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Dear Gramps,

Considering the gospel of Jesus Christ promises us eternal life, and that if we do our very best to keep the commandments of God, we may be as our Father in Heaven, as he was once like us.  With that being said, according to Joseph Smith as noted in the King Follet Discourse, God the Father was a Savior of a world just as Jesus Christ was. Is it fair to assume before you can become a God like our Savior and Father in Heaven, that we will have to be Saviors one day?

Regards

 Mike

 

Answer

 

Mike,

If you mean to ask, will we need to be born on an earth, live a perfect life, perform miracles, establish a gospel, atone for the sins of a world, lay down our lives and take them up again, then emphatically, no. The idea is totally inconsistent with the doctrine of resurrection. Once we are resurrected (a gift to all mankind through the Savior’s atonement) we will never die again. We will be free from disease and death eternally.

In Alma 11:45 we read:

“Now, behold, I have spoken unto you concerning the death of the mortal body, and also concerning the resurrection of the mortal body. I say unto you that this mortal body is raised to an immortal body, that is from death, even from the first death unto life, that they can die no more; their spirits uniting with their bodies, never to be divided; thus the whole becoming spiritual and immortal, that they can no more see corruption.”

Expanding on the King Follet discourse a bit, it needs to be clearly understood that not everything therein is of absolutely doctrinal certainty. When it was printed in the Ensign in 1971 the intro clearly states:

“Evidently, there are some imperfections in the report and some thoughts expressed by the Prophet which were not fully rounded out and made complete.”

I do not think we can take it as a foregone conclusion that God the Father was a Savior in the literal exact same manner that Jesus was. Whereas this is certainly a possibility, the idea is not taught as doctrine in the church.

Here is the relevant text from the discourse where the idea may be seen:

“…yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did;

….

Jesus said, as the Father hath power in himself, even so hath the Son power—to do what? Why, what the Father did. The answer is obvious—in a manner to lay down his body and take it up again. Jesus, what are you going to do? To lay down my life as my Father did, and take it up again. “

From this some have inferred the idea you propose, that God the Father must have been a Savior. However, immediately after that it states:

“Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.”

Also, we may read in the scriptures (2 Nephi 31:17)

“Wherefore, do the things which I have told you I have seen that your Lord and your Redeemer should do; for, for this cause have they been shown unto me, that ye might know the gate by which ye should enter.”

So I see where your logic is coming from. If Jesus did what He saw the Father do (lay down his life and take it up again) and we are commanded to do as we saw Jesus do (lay down His life and take it up again) then we must all be Saviors, doing exactly as the Savior did. But as I started with, we cannot do this. Resurrection is permanent. So we must accept that when we are speaking of “doing as the Savior did” we cannot mean literally in every sense. Therefore, logically, when the Savior speaks of doing as the Father did, perhaps it also is not literally in every sense.

My objective is not to deny (or confirm) that God the Father was a Savior like unto Jesus. I am simply trying to point out that it is not as black-and-white as you might think.

However, we have all been commanded, as indicated, to follow the Savior and do what He did. We are also asked to take up our crosses and follow Him. What does that mean if not literal?

In 3 Nephi 12:30 Jesus uses this phrase related to looking on a woman to lust after her, saying,

“For it is better that ye should deny yourselves of these things, wherein you will take up your cross, than that ye should be cast into hell.”

In D&C 112:14 it states,

“Arise and gird up your loins, take up your cross, follow me, and feed my sheep.”

In D&C 23:6-7 it says,

“…you must take up your cross, in the which you must pray vocally before the world as well as in secret, and in your family, and among your friends, and in all places.

 

And, behold, it is your duty to unite with the true church, and give your language to exhortation continually, that you may receive the reward of the laborer. Amen.”

I read these warnings thus: Deny yourself of sin and preach the gospel.

That makes sense with what Jesus declared His gospel was in 3 Nephi 11:37-41

“And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and become as a little child, and be baptized in my name, or ye can in nowise receive these things.

 

And again I say unto you, ye must repent, and be baptized in my name, and become as a little child, or ye can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

 

And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

 

Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

As we can see, Jesus declares his doctrine plainly. Repent, be baptized, and then go and preach the same to others. In this manner we do as we have seen Jesus did. Jesus obeyed the commandments (obviously He had no need for repentance, and neither would we if we were perfectly obedient), was baptized, and preached the word. In this manner we take up our crosses and do as He did. And in this way we receive Salvation. He is the way. Through Him we are given exaltation. And by His atonement it is made possible for us to inherit all that the Father hath.

It can be interesting to surmise about the nature of God the Father beyond what we know. But beyond mild curiosity, we must keep in mind what is important. Joseph stated in the King Follet discourse that we must understand the character of God.

“If a man learns nothing more than to eat, drink and sleep, and does not comprehend any of the designs of God, the beast comprehends the same things. It eats, drinks, sleeps, and knows nothing more about God; yet it knows as much as we, unless we are able to comprehend by the inspiration of Almighty God. If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.”

The way we do this is by understanding the character of Jesus, who is the mediator, and who came to earth to set the example for us. The important nature of Christ’s example is obedience. We learn this also in 2 Nephi 31:5-7:

“And now, if the Lamb of God, he being holy, should have need to be baptized by water, to fulfil all righteousness, O then, how much more need have we, being unholy, to be baptized, yea, even by water!

 

And now, I would ask of you, my beloved brethren, wherein the Lamb of God did fulfil all righteousness in being baptized by water?

 

Know ye not that he was holy? But notwithstanding he being holy, he showeth unto the children of men that, according to the flesh he humbleth himself before the Father, and witnesseth unto the Father that he would be obedient unto him in keeping his commandments.”

The character of Jesus was to do the will of the Father. Our character should be likewise, and I believe we may safely surmise the same of the Father’s character. This is what has been asked of us. If we are obedient to the will of our Father then we will be saved through the Atonement of He who is mighty to save. Obedience is the condition set.

 

 

Gramps

 

 

 

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