Elder Dallin H. Oaks: The Godhead and the Plan of Salvation

Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Credit: Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

In his Sunday morning conference talk, Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught about the Godhead and Its essential role in the plan of salvation.

Latter-day revelations confirm that the Godhead consists of three separate and distinct beings. This is known from instruction given by the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“‘The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit. Were it not so, the Holy Ghost could not dwell in us’ ” (Doctrine and Covenants 130:22).

Elder Oaks added that the plan of salvation offers the key understanding of each member of the Godhead. The scriptures reference “the all-defining and motivating love” of God the Father, the “merciful and saving” mission of Jesus Christ and the “fellowship/companionship” of the Holy Ghost.

God the Father

It all begins with God the Father, said Elder Oaks.

“While we know comparatively little about Him, what we know is decisive in understanding His supreme position, our relationship to Him, and His superintending role in the plan of salvation, the creation and all else that followed.”

He quoted Elder Bruce R. McConkie, who was a General Authority from 1946-1985: “In the ultimate and final sense of the word, there is only one true and living God. He is the Father, the Almighty Elohim, the Supreme Being, the Creator and Ruler of the Universe.”

What’s known of the nature of God the Father is mostly learned from the ministry and teachings of His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, Elder Oaks said.

“God the Father is the Father of our spirits,” he said. “We are His children. He loves us, and all that He does is for our eternal benefit. He is the author of the plan of salvation and it is by His power that His plan achieves its purposes for the ultimate glory of His children.”

The Son

Jesus Christ is the most visible member of the Godhead. He is the first begotten of the spirit and the only begotten in the flesh.

“The Son, the greatest of all, was chosen by the Father to carry out the Father’s plan — to exercise the Father’s power to create worlds without number and to save the children of God from death by His Resurrection and from sin by His Atonement,” he said. “This supernal sacrifice is truly called the central act of all human history.”

It is Jesus Christ, as Jehovah, who speaks to and through the prophets, Elder Oaks explained.

The Holy Ghost

The third member of the Godhead — the Holy Ghost — is also known as the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, and the Comforter.

“He is the member of the Godhead who is the agent of personal revelation,” said Elder Oaks. “As a personage of spirit, He can dwell in us and perform the essential role of communicator between the Father and the Son and the children of God on earth. Many scriptures teach that His mission is to testify of the Father and the Son.”

The Holy Ghost helps a person discern between truth and falsehood and offers guidance to help navigate through the challenges of mortality.

Understanding the Godhead and the plan of salvation offers the “ultimate roadmap” for that journey through mortality.

“We know who we worship and why we worship. We know who we are and what we can become. We know who makes it all possible, and we know what we must do to enjoy the ultimate blessings that come through God’s plan of salvation. How do we know all of this? We know by the revelations of God to His prophets and to each of us individually.”

Attaining a measure “of the stature of the fullness of Christ” requires far more than acquiring knowledge, he added.

“It is not even enough for us to be convinced of the gospel; we must act and think so that we are converted by it,” he said. “In contrast to the institutions of the world, which teach us to know something, the plan of salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ challenge us to become something.”

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