I thought I would devote a post to addressing something that a month ago I would not have thought would need to be addressed among a group of Latter-Day Saints. That topic is the belief that we a literally the spirit children of God. Apparently there are some who use a few phrases from Joseph Smith and their own ideas about the nature of God to claim that the Father child relationship between God the Father and man is not a literal spirit relationship. I personally feel that this relationship is a literal one and that it is the doctrine of the church that this relationship is literal.

Since statements from Joseph Smith seem to carry the most weight with many who appear to hold a non-literal relationship view I will start my case with him. In Teachings (p. 48) we find this:

Who but those who have duly considered the condescension of the Father of our spirits, in providing a sacrifice for his creatures, a plan of redemption, a power of atonement, a scheme of salvation...

Brigham Young appears to be even more direct on the subject. From Journal of Discourses we have:

Our Father in Heaven begat all the spirits that ever were, or ever will be, upon this earth; and they were born spirits in the eternal world. Then the Lord by his power and his wisdom organized the mortal tabernacle of man. We were made first spiritual, and afterwards temporal. 1:50

He is our Father; he is our God, the Father of our spirits; he is the framer of our bodies, and set the machine is successful operation to bring forth these tabernacles that I now look upon in this building, and all that ever did or ever will live on the face of the earth. 13:250

From Joseph F. Smith, 'The Origin of Man', (Improvement Era, Nov. 1909 p. 78) we get:

All men and women are ... literally the sons and daughters of Deity ... Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal body.

From our current prophet we have the familiar The Family: A Proclamation to the World which states:

All human beings - male and female - are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny.

Now from the scriptures I quote Acts 17:29

Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device.

And for me the clincher, Romans 8:16-17

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ ...
For me this is where it all comes together. After all the statements from prophets and references in scripture, what does the spirit say. To me the message from the spirit is clear and unmistakable. I AM A CHILD OF GOD!


At 12/30/2005, Blogger C Jones said...

At first it's a bit shocking to see debate on something that seems like it should be one of the most settled, least questionable doctrines.
So I have 2 theories about why it happens quite often.
First, I think debating itself (on any and every subject) is fun for many LDS bloggers. Second, I wonder if those who have been blogging for a long time have covered all the basics over and over and what's left are the fringes.
Anyway, it's nice to have new voices that add balance to the discussions.

At 12/30/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Thank you. Right now I'm kinda going back and forth between trying to post something I would view as positive, and then something contraversial. Keeping a balance I hope.

At 12/30/2005, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

Eric, I think that there may be abit of miscommunication. I agree with all the quotes in this post and agree that we are literally children of God.

At 12/31/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...


First, I hope this is not viewed as any personal attack on you. When I see posts by you I often read them because they are often so well done. But I do admit there have been positions you have taken on this topic that have disturbed me a bit. Perhaps I have not understood. You guys do blow me away with you vocabulary at times.

At 12/31/2005, Anonymous J. Stapley said...

No worries! This is all about discourse. Though, I do regret being disturbing :)

I think that the biggest controversy is how we resolve the concept of eternal spirits with spirit birth. But the doctrine of our relationship to the God as children is ultimately prime.

At 12/31/2005, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Thank you for clearing this up for me. I look forward to a better understanding of future debates.

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