Individuals, communities, and nations are strengthened when we understand that we have a Father in Heaven who loves us and watches over us. Heavenly Father has a plan for how His children can gain experience here in mortality and prepare to return to His presence. He also has a plan for each individual and can help us reach the potential in us.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17).
Paul understood that we can qualify to be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in inheriting all that the Father has. He also knew how we can qualify – by keeping the commandments of God.
In the spring of 1840, Lorenzo Snow, who later became the fourth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saint, received by personal revelation the following idea: “As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.” He did not publicly teach the “sacred communication” until he knew the Prophet Joseph Smith was teaching it.
The Prophet Joseph taught: “God Himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by His power, was to make Himself visible, - I say, if you were to see Him today, you would see Him like a man in form – like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with Him, as one man talks and communes with another….”
When one prophet quotes another prophet, we should pay attention. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught nearly the same words as those of President Lorenzo Snow; President Spencer W. Kimball and President Gordon B. Hinckley quoted the statement of President Snow. Four different prophets have taught the truth that we are children of God. I know this is a true teaching.
In the October 1994 General Conference President Hinckley said, “On the other hand, the whole design of the gospel is to lead us onward and upward to greater achievement, even, eventually, to godhood. This great possibility was enunciated by the Prophet Joseph Smith… and emphasized by President Lorenzo Snow. It is this grand and incomparable concept: As God now is, man may become!”
President Kimball said in the April 1977 General Conference, “God has taken these intelligences, given to them spirit bodies, and given them instructions and training. The he proceeded to create a world for them and sent them as spirits to obtain a mortal body, for which he made preparation. And when they were upon the earth, he gave them instructions on how to go about developing and conducting their lives to make them perfect, so they could return to their Father in heaven after their transitions. Then came the periods of time when souls were to be placed upon the earth and born to parents who were permitted to furnish the bodies. But no parent has ever yet on this earth been the parent of a spirit, because we are so far yet from perfection. Remember what was aid a while ago, that `As man is, God once was; and as God is, man may become.’ They came with the definite understanding that they could return to become like God and go forward in their great development and progress.”