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Mormon Parenting: Three separate testimonies of God

Published: Friday, May 11 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

Let us talk a little today about something that perhaps we should all think a little more about and something that we should try very hard to teach to our children.

Not long ago, an interesting conversation began in a priesthood quorum about the three personages in the Godhead.

After commenting about how unique we are in our LDS theology to believe in three separate and distinct members of the Godhead, the instructor asked an interesting question: “Which of the three do you feel you know the best and have the strongest testimony of?”

Many answered that their faith was strongest and their relationship deepest with Heavenly Father, simply because we are literally his children and it is to him we pray. How could one not feel close to a father with whom one communicates every day?

Others, as you would expect, said they felt closest to Christ because he atoned for our sins and because he is our mediator with the Father and because it is he in whose name we pray. Also, many felt their belief was most personal in Christ because it was he who lived on this earth and who experienced all and more than any of us has.

The final group made the case that perhaps the one we know best is the Holy Ghost, because it is he who comforts us, guides us and touches us with his spirit. We know best those who we feel most, and the Holy Ghost we feel in our hearts. What would you have said?

Whatever your answer is, the point is that it is marvelous that we not only believe in three distinct and separate members of the Godhead, but also that we can have an individual conviction of and relationship with each of the three.

When we testify “I know that God lives,” what we are really saying is that we know that each of the three members of the Godhead lives and that we have a belief and a faith in them collectively and individually.

How important it is to testify of each of the three to our children and to help them to develop a strong belief in each and a personal feeling and understanding for each.

Some parents might say, “Well, I don’t want to confuse my children — isn’t it enough just to try to help them believe in God?”

Actually, what can be confusing to children is the three-in-one concept. Kids can readily accept and understand that there is a God the Father who is our Heavenly Father and also Christ’s spiritual and physical father. And they can clearly understand that the Holy Ghost is a separate third member of the Godhead who is a personage of spirit and who has a special power to guide and comfort us. Finally, they can understand that the three are one in purpose and in their goal and plan for us to have a successful mortality and return to them in heaven.

One of the best Bible stories to illustrate to children the separate reality of the three Godhead members is the baptism of Jesus when Christ was in the water, God was in heaven saying “This is my Beloved Son” and the Holy Ghost was descending from heaven like a dove and lighting upon Christ. We can teach our children that Heavenly Father is the father of our spirits and that he listens to our prayers. We can teach them that the Holy Ghost can be with us and give us the warm feelings of truth and love and belief.

And we can teach them that Jesus is literally our elder spiritual brother and that he is also our Savior and a being so great and awesome that, in Elder Neal L. Maxwell’s words, “The more we think about where we stand in relation to Christ, the more we realize that we do not stand at all, we only kneel.”

Richard and Linda Eyre are New York Times No. 1 best-selling authors who lecture throughout the world on family-related topics. Read Linda's blog at www.deseretnews.com/blog/81/A-World-of-Good.html and visit the Eyres anytime at www.TheEyres.com.

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