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March 15, 2013
Fellow Children of God: So Basic to Mormon Thought
by Jeff Lindsay

It’s hard to find a General Conference session or a sacrament meeting where a particular basic LDS concept isn’t mentioned: that our fellow humans are actually sons and daughters of God. That means that all those other people on this planet are more than just competitors and annoyances sharing biological similarity. They are our literal brothers and sisters in the family of God, His sons and daughters whom He loves. Each of them has the potential to become God’s jewels, sons and daughters who grow up and become more like the Father and more like Christ, with joy and growth beyond our comprehension. Each of them is connected to us.

I’ve been trying to observe how this concept affects our lives as Latter-day Saints. For example, the charge to have charity for one another is often infused with the understanding of this grand doctrine. When we are living our religion, we want to go the extra mile to serve, to do good, to teach, and to share the Gospel because they are our brothers and sisters. They are strangers now who matter, whom we may have known and loved even before we were born, and with whom we may rejoice together as the closest of friends and relatives in God’s family after this life.

I love how this concept ties in with the grand liberating doctrine of triumphant mercy, baptism for the dead, in which we learn that all of God’s children will be treated fairly and given a chance to hear and accept the Gospel one way or another. The honorable peasant in ancient China or South America who lived and died without ever hearing mention of Christ is not left without hope. We build temples and tackle mountains of work to make the blessings of baptism available to all who want to receive it, as we also expect that teachers on the other side of the veil are gradually carrying out the mandate to reach everyone and give all willing to come unto Christ the means and opportunity to do so. Mercy maximized!

I love the international and multicultural perspective these LDS doctrines give me. It helps me better appreciate each people I encounter. In spite of vast differences in culture, language, and behavior, I can recognize how arbitrary some of our cultural and physical differences are and look past them to see dear kin in every land. These are our brothers, our sisters, and fellow sons and daughters of God with endless potential. If only they could see who they are and find the joy that is meant to be theirs!

I think what I like best about the Gospel of Jesus Christ is how it helps me understand who I am, and who all these other people around me are, too. They are people whom I should learn to love, including many honorable and noble souls from whom I can learn. They are people with whom I hope to one day share the joy that God yearns to give us all, if we’ll let Him in His magnificent role as our Father.

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