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Highlights for 3 Nephi 8-11
Elder Andersen’s recent Conference talk “Spiritually Defining Memories” surprised me with its candor. Mostly, because he shared an in-depth teaching about the Godhead we don’t usually hear in Sunday School.
Doctrinal vs. Cultural
First, he affirms that all three members of the Godhead talk to us. For sure, this is not a typical gospel understanding or teaching. In times past, when I have shared a similar thought or taught the same concept, some people treat it as a fringe doctrine out in the weeds somewhere. Perhaps, it’s because of a few unfortunate, cultural teachings which have gradually snuck into our church life over the decades.
You may have heard one of them like “we only pray to Heavenly Father => therefore it is inappropriate to talk to Christ.” Or you’ll hear the opposite, that “the Father rarely, if ever speaks and usually only through the Son.” The irony is this basically renders both of Them as non-communicative.
Let’s take a look at a couple of verses in 3 Nephi 11. First the Father speaks:
“Behold my Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, in whom I have glorified my name—hear ye him.” (3 Nephi 11:7)
Then the Son speaks:
“…whoso believeth in me believeth in the Father also; and unto him will the Father bear record of me, for he will visit him with fire and with the Holy Ghost.” (3 Nephi 11:35)
Jesus Christ Talks
Before I quote Elder Andersen, here’s some background to consider. First, there are a lot of examples of the Savior talking directly to us as mortals. For example when He was on earth He made a point of establishing a lot of relationships and held many conversations. Then again after he ascends to heaven, Christ appears and talks numerous times to individuals and to groups of people. The current Book of Mormon chapters chronicle one particularly amazing event, when he appears to the Nephites in the Americas. To them, he says:
Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world. (3 Nephi 11:14)
We know Jesus is at the head of His Church and is the one talking to prophets on a frequent basis. Yet somehow, our collective understanding evolved to a silent, off-limits version of Christ that we’re not supposed to address or talk to. How, I don’t know because this belief is thoroughly smashed by reading the Doctrine & Covenants. So, I’m wondering if maybe people don’t read the D&C too much? (Optional: see a list of D&C verses at the end of this article.
Heavenly Father Talks
Last April (2020), Elder Andersen shared some important, empowering truths about Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.
“Along with the peaceful direction we receive from the Holy Ghost, from time to time, God [Heavenly Father**] powerfully and very personally assures each of us that He knows us and loves us and that He is blessing us specifically and openly…God knows and loves each of us and…He eagerly desires to reveal Himself to us…Then, in our moments of difficulty, the Savior brings these experiences back into our mind.”
**Note: “God” is already established as Heavenly Father in the original paragraphs leading to this one.
Notice how Neil L. Andersen refers to all three members of the Godhead and affirms that God the Father speaks to individual people on earth. He goes on to add:
“Embrace your sacred memories. Believe them. Write them down. Share them with your family. Trust that they come to you from your Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son [both!]. Let them bring patience to your doubts and understanding to your difficulties. I promise you that as you willingly acknowledge and carefully treasure the spiritually defining events in your life, more and more will come to you. Heavenly Father knows you and loves you”!
May we develop a treasure chest of spiritually defining moments and open ourselves to communication from Heavenly Father and from the Savior, both.
God the Father, Jesus the Christ and the Holy Ghost all three watch us, love us and want us to be well-acquainted with Them.
1 Listen to the voice of Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, the Great I Am, whose arm of mercy hath atoned for your sins;
2 Who will gather his people even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, even as many as will hearken to my voice and humble themselves before me, and call upon me in mighty prayer. (D&C 29:1-2)
1 Verily, thus saith the Lord: It shall come to pass that every soul who forsaketh his sins and cometh unto me, and calleth on my name, and obeyeth my voice, and keepeth my commandments, shall see my face and know that I am;
2 And that I am the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world; (D&C 93:1-2)
62 And again, verily I say unto you, my friends [Christ speaking], I leave these sayings with you to ponder in your hearts, with this commandment which I give unto you, that ye shall call upon me while I am near—
63 Draw near unto me and I will draw near unto you; seek me diligently and ye shall find me; ask, and ye shall receive; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. (D&C 88:62-63)
And now behold, I say unto you that the right way is to believe in Christ, and deny him not; and Christ is the Holy One of Israel; wherefore ye must bow down before him, and worship him with all your might, mind, and strength, and your whole soul; and if ye do this ye shall in nowise be cast out. (2 Nephi 25:29)
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. (Revelation 3:20-21)
For a more in-depth look at a relationship with the Savior, see the article below: