I lay before you some adorable animal videos.
First, a Labrador father tries to teach his adoring puppies to swim:
Then we have a kitten trying to lick itself just like its mama:
Lastly we have a group of ducklings following their mama duck as she tries to teach them to swim and do other hard things:
Think about these videos. Think about nature, about the idea of life itself. Now ask yourself this: what does every single life form on this earth—every tree, every mammal, even every bacteria and virus—what is the one thing they all have in common?
There is only one common element, and it is the core of their existence: to reproduce. To create beings like themselves. All life is driven by this one unending desire.
Now consider the following verse from the Book of Moses:
63 And behold, all things have their likeness, and all things are created and made to bear record of me, both things which are temporal, and things which are spiritual; things which are in the heavens above, and things which are on the earth, and things which are in the earth, and things which are under the earth, both above and beneath: all things bear record of me. (Moses 6)
God puts Himself in nature, in every particle. How can we look at His Creations and not see who and what He truly is? How can we look at the God of Nature and not see the nature of God?
God is a parent. A parent leads his or her children by example. A parent cares for those children by teaching them everything he or she knows. A parent wants his or her children to grow up to be just like them.
Just like them. It is the pattern of all creation.
Christ demonstrates this pattern with His own relationship with His Father:
19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. (John 5)
And He passes this same relationship onto us, asking us to learn from His example:
21 Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel; and ye know the things that ye must do in my church; for the works which ye have seen me do that shall ye also do; for that which ye have seen me do even that shall ye do (3 Nephi 27)
This is how and why we become children of Christ, though He is actually our elder Brother:
14 Behold, I am he who was prepared from the foundation of the world to redeem my people. Behold, I am Jesus Christ. I am the Father and the Son. In me shall all mankind have life, and that eternally, even they who shall believe on my name; and they shall become my sons and my daughters. (Ether 3)
Seeing this God, and observing the infinitely unfolding lines that play out forever across all time streams and in every corner of creation we might find ourselves, how can we not see ourselves for what we truly are?
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
We are His offspring. And so we can see ourselves in those animal videos, too. Aren’t we those puppies and ducklings, following our patient and loving and long-suffering Father in the easy things, but once we’re asked to take a leap of faith into deep water we falter and hesitate and draw back? Aren’t we that kitten, trying to learn the pattern of spiritual and temporal washing that we’re taught by our parents?
This doctrine should astonish us. It should not sit lonely in the wings, but define our vision for our lives. It should not be for only the philosophers to contemplate, but revolutionize how we think about ourselves and about our God, whether that is via a personal relationship with Him or merely an intellectual conceptualization. This pattern and its implications should be known by all, Mormon or Evangelical or Buddhist alike. It’s right there, in front of us every day, inside of us at our core.
There is no greater purpose we can aspire to. There is no other proposed life purpose that can make as much sense or mean more. Perhaps this is why the Adversary has tried to destroy it in the minds of potential believers as “heresy.” But to call it that is an insult to God, for what greater purpose could God Himself live for, if not to accomplish the ultimate task: create Beings like Himself?
39 For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. (Moses 1, check out the link)
Think about it this way: kittens grow up to be cats, and puppies into dogs. So what do children of a God grow up to be?