The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the name of the Savior right in the center of its name, and proclaims that Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Mormons believe Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God, a separate being from God the Father. This is demonstrated in several places in the Bible. For instance, in John it says,
Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I (John 14:28, King James Version of the Bible).
But that the world may know that I love the Father; and as the Father gave me commandment, even so I do. Arise, let us go hence (John 14:31, King James version of the Bible).
In these verses, Jesus is clearly referring to His Father as a different person He loves and looks up to, someone He takes instruction from.
Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him (John 8: 28-29).
Jesus said often He came to do not his own work, but the Father’s work in the Father’s way:
I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me (John 5:30, King James version of the Bible).
It was not until the first century that the idea of God and Jesus being the same person came into being, and this was decided at a council held to clarify doctrine, since already there were many disputes about what was true. The gospel the Savior taught had already been debated and corrupted. You can see this teaching was not from the Savior Himself, who always spoke of His Father in a respectful, worshipful way. He knelt down often and turned to His Father in prayer for comfort and guidance. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked His Father to remove the cup if possible, but if not, He would do God’s will, not His own. He left the choice to His Father, rather than commanding His Father.
This not only makes the Savior more approachable, but it makes the gift God gave us that much more remarkable. Picture the great love any good parent has for his child. Can you imagine sending your son, whom you love, to face what you know will be terrible and painful? God did, and when Christ faced agony in Gethsemane and on the cross, God didn’t back down and take away the suffering. It must have been horrible for Him to know this was happening, to know He could stop it, and yet to choose not to for the benefit of mankind.
Why did He do this? Because both God and Jesus love us with a love more powerful than we can ever imagine. United in spirit and purpose, they unified to bring us the gift of salvation, the ability to be forgiven of our sins, and to rise again when the day came so we could live forever. Everyone receives the gift of resurrection. Those who love God and the Savior enough to sacrifice for Them also receive another, more extraordinary and wonderful gift: the opportunity to live with Them forever.
How is Christ the Son of God?
The Mormon Church has other scriptures in addition to the Bible that amplify the message that Jesus was and is the Son of God. He is God’s son in several ways:
- He was the Firstborn and most intelligent being created before the world was. All things were created through Him. In the Pearl of Great Price, in the Book of Moses, it says: “And behold, the glory of the Lord was upon Moses, so that Moses stood in the presence of God, and talked with him face to face. And the Lord God said unto Moses: For mine own purpose have I made these things. Here is wisdom and it remaineth in me. And by the word of my power, have I created them, which is mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth. And worlds without number have I created and I also created them for mine own purpose; and by the Son I created them, which is mine Only Begotten” (Moses 1:31-33).
- He does always the will of the Father and is therefore His son in obedience and glory. Christ visited the Book of Mormon peoples on the American continent after His resurrection. “And it came to pass that he stretched forth his hand and spake unto the people, saying: Behold, I am Jesus Christ, whom the prophets testified shall come into the world. And behold, I am the light and the life of the world; and I have drunk out of that bitter cup which the Father hath given me, and have glorified the Father in taking upon me the sins of the world, in the which I have suffered the will of the Father in all things from the beginning” (3 Nephi 11:9-11).
- He was the Only Begotten Son of God in the flesh, being the literal son of Mary, a virgin, and God the Father. Nephi, a Book of Mormon prophet was shown a vision by an angel: “And it came to pass that I looked and beheld the great city of Jerusalem, and also other cities. And I beheld the city of Nazareth; and in the city of Nazareth I beheld a virgin, and she was exceedingly fair and white. And he said unto me: Behold, the virgin whom thou seest is the mother of the Son of God, after the manner of the flesh” (1 Nephi 11:13, 18).
Read more about Jesus Christ, the Son of God at Jesus Christ.org.