Lesson 1: The Godhead

Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3, (1995), 1–3


Objective

Each young man will understand how Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are separate beings, yet one in mind, power, wisdom, and purpose.

Preparation

  1. 1.

    Prayerfully study Matthew 3:16–17; John 14:16–17; 17; Mosiah 15:1–4; Ether 3:6–17; Doctrine and Covenants 130:22; 131:7–8; Moses 1:39; and Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20.

  2. 2.

    Materials needed:

    1. a.

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

    2. b.

      Pencils for marking scriptures.

Suggested Lesson Development

The Godhead Is Composed of Three Distinct Individuals

Situation and discussion

Explain that two missionaries were teaching a minister of another faith about the Church and the basic doctrines. As they were teaching him about the Godhead and the separate beings—Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost—the minister asked them for a Book of Mormon. He asked them to read Mosiah 15:1–4.

Have the young men read this passage.

The minister said that it sounded as if these verses said that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father were the same person.

  • How would you answer the minister?

Let the young men discuss this briefly. Then point out that there was confusion about this point during the Apostasy of the early Christian church. A council of church leaders concluded that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are different manifestations of the same being. Most of the Christian churches today are confused about the nature of the Godhead. Explain that this lesson will help them better understand the true nature of the Godhead.

Scriptures and discussion

Read and discuss the vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith recorded in Joseph Smith—History 1:11–20.

Explain that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are three separate beings, but they are unified with one purpose. They are trying to save and exalt each of us. Have the young men read and mark John 17:20–23.

  • How do these verses describe the unity or oneness of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?

Invite the young men to discuss this idea. Help them see that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one in purpose—unified in what they are doing. Explain that the will of Heavenly Father is the will of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost. Because other churches do not accept modern revelation about the oneness of the Godhead, these churches are confused and believe that Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost are one spirit.

Scriptures and discussion

Explain that Doctrine and Covenants 130:22 gives us a description of the physical natures of the members of the Godhead. Have one of the young men read this verse as the others mark it in their scriptures.

  • What are the physical differences between the members of the Godhead? (Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ each have bodies of flesh and bone. The young men may notice that the scripture does not mention blood, and they may want to discuss this point. You may indicate that blood is confined to our earthly mortal existence. They should also notice that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit, which gives him the ability to dwell in us. This is a vital part of his role to be able to communicate with us spirit to spirit.)

Have the young men read Doctrine and Covenants 131:7–8.

Help the young men understand that the Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit and does not have a physical body of flesh and bones. Remind the young men that a spirit looks like a body and is composed of matter.

Read Ether 3:6–17.

Explain that before Jesus Christ was born on earth, he had a spirit only. Before he was born, he appeared to the brother of Jared. The brother of Jared was surprised he could see the Savior. Jesus Christ showed his spirit, which looked like the physical body he would receive on earth.

Scriptures and discussion

Explain that the scriptural accounts of Jesus Christ’s baptism show plainly that the members of the Godhead are separate individuals. Have one of the young men read Matthew 3:16–17.

  • How did each member of the Godhead reveal himself at this time? (Jesus Christ in person standing in the river, Heavenly Father by his voice, and the Holy Ghost descending like a dove and resting on Jesus Christ.)

Explain that Jesus Christ instructed his disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Have a young man read Matthew 28:19.

Chalkboard discussion

  • What have we learned about the Godhead from the scriptures we have read?

List the young men’s answers on the chalkboard. Answers might include—

  1. 1.

    There are three separate Beings in the Godhead.

  2. 2.

    They are unified in purpose.

  3. 3.

    Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bone.

  4. 4.

    The Holy Ghost is a personage of spirit.

  5. 5.

    The Holy Ghost can dwell in us.

Responsibilities and Unity of the Godhead

Scriptures and chalkboard discussion

Have the young men silently read Moses 1:39.

  • What is the main goal of each member of the Godhead?

Bring out that the members of the Godhead all work together to help us obtain eternal life. Explain that although they work together, they have separate roles.

Write God the Father, Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost on the chalkboard. Leave room to write comments under each heading.

  • How does Heavenly Father’s role differ from the roles of the other members of the Godhead?

Discuss the following points, and summarize them on the chalkboard under God the Father:

  1. 1.

    He is the Eternal Father of our spirits.

  2. 2.

    We pray to him.

    Explain that Jesus Christ set an example of praying often to Heavenly Father. Certainly if Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ were the same being, Jesus Christ would not have prayed to himself.

    Have a young man read Jesus Christ’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane from Matthew 26:39. Discuss how this verse shows that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are separate beings.

  3. 3.

    He is named Elohim.

    Have another young man read Jesus Christ’s prayer as he was suffering on the cross from Mark 15:34. Again, Jesus Christ was praying to Heavenly Father, whose name is Elohim.

  4. 4.

    He is “God above all Gods.”

    Share the following quotation:

    “Elohim … is also used as the exalted name-title of God the Eternal Father, a usage that connotes his supremacy and omnipotence, he being God above all Gods” (Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966], p. 224).

  • What should be included under Jesus Christ on the chalkboard?

Bring out that Jesus Christ is—

  1. 1.

    The Firstborn Son of Heavenly Father in the spirit.

  2. 2.

    The Only Begotten Son of Heavenly Father in the flesh.

  3. 3.

    The Creator of heaven and earth under Heavenly Father’s direction.

  4. 4.

    The Savior and Redeemer of mankind.

  • How did Jesus view himself with respect to the Father?

Have one of the young men read John 14:28 to help answer this question.

Help the young men understand that this scripture shows the close relationship between Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and that Jesus Christ understood that Heavenly Father was greater than he. Jesus Christ was willing to give all glory to Heavenly Father.

Have the young men read and mark John 14:16–17 and John 15:26.

  • What are the responsibilities of the Holy Ghost?

Be sure to bring out and write on the chalkboard that the Holy Ghost is—

  1. 1.

    A comforter.

  2. 2.

    A witness or testifier.

  3. 3.

    A teacher.

  4. 4.

    A prompter to help us remember things.

Help the young men understand that though the other members of the Godhead may also perform these duties, the primary responsibility rests with the Holy Ghost.

Read and discuss the great prayer Jesus Christ offered to Heavenly Father as recorded in John 17. Help the young men understand that in this scripture Jesus Christ is praying that we all might be united in love as he and Heavenly Father are.

Conclusion

Testimony

Share your testimony of the reality of the three members of the Godhead. Testify of their love for each young man and their desire that each young man obtain eternal life. Express how wonderful it would be if we all loved each other as much as Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love each other.

Challenge

Challenge the young men to feel Heavenly Father’s presence as they pray to him in the name of Jesus Christ. Challenge them to strive to be worthy of the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.