Many religions believe that only Christians (and sometimes only members of their own denomination) are sons and daughters of God, and then only by adoption. Mormons (a nickname for members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) differ in this because they believe everyone is a son or daughter of God, regardless of faith or even lack of it.
This results from the Mormon backstory, so to speak. Mormons look at life as having three stages, rather than the single stage of the atheist and the double stage of most Christian religions. The first step begins before we’re even born.
Everyone is a Real Child of God
Mormonism teaches that God created us first as spirits. That makes us very literally children of God, because He is the Father of our Spirits. Our spirits had form, but were not physical bodies. We had our character, our intelligence, our personality, and our agency. With those, we were able to begin learning about God’s plan for us and deciding how much we cared about God and His plans.
When the time came to come to Earth, we had to choose whether or not to accept the plan God had made. We had that right—but we couldn’t come to earth under any other terms. This meant if we rebelled against God’s plan, we would not be coming to earth at all. We would be Satan’s, who was encouraging people to reject the plan and make him their god instead. Agency does not mean the right to make consequence-free choices.
If you are here on earth, you made the right choice. Congratulate yourself! You sided with God and came to Earth to get started. You came here as a child of God. He loves you, knows you very well, and has a plan for you. He has the big general plan for everyone, but He also has a personal plan just for you. Based on everything He learned while you lived with Him, He made a plan for your life on Earth. You can choose to find out what it is and follow it, or you can choose to reject it—but again, not without consequence.
God Loves You
Whether or not you follow God’s plan, He loves you. He is a loving father in every sense of the word. Being a loving Father, He has to do what good fathers always do. Good fathers can’t make life too easy for their children, always giving them things instead of making them work for it. They know we learn by doing for ourselves, making our own mistakes and then growing as a result. They do, however, let the children do as much as they can and then make up the difference. Good fathers don’t give children everything they ask for, knowing that what they think they want isn’t always what is best for them. Instead, they evaluate those wants, giving what is best for that given child at that given time.
God’s choices aren’t always understandable to us at the time we experience them. It is often later that we say, “I am so glad God had a different plan for me. This worked out perfectly.” As God’s children it is our responsibility to learn to trust God. In part, this will come from noticing what happens when we do or don’t follow His advice. We quickly learn life is better when we do what God asks us to do.
Knowing we are a true child of God and that He loves us unconditionally changes everything. No matter how alone we feel, we never are. While the people in our mortal world might let us down, go away, or be too busy, God is always there. He is always ready to listen when we need to talk, to give wise advice, and to give us the love we might find missing in other parts of our lives. His love and guidance brings meaning to our lives and makes everything fair. Day to day life isn’t always fair, but the atonement, a joint gift of God and Jesus Christ, evens everything out in the end.
“I am a child of God.” Mormon children sing these words from their earliest days. They are the words that change our personal world for the better.