Lesson 3: Sons of the Living God

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 8–10


Objective

Each young man will better understand Heavenly Father’s character and attributes and will want to become more like Him.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 103:6–8; John 17:3; Acts 10:34–35; 17:24, 26, 28–30; Romans 8:16–17; Hebrews 1:10–12; 12:9; 1 John 4:8, 16; 2 Nephi 9:20; Alma 26:35; 3 Nephi 12:48; Ether 3:11–12; and Doctrine and Covenants 35:1.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

      Copies of the scriptures (each young man should bring his own).

    2. b.

      Picture 1, A Fatherly Looking Man.

    3. c.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

Note

Do not try to rush through this lesson material. Go into the scriptures in depth rather than passing quickly over them. Take two class periods if needed.

Suggested Lesson Development

Honoring Heavenly Father

Picture discussion

Display picture 1, A Fatherly Looking Man. Comment on our natural desire to honor and cherish our fathers.

  • Why is it important to honor our fathers?

Scripture, quotation, and discussion

Have a young man read Hebrews 12:9 while the others mark this verse. Point out that the need to honor our earthly fathers is as nothing compared to the need to honor our Heavenly Father. To worship him properly and exercise faith in him, we must understand who he is and what he is like.

Read the following statement from the Prophet Joseph Smith:

“Without the idea of the existence of the attributes which belong to God, the minds of men could not have power to exercise faith in him so as to lay hold upon eternal life” (Lectures on Faith 4:2).

  • Why is it so important to us to understand what Heavenly Father is like?

Emphasize that without such knowledge we could not have confidence in Heavenly Father. Read and discuss John 17:3 with the young men, and help them see how important it is to really know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Suggest that they mark this verse.

Heavenly Father’s Character and Attributes

Chalkboard and scripture discussion

Explain the following characteristics of Heavenly Father. Have various young men read the scriptural passages included with each characteristic. Note that some of the scriptures may refer to Jesus Christ, but the characteristics described are also attributed to our Heavenly Father. On the chalkboard, write only the italicized portion of each sentence.

As you discuss the characteristics, ask the young men how their faith can become stronger through knowing about Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. Summarize the young men’s comments on the chalkboard if there is enough space.

Heavenly Father’s Character

  1. 1.

    He was God before and after the world was created (see Hebrews 1:10–12).

    Write omniscient on the chalkboard, and explain that Heavenly Father knows everything. Omni means all, and scient refers to knowledge.

    Have a young man read 2 Nephi 9:20.

    Explain that Heavenly Father knows everything. Understanding this can make it easier for us to put our complete confidence and trust in him.

  2. 2.

    He is merciful, gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering, and full of goodness (see Psalm 103:6–8).

    He is kind, understanding, and patient with our sins and imperfections. He gives us hope that we can repent, be forgiven, and become like him.

  3. 3.

    He does not change, and his course is one eternal round (see D&C 35:1).

    We can trust him completely. He will never change. He is always the same.

  4. 4.

    He is a God of truth and cannot lie (see Ether 3:11–12).

    What he says will happen. We can put complete confidence in his word.

  5. 5.

    He is no respecter of persons (see Acts 10:34–35). He loves us and does not regard one person more than another.

  6. 6.

    God is love (see 1 John 4:8, 16).

    He loves us and wants what is best for us. Everything he does will be for our good.

  7. 7.

    He has all power (see Alma 26:35).

    Write omnipotent on the chalkboard, and explain that it means all-powerful. Explain that he is able to fulfill all his promises. He has greater power than Satan or any other force.

  8. 8.

    He is completely just (see Deuteronomy 32:4).

    He is perfectly fair, and we will be justly rewarded for obedience and punished for disobedience.

Our Relationship to Heavenly Father

Scripture and discussion

Have the young men read Acts 17:24, 26, 28–30.

Help the young men understand that we are the literal offspring of God. Explain that just as offspring grow up to look like their parents, we look like God and he looks like us. We are his children, and we have the potential to become like him.

Quotation

Share the following comment by Elder George Q. Cannon:

“We descend from this Father. We are His offspring. We possess His attributes. It is true they are not developed, but we possess them; and He desires to lead us forward until we shall be like Him. This is the object of the Gospel” (Gospel Truth, sel. Jerreld L. Newquist, 2 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1957–74], 1:131).

Scripture, quotation, and discussion

The Apostle Paul also taught that we are children of God. Have a young man read Romans 8:16–17.

  • What is an heir? (One who inherits or is entitled to inherit property, rank, title, or office.)

Emphasize that since we may become heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ, we have the possibility of becoming like them. Each of us inherited godlike traits from our Heavenly Father. And as priesthood bearers we have covenanted to further develop those traits.

Share the following statement by President Brigham Young:

“I want to tell you … that you are well acquainted with God our Heavenly Father. … You are all well acquainted with him, for there is not a soul of you but what has lived in his house and dwelt with him year after year. …

“We are the sons and daughters of celestial Beings, and the germ of the Deity dwells within us” (Discourses of Brigham Young, sel. John A. Widtsoe [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1954], p. 50).

Have a young man read 3 Nephi 12:48.

  • What does this verse say about our divine potential?

Chalkboard discussion

  • What can you do now to develop your divine potential and become like Heavenly Father? List the young men’s answers on the chalkboard.

Conclusion

Quotation and testimony

Read the following statement by Elder Robert L. Simpson:

“‘What is man, that thou art mindful of him?’ [Psalm 8:4] A loving Father in heaven, concerned for the welfare of his child, might well answer: ‘Why, you are my son, … I love you very much. I listen carefully each day, hoping to hear from you. I want so to one day have you back where you belong’” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1970, p. 89; or Improvement Era, June 1970, p. 83).

Bear testimony that because Heavenly Father loves us and is our Father, we have inherited his attributes, and he wants us to develop them fully through the power of the Spirit.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to remember that when they pray they are talking to their literal Father in Heaven. Challenge them to kneel in private and pray each morning and night during the coming week. Have them report their feelings the following Sunday.