There are but a very few beings in the world who understand rightly the character of God. The great majority of mankind do not comprehend anything, either that which is past, or that which is to come, as it respects their relationship to God. They do not know, neither do they understand the nature of that relationship; and consequently they know but little above the brute beast, or more than to eat, drink and sleep. This is all man knows about God or His existence, unless it is given by the inspiration of the Almighty… Having a knowledge of God, we begin to know how to approach Him, and how to ask so as to receive an answer. When we understand the character of God, and know how to come to Him, he begins to unfold the heavens to us, and to tell us all about it. When we are ready to come to him, he is ready to come to us. (Joseph Smith’s King Follet Sermon)
A great resource to begin understanding the character of God are the Lectures on Faith, particularly the third lecture which specifically examines six points that define the character of God. Below is an excerpt from this lecture which details these six points:
- First, That he was God before the world was created, and the same God that he was, after it was created.
- Secondly, That he is merciful, and gracious, slow to anger, abundant in goodness, and that he was so from everlasting, and will be to everlasting.
- Thirdly, That he changes not, neither is there variableness with him; but that he is the same from everlasting to everlasting, being the same yesterday to-day and forever; and that his course is one eternal round, without variation.
- Fourthly, That he is a God of truth and cannot lie.
- Fifthly, That he is no respecter of persons; but in every nation he that fears God and works righteousness is accepted of him.
- Sixthly, That he is love.
It’s one thing to read about these things, it is another to know them by experience. In what ways has God provided us with the paths that lead us to this knowledge concerning his character?