The Great Intercessory Prayer
George Q. Cannon
"I have always thought this one of the grandest and most remarkable prayers ever uttered, that we have any record of. No doubt the Son of God offered many prayers not in the power of mortal pen to record. But this prayer was recorded, and it has come down to us. It is a prayer that is full of meaning, and one that should be especially dear to the Latter-day Saints, because the blessings that the Savior prayed for on this occasion are the blessings that we need. We would not be worthy of the name of Saints if we did not receive the answer to this prayer in ourselves. The servants of that have received the Priesthood, unless they received the fulfilment of this prayer and exemplified it in their lives, would not be in truth His disciples." (Collected Discourses, 5 vols. [Burbank, Calif., and Woodland Hills, Ut.: B.H.S. Publishing, 1987-1992], vol. 4, George Q. Cannon, April 7, 1895)
John 17:1 Father, the hour is come
Bruce R. McConkie
"This was Jesus' appointed hour-the hour for which he came into the world; the hour when he would take upon himself the sins of the world. For this purpose was he born; for this purpose had he lived. And because he would accomplish the appointed purpose, he would soon rise in immortal glory-for which glory he now prayed." (The Mortal Messiah: From Bethlehem to Calvary, 4 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979-1981], 4: 107.)
John 17:1 glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"Eyes lifted heavenward often show equally as great humility as those closed with bowed head. In this position He humbly pled, 'Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.' (Verse 1.) What a great lesson in humility and meekness! When we receive glory-that is, attention and honor-in our callings or for a given performance, should we not desire the glory only insofar as it glorifies our Lord or His Church?" (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 25.)
John 17:2 thou hast given him power...that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him
Elohim had previously given his Son a special assignment: it was to save a special group of souls. These souls were so righteous in the pre-mortal sphere that they were foreordained to receive eternal life. These are the elect of God. They are the ones whom the Father has given to the Son. They are the Lord's sheep, the ones who follow the voice of the Master. Other scriptures also speak of this chosen group. Speaking to the righteous Nephites, the resurrected Lord declared, 'ye are my sheep, and ye are numbered among those whom the Father hath given me' (3 Ne. 15:24, see also 3 Ne. 19:29). Speaking to the Elders of the latter-day church, he said, 'Fear not, little children, for you are mine, and I have overcome the world, and you are of them that my Father hath given me' (DC 50:41), and 'as I said unto mine apostles, even so I say unto you, for you are mine apostles, even God's high priests; ye are they whom my Father hath given me; ye are my friends' (DC 84:63)
One of the most remarkable and profound doctrines in the scriptures is that Christ has power to save all of these souls, 'this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day' (John 6:39, see also John 10:27-29). In John 17:2, Jesus acknowledges that he has been given power to save all of these souls-with only one exception-Judas, 'those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition' (v. 12). Through the foreknowledge of God and the atonement of Jesus Christ, all the elect will be exalted. 'And none of them which my Father hath given me shall be lost' (DC 50:42).
This simple but profound truth has been distorted throughout the ages. Some have falsely claimed that if some are foreordained to life that others are predestined to hell. Some have falsely claimed that their agency has been violated if they are destined to receive eternal life when in fact they have received their reward by the correct use of their agency without any coercion or compulsion (see commentary for John 6:37-39). Others have falsely assumed that only those who are elect will receive eternal life, but the Savior's invitation is to all, 'all men are privileged the one like unto the other, and none are forbidden...he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female' (2 Ne. 26:28, 33). Yet, while many are called to come unto Christ, few are chosen for exaltation. This is one of the meanings of the phrase, 'many are called, but few are chosen' (DC 121:40). The Lord knows well his elect and they know him, for 'he numbereth his sheep and they know him' (1 Ne. 22:25).
John 17:3 This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent
Harold B. Lee
"Eternal life is God's life, or life with God. In other words, it seems to me, they are trying to tell us that the worthiness to abide in his holy presence can be obtained only by knowing God and by knowing Jesus Christ whom he has sent." (Conference Report, October 1956, Afternoon Meeting 61.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"No man who does not receive the privilege of entering the celestial kingdom and coming face to face with the Father will be able to know what eternal life is, for he cannot know the Father unless he sees him and dwells with him, and partakes of the same life which the Father possesses for that is eternal life." (Doctrines of Salvation, 2:7)
Bruce R. McConkie
"It is one thing to know about God and another to know him. We know about him when we learn that he is a personal being in whose image man is created; when we learn that the Son is in the express image of his Father's person; when we learn that both the Father and the Son possess certain specified attributes and powers. But we know them, in the sense of gaining eternal life, when we enjoy and experience the same things they do. To know God is to think what he thinks, to feel what he feels, to have the power he possesses, to comprehend the truths he understands, and to do what he does. Those who know God become like him, and have his kind of life, which is eternal life." (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 1: 762.)
Harold B. Lee
"How can you know the Father and the Son? Well, how can you come to know Abraham Lincoln? How will one become acquainted with the poet Longfellow, or the great composer Mozart or with Hofmann, the artist? You can come to know them by their works they have left with us, by a review of their lives, by an understanding of environment and circumstances that prompted their acts, and finally, by acquiring through practice the ability to produce similar works by a study of the techniques they employed. Just so, we can come to know God and his Son, our Savior. We begin to acquire that knowledge by study. The Savior counseled us to 'Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.' (John 5:39.)" (Decisions for Successful Living [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 39 - 40.)
Ezra Taft Benson
"We cannot know God and Jesus without studying about them and then doing their will. This course leads to additional revealed knowledge that, if obeyed, will eventually lead us to further truths. When we follow this pattern, we will receive further light and joy, eventually leading into God's presence where we, with Him, will have a fullness." (Come unto Christ [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983], 32.)
"There are very few who understand rightly the character of God. . . . What kind of a being is God? I again repeat the question. What kind of a being is God? Does any man or woman know? Have any of you seen him, heard him, communed with him? Here is the question that will peradventure from this time henceforth occupy your attention. The apostle says this is eternal life, to know God and Jesus Christ whom he has sent. That is eternal life. If any man inquire what kind of a being God is, if he will search diligently his own heart, [he will know] that unless he knows God he has no eternal life.
"...If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves. What kind of a being is God? Eternal life [is] to know God. If man does not know God, [he] has not eternal life." (Kent P. Jackson, comp. and ed., Joseph Smith's Commentary on the Bible [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 141.)
"It is not enough merely to have a knowledge of the existence of the Father and Son; but to know them aright is to understand their character-their attributes-their glory-and the nature of the laws which they have ordained for the government of all happy, glorified, and intelligent beings. Such knowledge, when once obtained, is eternal life. Eternal life is not merely to believe on the testimony of others in the existence and attributes of God, but it is to obtain something more than a belief; it is to obtain a certain knowledge. Such knowledge can only be obtained by direct and immediate revelation. 'No man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.' (Matt. 11:27.) All men can believe in the existence of God on the testimony of others; but no man can know God only by revelation." (Orson Pratt's Works [Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1945], 104 - 105.)
Marion G. Romney
"Such knowledge is essential to exaltation. It is more than a mental concept. It comes only through personal two-way communication with the Lord. It can be appreciated only by those who have experienced it.
"I bear you my witness that I do know with certainty, by the witness of the Holy Ghost, that the Prophet's teachings concerning the form and character of God are true; and that in the same way and by my own experience, I know with certainty that we may converse with him as one man converses with another." (Learning for the Eternities [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1977], 9.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Such knowledge is the very foundation of spiritual strength. This is the great basic purpose of the restoration of the gospel in this, the dispensation of the fulness of times-to declare the living reality of God the Eternal Father and of His Beloved Son, the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. To know them, to love them, to obey them is to have life eternal. It is our mission to declare with words of soberness and truth that God is our Eternal Father, the God of the universe, the Almighty One; and that Jesus Christ is his firstborn, the Only Begotten in the flesh, who condescended to come to earth; who was born in a stable in Bethlehem of Judea, lived the perfect life, and taught the way of salvation; who offered Himself a sacrifice for all, enduring pain and death on the cross; and who then came forth in a glorious resurrection, the firstfruits of them that slept. (See 1 Cor. 15:20.) Through Him, and by Him, and of Him, all are assured salvation from death and are offered the opportunity of eternal life.
"This is the great undergirding truth of our faith. It is the overarching canopy under which we find our spiritual strength. With this knowledge we grow spiritually, our spirits in kinship with the Spirit of God. It is the way out of darkness. It affords the strength needed to rise above sin." ("Come and Partake," Ensign, May 1986, 47)
John 17:5 the glory which I had with thee before the world was
"What was the glory that Jesus had with the Father 'before the world was'? Abraham, beholding that time in vision, reported that Jesus was 'like unto God.' (Abr. 3:22, 24.) Into the hands of him who later was to become his Only Begotten in the flesh, the Father had given all power and all authority in the universe. Jesus was 'the brightness of [the Father's] glory, and the express image of his person,' who upholds 'all things by the word of his power.' (Heb. 1:3.) Such divine acts as the creation of worlds without number, the governing of the earth and millions of others like it, the revelation to the prophets, and the atonement for all of God's children were entrusted into the hands of Jesus Christ, Jehovah, the Lord God of the universe, the Father of heaven and earth. Jesus was, as Paul taught, 'in the form of God' and 'thought it not robbery to be equal with God.' (Philip. 2:6.) How mighty this man was as a spirit son of God in premortality that the Father would endow him with all of the attributes of deity save only those that pertain to the possession of a physical body. How we, his spirit siblings but spiritual underlings, must have stood in awe of him as we followed him in the course that the Father laid out for his children. How we must have admired the indescribable wisdom with which, even then, he administered the Father's plan. How we must have marveled at the unutterable courage with which he stepped forward to accept the burden of the holy atonement. If the present sensitivities that we feel for him, his sacred eternal work, and his gospel plan are any indication of the admiration that we had at that time in his presence, then heaven is a glorious place indeed. And if it is glorious because of the presence of the Son there, how glorious it must be because of the presence of the Father, the source of all glory in eternity." (Kent P. Jackson and Robert L. Millet, eds., Studies in Scripture, Vol. 5: The Gospels [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986], 1 - 2.)
John 17:8 they have believed that thou didst send me
Marion G. Romney
"In his prayer Jesus made it perfectly clear that the eleven disciples knew him to be the Son of God. He had taught them who he was and that he had been sent from his Father. That they had received a witness in their hearts and souls to the truth of his teachings is made clear in the following statement by John: (quotes John 17:1-2, 6-8.).
"By receiving the Savior's message and accepting him for what he was and is, the Apostles obtained eternal life.
"This knowledge of 'the only true God, and Jesus Christ' (John 17:3) is the most important knowledge in the universe; it is the knowledge without which the Prophet Joseph Smith said no man could be saved. The lack of it is the ignorance referred to in the revelation wherein it is written: 'It is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance.' (D&C 131:6.)" ("Except a Man Be Born Again," Ensign, Nov. 1981, 14)
John 17:9 I pray for them
The great intercessory prayer includes Christ's great pleadings on behalf of the apostles. What must it have felt like to hear the Savior pray for them? We imagine they felt as the Nephites did who said, 'no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father' (3 Ne. 17:17). If we remain faithful, there will come a day when we will hear him intercede on our behalf as well. The Mediator and Advocate with the Father will plead our cause as follows, 'Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of they son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and have everlasting life.' (DC 45:4-5). When we hear these words said on our behalf we will feel as the apostles did and will be filled with joy indescribable.
John 17:11 that they may be one, as we are
"The Saviour sought continually to impress upon the minds of his disciples that a perfect oneness reigned among all celestial beings-that the Father and the Son and their minister, the Holy Ghost, were one in their administration in heaven and among the people pertaining to this earth. Between them and all the heavenly hosts there can be no disunion, no discord, no wavering on a suggestion, on a thought or reflection, on a feeling or manifestation; for such a principle would differ widely from the character of Him who dictates them, who makes his throne the habitation of justice, mercy, equity, and truth. If the heavenly hosts were not one, they would be entirely unfit to dwell in eternal burnings with the Father and Ruler of the universe.
"A perfect oneness will save a people, because intelligent beings cannot become perfectly one only by acting upon principles that pertain to eternal life. Wicked men may be partially united in evil; but, in the very nature of things, such a union is of short duration. The very principle upon which they are partially united will itself breed contention and disunion to destroy the temporary compact. Only the line of truth and righteousness can secure to any kingdom or people, either of earthly or heavenly existence, an eternal continuation of perfect union; for only truth and those who are sanctified by it can dwell in celestial glory." (Journal of Discourses, 7: 277-8.)
Harold B. Lee
"'Be one; and if ye are not one, ye are not mine' (D&C 38:27). If we are not united, we are not His. Here unity is the test of divine ownership as thus expressed. If we would be united in love and fellowship and harmony, this church would convert the world, who would see in us the shining example of these qualities which evidence that divine ownership." (The Teachings of Harold B. Lee, edited by Clyde J. Williams [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 388.)
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"This great truth about unity was of such consequence that it was one of the major things for which Christ prayed in His intercessory prayer. We do not yet comprehend the power and the spiritual strength that will come to the Church when we are totally united in truth and have become sanctified. A power surge would come from this Church that would startle the world and reach into every nation, state, community, village, and home, as it did in the days of Enoch and as it will yet happen during the millennial reign." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 28.)
"Are we one, as the Savior prayed that his disciples might be? If we are, then are we a happy people; if we are, then are we a powerful and influential people. Jesus had power to do many miracles so-called; he changed water into wine, fed thousands upon a few loaves and fishes, and raised the dead.
"If we were one, we should then prove to heaven, to God our Father, to Jesus Christ our elder brother, to the angels, to the good upon the earth, and to all mankind that we are the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we are not one, we are not in the true sense of the word the disciples of the Lord Jesus." (Journal of Discourses, 11: 274.)
John 17:12 Was Judas Iscariot a son of perdition?
Some have argued that Judas could not be considered a son of perdition because he had not yet received the gift of the Holy Ghost. They argue that he had not yet received enough light and truth in order to be guilty of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost. However, the Lord's words cannot be explained away. In this verse, Jesus clearly referred to Judas as a son of perdition.
We usually think that the sons of perdition qualify for their damnation by denying the Holy Ghost, and this is true. However, there is another element to this pernicious sin that must be discussed. The sons of perdition have also 'denied the Only Begotten Son of the Father, having crucified him unto themselves and put him to an open shame' (DC 76:35). Who better fits this description than Judas Iscariot? Did not Christ's open shame on the cross begin with Judas' betrayal? Is not the very act of betraying Jesus Christ a denial of the Holy Ghost? Judas' sin becomes the prototype for all other sons of perdition unto whom the Lord has said, 'ye commit murder wherein ye shed innocent blood, and assent unto my death, after ye have received my new and everlasting covenant' (DC 132:27). Certainly, Judas was a son of perdition for he knew the power of the Lord, and had been a partaker thereof, 'and suffered [himself] through the power of the devil to be overcome, and to deny the truth and defy [His] power-They are they who are the sons of perdition' (DC 76:31-32).
John 17:12 that the scripture might be fulfilled
There are probably many lost scriptures which prophesy of Judas' betrayal. Christ may have been referring to the passage from Psalms, 'Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me' (Ps. 41:9). As Joseph Smith stated, "What nearer friend on earth, or in heaven, had Judas than the Savior? And his first object was to destroy Him." (History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 2:23)
John 17:15 I pray...that thou shouldest keep them from the evil
James E. Faust
"The Savior gives us a profound key by which we can cope with and even surmount the debilitating forces of the world. Said the Savior, 'I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.' This grand key then is that, regardless of the saturation of wickedness around us, we must stay free from the evil of the world. The Savior's prayer both commands us to avoid evil and proffers divine help to do so. Through this effort we become one with our Lord." ("Woman, Why Weepest Thou?" Ensign, Nov. 1996, 53)
John 17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world
Joseph Fielding Smith
"If we are living the religion which the Lord has revealed and which we have received, we do not belong to the world. We should have no part in all its foolishness. We should not partake of its sins and its errors-errors of philosophy and errors of doctrine, errors in regard to government, or whatever those errors may be-we have no part in it.
"The only part we have is the keeping of the commandments of God. That is all, being true to every covenant and every obligation that we have entered into and taken upon ourselves...If I sometimes, and once in a while I do, go to a football game or a baseball game or some other place of amusement, invariably I will be surrounded by men and women who are puffing on cigarettes or cigars or dirty pipes. It gets very annoying, and I get a little disturbed. I will turn to Sister Smith, and I will say something to her, and she will say, 'Well, now, you know what you have taught me. You are in their world. This is their world.' And that sort of brings me back to my senses. Yes, we are in their world, but we do not have to be of it." (Conference Report, April 1952, Afternoon Meeting 28.)
David O. McKay
"This question of being in the world but not of it, is a question of increasing concern-because, in effect, the world is ever shrinking in size-and we come ever closer to the influence and attitudes of others-and there is ever more compelling pressures to be as others are, to do as others do, with questions of compromise and of preserving principles-how far to go, how different to be, how to live comfortably among men. One of life's most important problems is learning to get along with the people with whom we live in the world, without compromising principles, and one of the plausible ways of getting along with people is to make concessions pertaining to principle-to go the way of the world, whatever way that is...
"...abandoning principles is no solution to the problem of getting along with people. Indeed, it is false and foolish to suppose that compromising principles will win the respect or acceptance of anyone. Compromising principles isn't getting along with people; it is simply surrender; it is simply self-betrayal. And he who betrays himself is never solidly accepted or respected anywhere by anyone." (Conference Report, April 1959, Afternoon Meeting 123 - 124.)
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
Vaughn J. Featherstone
"Sanctification means to be made pure and spotless and holy. Truth can sanctify us if we abide in it. Truth purges falsehoods, misconceptions, errors, lies, evil, lusting, and other perverse behaviors from our lives. Truth is greater than the sword. Jesus' prayer to His Father included the admission that 'thy word is truth.' All truth emanates from God. Truth is eternal and absolute, and it sanctifies those who receive it." (The Incomparable Christ: Our Master and Model [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1995], 28.)
Henry B. Eyring
"[Jesus] made clear how the gospel of Jesus Christ can allow hearts to be made one. Those who would believe the truth He taught could accept the ordinances and the covenants offered by His authorized servants. Then, through obedience to those ordinances and covenants, their natures would be changed. The Savior's Atonement in that way makes it possible for us to be sanctified. We can then live in unity, as we must to have peace in this life and to dwell with the Father and His Son in eternity." ("That We May Be One," Ensign, May 1998, 66)
Bruce C. Hafen
"As individual followers of Christ accept the oneness made possible by his 'at-one-ment,' they enter into a solemn covenant, offering him their broken hearts in exchange for Christ's offering his broken heart to them. They do this unto 'the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God.' ("Helaman 3:35.) And in this act, his followers say to him, 'Here's my heart, O take and seal it; / Seal it for thy courts above.'" (Bruce C. Hafen and Marie K. Hafen, The Belonging: The Atonement and Relationships with God and Family Heart [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 127.)
John 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee
The traditional Christian doctrine of the Trinity, that the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one personage, is not supported by the scriptures. The more one studies the Bible the more absurd that assumption becomes. After a while, the whole concept is just plain ridiculous. Joseph Smith took an incredulous tone with respect to this doctrine when he said, 'Many men say there is one God; the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are only one God! I say that is a strange God anyhow-three in one, and one in three! It is a curious organization...'Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are.' All are to be crammed into one God, according to sectarianism. It would make the biggest God in all the world. He would be a wonderfully big God-he would be a giant or a monster." (History of the Church, 6:476)
Joseph Smith says the sectarians believe in a god who is a giant or a monster, but if their interpretations are true they also believe in a god who is a schizophrenic acrobatic ventriloquist. There are three landmark scriptures which prove the falseness of the popular theology. First, in John 17, Christ is praying to his Father as if his Father is in heaven. But if the Trinity doctrine is true, Christ is really talking to himself, a characteristic commonly seen in schizophrenia. Secondly, we have the stoning of Stephen in which Stephen looks into the heavens to see 'Jesus standing on the right hand of God' (Acts 7:55). But if Jesus and the Father have the same personage, then Jesus is actually standing on his own right hand-an act which requires such balance that one would have to be an acrobat to do it. Third, we have Christ's baptism in which the Holy Ghost is present and the Father's voice is heard from the heavens saying, 'This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased' (Matt 3:17). If Jesus and the Father are the same personage, how can Jesus be in the water with John while another voice is heard from the heavens? Jesus must have been acting as a ventriloquist, one who could "throw his voice" such that it sounded as if it were coming from the heavens. Such is the Trinity doctrine. It believes in a god who is a giant monster, an acrobat, and a schizophrenic ventriloquist.
James E. Talmage
"The Godhead is a type of unity in the attributes, powers, and purposes of its members. Jesus, while on earth and in manifesting Himself to His Nephite servants, (See 3 Ne. 11:27,36; 28:10) repeatedly testified of the unity existing between Himself and the Father, and between them both and the Holy Ghost. This cannot rationally be construed to mean that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one in substance and in person, nor that the names represent the same individual under different aspects. A single reference to prove the error of any such view may suffice: Immediately before His betrayal, Christ prayed for His disciples, the Twelve, and other converts, that they should be preserved in unity, 'that they all may be one' as the Father and the Son are one. We cannot assume that Christ prayed that His followers lose their individuality and become one person, even if a change so directly opposed to nature were possible. Christ desired that all should be united in heart, spirit, and purpose; for such is the unity between His Father and Himself, and between them and the Holy Ghost.
"Godhead/This unity is a type of completeness; the mind of any one member of the Trinity is the mind of the others; seeing as each of them does with the eye of perfection, they see and understand alike. Under any given conditions each would act in the same way, guided by the same principles of unerring justice and equity. The one-ness of the Godhead, to which the scriptures so abundantly testify, implies no mystical union of substance, nor any unnatural and therefore impossible blending of personality. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are as distinct in their persons and individualities as are any three personages in mortality. Yet their unity of purpose and operation is such as to make their edicts one, and their will the will of God." (The Articles of Faith, 36-37)
"The Father and I are one, you disciples and I are one; it is quite a curiosity, but it is as true as it is curious. It is nothing more than a key-word to exaltation, glory, power, and excellency, by which principalities, kingdoms, dominions, and eternal lives will surround us." (Journal of Discourses, 1: 272.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"I believe in God, the Eternal Father, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, and in the Holy Ghost.
"I was baptized in the name of these three. I was married in the name of these three. I have no question concerning their reality and their individuality. That individuality was made apparent when Jesus was baptized by John in Jordan. There in the water stood the Son of God. His Father's voice was heard declaring His divine Sonship, and the Holy Ghost was manifest in the form of a dove (see Matt. 3:16-17).
"I am aware that Jesus said that they who had seen Him had seen the Father. Could not the same be said by many a son who resembles his parent?
"When Jesus prayed to the Father, certainly He was not praying to Himself!" ("The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 51)
John 17:22 that they may be one, even as we are one
How does an individual become one with God? This process is the ultimate quest of the true disciple. Along this difficult journey, the disciple must realize that unity with God and willfulness are mutually exclusive concepts. Most of us are willing to give the Lord most of ourselves, but there is that tendency to hold something back. The Lord will not claim us as his until we are ready to give him all of ourselves. Elder Maxwell said:
"Many of us are kept from eventual consecration because we mistakenly think that, somehow, by letting our will be swallowed up in the will of God we lose our individuality (see Mosiah 15:7). What we are really worried about, of course, is giving up not self but selfish things-like our roles, our time, our preeminence, and our possessions. No wonder we are instructed by the Savior to lose ourselves (see Luke 9:24). He is only asking us to lose the old self in order to find the new self. It is a question not of one's losing identity but of finding one's true identity." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 51.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"The submission of one's will is placing on God's altar the only uniquely personal thing one has to place there. The many other things we 'give' are actually the things He has already given or loaned to us. However, when we finally submit ourselves by letting our individual wills be swallowed up in God's will, we will really be giving something to Him! It is the only possession which is truly ours to give. Consecration thus constitutes the only unconditional surrender which is also a total victory." (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 54.)
Marion G. Romney
"The way to unity is for us to learn the will of the Lord and then to do it. Until this basic principle is understood and observed, there will be no unity and peace on the earth. The power of the Church for good in the world depends upon the extent to which we, the members thereof, observe this principle.
"The major reason for the world's troubles today is that men are not seeking to know the will of the Lord and then to do it. Rather do they seek to solve their problems in their own wisdom and in their own way." ("Unity," Ensign, May 1983, 17-18)
"We must conform to the will of God. In order for us to effect the purposes of God, we shall have to do as Jesus did-conform our individual will to the will of God, not only in one thing, but in all things, and to live so that the will of God shall be in us. We have the same priesthood that Jesus had, and we have got to do as He did, to make sacrifice of our own desires and feelings as He did; perhaps not to die martyrs as He did, but we have got to make sacrifices in order to carry out the purposes of God, or we shall not be worthy of this holy priesthood, and be saviors of the world." (Journal of Discourses, 23:341-42.)
John 17:22-24 the glory which thou gavest me I have given them...that they also...be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory
"All these sayings put together give as clear an account of the state of the glorified saints as language could give...What language can be plainer than this? The Saviour surely intended to be understood by his disciples, and he so spake that they might understand him; for he declares to his Father, in language not to be easily mistaken, that he wanted his disciples, even all of them, to be as himself and the Father, for as he and the Father were one so they might be one with them. And what is said in the 22nd verse is calculated to more firmly establish this belief, if it needs anything to establish it. He says: 'And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one.' As much as to say that unless they have the glory which the Father had given him they could not be one with them; for he says he had given them the glory that the Father had given him that they might be one; or, in other words, to make them one.
"This fills up the measure of information on this subject, and shows most clearly that the Saviour wished his disciples to understand that they were to be partakers with him in all things, not even his glory excepted.
"It is scarcely necessary here to observe what we have previously noticed, that the glory which the Father and the Son have is because they are just and holy beings; and that if they were lacking in one attribute or perfection which they have, the glory which they have never could be enjoyed by them, for it requires them to be precisely what they are in order to enjoy it; and if the Saviour gives this glory to any others, he must do it in the very way set forth in his prayer to his Father-by making them one with him as he and the Father are one. In so doing he would give them the glory which the Father has given him; and when his disciples are made one with the Father and Son, as the Father and the Son are one, who cannot see the propriety of the Saviour's saying-'The works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.' (John 14:12)
"These teachings of the Saviour most clearly show unto us the nature of salvation, and what he proposed unto the human family when he proposed to save them-that he proposed to make them like unto himself, and he was like the Father, the great prototype of all saved beings; and for any portion of the human family to be assimilated into their likeness is to be saved; and to be unlike them is to be destroyed; and on this hinge turns the door of salvation." (Lectures on Faith, 7:14-16)