In his final testimony, Mormon emphasizes that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are “one God” (Mormon 7:7). This echoes the testimony of Nephi:
And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end.2 Nephi 31:21
And the Savior emphasized the same principle when He visited the people at the temple in Bountiful: “Verily I say unto you, that the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one” (3 Nephi 11:27).
What does this mean, and why is it important to us?
We understand that the members of the Godhead are three separate individuals. For example, when Jesus was baptized, some of the people present heard the voice of the Father saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” And they saw the Spirit of God descending on Him like a dove. (See Matthew 3:13-17.) And we know that both Stephen and Joseph Smith saw the Savior standing on the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56, Joseph Smith—History 1:17). Furthermore, Joseph Smith clearly taught:
The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also; but the Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.Doctrine and Covenants 130:22
So what do we mean when we say that they are “one God?”
It means that they are completely united. They operate as a single unit. They are unified in purpose and in process. A message from one of Them is a message from all three. As Jeffrey R. Holland explained:
When we have made the point about the distinctiveness of Their persons, it is equally important to stress how unified They are and how truly One the Godhead is. I think I am safe in saying that part of the reason we are so misunderstood by others in the Christian tradition is because in stressing the individual personages of the Godhead, we have not followed that up often enough by both conceding and insisting upon Their unity in virtually every other imaginable way. For this we have reaped needless criticism, and we have made our…position harder to be understood than it needs to be.“Knowing the Godhead,” Ensign, January 2016
Why is it so important for us to understand this doctrine?
One reason is that the unity of the Godhead gives us a perfect example to follow in our relationships. After admonishing the people, “There shall be no disputations among you,” the Savior emphasized how the members of the Godhead support one another:
I bear record of the Father, and the Father beareth record of me, and the Holy Ghost beareth record of the Father and me….
And thus will the Father bear record of me, and the Holy Ghost will bear record…of the Father and me; for the Father, and I, and the Holy Ghost are one.3 Nephi 11:32, 36
Today, I will strive to emulate the perfect example of unity provided by the three members of the Godhead. I will remember that, even though they are distinct individuals, they are completely unified and mutually supportive. I will strive for that kind of unity in my relationships with other people.