Roles of the Father and the Son: A Question From a Teen

I received a very in-depth and well thought out question by a young woman last night.  She is struggling to find the much needed and deserved connection with her Savior.  I feel her struggle to reach for Him in her words.
I think I'm confused with the roles that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have in my life. I have a very deep and profound love for my Heavenly Father, but I don't understand how my love can be split in two?  Also, can you explain the relationship between Heavenly Father and Christ and how they are both equally involved in our daily lives/how do they work together?  Also, we pray to our Heavenly Father for communication, but how do we communicate with our Savior?
Excellent questions from such a young mind, wouldn't you say?  I will offer my own thoughts as well, but I thought it would be great to get mass input here.  Thanks in advance!


  1. I have just one thought about the relationship between the Savior and the Father. This may be a very simplistic way to look at this, but maybe it can be a beginning. If you can liken our Father in Heaven and Christ to the roles of a mom and dad here on earth (Just the roles, nothing else, because I don't want to take this analogy in to some weird place. Or get into the debate about our Heavenly Mother.) Here on earth we have both a father and mother, two people that work together to guide, teach, and provide. In a similar way, that is how Heavenly Father and the Savior work. Their goals are united and like-minded. They are both there to comfort us. They each have their own unique role or place in the family unit, but objectively they are one.

    We are blessed to know the relationship between the Father and the Son. We are blessed to know their identity. We are blessed to know that we are like them, in physical form. Our faith takes over where all the blessings lead off. We don't remember Father in Heaven or our brother, Jesus Christ, but we know they are real. We we have had witness born to us. We trust that and we continue to work on developing a closeness with them, hearing their voices, as one. Knowing and trusting that they both love us in an incredible way. More than our earthly understanding of love can comprehend. With that knowledge, we let go of what we don't understand -- for a time. And trust what we do.

    When we engage in conversation or commune with our Father in Heaven, we do that through our brother, Jesus Christ. He is in a sense, a guide and a guard. He is there with us as we seek out Heavenly Father. We are taught, "no one cometh unto the Father, but by me," In this way, the Savior guards and guides us, like a mentor along that path towards our Heavenly Father. What an amazing brother he is.

    I hope you find the reassurance you are looking for. I hope in some small way, this has been a start to that comfort. God bless!

  2. Let me answer your question with a question. If I told you there where two people who would love you unconditionally and always be there for you, would you worry about that connection and how they planned to work together and how you could love them both, or would you just be so blasted grateful that they were there for you that the hows of it were not an issue? If I told you to call person A and he'd coordinate everything with person B and they'd figure out how to get you what you need, would you care if they coordinated by phone or skype or Facebook message? The hows of it wouldn't be all that important, if you saw that the end result was that you were loved and cared for. It's the results that matter, not the hows.

  3. Part one:
    I am so impressed with your question. You are not alone. It's complicated--so much so that most Christian religions believe they are just the same person. I've struggled with this too, and the older I get, the more I realize I still don't understand it all.
    We pray to the Father, He is the one who gives us all our blessings, it's His plan, after-all. I think maybe that's why there's confusion. Where exactly does Jesus fit into this except that we pray in His name? ....That's the key...."In His name". We still have to ask and rely on the Father for everything, but it's because of Jesus, that it matters. If it weren't for Jesus, what would I pray for? I wouldn't have need to pray. All my needs would be met. If there wasn't Jesus (had we followed Satan's plan) there would be no opposition. Nothing to be grateful for, no trials to need strength to bear, no family member or friend who needs some extra attention, no service to render, no testimony to grow, no love. But because of what Jesus did for us, we have need for all those things, and we ask the Father for them in Jesus' name, because what Jesus did, made it all possible.

    Because the Father is already a Celestial being, he cannot descend to a mortal world to help us in the way we need. It is essential that He can send someone who is still mortal to do the work. That's what Jesus did. Because Jesus is so faithful, Heavenly Father knew He could ask Jesus to do ANYTHING and He would do it. Jesus loves and trusts Heavenly Father so much, that He will do WHATEVER Heavenly Father asks Him to do. They are so in sync with each other, that even though they are 2 different people, they are the same in mind and purpose. That's why Jesus told the Jews that if they had knew Jesus, they would know the Father.

  4. Part two:
    Jesus has lots of names, but my FAVORITE is Advocate with the Father. I might compare an advocate with an attorney. An attorney understands the laws, the rules, the language, the entire court system. Had I committed a legal offense, if I wanted to have the best outcome, I wouldn't dream of going before a judge without someone to represent me. That's where Jesus comes in. He's like our attorney. He will go the Father and make our "plea-bargains". Can you imagine? He might say, "yes, Father, she did do all those things wrong, BUT--Mortality is hard. Harder than even I thought it would be. I love her, and I know her heart, she really is sorry, and has suffered enough. Not only has she suffered enough, but because of what she has learned from her mistakes, and the good that has come of it, she should be exalted." And because the Father loves the Son, He will listen to and accept the 'Advocate's' recommendation on our behalf.
    Have you ever had a really hard time and someone says to you "Oh, I know how you feel"..and you're like, "No you don't!" The beauty of the atonement, is that when we go to the Savior, and tell Him what's wrong, and He says "I know how you feel", we can trust that HE DOES!, and He knows what to do about it. Then He goes to the Father with that, and they work out the best way to help us. Because Jesus can visit the spirit world, He can send angels to help us, They can send friends just when we need them. He can do anything, but they work together to get the job done.

    As you use the atonement more and more in your life, you will grow to understand Jesus' role in your prayers and your life. Your love will grow, and you may even realize some of the love you have for the Father, is actually for His Son and you just didn't know it yet.You can never split love in two; love cannot be divided, only multiplied. I wondered before my second child was born how I could love him as much as my first? But there isn't a set amount of love to go around. When he was born, I realized I already loved him!

    The best way to know Jesus is to study His life and live His teachings. Best of luck!

  5. Part one: I have always considered Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as one in the same, and they have always been interchangeable to me. Like in the scriptures when Jesus says, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30) or “as thou, Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). My love for them does not have to be split because they are the same in purpose and doctrine. For example when I read the words Lord, God, Savior, Father, etc. in the scriptures, I know for the most part they are interchangeable because they are the same. And while this idea can suffice for the most part, your question did make me stop and think, what is the difference? Is there a difference?
    I took this back to the simplest form that I could and looked at the basic relationship of Father and Brother. Heavenly Father is the father of my spirit and as such is heavily invested in my success and well being. Because a part of me is literally composed of a part of Him he is inherently invested in me, but it is more than that. He also loves me simply because I am me. Jesus Christ is my brother. He too came from the Father but also had a mortal mother and lived in this mortal world. Heavenly Father, with the help of Jesus Christ, created this world for me to come and enjoy, and to find happiness. Unfortunately all the happiness He wants for me also had to be balanced with sadness and other trials in order to be more fully experienced and appreciated. Because this world would be as hard and scary as it would be joyous, Heavenly Father wanted to give me all that He could to succeed, so He sent his Son and my Brother, Jesus Christ. Having lived in this mortal world, as we are now, Jesus personally knows of the trials and tribulations we experience, for He has met them all. If He could have, Heavenly Father would have come down Himself, but His plan would not have worked that way. We are also not capable of being in His presence because of His glory. We needed someone closer to what we are, like the Savior, to come to this earth and help us.

  6. Part two:It is here that I will take some liberties in an analogy, or in other words explain this in a roundabout way without strict adherence to gospel principles. When we face problems we often turn to someone we are close to for advice. Sometimes it is a parent, sometimes it is a friend or sibling, or more simply stated, a peer. Peers understand school and social problems a little easier than a parent might because they are currently at the same life stage as you. A parent, however, might better understand a life problem because they have more life experience (time on this earth) than a peer. If something where to happen at school, for instance, a peer would understand quicker than a parent because they already know all the people involved and interact with the same problems and people on a daily basis as you. But, your peer is as limited in perspective and experience as you are, so their help is limited. A parent has life experience that can apply, as well as the perspective to make it useful. It is, however, from who knows how long ago and had such varying circumstances that it only half applies to what you are going through. Together, a parent and a peer can give you the best help possible: Someone who understands the current circumstances as well as someone who knows where you are going and how life tends to work in the long run. We need them both.
    To sum up my words, the Father knows and sees all and wants to give us many blessings. Because of His plan, however, He needs us to work for them. To help, He sent us Jesus Christ, a Brother to walk with us in mortality. We need them both, but because they are one in purpose and doctrine, we can often think of them as One.
    Despite being long, mine is a very simple answer to this great question. I encourage you to look into this for yourself. Go to the church website, and under gospel topics, look at “God the Father” and then “Jesus Christ”. There are scriptures, talks, and general principles listed for you. I use this resource constantly! Thanks for such a great question that really got me thinking :)

  7. I love LOVE all the comments. What a great discussion! I was brought to tears by the testimonies shared.

    I want to add my own personal experience with this. Once I started recovery my knowledge and love for my Savior slowly increased. I can't really tell you how, I just know that it did. Recently (some months back) I hit a rough patch - and I felt like I lost Him. I no longer felt Him, I felt my love for Him diminish... and I felt like I was floundering. I remember praying to Father asking to get it back; the elusive connection with my Savior. The answer came by way of a very strong impression to study His life and teachings.

    I thought it was silly kind of... I mean, how are words going to instill feelings in me? So the following day I visited and searched on "Jesus Christ" - the following website populated:

    I remember being so happy to have a consolidated website that testified of the Savior. I dove in and got to reading. It was amazing! I was immediately overcome with the Spirit, who testified to my heart that my Savior loves me. The Spirit instilled in me, once again, love for the Savior beyond measure. The Spirit is who solidified knowledge within me of the role my Savior plays on my behalf.

    So my challenge to you is to study His life and teachings and pray for the Spirit to impress upon you the answers in which you seek.

    Love you!


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