We believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
—Articles of Faith 1:1
In describing the basic beliefs of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith started with belief in God. It’s a belief that’s reflected in Paul’s teaching: “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). Here, Paul describes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost as three individuals with distinct roles but also with a single, unifying purpose.
Paul explains the nature of God by calling us His children, His heirs, and His divine Fatherhood is fundamental to Latter-day Saints’ faith. He is, very literally, our Father. As our Father, He wants us to receive all that He has and to enjoy eternity with Him. He loves us. In fact, John characterizes Him by saying, “God is love” (I John 4:8). The Father knows the end from the beginning, He has power to do all things, and He directs His work of blessing His children and qualifying them—us—to live forever in His presence. He is the One to whom we pray, to whom Jesus prayed, and He is eager to listen and to respond with perfect paternal care and attention.
When asked to characterize Jesus, Peter called Him “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). As such, Jesus came into the world uniquely qualified to suffer “pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind” (Alma 7:11) and to overcome them all. He endured the pains of death and hell at Gethsemane and at Calvary yet rose glorious from the tomb. He thus became our Savior and Redeemer, preparing the way for us to become joint-heirs of the Father with Him if we live His gospel and keep His commandments. Jesus Christ’s work is to save us from sin and death as we repent and model our lives after His perfect example. Because of that, He invites all of God’s children to come unto Him and to enjoy the blessings of His mercy and grace.
Finally, as Paul teaches, the Holy Ghost’s primary role is to bear witness of truth, particularly to bear witness of the Father and of the Son. Spiritual knowledge and conviction come to us through the Holy Ghost. He speaks truth to us in “a still small voice” (I Kings 19:12), and we can recognize His influence by what Paul calls “the fruit of the Spirit”—“love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22-23). The Holy Ghost leads us to Christ, prompts us to good works, and warns us of danger. Anyone may enjoy the occasional influence of the Holy Ghost, but, in conjunction with baptism under proper authority, all of God’s children may receive the Gift of the Holy the Ghost and the promise of His constant companionship, guidance, and protection.
Together these Three constitute what Latter-day Saints call the Godhead. They work together in perfect unity, preparing the way for our salvation from sin and death. While the true extent of Their power, love, and knowledge is incomprehensible, I know that They live and love each one of us. The Holy Ghost has testified tome of Their reality as my prayers have been answered, as my efforts to become better have been magnified, and as the troubles in my life have been quietly and consistently resolved. Truly, we are at the heart of all that They do.