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Dear Gramps,

Can you give a easy to understand explination of when reading the BOM, how to distinguish between God the Father and Jesus when they mention “God” “Lord” etc…


Dear Caren,

It is difficult to determine when God the Father is speaking and when it is God the Son.   In a talk given at BYU, Elder McConkie stated:  “Most scriptures that speak of God or of the Lord do not even bother to distinguish the Father from the Son, simply because it doesn’t make any difference which God is involved. They are one. The words or deeds of either of them would be the words and deeds of the other in the same circumstance. “Further, if a revelation comes from, or by the power of the Holy Ghost, ordinarily the words will be those of the Son, though what the Son says will be what the Father would say, and the words may thus be considered as the Father’s” (Bruce R. McConkie, “Our Relationship with the Lord,” in Brigham Young University 1981–82 Fireside and Devotional Speeches [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1982], p. 101).

Normally the only times God the Father speaks directly is when he is introducing the Son or testifying of Him.  This occurred when Jesus was baptized.  We have all three members of the Godhead present.  Jesus is baptized, God the Father declared:  “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3: 17) and the Holy Ghost descended in the sign of the dove.  When the prophet Joseph Smith went into the grove to pray, both God the Father and Jesus appeared to Joseph.  God the Father then introduced and testified of Jesus:  “This is My Beloved Son, hear Him.”  (Joseph Smith History 1: 17)

In his book, The Articles of Faith, Elder James E. Talmage gives the following explanation of the principle of the God the Son speaking for God the Father:  “The Savior also has distinct roles and responsibilities, delegated to him by our Heavenly Father throughout the ages. Jesus was the Father’s executive in pre-earth life, in mortality, and since his triumphant victory over death. Our Father in Heaven has allowed Jesus to speak to various prophets as if he were the Father. In the legal profession this is a well-understood practice referred to as the “power of attorney.” Jesus stated that “I am come in my Father’s name.” (John 5:43; see also John 10:25.) The First Presidency, in an excellent explanation of this principle, called this authority of Christ to speak for the Father in the first person “Divine Investiture of Authority.” (See James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith, Appendix 2, p. 470.)

I refer again to Elder McConkie’s statement:  “simply because it doesn’t make any difference.”  Jesus told us when He was here on the earth that He and His Father are one, that He came to do the will of the Father, and if you have seen Me you have seen the Father.  Though they are two distinct personages, they are truely One.


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