The Praying Savior:
Insights from the Gospel of 3 Nephi

By inheritance as well as by perfect obedience, Jesus Christ was entitled to a fulness of the Father’s Spirit. “Therefore doth my Father love me,” he said, “because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father” (John 10:17–18). Jesus was the son of Mary, a mortal woman, and from her he inherited mortality, including the capacity to die. Jesus was also the Son of God, an immortal resurrected being, and from him he inherited the capacity to take upon him the sins of earth’s inhabitants and also rise up from the dead in resurrected immortality. As Lehi explained, the Savior would lay down his life according to the flesh and take it up by the power of the Spirit (2 Nephi 2:8). Jesus thus had “power given unto him from the Father” (Helaman 5:11; see Mormon 7:5) to do all that he was sent to earth to do.

Though the fulness of the glory of the Father would not be given to Christ until after the resurrection (see Matthew 28:18; Doctrine and Covenants 93:16–17),1 Jesus lived and moved and had his being in the Spirit of God, “for God giveth him not the Spirit by measure, for he dwelleth in him, even the fulness” (John 3:34 JST). It was this fulness that enabled and empowered him to resist evil, dismiss Satan from his life, and enjoy constant communion with the Father. “Where is the man that is free from vanity?” Joseph Smith asked. “None ever were perfect but Jesus; and why was He perfect? Because He was the Son of God, and had the fullness of the Spirit, and greater power than any man.” 2 At the same time, the New Testament affirms that the Beloved Son was subordinate to his Father in mortality. Jesus came to carry out the will of the Father (see John 4:34). He explained, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me” (John 5:30; compare 6:38–40). In addition, the scriptures attest that our Father in Heaven had power, knowledge, glory, and dominion that Jesus did not have at the time. Truly, “the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do” (John 5:19). Even what the Son spoke was what the Father desired to be spoken (see John 12:49–50). How much more plainly could the Savior describe his subordinate position than when he said, “If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28)?

We balance that understanding by grasping that the Father and the Son enjoyed much more than what we might call closeness; theirs was a divine indwelling relationship: because he kept the law of God, Jesus was in the Father and the Father was in him (see John 14:10, 20; 17:21; 1 John 3:24). Though Latter-day Saints testify that the Father and the Son were two separate and distinct beings—a singular doctrinal position in the traditional Christian world—they were one, infinitely more one than separate. “We believe these three divine persons constituting a single Godhead are united in purpose, in manner, in testimony, in mission,” Elder Jeffrey R. Holland declared. “We believe Them to be filled with the same godly sense of mercy and love, justice and grace, patience, forgiveness, and redemption. I think it is accurate to say we believe They are one in every significant and eternal aspect imaginable except believing Them to be three persons combined in one substance.” 3 Their transcendent unity epitomizes the unity that ought to exist between God and all of his children. That is to say, we are under commission to seek the Spirit of God, to strive to be one with Divinity, to be, as the Prophet Joseph explained, “agreed as one,” 4 to have “the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16). Through cultivating the Spirit in our lives “we dwell in him, and he in us” (1 John 4:13).

Lessons on Prayer in 3 Nephi

We turn our attention now to our “praying Savior” as presented in what Latter-day Saints have come to know as the fifth Gospel, the book of 3 Nephi in the Book of Mormon.5 We will first focus on some key lessons about prayer and then turn to the narrative to study how the risen Lord instructs us through word and example. Following Christ’s marvelous descent to his people in America—after he had been announced and introduced by God the Father, identified himself as the light and life of the world, testified that he had drunk out of the bitter cup of alienation and loneliness and unspeakable pain and suffering associated with the atonement, and invited all 2,500 persons in the environs of the temple at Bountiful to come forward and become witnesses of him and the tokens of his crucifixion—he set forth clearly the relationship of the members of the Godhead.

Because, as the apostle Paul had taught in the Old World, “in [Christ] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), Jesus instructed his Nephite disciples that to be baptized in his name was to be baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (3 Nephi 11:23–27). Why? Because “the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one; and I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father and I are one” (3 Nephi 11:27). Further, Jesus taught that

I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me. . . . And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record unto him of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one. (3 Nephi 11:32, 36; compare 28:10)

As we mentioned earlier, and by way of summary: (1) There are three personages within the Godhead. (2) Each of those personages possesses all of the qualities and attributes of divinity in perfection. (3) The love and unity of those sacred personages is of such magnitude that they constitute a divine community often spoken of, especially in the Book of Mormon, as “God” (2 Nephi 31:21; Alma 11:44; Mormon 7:7).6

The Lord offers much precious counsel on prayer in the Book of Mormon, including what he had taught his disciples on the Eastern Hemisphere: the need to pray with pure intent, to never pray to be heard of men (3 Nephi 13:5–8); to pattern their prayers on the Lord’s prayer, with those alterations that would reflect the fact that he is now a resurrected, glorified being, the kingdom of God was now in their midst, and they would soon be initiated into the heavenly order of consecration and stewardship (3 Nephi 13:9–13); and to pray to the Father in the name of the Son (3 Nephi 18:19–21, 23; 19:6, 8; 27:2, 7, 28). He beckons to the more righteous remnant, those who had been spared the destructions, to lift their voices heavenward in behalf of the less active, to “meet together oft; and . . . not forbid any man from coming unto you when ye shall meet together, but suffer them that they may come unto you and forbid them not; but ye shall pray for them, and shall not cast them out; and if it so be that they come unto you oft ye shall pray for them unto the Father, in my name” (3 Nephi 18:22–23).

The Risen Lord in Prayer

Now, let us return to the story. One of the grand ways Jesus teaches us all to pray is by praying. He is our model, our pattern, our prototype. Note in 3 Nephi 17:13–14:

And it came to pass that when they had all been brought, and Jesus stood in the midst, he commanded the multitude [remember, at this point there are 2,500 men, women, and children present] that they should kneel down upon the ground. And it came to pass that when they had knelt upon the ground, Jesus groaned within himself, and said: Father, I am troubled because of the wickedness of the people of the house of Israel.

Here we see the sublime sensitivity and omniscient awareness of our Master—he is “merciful and gracious unto those who fear [him], and delight[s] to honor those who serve [him] in righteousness and in truth unto the end” (D&C 76:5). On the other hand, he knows perfectly well that “the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked” (Isaiah 57:20–21; compare 48:22). He knows, as Alma taught an errant son, that “wickedness never was happiness” and that those who are “in a state of nature, or . . . in a carnal state, are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” Not only are they enemies of God—working at cross purposes to the great plan of happiness—but, tragically, they are enemies to themselves, laboring against their best good. In Alma’s words: “They are without God in the world, and they have gone contrary to the nature of God; therefore, they are in a state contrary to the nature of happiness” (Alma 41:10–11).

The very earth that Jehovah had created cried out: “Wo, wo is me, the mother of men; I am pained, I am weary, because of the wickedness of my children” (Moses 7:48). Enoch of old who, as a result of his panoramic vision in which he beheld the horrid destruction of humanity in the days of Noah and the flood, felt no comfort in the damnation of any portion of the Father’s children (see Moses 7:42–44). As Father Richard John Neuhaus pointed out, “The entire plan of salvation assumes that God wants company. . . . If we love others, it seems that we must hope that, in the end, they will be saved. We must hope that all will one day hear the words of Christ, ‘Today you will be with me in paradise.’ Given the evidence of Scripture and tradition, we cannot deny that hell exists. We can, however, hope that hell is empty.”  7 The Good Shepherd takes no delight in any lost sheep.

“And when he had said these words”—when Jesus had groaned concerning the wickedness of his covenant people—

he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him. And after this manner do they bear record: The eye hath never seen, neither hath the ear heard, before, so great and marvelous things as we saw and heard Jesus speak unto the Father; and no tongue can speak, neither can there be written by any man, neither can the hearts of men conceive so great and marvelous things as we both saw and heard Jesus speak; and no one can conceive of the joy which filled our souls at the time we heard him pray for us unto the Father. (3 Nephi 17:15–17)

Why could they not be written? Some spiritual experiences are so time and place specific, so reserved for the ears and eyes and hearts of those who experience them, that it is simply wrong, divinely inappropriate to try to replicate them, to speak openly of them, to try to rehearse or record them. In addition, some matters are ineffable, literally unspeakable or unrecordable. Mere words fail us. Telestial or even terrestrial expressions cannot do justice to celestial phenomena. Thus it is that the Prophet Joseph and Sidney Rigdon penned the following at the end of the vision of the glories, a recitation that was at best a hundredth part of what they saw and experienced:8 “Great and marvelous are the works of the Lord, and the mysteries of his kingdom which he showed unto us, which surpass all understanding in glory, and in might, and in dominion; Which he commanded us we should not write while we were yet in the Spirit, and are not lawful for man to utter; neither is man capable to make them known, for they are only to be seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit, which God bestows on those who love him, and purify themselves before him” (D&C 76:114–16).

I have reflected for many years upon the people’s words that their hearts were filled with joy as they heard and saw Jesus pray unto the Father for them. I have reflected what it would be like to hear my Redeemer importune the Father for me. Listen to the Savior’s words to Peter at the last supper: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat.” Now note this most unusual phrase: “But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31–32; emphasis added). I have wondered what that senior apostle must have felt to know that Jesus, the Lord of the universe, had been praying for him. It reminds me of Enoch’s account once again. The voice of the Father attested: “And That which I have chosen [Jesus Christ] hath pled before my face. Wherefore, he suffereth for their sins; inasmuch as they will repent” (Moses 7:39). Mormon reminds us that the Mediator claims of the Father his rights of mercy for us and advocates our cause before the throne of grace (Moroni 7:27–28). And in modern revelation we encounter the tender pleadings of the Messiah: “Father, behold the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom thou gavest that thyself might be glorified” (D&C 45:4).

It was while sitting in the fifth and concluding general session of the 171st Semiannual General Conference (October 2001), only a matter of days after the horrors of September 11, 2001, that President Gordon B. Hinckley closed the conference with a message of hope and encouragement, a reminder that if the people of the covenant will only turn to God they will be empowered to stand in holy places, stand poised and unafraid, even in the midst of wars and rumors of wars. “And now as we close this conference,” he said, “even though we shall have a benediction, I should like to offer a brief prayer in these circumstances.” The fifteenth president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the man prepared and called to stand in the shoes of Brother Joseph, then petitioned the heavens:

O God, our Eternal Father, Thou great Judge of the Nations, Thou who art the governor of the universe, Thou who art our Father and our God, whose children we are, we look to Thee in faith in this dark and solemn time. Please, dear Father, bless us with faith. Bless us with love. Bless us with charity in our hearts. Bless us with a spirit of perseverance to root out the terrible evils that are in this world. Give protection and guidance to those who are engaged actively in carrying forth the things of battle. Bless them; preserve their lives; save them from harm and evil. Hear the prayers of their loved ones for their safety. We pray for the great democracies of the earth which Thou hast overseen in creating their governments, where peace and liberty and democratic processes obtain.

O Father, look with mercy upon this, our own nation, and its friends in this time of need. Spare us and help us to walk with faith ever in Thee and ever in Thy Beloved Son, on whose mercy we count and to whom we look as our Savior and our Lord. Bless the cause of peace and bring it quickly to us again, we humbly plead with Thee, asking that Thou wilt forgive our arrogance, pass by our sins, be kind and gracious to us, and cause our hearts to turn with love toward Thee. We humbly pray in the name of Him who loves us all, even the Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and our Savior, amen.9

Mine was a feeling not like anything I had ever experienced before. I felt a deeper closeness to my Heavenly Father, a stillness and peace within my soul, an assurance that the Almighty was not far away, a love for my family and friends and city and nation and world, even those who had chosen to do this horrid and despicable thing. It was about midway through President Hinckley’s prayer that my mind reverted to the scene in 3 Nephi 17, and I realized that I too could not fully express the inexpressible, that I was woefully inadequate in forming my poor and puny words into sentences that would convey the meaning of what we were feeling and seeing. I felt and I saw. I saw things with new eyes. I saw the power of an effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avail much (James 5:16). I witnessed the simplicity but the profundity of mighty prayer. Yes, I felt much like the Nephites and also the two disciples on the road to Emmaus as we left the Conference Center: I wanted to ask my wife, “Did not our hearts burn within us as we heard him pray unto the Father for us?” (see Luke 24:32.)

The praying Savior then called the little children unto him, one by one, blessed them, and prayed for them (3 Nephi 17:21–24). Jesus was overcome by the experience and wept. Only one who has looked deeply into the eyes of little children can grasp why. Only one who has sensed how near to the heavens, how close to the angels, how innocent and worthy of our respect, admiration, and awe can know why the purest of the pure wept as he associated with the purest among the Nephites. Angels came down and ministered personally to the little ones, an actual event that bespeaks a mighty truth, one that the Lord taught in the Old World: “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels [premortal spirits]10 do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). Indeed, how we feel toward little children, how we treat them, how we speak to them—these are fairly good measures of how much like the Master we are.

On the Lord’s second day among his American saints, Jesus persisted in calling his people, both the disciples and the entire multitude, to pray, to kneel down upon the ground and lift their voices heavenward. “And behold, they began to pray; and they did pray unto Jesus, calling him their Lord and their God” (3 Nephi 19:18). They prayed to Jesus! How strange. How unusual, especially given the fact, as we noted earlier, that he had specifically instructed them in the proper order of prayer, had commanded them to address their prayers to the Father in the name of the Son. Let us step back, however, and examine what is taking place.

In their midst now is the Lord Omnipotent, the great Jehovah, the Promised Messiah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In their midst is “God the second, the Redeemer,” 11 the God who ministered to Enoch and Noah and who gave the law to Moses, the one through whom all revelation since the fall had come.12 In their midst is the being the Prophet Joseph Smith termed the prototype of salvation, the standard of all saved beings,13 a resurrected, immortal, glorified personage. Would we not be driven by our inner sense of love and divine propriety to worship him? Would we not be enticed, even motivated to pray to him? Jesus left their midst for a short time, bowed himself to the earth, and prayed himself. He thanked God the Father for sending the Holy Ghost and explained that “they pray unto me because I am with them” (3 Nephi 19:22). “Jesus was present before them as the symbol of the Father,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie explained. “Seeing him, it was as though they saw the Father [compare John 14:9]; praying to him, it was as though they prayed to the Father. It was a special and unique situation.” 14

Next comes a marvelous lesson about prayer, not one spoken directly by Jesus, but a sublime message that comes to us because of the disciples’ eagerness to pray. Mormon writes:

And it came to pass that when Jesus had thus prayed unto the Father, he came unto his disciples, and behold, they did still continue, without ceasing, to pray unto him; and they did not multiply many words, for it was given unto them what they should pray, and they were filled with desire. (3 Nephi 19:24)

When persons determine upon a course to purify and perfect their prayer life, to become more than distant acquaintances with Deity, to capture that peace and power and perspective that come only through communion with the Infinite, then marvelous things begin to happen when they pray, not in every prayer necessarily, but certainly more consistently. We are to pray to the Father, in the name of the Son, by the power of the Holy Spirit. When we meet that divine standard, especially the last criterion, then prayer becomes more than a monologue; it becomes a dialogue. Prayer becomes more than petitionary; it becomes illuminating and instructive. When we have put away all worldly cares; when we have discarded the sordid; when we have elected to focus our minds and center our hearts; when we have sought forgiveness and come boldly before the throne of grace in order to receive divine assistance (Hebrews 4:16; compare Moses 7:59); when our private agenda has been set aside and our greatest desire is to communicate, nay to commune—then, there come those sacred moments when the Spirit begins, not only to settle and soothe but also to teach. Our words begin to reach beyond our thoughts. Our pleas become more heartfelt, and the language of the soul replaces the well-worn words to which we so often resort.

Because the Comforter knows all things (D&C 42:17; Moses 6:61), he knows what lies deep down within us, those longings and hopes and desires, those needs that so often go unexpressed and thus unmet. That is, as the apostle Paul wrote, the Spirit helps us with our infirmities, for we generally do not know what things we ought to pray for. But “the Spirit maketh intercession for us with striving which cannot be expressed” (see Romans 8:26).15 “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:27). This is known as prayer in the Spirit, and it empowers the Saints of the Most High to pray for those things the Lord would have us pray for, rather than praying amiss (James 4:3). In modern revelation we learn that “he that asketh in the Spirit asketh according to the will of God; wherefore it is done even as he asketh” (D&C 46:30). Similarly, “and if ye are purified and cleansed from all sin, ye shall ask whatsoever you will in the name of Jesus and it shall be done. But know this, it shall be given you what you shall ask” (D&C 50:29–30).

Conclusion

We have covered much in this paper relative to prayer and particularly what Jesus taught and demonstrated through his own prayerfulness. There is, however, a major question just beneath the surface of most conversations that yearns to be addressed, namely, Why did Jesus need to pray? To begin with, during his mortal ministry he set aside much of the power and glory he had enjoyed before he came into the world (John 17:5). Paul wrote that Jesus “made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:7–8). Other translations render the above passage as “emptied himself, taking the form of a slave” (New American Bible; see also New Revised Standard Version; emphasis added). By choice Jesus did not turn the stones to bread, although he certainly possessed the power to do so (Luke 4:3–4). By choice Jesus did not cast himself down from the pinnacle of the temple and anticipate divine deliverance, although he had the power to do so (Luke 4:9–12). By choice our Lord did not call down legions of angels to deliver him and his in the Garden of Gethsemane, although he indeed possessed the power to do so (Matthew 26:51–54). And by choice the Master of ocean and earth and skies did not come down from the cross and bring an end to the pain and suffering, the ignominy and irony of his crucifixion and death, although the power to do just that was within his grasp (Matthew 27:39–40; Luke 23:39).

By setting aside power and glory, he was able to know mortality in its fulness, to know by experience what it felt like to be hungry, thirsty, tired, snubbed, ridiculed, excluded; in short, he chose to endure the throes and toils of this estate so that he might then be in a position to succor his people (Alma 7:11–13; D&C 62:1). Thus when he felt the need for reassurance, he prayed to his Father in Heaven. When he needed answers or perspective, he prayed. When he needed the sacred sustaining influence of the Father in his darkest hours, he prayed, prayed earnestly. Because of the Spirit, which conveys the mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:16),16 he was in the Father, as the Father was in him. They were one.

Then what of the risen Lord among the Nephites? Why would a glorified, immortal, and resurrected being, now possessing the fulness of the glory and power of the Father (Matthew 28:18; D&C 93:16),17 spend so much of his time in prayer among the Nephites? Was there some truth he did not know, some godly attribute he did not possess, some energy or strength he lacked? Was there some approval of the Father, some encouragement or permission he needed? I rather think not. The descendants of Lehi might have cried out Emmanuel, “God is with us.” Jesus prayed frequently as an example to the Saints and to all men and women of the need to communicate with God—often, regularly, consistently, intensely, reverently.

Building on these truths, we therefore ask further whether there are not other purposes of prayer, both in time and eternity. Jesus prayed to the Father because he loved the Father. Jesus prayed to the Father because it was a reverential way of speaking to his Father, who is forever worthy of the reverence of his children. Jesus prayed to the Father because they enjoyed communion. That word communion is an especially meaningful word, one that is worth much reflection. President David O. McKay observed that spirituality is “the consciousness of victory over self, and of communion with the Infinite.” 18 Jesus possessed perfect spirituality because he had overcome the world (John 16:33; D&C 101:36) and because he enjoyed perfect communion with the Father. This pattern is a call to you and me, is it not, to live our lives in such a manner that we cultivate the cleansing and revelatory benefits of the Spirit more and more; that we yield our hearts unto God (Helaman 3:35) and have an eye single to his glory (D&C 88:67); that we allow our consciences to be strengthened, our judgment to be refined, and our desires to be educated. It is to become bearers of the fruit of the Spirit—charity, or the pure love of Christ—so that this grandest of all spiritual gifts and graces will be permitted to reign triumphantly in our speech and actions and attitudes, so that eventually we will have become like our God and thereby be able to see him as he is (Galatians 5:22–25; 1 John 3:1–3; Moroni 7:45–48).

All of this points us to the ordinal relationship between the Father and the Son, the fact that even though Jesus possessed the fulness of the glory and power of the Father, the same divinity with the Father, yet he still looked to the Father as his superior. It would never seem appropriate, for example, for the Father to pray to the Son or the Holy Ghost. In the words of Elder Parley P. Pratt, Christ

differs in nothing from his Father except in age and authority, the Father having the seniority and, consequently, the right, according to the patriarchal laws of eternal priesthood, to preside over him and over all his dominions, for ever and ever. . . . The difference between Jesus Christ and his Father is this: one is subordinate to the other and does nothing of himself independently of the Father, but does all things in the name and by the authority of the Father, being of the same mind in all things.

Elder Pratt further explained how exalted men and women relate to the Godhead:

The difference between Jesus Christ and another immortal and celestial man is this: the man is subordinate to Jesus Christ and does nothing in and of himself, but does all things in the name of Christ and by his authority, being of the same mind and ascribing all the glory to him and his Father. 19

Finally, there is another scene in the Book of Mormon that provides an unspeakable promise to each of us. As the disciples continued to pray,

his countenance did smile upon them, and the light of his countenance did shine upon them, and behold they were as white as the countenance and also the garments of Jesus; and behold the whiteness thereof did exceed all the whiteness, yea, even there could be nothing upon earth so white as the whiteness thereof. (3 Nephi 19:25)

The Savior then dropped to the ground and uttered thanks to the Father for purifying his chosen Twelve. He prayed for the Twelve and those who give heed to their words, yearned for their unity with one another and the Godhead, much as he had done in his great Intercessory or High Priestly Prayer in the Upper Room (3 Nephi 19:25–30; see also John 17). In likening this passage to ourselves, we conclude that when we pray, God is pleased. He smiles upon us. We bring light and divine glory into our countenances and our conduct. We are sanctified—made pure and holy—and renewed in mind and body. Prayer prepares us for his presence.

Jesus Christ is truly the light we hold up to one another and to all the world (3 Nephi 18:24). Mere mortals are but dim reflections of that light, lamps as compared to the light of the Son. In prayer, as in all facets of our lives, we look to our Model and Master: “And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church. . . . Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you” (3 Nephi 18:16).

Robert L. Millet is the Abraham O. Smoot University Professor and professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from BYU in psychology and his PhD from Florida State University in religious studies.


1. See Joseph Fielding Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 2:269; Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 333.

2. Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1938), 187 (hereafter Teachings); see Bruce R. McConkie, “Jesus Christ and Him Crucified,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year (Provo, UT: BYU Press, 1977), 399.

3. Jeffrey R. Holland, “The Only True God and Jesus Christ Whom He Hath Sent,” Ensign, November 2007, 40; emphasis in original.

4. Teachings, 372.

5. B. H. Roberts, in Conference Report, April 1904, 97; B. H. Roberts, Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 2 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1907–12), 1:373–99.

6. For a more detailed treatment of this concept, a Latter-day Saint variant upon what is known as social trinitarianism, see David Paulsen, “Are Mormons Trinitarian?” in Modern Reformation 12/6 (2003): 40–41; see also David Paulsen and Brett McDonald, “Joseph Smith and the Trinity: An Analysis and Defense of the Social Model of the Godhead,” Faith and Philosophy 25/1 (2008): 47–74; and David Paulsen’s article in this volume.

7. Richard John Neuhaus, Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditation on the Last Words of Jesus from the Cross (New York: Basic Books, 2000), 61; see also p. 143.

8. See Teachings, 305.

9. Gordon B. Hinckley, “ ’Till We Meet Again,’ ” Ensign, November 2001, 90.

10. See Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965–73), 1:421.

11. Teachings, 190.

12. See Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:27.

13. Joseph Smith, Lectures on Faith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1985), 75–76.

14. Bruce R. McConkie, The Promised Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 561.

15. Teachings, 278.

16. See Smith, Lectures on Faith, 60.

17. See note 2, above.

18. David O. McKay, Gospel Ideals (Salt Lake City: Improvement Era, 1953), 390.

19. Parley P. Pratt, Key to the Science of Theology: A Voice of Warning (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1978), 20–21. See Teachings, 347–48.