Many years ago, in an adult Sunday School class, our instructor looked at me and asked me directly: “Have you ever doubted your testimony of Christ; and, what were your feelings at that time?” I didn’t answer immediately but thought seriously about the questions. Then I answered, “I honestly don’t recall ever doubting my testimony of Jesus Christ.” I have always known that Jesus is the Son of God, our Redeemer, and Savior. I believed this when I was a child; and, as an adult, I have never doubted it. Jesus Christ is the beloved Son of God the Father. They are separate and distinct beings, and yet they are united in one purpose, “…to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) Jesus Christ was with the Father in the preexistence. Under the direction of the Father, He was the Creator and Organizer of Heaven and Earth and all things in them; the Great Jehovah of the Old Testament. He is literally the Son of God the Father, and the only begotten of the Father in the flesh (born of a physical mother). Jesus is the Chosen One, the Messiah. It is my testimony that Jesus Christ is the literal Son of God the Father, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh, and He is like His Father in every way.
I also believe we are all “spirit” children of our loving God, our Eternal Father in Heaven. We lived with Him (as individual spirits) before our birth. However, our Heavenly Father has a glorified and immortal body. We loved Him, and He loves us. What is so amazing is, as His children, we have the potential to be like Him …someday. Of course, He is perfect in all things, including Perfect Justice and Perfect Mercy. But, I believe He has a plan (Moses 1:39) for all His spirit children to become cleansed from this life and resurrected like Him and His Beloved Son (Matthew 5:48 and John 17:2-3). Jesus Christ has implemented our Heavenly Father’s Great, the Eternal Plan of Salvation (the Plan of Happiness). Ultimately, because of His Atonement and Resurrection, He has atoned for our individual sins and redeemed us from the “Fall of Adam.” Thus, He has made it possible for us (spirit children of God) to return and be with God our Heavenly Father again. For our part, we must follow the “Doctrine of Christ” (2 Nephi 31:20-21), keep the commandments of God, and honor our sacred covenants with Him.
Before our birth, we were pure and enjoyed the presence of God the Father, and His Son. But, we were spirits and did not have glorified physical bodies like the Father. In that pre-existence, we knew the Father and the Son, and we loved them; …and, we wanted to be like them. Heavenly Father’s Great Plan of Salvation provides a way for us to do just that. As spirits, we would come to this earth, gain a physical body, gain earthly experience, overcome our weaknesses, prove ourselves worthy, eventually die physically, be resurrected, and return to Him with an immortal glorified body. In this life, because of the Fall of Adam and our personal transgressions, and because God is a God of Justice, mankind is separated from His presence. But, because God the Father is also merciful, He has provided a way (His Plan) for us to return to Him. According to the Father’s Plan of Salvation, Jesus Christ atoned for our sins and Adam’s transgression. He paid the demands of justice and made it possible for each of us to be redeemed from the Fall. Jesus Christ took upon Himself the sins of the world; He suffered and atoned for our sins; after which, He was crucified and died on the cross. I also believe that on the third day, He overcame death through His resurrection and ascension into the presence of God the Father.
Because of Jesus Christ, our sins can be forgiven (if we sincerely repent), we will be resurrected (our body and spirit reunited), and we will stand before Him to be judged. Jesus Christ is the Great Judge. He has paid the price of our sins (if we repent), and He has redeemed us from the Fall of Adam (we will all be resurrected). Like God the Father, Jesus Christ is also merciful and loving, but He is also a God of justice. So, while His atonement has paid the demands of justice, there is much required of us. In this life, we are all unworthy (to some degree) of His forgiveness and mercy. However, to be redeemed, what He asks of us is that we exercise faith in Him, repent honestly of our sins, be baptized by an authorized servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit, and continue in a life of righteousness. Essentially, we will be judged according to 1) the desires of our hearts, 2) our obedience in keeping His commandments, 3) our faithfulness in honoring our covenants with Him, and 4) our continuing or “enduring” in good works. This is the essence of “the Gospel Plan of Salvation.” Or in other words, “The Great Plan of Happiness.”
Finally, please allow me to say something about the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth. Shortly after the early Christian era, and because of wickedness in both the church and the world, the Church of Jesus Christ (including a full understanding of Heavenly Father’s Plan) was taken from the earth …and Divine revelation ceased. What little was left of the Gospel of Jesus Christ was corrupted by false religious leaders and conspiring minds. The earth fell into “the Great Apostasy” when these false leaders corrupted the Doctrine of Christ. This period is referred to in history as the Dark Ages …when “the heavens were sealed.” The World remained in this condition for many centuries. However, I testify the fullness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ has since been restored to the earth. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ have opened the Dispensation of the Fulness of Times. Heavenly messengers have returned to the earth and restored Holy Priesthood authority/powers and blessings, and our Heavenly Father’s Gospel Plan of Salvation has been revealed (again). I believe Jesus Christ Himself sits at the head of His Church (the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints), and He is alive and well. He is our Creator, our Savior, our Redeemer, and the Son of God. He loves all of God’s children, and because of His Sacrifice and Obedience to God, He has made it possible for us to be completely forgiven of our sins and redeemed from the Fall of Adam. Thus, He has provided a way (if we are willing) for each of us to ultimately return and live with God again. “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39)
Of these things I am certain, and I testify they are true. I share them with all who will read this. And, I do it with full confidence and all sincerity. I know for myself they are true; and, I know you too can receive this same assurance from the Holy Spirit.
My name is Scott A. Edgar. I am your fellow servant in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a Disciple of Jesus Christ.