Elder Hallstrom spoke of the importance of remembering our identity as Children of God. As he mentioned, “[t]his doctrine is so basic, so oft stated, and so instinctively simple that it can seem to be ordinary, when in reality it is among the most extraordinary knowledge we can obtain.” Because this doctrine is so easy to forget, I think so many of us suffer unnecessarily from guilt or self-doubt. And so many of us drift off course if we become untethered from this foundational doctrine. For “[a] correct understanding of our heavenly heritage is essential to exaltation. It is foundational to comprehending the glorious plan of salvation and to nurturing faith in the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus the Christ, and in His merciful Atonement.”
If we forget that we are truly beloved children of God, then we are not likely to develop the proper relationship with God. We are not likely to fully appreciate and accept the myriad of blessings God offers us. When he speaks, we are far more likely to doubt that he truly knows what’s best. And we are much more likely to second guess his guidance. On the other hand, spiritual assurance can come when we keep this identity in our mind.
It isn’t enough to merely recite the words. “[T]he critical question is, do we really know it? Do we know it in our mind and in our heart and in our soul? Is our heavenly parentage our first and most profound identity?”
If not, then the world will impose a myriad of identities upon us that will in time overcome our common divine heritage. Political, ethnic, racial, national, or sexual identities may come to predominate and drown out eternal truth.
“These earthly identities are not wrong unless they supersede or interfere with our eternal identity–that of being a son or a daughter of God.”
I’m proud to be an American or a constitutional conservative for instance. But the moment when we allow these identities to predominate we begin to drift from God.
But it’s when we face trials that our identities as children of God are truly tested. If we do not remember this truth, we cannot have the strength to withstand doubts and tribulations. We will not have the courage or capacity needed to ensure to the end.
“When difficult things occur in our lives, what is our immediate response? Is it confusion or doubt or spiritual withdrawal? Is it a blow to our faith? Do we blame God or others for our circumstances? Or is our first response to remember who we are–that we are children of a loving God? Is that coupled with an absolute trust that He allows some earthly suffering because He knows it will bless us, like a refiner’s fire, to become like Him and to gain our eternal inheritance?”
I’m grateful for this timely reminder that God loves me and that I am his child. That is the identity that matters most and wil never fade. He loves me with a perfect love and believes in me and my potential even when I do not. I know these things to be true.