Who is the Father?
Christ the Father
After Christ redeems the brother of Jared from the fall (Ether 3:13), He explains to the brother of Jared the doctrine of Christ’s Fatherhood. The doctrine is simple. It is an elaboration on what Christ taught in the New Testament.
Here is the doctrine: “Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters.” (Ether 3:14). In other words, because of our sins and the fall we have experienced, our relationship as sons and daughters of the Father cannot be restored without an intermediary who is willing to cleanse us and to accept us as His son.
This is what Jesus had reference to in John 14:6 when He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” If you find yourself in the circumstance that a voice from heaven declares unto you that you are a son of God because this day He has begotten you (Psalms 2:7) that voice will be Christ’s, your Father will be Christ, and you will understand that Christ is the Father and the Son. Denver Snuffer Blog September 19, 2012 [emphasis added]
Ether’s Reference to Christ as Father
. . . The “Father” of your eternal life will be Christ. (D&C 35: 2.) He is your Father who is in heaven, because your continuation after the grave will come through His sacrifice. He will literally provide you with the resurrected body you will inherit. This makes Him the Father. (See Mosiah 5: 7.)
Secondly, they are His teachings which will provide you with more than just resurrection. He will provide the further possibility of glory to you on the conditions He has made possible through obedience to Him. The one you follow, whose teachings you accept, whose ordinances you accept, is also your Father. (1 Cor. 4: 15.) The role of the Father is to raise His seed in righteousness. Christ’s teachings are given in His capacity of a Father to all who will follow Him. Through His teachings you can have a new life here and now. You can be “born again” as His seed. (1 Peter 1: 23.) To do that you must first accept His role as your Father/guide. Then you must further accept His role as Father/Redeemer. When you do that, He gives you a new life by His teachings and new life by His ordinances.
Here, excluded from the presence of Heavenly Father Ahman, we have no way back except through Christ. (Mosiah 3: 12.) (For the name “Ahman” see D&C 78: 20 where Christ mentions His Father’s name.) He must become our Father to bring us back again into the Ahman’s presence. Christ visits here. Christ labored here, lived among us, ministers still among us, and though resurrected still walked alongside two of His disciples. He appeared in an upper room, cooked and ate fish on the lake’s shore, and appeared to many. He will come to dwell here again. The Father Ahman, however, only appears in a state of glory, has not stood here since the Fall of Adam, and awaits the completion of the work of Christ before He will again take up His abode here.
Christ is not the same person as Father Ahman. Christ becomes the Father of all who are redeemed through Him. Therefore, by redeeming you Christ has become your Father in Heaven. You will have many fathers, including Christ, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and in our dispensation, Joseph Smith as well. And all these will also be children of Father Ahman. Denver Snuffer Blog February 27, 2012 [emphasis added]
If Father Ahman has not stood here since the Fall of Adam, and awaits the completion of the work of Christ before He will again take up His abode here. Then who did Joseph Smith see in his first vision? I went to bed with this question on my mind. I asked God to help me understand. The next morning I awoke with the idea to look up the definition of “personage”. I did not know there was a difference between a person and a personage until I looked up the definitions of these two words.
Person: An individual human being consisting of body and soul. A person is a thinking intelligent being.
Personage: Exterior appearance; stature; air; Character assumed. Character represented.
So what is the difference between a person and a personage? Could a person represent more than one personage. Could this help me understand the four different accounts of Joseph Smith's first vision? Could this help me understand “Father Ahman, however, only appears in a state of glory, has not stood here since the Fall of Adam, and awaits the completion of the work of Christ before He will again take up His abode here.”?
The four accounts can be found here. I have quoted the part where Joseph sees the Lord or two personages.
1. JS History, ca. Summer 1832, pp. 1–3. This is the earliest and most personal account, and the only one that includes Joseph Smith’s own handwriting.
. . . while in
attitude of calling upon the Lord behold I am
the Lord of glory I was crucifyed for the world
that all those who believe on my name may have Eternal life . . .
a piller of fire light above the brightness
of the sun at noon day come down from above and rested upon me and I
was filled with the spirit of god and the opened the
heavens upon me and I saw the Lord and he spake unto me saying
Joseph thy sins are forgiven thee. go thy
walk in my statutes and keep my commandments
2. JS, Journal, 9–11 Nov. 1835, pp. 23–24. Joseph Smith described his early visionary experiences to a visitor at his home in Kirtland, Ohio, in November 1835. His description was written down, and Warren Parrish later copied it into Joseph Smith’s journal.
I called on the Lord in mighty prayer, a pillar of fire appeared above my head, it presently rested down upon my
filled me with joy unspeakable, a personage appeard in the
midst, of this pillar of flame which was spread all around,
and yet nothing consumed, another personage soon appeard
like unto the first, he said unto me thy sins are forgiven
thee, he testifyed unto me that Jesus Christ is the son of God;
3. JS History, 1838–1856, vol. A-1, pp. 2–3. This best-known account of Joseph Smith’s first vision opened what was to become a six-volume history of his life. Copied by scribes into a large bound volume, this account was later canonized by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Pearl of Great Price.
I saw a pillar
light exactly over my head above the
brightness of the sun, which descended gracefully gradually untill
it fell upon me. It no sooner appeared than I found myself delivered
from the enemy which held me bound. 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 spake unto me calling me by name and said (pointing
to the other) “This is my beloved Son, Hear him.”
4. JS, “Church History,” Times and Seasons, 1 Mar. 1842, 3:706–707. This brief history of the church, often referred to as the “Wentworth letter,” was prepared at the request of a Chicago newspaper editor. The extent of Joseph Smith’s involvement in writing it is not known, but it was published with his signature. This account borrowed language from Orson Pratt’s A[n] Interesting Account of Several Remarkable Visions (see below).
I retired to a secret place in a grove and began to call upon the Lord, while fervently en gaged in supplication my mind was taken away from the objects with which I was surrounded, and I was enwrapped in a heavenly vision and saw two glorious personages who exactly resembled each other in features, and likeness, surround ed with a brilliant light which eclipsed the sun at noon-day. [empahsis added]
The Father is a personage of spirit, glory, and power. The son is a personage of tabernacle. You can even see these two personages in the first account. The Lord said “behold I am the Lord of glory [Father] I was crucifyed for the world [Son]” [emphasis added]. Did Joseph know something about the Godhead that I do not? Did he know the difference between a personage and a person? Did he understand the different roles God plays in his life? Does God “wear more than one hat”? Does the earliest account of Joseph's first vision contradict the other accounts, or is it two different ways of saying the same thing?
What do we understand the Godhead to be? Does the Godhead consists of more than one person?
1 Having shown in our previous lecture "faith itself—what it is," we shall proceed to show secondly the object on which it rests.
2 We here observe that God is the only supreme governor, and independent being, in whom all fulness and perfection dwells; who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life; and that in him every good gift, and every good principle dwells; and that he is the Father of lights: In him the principle of faith dwells independently; and he is the object in whom the faith of all other rational and accountable beings centers, for life and salvation. [emphasis added]
Who is the only supreme governor, and independent being, in whom all fulness and perfection dwells? Who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient; without beginning of days or end of life? In whom does the principle of faith dwells independently? Who is the object in whom the faith of all other rational and accountable beings centers, for life and salvation? Who is this describing? In whom am I commanded to have faith? Have I ever been instructed to have faith in the Father? Who is the object of my faith? Upon whom do I alone rely? Who is the author and finisher of my faith?
. . . For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance and faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. Mosiah 3:12
And after they had been received unto baptism, and were wrought upon and cleansed by the power of the Holy Ghost, they were numbered among the people of the church of Christ; and their names were taken, that they might be remembered and nourished by the good word of God, to keep them in the right way, to keep them continually watchful unto prayer, relying alone upon the merits of Christ, who was the author and the finisher of their faith. Moroni 6:4
Who is the Father of lights? Who are the children of light?
The people who heard this asked him, When we consult the scriptures they claim that the Messiah will live forever. Why do you say the Son of Man must sacrifice his life? Who are you talking about? Then Jesus said to them, Only a little time remains for the light who is now here. Learn how to live while the light remains, otherwise darkness will overcome you. Without the light you will fall into error. While you are near the light, believe in the light, so that you can become the children of light. Jesus said this, abruptly departed, and then avoided them. [emphasis added] (John 12:36 newly revealed account of John the Beloved’s Testimony of Jesus the Messiah page 21)
And now, because of the covenant which ye have made ye shall be called the children of Christ, his sons, and his daughters; for behold, this day he hath spiritually begotten you; for ye say that your hearts are changed through faith on his name; therefore, ye are born of him and have become his sons and his daughters. Mosiah 5:7
Therefore let your light so shine before this people, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. 3 Nephi 12:16
- I am the light and the life of the world. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. 3 Nephi 9:18
- Therefore, hold up your light that it may shine unto the world. Behold I am the light which ye shall hold up—that which ye have seen me do. Behold ye see that I have prayed unto the Father, and ye all have witnessed. 3 Nephi 18:24
Who is the light of the world? Who are the children of Christ? Are the children of light also the children of Christ? Is Christ the Father of lights?
Lecture Second Continued
3 In order to present this part of the subject in a clear and conspicuous point of light, it is necessary to go back and show the evidences which mankind have had, and the foundation on which these evidences are, or were based, since the creation, to believe in the existence of a God.
4 We do not mean those evidences which are manifested by the works of creation, which we daily behold with our natural eyes: we are sensible, that after a revelation of Jesus Christ, the works of creation, throughout their vast forms and varieties, clearly exhibit his eternal power and Godhead. Romans 1:20: For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made: even his eternal power and Godhead. But we mean those evidences by which the first thoughts were suggested to the minds of men that there was a God who created all things.
5 We shall now proceed to examine the situation of man at his first creation. Moses, the historian, has given us the following account of him in the first chapter of the book of Genesis, beginning with the 20th verse, and closing with the 30th. We copy from the new translation:
6 And the Lord God said unto the Only Begotten, who was with him from the beginning, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and it was done.
Why does the Second Lecture on Faith say his eternal power and Godhead? Whose power? Whose Godhead? If the Godhead consists of two persons, then why isn't it their eternal power and Godhead? If the Godhead consists of two personages but one person, would it be correct to say his eternal power and Godhead? Is there a difference between Godhead and Head of the Household of Heaven?
Is it possible one Lord is represented by two personages? If a personage is a character represented, would the spirit, glory, and power of Lord Jehovah be represented by the personage of the Father? And would the tabernacle of Lord Jehovah be represented by the personage of the Son? Is this what Joseph saw in his first vision? Is this why he speaks of one Lord in the first account but two personages in the last three accounts? Why is it important to have a correct understanding of the Godhead?
1 In our former lectures we treated of the being, character, perfections and attributes of God. What we mean by perfections, is, the perfections which belong to all the attributes of his nature. We shall, in this lecture speak of the Godhead: we mean the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
2 There are two personages who constitute the great, matchless, governing and supreme power over all things—by whom all things were created and made, that are created and made, whether visible or invisible: whether in heaven, on earth, or in the earth, under the earth, or throughout the immensity of space—They are the Father and the Son: The Father being a personage of spirit, glory and power: possessing all perfection and fulness: The Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, a personage of tabernacle, made, or fashioned like unto man, or being in the form and likeness of man, or, rather, man was formed after his likeness, and in his image;—he is also the express image and likeness of the personage of the Father: possessing all the fulness of the Father, or, the same fulness with the Father; being begotten of him, and was ordained from before the foundation of the world to be a propitiation for the sins of all those who should believe on his name, and is called the Son because of the flesh—
Are we also a personage of spirit and a personage of tabernacle?