The Pearl of Great Price is a remarkable piece of scripture, as all scripture is! It begins with Moses 1, in which we learn a lot of precious truths which had previously been lost.
One is the fact that we are the literal children of God. He repeatedly reveals this to Moses, in saying “…thou art my son…” (Moses 1:4), “…Moses, my son…” (Moses 1:6), “…Moses, my son…” (Moses 1:7) – there is no coincidence about this. God our Heavenly Father, speaking through the premortal Jehovah, was telling Moses and us that he and we are literally His children. For one who understands the great importance of this eternal truth – we now know that we have the great potential to become like Him. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ…” (Romans 8:17) – what great power this truth can give us! In fact, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said “Consider the power of the idea taught in our beloved song ‘I Am a Child of God’ … Here is the answer to one of life’s great questions, ‘Who am I?’ I am a child of God with a spirit lineage to heavenly parents. That parentage defines our eternal potential. That powerful idea is a potent antidepressant. It can strengthen each of us to make righteous choices and to seek the best that is within us. Establish in the mind of a … person the powerful idea that he or she is a child of God and you have given self-respect and motivation to move against the problems of life.” We as God’s children have monumental potential – if we would only do the things necessary to reach such potential.
After showing Moses His creations and His glory – Moses was left to himself for a while, and he collapsed. We read of similar instances when, after hugely spiritual experiences others have felt this exhaustion. For example, Joseph Smith. The day after seeing the angel Moroni in the night, he says “I found my strength so exhausted as to render me entirely unable. My father, who was laboring along with me, discovered something to be wrong with me, and told me to go home. I started with the intention of going to the house; but, in attempting to cross the fence out of the field where we were, my strength entirely failed me, and I fell helpless on the ground, and for a time was quite unconscious of anything.” (JSH 1:48). This also happened after the First Vision – “When the light had departed, I had no strength…” (JSH 1:20). I have even felt this in my own life – I will not mention the experiences in detail but moments of deep heartfelt prayer and worshipping in the Temple have brought these feelings that have been referred to in the examples.
Moses then exclaimed, after coming back to his senses “Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I had never supposed.” (Moses 1:10) This is very true – however, it should not be concluded that Elder Oak’s statement is incorrect. Man truly does have great power and potential (only with the support and strength of God of course) – but when compared to the glory and majesty of our Heavenly King, as Moses experienced, then we are truly miniscule compared to that.
Moses then has another informative experience. “Satan came tempting him, saying: Moses, son of man, worship me.” (Moses 1:12) Here, Satan’s plan is two pronged. First, he is obviously trying to get Moses to worship him. However, he is also trying to get Moses to doubt the invaluable truth he has just learned by using the term ‘son of man’ meaning that Moses is not a son of God and therefore lacks the great potential of being like him. If Moses was to lose sight of that important fact – as many people have in the world today – then why not give in to the enticements of Satan? We would have no potential to fulfil, but we know we do! Moses knew this and acted accordingly. He said to Satan “Who art thou? For behold, I am a son of God, in the similitude of His Only Begotten; and where is thy glory that I should worship thee?” (Moses 1:13) He re-emphasises the fact he is a son of God and Satan has no power – hence why worship him?! He then calls upon God, in the name of Jesus Christ, and banishes Satan from his presence. Alone, Satan would have overcome Moses, but he had the power of God with him and thus, Satan was gone. This experience once again highlights the fact that once we realise that we are literally the children of God – we know we have great power on our side.
After this, God’s presence returned to Moses and “Moses cast his eyes and beheld the earth, yea even all of it; and there was not a particle of it which he did not behold, discerning it by the Spirit of God. And he beheld also the inhabitants thereof, and there was not a soul which he beheld not; and he discerned them by the Spirit of God; and their numbers were great, even numberless as the sand upon the sea shore.” (Moses 1:27-28) Understandably, Moses saw all of these things and wondered for what purpose had all this come to pass – why was the earth created and all inhabitants possessing it – for what reason was Satan present and what was the end goal? After posing this question to the Lord, He says to Moses “For behold, this is my work and my glory – to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” (Moses 1:39) This is perhaps the most simple and clear phrase to describe what this is all for – to help us become like Him. There is an important distinction in what the Lord says too – note how he says eternal life. President James E. Faust said “There is a distinction between immortality, or eternal existence, and eternal life, which is to have a place in the presence of God. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, immortality comes to all … , just or unjust, righteous or wicked. However, eternal life is ‘the greatest of all the gifts of God’ (D&C 14:7). We obtain this great gift, according to the Lord, ‘if you keep my commandments and endure to the end.’ If we so endure, the promise is, ‘you shall have eternal life’ (D&C 14:7).” Because of this sacred book of scripture, we know that God truly does love His children, He is aware of all their circumstances and His whole purpose is for them to achieve their greatest potential possible.
How marvellous is that for us – even when we slip up, our loving Heavenly Father never turns away from us and cares for each one of us. No matter how many creations He has, He says “…all things are numbered unto me, for they are mine and I know them.” (Moses 1:35) Because of this great scripture we know we are literally sons and daughters of God and this truth can be life-changing, life-saving and life-giving.