Young children in the LDS Church begin at an early age to learn profound truths. In Primary they sing “I Am a Child of God.” In simple, clear and concise terms, this song teaches them of their spiritual heritage as a beloved child of an all-powerful, all-knowing God.
It is remarkable to know this from an early age, because when an individual — be it a child, a teen or an adult — comes to see themselves for what they are, a child of a loving, concerned Father in heaven, it dramatically changes self-perception. Knowing that one is a child of God provides not only great comfort but a commanding sense of self. It empowers individuals when they know they are loved by the maker of heaven and earth, and it encourages the development of a personal relationship with God.
Recently I was listening to the words of another song that struck me with great force and improved my understanding of who I am and what my relationship with God truly means. The lyrics come from the contemporary Christian song,"Everything Glorious," by David Crowder. Speaking of God the song explains:
“You make everything glorious / You make everything glorious / And I am yours / What does that make me?”
Suddenly I realized that not only must we comprehend that each of us is a beloved and cherished child of a loving father in heaven but we must understand what kind of child we are. We too are “glorious” beings by virtue of our divine heritage, with potential and possibility beyond our wildest imaginings.
It some cases it is possible to know that we are a child of God yet sometimes suppose that we are a recalcitrant or less splendid child of God. But when we add to our understanding that, as children of God, glory is innate, our understanding and our confidence exponentially expands. We are empowered.
Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone shared a powerful fable: “A young man, climbing in some rugged, high mountain peaks, came across an eagle’s nest. The nest contained several eggs. He took one and gently carried it back to his home. He then put it with several eggs an old hen was setting over. In due time all of the eggs were hatched, and there came forth the eaglet with the baby chicks. During the next several months the baby eagle grew along with the chicks. He scratched in the barnyard for his food like chickens do. Although he grew to full size, he still never flew.
“The young man watched the process with great interest. He wanted the eagle to fly. So one day he took the eagle up on top of his house and said, ‘Thou art an eagle, fly.’ But the eagle just flew down to the barnyard and commenced scratching like the chickens. A few days later, long before sunlight, the young lad took the eagle to a lofty crag high among the mountain peaks. Then, as the first streaks of sunlight burst over the mountain range, he said, ‘Thou art an eagle, fly.’
"The eagle began to stretch its wings; its eye caught a shaft of sunlight; a sensation swept through it from wing tip to wing tip. The fresh, cool air, the smell of pine trees, and an exhilaration it had never known coursed through the great bird. Its wings spread wider; power swept through its entire frame. It began to lift off the arm of the young man. Soon it was lifting and soaring hundreds of feet above the high peaks. It lifted higher and higher and soared farther and farther into the endless sky. It saw more in an instant than its earthbound chicken companions saw in a lifetime. From that time forth the eagle was never more content to be a barnyard fowl.” (“The Role of the Deacon,” New Era, May 1974)
As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we can know and understand our true potential and possibilities, and because of that knowledge, we are empowered, transformed and free to live and strive on a higher plane. Let these words ring in our ears and ever guide and uplift us:
“I am a child of God”
“(God makes) everything glorious / (God makes) everything glorious / And I am (his) / What does that make me?”
Kristine Frederickson writes on issue-oriented topics that affect members of the LDS Church worldwide in her column LDS World.