The Oneness of God, and the Fall of Adam, and the Atonement of Christ:
(Some of these things are from Robert Millet’s book/lectures Doctrines of the Book of Mormon, they are all based on scripture and modern prophets. More about Millet: he is professor of ancient scripture and emeritus Dean of Religious Education at Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah. Millet is a Latter-day Saint author and speaker with more than 60 published works on virtually all aspects of Mormonism. Millet co-founded the evangelical-Mormon dialogue.)
-Christ inherited the power of his father; this we can inherit if we are faithful in Christ
-Christ speaks in the first person as though he were the father at times, we call it divine investiture. For example on section of the D&C has Christ speaking where he says by the power of his only begotten son he redeemed the world. He is speaking a message from his father.
-consider that we get a new tongue, the tongue of angels when we live the gospel. Recall that angels speak the words of Christ.
-at one General Conference Elder Bruce R McConkie said that he felt impressed that if Christ were at their meeting he would have said the very same words that the prophet had spoken at that conference.
-in the book of Moses when Moses speaks with God, prophets have clarified that he is speaking with Jesus Christ, and that occasion Christ is speaking with divine investiture, speaking in the first person as the Father, having authority of the Father to speak in his name.
-why divine investiture used at times? To show the total oneness of the Father and the Son. They are separate people, but they work together as one God. They are on the same mission. Christ inherited from the Father all the powers and attributes of the Father, and can go and represent Him at times.
-Christ created us hence he is called the Father. Christ is the Son of the most high God, hence he is called the Son of God. Hence we see as in Mosiah 15, Christ is both the Father and the Son. He has these two titles. But he is a separate person from God the Father Eloheim.
-Jesus Christ is Jehovah, the God of the Old testament, and Elohim is his father, who appears to introduce him at times.
-since the Fall of Adam rarely does God the Father Eloheim come to speak directly with mankind. When he does it’s only to introduce his son Jesus Christ and to tell people to hear him.
-James E Talmage in his book Jesus The Christ speaks of many prophets having Eloheim and Jehovah appear to them, like happened with Joseph Smith and his first vision in the sacred grove, two persons descend and speak with him, the Father points to the other and says “this is my beloved Son, hear him!”
-The wonder of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that we can become one with God the Father and Jesus Christ just like they are one with each other.
-the old testament had this doctrine of the Godhead, these three persons who work together as God. In the Book of Mormon the prophet Zenus and Zenoch testified that they are to worship the Father in the name of the Son. We have record of this in the Book of Mormon, though we don’t have those texts in our current Old Testament. In the Book of Mormon it says the record with those prophets’ writings, the brass plates which have a more complete Old Testament record in them, will go to all people. Hence we reason that they are yet to come forth to show the Jews and everyone else that Jesus Christ is Jehovah, and is the Son of Eloheim, and these work together as being the God of creation.
– It will become even more clear to people the roles of the members of the Godhead in our salvation, and how indeed, God Hiimself, even Jehovah came down from his exalted throne, and walked among us. Hence Jesus said to the Pharacies, “before Abraham was, I am”.
-the Atonement of Christ, his great sacrifice in the Garden of Gethsemane and on Calvary, John Taylor said that it was so painful that it filled the Universe. We can’t comprehend how he was able to do it. He is God. No man could have done it.
-Elder Neil A Maxwell calls the Atonement of Jesus Christ “intergalactic”.
-Book of Mormon points out that Jesus Christ is not a man, he is a God. It prophecies that despite all he will do among men, they will still consider him a man, and reject him. That is the point- they think he is a man not God.
-when the Book of Mormon says salvation is free, it’s to say that salvation is available. Like when we say, “The bathroom is free.” It’s to say “the bathroom is available”. You still have to pay the utilities bill to use your bathroom, but it is available should you choose to desire it.
-we must be born again into the kingdom of God
-no one likes to take medication who doesn’t understand that they are sick. The Fall of Adam causes us to need the Atonement of Christ. Without the Fall of Adam there would be no need for the Atonement of Christ.
-the Fall was a positive thing, one prophet called it downward but foreword.
-the garden of Eden was like Disneyland, and Adam and Eve had a mission to do of raising children which they couldn’t accomplish in there. They had to choose for themselves to subject themselves to the difficulties of the circumstances in which they could have children in the tellestial world. It was up to them, God didn’t force it on them. God put them in a pleasant state, and they had to make the choice on their own account to
-one prophet, Joseph Fielding Smith if I’m not mistaken, has suggested we read of the Garden of Eden this way, of the trees of the garden thou mayest freely (without consequence) eat. But of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil thou shalt not (freely, without consequence) eat.
-hence it was not such a situation of conflicting commandments from God, it was a situation where God had a mission for mankind, and said in essence said to them, you can do this if you want. It’s going to be hard so I’m going to let you choose for yourselves if you are going to do it. If you choose to do it, you must leave the Garden of Eden and eventually experience death, that is part of the plan.
-the fall was not sexual relations between Adam and Eve, prophets have made that clear.
-people are not accountable until they reach the age of accountability, 8 years old.
-in the Book of Mormon it speaks of how our natures are fallen because of the Fall of Adam- that our natures have become evil continually, see Ether.
-Book of Mormon says that children are saved in Christ. Can a child do bad? Well some children at age 7 have murdered their brother, etc. But while this would be considered sin to other people, to the child of age 7 it is not considered sin, for Christ atones for it. He covers all of the children, and doesn’t hold them accountable.
-while we don’t believe in original sin (having sins at birth), we believe the seeds of such are in us, and that when we grow up we will sin. Everyone sins except for Jesus Christ the God.
-Jesus Christ covers children until the age of accountability, at that point they are capable to choose for themselves weather they will be good or evil.
-D&C says that if parents don’t teach children the gospel of Jesus Christ by age 8, the sin is upon the heads of the parents.
-often in the Book of Mormon it says that we are “lost” because of the Fall of Adam. Lost implies that we don’t know where we are, that we have no family. Then we come to Christ and we are adopted back into the royal family, we take upon us the name of Christ. That is the name of this family. It’s like when the prodigal son returns, a ring is put on his finger showing that he is part of the family, a son of the father, an heir of all the father has.
-there is “the fall of mankind”, Jesus Christ has taken care of that with the Atonement, and then there is “the fall of me”, and I need to take care of that by repentance and baptism and righteous living, the things that Jesus Christ has instructed that we must to to merit his mercy.
-Hence we see that we sinful because of our parents, but we are responsible for our own sin, see Article of Faith 2.