When I was 18, my mother wanted me to attend a confirmation class at our church. I was eager to go because I loved to learn about God. But it quickly became the most confusing time in my life. I was taught that God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost were the same person--that Jesus was God in physical form. That brought up a lot of questions in my mind: Who was in heaven while God was on earth as Christ? Was Christ praying to Himself when He prayed? How could God forsake Himself while He was hanging on the cross? How could God stand at His own right hand as Stephen saw in a vision? Things just didn't seem to add up, and when I said that I couldn't understand such things, I was told in a very decisive way by my teacher, "We can never comprehend God. The moment you understand God, He will cease to be God to you."It's interesting that the crude and silly drawings that some missionaries use could play a memorable role in her recognition of the truth. But why not?
I was too timid to say anything more, but my teacher could tell that I didn't believe him. Consequently, I flunked the class.
Even though I decided not to go back, I still felt the need to belong to a church so I could draw closer to God. A friend talked me into seeing a clergyman of another faith, but when he told me that only members of his religion would go to heaven, I asked, "What will happen to all those people all over the world who have grown up and died having never heard of your church?" He just shrugged his shoulders and said that heaven was out of their reach. That shocked me--God could not possibly be that unfair!
I searched among several other denominations, but their teachings didn't sound or feel right. Every church seemed to have its own interpretation of scripture. I felt that just coming to church on Sundays, dropping money into collection pouches, listening to a sermon, and then going home for the rest of the week was not enough. There had to be more to the life of a Christian.
Walking home, I looked up at the sky, which was cloudless and blue (a rarity in the Netherlands), and asked silently, "God, why was I created? What am I supposed to do with my life? And why don't we have Apostles anymore? They would be able to clean up all this confusion we have in the churches."
I received no answer then, but in the middle of the summer that followed, God sent to Rotterdam two missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who had the answers I sought. But first, they had to find me.
It was almost noon one day as Elder Beazer and Elder Van Bibber were tracting in the eastern outskirts of Rotterdam. They were hungry. It had been a long morning, and they hadn't received any invitations from those they spoke with to come back. "Let's go home and have some lunch," Elder Beazer said.
"How about one more door?" suggested Elder Van Bibber.
"All right," Elder Beazer replied. "One more door."
They rang the doorbell, and a slim, dark-haired woman with brown eyes opened the door. After the young men introduced themselves as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the woman invited them in. They taught her the first lesson and made an appointment to return.
When I came home from work that day, my mother greeted me with the words, "You'll never guess who came to the door today."
"Who?" I asked.
"Two young men from America. They wanted to talk about God, and I let them in."
"Oh," I said, uninterested. Had I been home to open the door, I wouldn't have let them in.
"They explained God to me."
I froze in my tracks. "What did you say?"
"They explained God to me," she repeated. "Here, I'll show you."
Curious, I followed my mother into the parlor. From the coffee table she picked up a small piece of paper. On it the missionaries had drawn three stick figures. "One is God the Father, one is the Son, and the third is the Holy Ghost. The Father and the Son have bodies of flesh and bones, but the Holy Ghost doesn't. That is why He's drawn in dotted lines. They are three separate beings."
For a moment I just stared at her. "That's it!" I finally said. "That makes sense." I knew it was true.
It's wonderful to me that the precious knowledge of the nature of God has been restored in this day. Christ did not say that God was incomprehensible, but said that "this is life eternal, that they might KNOW thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." Truly we are created in His image (gen. 1:26-27). Truly Jesus Christ was and is "the express image" of God the Father (Heb. 1:3). Christ looks like we do (though glorious beyond description), and the Father looks like Christ. They are one - as Christians should be one (John 17). The innovations in the fourth and fifth century to reconcile the understanding of God with the teachings of "science" (Greek philosophy, with all of its aversion to materiality) were not the result of revelation to apostles and prophets, but the teachings of men that took us further from the truth. How wonderful that we can now know the basics about God, basics that early Christians and Jews understood in the days of the Bible.