any criticism that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does not hold the contemporary Christian view of God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost is not a comment about our commitment to Christ but rather a recognition (accurate, I might add) that our view of the Godhead breaks with post–New Testament Christian history and returns to the doctrine taught by Jesus Himself.” –Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” Ensign, Nov 2007, 40–42
These three members of what we call the Godhead are the core of our earthly existence. Building our relationships with them should be a top priority as we begin our time as members of the church. When this relationship is solid, everything else about the gospel seems so much easier. It’s easier to live the gospel and to avoid temptation and persecution when we know Heavenly Father very well and can recognize the Spirit when it speaks to us.
When you’re not sure where to start in the gospel, start here, getting to know the Godhead in a personal just-for-you sort of way.
Terrie Lynn Bittner
The late Terrie Lynn Bittner—beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and friend—was the author of two homeschooling books and numerous articles, including several that appeared in Latter-day Saint magazines. She became a member of the Church at the age of 17 and began sharing her faith online in 1992.