Education Week: Increasing eternal perspective and coming to know God

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David A. Christensen, a current faculty member of the BYU Continuing Education Department, encouraged men and women to come to know the character of God during an Education Week presentation entitled “Increasing our Eternal Perspective: The Character of God” on Aug. 20.

“This is an exalted group,” Christensen said as he addressed the audience with a grin. “I think if you stayed for the third hour, we may be taken. And you will have to get a refund.”

As the laughter in the room ceased, he addressed the center point of his presentation.

“There is nothing more important than the spirit,” he said.

During the session, Christensen used the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith to support his message.

He read from the King Follett Sermon, which was given by Joseph Smith as a funeral sermon for his close friend. The sermon addresses the character of God, explaining that God was once a man and dwelt on an earth, as mortals do.

“That’s the great secret!” Christensen exclaimed.

God understands his children completely because he knows what it’s like (living on earth), Christensen said. “It gives me hope that I can do it because God did it.”

Christensen asked, “How did He become God? How do we become gods?” You can’t comprehend the answers without understanding time and all eternity, he said.

To elaborate on this principle, Christensen held up a colorful slinky. “This represents eternity,” he said. From eternity to eternity, everlasting to everlasting, “it’s one eternal round.” Like the round course of the slinky, revelation to Joseph Smith illustrated a similarity to the character of God. “He does not vary. His course is one eternal round.” 

Christensen again quoted Joseph Smith, who said, “If men do not comprehend the character of God, they do not comprehend themselves.”

Reading again from Smith’s sermon, Christensen asked, “What kind of being is God?” While not assuming anything about God’s character, one should do as Smith encouraged, “ask yourselves; turn your thoughts into your hearts, and say if any of you have seen, heard, or communed with Him?”

Christensen invited the audience to study the teachings of the prophet Joseph Smith to gain an increased understanding of God.

“It’s true!” Christensen exclaimed, referring to the doctrine of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. “It makes it easier to keep the commandments when you know correct doctrine.”

Christensen said he doesn’t know everything and is in a current state of ignorance. “But I know enough to know Him (God), love Him, and know He was a man.”

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