Mormons, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, spend their lives trying to become more like the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In order to become Christ-like, one must know the attributes of Christ and work to emulate them. Christ has shown us the way and always beckons us to follow Him, to do the things we have seen Him do. The only way we can succeed at this is to call upon Him for help and use the grace He so freely offers us to develop the divine within us.
For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (1 Peter 2:21)….
Mormons believe that our choices shape us. Each choice takes us closer or farther away from God. As we use our God-given free choice in righteous ways, Christ gifts us with heavenly gifts, His attributes. We must begin with a desire to please God, to draw nigh unto Him. We must humble ourselves and become teachable by the Holy Spirit. We must be willing to lay our sins upon the altar and give them up to move in a heavenly direction.
Faith in Jesus Christ
The first step is to have faith in Jesus Christ. We must accept Him as our Savior and Redeemer and know that He is the way back into the presence of God. True faith always leads to action. As we increase in knowledge of Christ’s attributes, we must strive to incorporate them into our lives and to use them in service to God’s children. Faith leads to actions such as repentance, obedience to the commandments, and service (Preach my Gospel, 116).
A person with true faith will find the power through God’s grace to overcome his or her trials, to increase in understanding of the Lord’s will, and to find peace, even when the world is in turmoil. We can increase in faith by reading and seeking to understand the holy scriptures, and by praying sincerely to our Father in Heaven. We can become sensitive to and learn to act upon the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Once we begin to have faith, we also begin to have hope, and you must have one to have the other. Once we understand what the atonement of Christ can do for us, we develop a perfect brightness of hope that we can one day stand before Him approved, because we have repented and sought to emulate Him. (See Hebrews 6:10-20; Romans 8:24-25).
Developing Christ’s Attributes
Christ is and was the epitome of charity and love. Charity is defined as the pure love of Christ. We manifest charity when we seek to see the people around us as God sees them — as His sons and daughters. This is a gift from God for which we must pray diligently. The Book of Mormon prophet Moroni said, “pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that we may be filled with this love” (Moroni 7:48).
Charity, like faith, leads to action. Our service increases our charity yet again. (See 1 Corinthians 13; 1 Timothy 4:12; 2 Nephi 26:30.)
Virtue is a pattern of thought and behavior based upon the highest moral standards. A person who is virtuous turns away from evil and never compromises the commandments of God. He is righteous, honest, kind, sincere, and true. One must be virtuous for the Holy Ghost to dwell with him, because the Holy Ghost cannot dwell in an unclean place. The Holy Ghost can prompt a person to even increase his or her virtue, helping the person make decisions moment by moment.
Christ entered this world as a baby, just like the rest of us. He was taught from on high and learned grace for grace, line upon line. None of us can match His wisdom and intelligence, but we can increase in knowledge. The Lord has counseled us to seek learning. In fact, through modern prophets, the Lord has commanded us to learn about absolutely everything, gaining the knowledge of worldly as well as spiritual things:
Teach ye diligently and my grace shall attend you, that you may be instructed more perfectly in theory, in principle, in doctrine, in the law of the gospel, in all things that pertain unto the kingdom of God, that are expedient for you to understand;
Of things both in heaven and in the earth, and under the earth; things which have been, things which are, things which must shortly come to pass; things which are at home, things which are abroad; the wars and the perplexities of the nations, and the judgments which are on the land; and a knowledge also of countries and of kingdoms—(Doctrine and Covenants 88:78-80).
By reading the Bible and the Book of Mormon, we can see how long-suffering the Lord is with the inadequacies and even the rebellion of His children. If our faith is strong, we can learn to wait on the timing of God, as Christ did.
Even though He was the greatest person ever to live on the earth, Christ was always truly humble. He always submitted to the will of His Father. Gratitude is a prerequisite for humility. It’s pretty tough to be humble, to acknowledge God’s hand in all things, if we are ungrateful. Humility is necessary if we are going to trust God in all things. As soon as we become prideful, we get in the way of God’s plan for us, and we make the decision to become something smaller than He intends.
Christ has never faltered in His work, but has kept on, serving and serving, for us. Diligence is steady effort. It is sincere and energetic in doing God’s work.
Although He is Lord, Christ has always been perfectly obedient to the will of the Father. There is a beautiful section in the Book of Mormon, wherein the resurrected Christ visited the people and ministered to them. Over and over, He consulted the Father in prayer, so that the Father’s will would be done among this branch of Israelites. Christ continued in meekness and frequent consultations with His Father all the time He ministered to these people, setting the example for us in our own lives.
And when he had said these words, he himself also knelt upon the earth; and behold he prayed unto the Father, and the things which he prayed cannot be written, and the multitude did bear record who heard him (3 Nephi 17:15).
And when he had said these words, he wept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and blessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them (v 21).
And as I have prayed among you even so shall ye pray in my church, among my people who do repent and are baptized in my name. Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you (3 Nephi 18:16).