Why we call God our “Heavenly Father”

First Vision_660x330_scaled_cropp

A depiction of the vision the Prophet Joseph Smith had of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ

Depending on what time, religion, or book you study, you may learn a different name for “God” from each of them.  While Latter-Day Saints (or Mormons) also use commonly used terms such as “God” and “Lord”, probably the most common way we refer to our Creator is “Heavenly Father”.  This one title alone contains some pretty significant information and insight into our beliefs.  This name is not only unique to our church, but it also helps to explain our views in various ways.

First of all, the title “Heavenly Father” shows how we view God, and ourselves.  One of the first songs the children of our church learn is I am a Child of God.  We believe that we are literal sons and daughters of God and that we are created in his image.  God does not have to be an abstract being, impossible to comprehend; he is our father, and we are his children.  He has a body of flesh and bones, just as we do.  The main purpose of our journey here on earth is to become more like Him, and a big part of that is receiving a body.   When we view God as our Heavenly Father, it is easier to develop an intimate relationship with Him.  Through personal prayer and scripture study, we can communicate with our Heavenly Father and grow closer to Him while still on Earth.

One belief of our church that is not shared with many other Christian churches is the belief that the Godhead consists of three separate beings.  While other churches believe God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one being, we do not.  We believe that God is our Heavenly Father, and that he created a plan that all of us could come to Earth, and through tests and trials, following his commandments, repentance, and resurrection we could grow to become like him and obtain the glory that he possesses.  Jesus Christ is our brother and Savior; his suffering in Gethsemane and on the cross made it possible for us to repent of our sins and become clean again.  Because Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are two separate, distinct beings of flesh and blood, they cannot be with all of us at once.  The Holy Ghost is a spirit of God; through the Holy Ghost we can be guided in our choices so that we can follow the path that our Father in Heaven has planned for us.  It is through him that Heavenly Father communicates with his children.

Knowing about our Heavenly Father also affects the way that we look at others.  We are all children of God.  No matter what challenges we may face or circumstances we may have been born into, we are all brothers and sisters.  Every one of us has divine potential, and we are here to help each other to reach it.  We are all spiritual beings; we are just simply in mortal bodies for the time being.  When we come to know our Heavenly Father, we can come to know of our own divine potential, and to help those around us realize theirs.

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