Today, I’ve written about a particular talk given at the close of the April 1972 session of conference, given by Elder Bernard P. Brockbank, entitled “Knowing God.” These are questions of the ages: Do I truly know God? Do I really want to know Him? Does He know me? Does He care about me?
This idea has been questioned and debated since the beginning of time. People either want to ignore God, and hope He goes away, or they don’t think He cares. Elder Brockbank said, “Many believe that there is a God, many say that they know there is a God, but many do not act like they know God.”
In the scriptures, there are stories where we see that Satan, or his followers, recognize God and obey His command, even when they don’t want to. How is it that we don’t have that same mindset? Possibly, it has to do with agency–where Satan lost his, and we can still choose whether to follow God or not. Well, doesn’t that put an interesting perspective on things? By manipulating us, Satan can avoid being forced to obey God.
Here is truth: When we know God, we understand our own potential. We understand that we can become like Him. What greater knowledge is there?
When we know God, we understand the power of the atonement in our own lives. We understand that repentance is real, is given to us out of love, and is available for large sins, as well as the ridiculous idiosyncrasies that mark our imperfections. You know, those habits that we just can’t master without the aid and forgiveness of the true Master. I love the hope and understanding these words give:
“Repentance is a refining influence, a principle provided through the atonement and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to help us purify our mortal minds and bodies and to bring out our divine nature and godlike qualities and character so that we can live in the presence of God in His celestial kingdom.”
Repentance isn’t for only those people who do bad things, it is for each of us who desire purification to bring out our individual divine nature and godlike qualities. To me, that sounds like He cares for me.
I see so many people wandering aimlessly, through life, not knowing that God is there, watching over them. Today, we hear people use His name without even giving Him a single thought. We watch as people challenge His very doctrine, or give Him advice, or think He’s old-fashioned. We replace Him with more exciting thoughts and ideas, or follow those who are “younger” and “wiser” than He.
Where can someone truly find God and learn about His great love and concern over our lives? Farther, in the talk, Elder Brockbank answers by describing the home as the greatest school. You know, everything really starts in the home, with a family, led by a righteous father and mother who know for themselves who God is. These parents together are to teach their children the “good news.” That there is a God, He loves and cares for them, His Son was sent down to save them, and God anxiously awaits their arrival back into His presence. If each one of us were to be raised with that knowledge, we would all live richer lives, happier lives, and lives full of love and promise.
“A person who knows God would want to be like God, because God is perfect. God has all knowledge.”
To know Him is to love Him. On a daily basis, I strive to know my Heavenly Father by praying to Him, listening to Him, by learning of Him in my scriptures, and by acting on the promptings He sends me. I’m not perfect at it, but that’s why His Son’s atoning sacrifice is so important to me. I can continue working at getting better, but I also know that when I fall short, Jesus Christ has saved me, and He bridges that gap of imperfectness in me. Without a doubt, I have the knowledge that I’m worth it to God, because He has provided me with all things necessary to return to Him, and to be like Him, if I simply follow His Son, take that leap of faith, and grasp hold.
And because I know Him, I love Him, and know that He loves me.
Other General Conference Odyssey posts:
The Peace of Knowing God Nathaniel Givens
The Cure for What Ails Us Daniel Ortner
“Peace Be Unto You” Walker Wright