Saturday, September 24, 2016

I Am a Child of God

Many months ago, my brother told me about a conversation he had had with a friend. The friend had asked my brother this question: "If you were the most powerful person in the universe and could change anything about the world, what would you change?" My brother and his friend hypothesized about the various evils and injustices of the world, choosing something and then deciding that something else must surely be more evil and if we rid the world of that evil, it would most definitely be a better place.

Then one day I was thinking about this exact question. What would I choose? Somehow, choosing to eradicate a certain evil just seemed like the wrong approach. As I pondered more, this quote by President Boyd K. Packer came into my mind:

"True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. 
"The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior. . . . That is why we stress so forcefully the study of the doctrines of the gospel."

This was why I felt that eliminating specific evils from the world wouldn't work. It is doctrine which changes behavior. We learn this truth in the Book of Mormon, when Alma went on a mission to the Zoramites.

"And now, as the preaching of the word had a great tendency to lead the people to do that which was just—yea, it had had more powerful effect upon the minds of the people than the sword, or anything else, which had happened unto them—therefore Alma thought it was expedient that they should try the virtue of the word of God." [Alma 31:5]

As I made this realization, that true doctrine was the answer to really changing the world, the primary song "I am a Child of God" filled my mind and I was suddenly overwhelmed with the thought that this was the answer. I knew that if I were asked what I would change in the world, this song and the doctrines in them were my answer. If it were possible to imbue into the hearts of every man, woman, and child on this earth their divine heritage, the injustices and evils of the world would become changed through the people. They would be eliminated! The world would become a better place if only people knew who they were--Whose they were. Can you sense what a powerful doctrine this is? Can you feel the strength that comes from knowing your divinity? Can you glimpse the ramifications for your own future, not to mention the futures of your children and grandchildren, if you truly knew and lived the doctrine that you are a child of God? I feel that I can only barely glimpse the power of this myself--but that faint glimmer of understanding is there and I want to see and feel more of it.

I've found this quote from President Gordon B. Hinckley, which illustrates perfectly what I mean.

"It is not asking too much, is it, to take a few minutes of each day to speak with your Father in Heaven when you know that you are a child of God?
"If you really know that you are a child of God, you will also know that He expects much of you, His child. He will expect you to follow His teachings and the teachings of His dear Son, Jesus. He will expect you to be generous and kind to others. He will be offended if you swear or use foul language. He will be offended if you are dishonest in any way, if you should cheat or steal in the slightest. He will be happy if you remember the less fortunate in your prayers to Him. He will watch over you and guide you and protect you. He will bless you in your schoolwork and in your Primary. He will bless you in your home, and you will be a better boy or girl, obedient to your parents, quarreling less with your brothers and sisters, helping about the home.
"And thus you will grow to be a strong young man or woman in this Church. You will also be a better member of the community. . . .
"Never forget, my dear young friends, that you really are a child of God who has inherited something of His divine nature, one whom He loves and desires to help and bless. I pray that our Heavenly Father will bless you. May He smile with favor upon you. May you walk in His paths and follow His teachings. May you never speak the evil language that boys and girls are inclined to speak at school. May you ever be prayerful unto Him, praying always in the name of His Beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. May each of us resolve to always follow Him in faith. May life be kind to you, for you are indeed a child of God, worthy and deserving of His love and blessing."
["You Are a Child of God," CR April 2003]
If I could teach my children only one thing, I would choose this: They are Children of an Almighty God, who loves them deeply. He cares about them and their choices. He will always be there for them; He watches over them. He is their Father and because of this they have a divine heritage, which, if nurtured, will grant them happiness and fulfillment.

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