Question Box: What is the nature of God and the Trinity?

the first vision

Q: What is the nature of God and the Trinity?

We believe that the Trinity (or Godhead, as we more commonly refer to them) is composed of three separate and distinct perfect Beings—God, the Father; his Son, Jesus Christ; and the Holy Ghost (Acts 7:55-56; Article of Faith 1).  We believe our Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ have a body that is made of flesh and bones just like ours (D&C 130:22); however, they have bodies and are no longer subject to death, sickness, or pain.  The Holy Ghost does not have a body of flesh and bones, rather he has a spirit body (D&C 130:22), but he looks like a normal person (1 Nephi 11:11).  All three are perfect and can be spoken of as God collectively and separate gods individually.  Their entire focus is to help each of us return to the Father, and become like Him (Moses 1:39).


Our Heavenly Father is the father of the spirits of all those who have, or ever will be born into this world (Abraham 3:22-23, Moses 6:51).  He is Jesus Christ’s literal father.  He oversaw and directed the creation of the world upon which we now live (Moses 1:32).  To him, we pray and He answers our prayers in his own time and in his own way.  He loves us and has provided a plan whereby, we, his spirit children, can come to earth, receive a body, experience adversity, and have the opportunity to return to Him (Abraham 3:23-27).  He knew beforehand that we would make mistakes.  These mistakes would make us imperfect and as he is perfect, we could not return to live with him again.  So, he provided a way that our mistakes could be erased.   To accomplish this he provided his son, Jesus Christ, to set right, everything that would prevent us from being perfect, our sins included (Moses 6:53-62).


Jesus Christ, is the literal Son of God and his mother was mortal (Luke 1:28-38, Alma 7:10).  As such, Christ, was enabled to experience mortality as we do.  He suffered sickness, pain, hunger, and temptation.  Nevertheless, he lived a perfect life.  This allowed him to suffer and ultimately die for our imperfections (Alma 7:11-13).  In this way, he has the ability to set us at one with the Father again and allow us to return to live with the Father.  As a free gift, through his atonement and subsequent resurrection, he provides every person born into this world a resurrected and perfect body.  But, to return to the Father’s presence, Christ requires us to believe that He can in fact save us, repent of our sins, be baptized in his prescribed way, be given the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then endure in faith until the end of our mortal lives.  If we do this with his constant help, we will be granted a place in the Father’s kingdom (3 Nephi 27:14-22).


To help us find Jesus Christ, accept his teachings, and then continue in his prescribed way, God provided the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is the third member of the Godhead.  He has many functions, but he helps God’s children to return to Him by helping them find Jesus Christ, teaching them truth line upon line if they desire to learn more, and ultimately purifying and refining them in their journey of being a disciple of Jesus Christ (1 Nephi 10:17-19).


I am grateful for these immortal perfect beings.  I know that I am the Father’s son and that he has provided a way for me to become like Him through his Son and that the Holy Ghost will help me in this endeavor.

Question Box: Is there only one God?



Question:  “Is there only one God, or are there other Gods out there?”  Thanks for the question.  Paul said,

“For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,)

But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6)

We believe that there may be other Gods like God the Father existing somewhere in the universe, but if so, they don’t interact with us or our world.  The only God we have is Heavenly Father.  His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, is our Savior and Redeemer.  The Holy Ghost testifies of them and their work.

We also believe that the first of the ten commandments, “Thou shalt have no other Gods before me.” (Exodus 20:3), means that God should be first in our lives.  We can make ourselves other artificial gods, when we let other things become more important to us than following our Savior’s example and keeping His commandments.

Question Box: Can Mormons be cremated?

Can Mormons be cremated and other ashes put together?

Cremation is permitted but not encouraged. At burial, faithful members are clothed in ceremonial garb as a symbol of their readiness to enter the spirit world. So cremation puts a bit of a hiccup in that rite. Wherever possible, they should be cremated while wearing the ceremonial garb.


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Question Box: Prayer

Someone recently asked us if prayer worked and if praying for a sick family member might help her get better.  My short answer: Yes and Maybe.

Prayer is the medium through which we can communicate with God. God is our Heavenly Father and he loves us and wants us to be happy.

The scriptures are full of examples of prayers being offered and answered—Hannah, Solomon, Daniel, Peter, Nephi, Alma, the Savior, and the list goes on. But some if not most of these examples are pretty dramatic. Babies aren’t always conceived, wars stopped, people healed, or lives saved because of my prayers, no matter how much I may want these things to happen. In fact, I often feel like the answers to my daily prayers are rarely (if ever) dramatic and if that’s the case then how do I even know that prayer works?

One of my favorite descriptions of prayer comes from the LDS Bible Dictionary:

“Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant, but that are made conditional on our asking for them.”

Presumably God already knows what we want and need. Prayer really isn’t about convincing Him to give us what we want. Instead, prayer is about learning to align our desires with God’s will. It’s about us learning how to have a conversation with our Heavenly Father that can change and bless us.

Becoming a parent has broadened my perspective on many topics and prayer is one of them. Our relationship with our Heavenly Father may not be that different from my relationship with my toddler (perhaps we’re all essentially toddlers in God’s eyes anyway). Teaching her how to communicate effectively is one of my jobs. She may be able to physically take a toy she wants out of my hands but I want her to learn to communicate differently. I want her to learn to be polite (please), and grateful (thank you), and I want her to learn to understand her desires and motives and learn to articulate them. I want her to learn how to ask. I imagine our Heavenly Father is the same.

I also know that there are times when no matter how politely she asks for something I won’t give it to her. I love her and I want her to be happy but no matter what she may think I know better than she does that, for example, eating chocolate chips for every meal won’t really make her happy like she thinks it will. Thus, I don’t let her do it not because I don’t love her but because I do love her and I want her to be happy and healthy in the long run.

Similarly, Heavenly Father is a loving parent who wants us to communicate with him. He wants us to be happy and He has a much wider perspective than we do on how that happiness may come to be. Over time (and I believe this is something we’ll be learning our whole lives), as we learn how to pray to him and align our will with His we can learn to trust Heavenly Father and recognize His hand in our lives. We can come feel his love for us and recognize the answers to our prayers, even if they aren’t the answers we expect.

For more articles on prayer, how to pray, and how to recognize answers to prayer check out these great articles hereherehere, and here.

Spirit, Body and Tony Stark

Last week in Primary, I was trying to teach the children in our ward about how our spirits and bodies interact, and I discovered that Marvel had described it pretty well.

Iron Man II Tony Stark

Our spirits are the eternal parts of us–they hold our personalities, our flaws, our potential, our divine nature.  Our bodies are simply outer shells that amplify our spirits.  Think of Iron Man.  His suit allows him to do amazing things–fly, shoot lasers, swim down deep in the ocean.  Things that his body, alone, could not do.  But his body is controlling the show.  Tony Stark is a moderately good person, and he mostly uses his suit to do good things.  But think if Captain America got in that suit?!  He would use it solely to do good.  Not to be a show off, not to profit for himself.  Now think of if that crazy red-faced villain got the suit.  He would use it completely for evil.  We don’t want him to get the suit.

Our spirits enter our bodies and get to do things that they haven’t ever been able to do before: eat (oh, I’m sure that when I get a body, I’ll just eat healthy and moderately),  sleep (I bet on earth I’ll sleep exactly 8 hours a day), have a family (I’ll wait till marriage!  Of course!), exercise (every. day.).  And the list goes on.  Our spirits didn’t have the same physical experiences without a body, and they were anxious to get one.  And now we cruise around earth in these suits that amplify our spirits– if our spirit has a lot of pride, we use our body for vanity, we seek wealth, we put other people down.  If our spirit has a problem with anger we have the equivalent of laser guns with our muscles, arms and legs.  We are capable of so much destruction in these suits, but also so much good.  If our spirits are full of faith, we can show it by physically attending church, giving compassionate service to people in need, hugging our children.  If our spirits are thirsty for knowledge, we can incorporate information and wisdom much more quickly in the physical world–touching, experimenting, reading, trying things out.   And that is the real wisdom in having these bodies–we can smooth out our flaws, overcome our evil tendencies by mastering our bodies–the cool features that they have that we should use appropriately in the proper time and place.

On a related note, sometimes Tony’s suit malfunctions.  Pieces fall off deep in space, aliens shoot him down.  Our bodies, too, can be imperfect–physically and mentally.  But that doesn’t mean that the spirit driving the operation is faulted.  And in the resurrection, everything will be made whole.