Here is a question taken from the Book of Ether. The question: “Explain Ether 4:12 where the Lord says: ‘he that will not believe me will not believe the Father who sent me. For behold, I am the Father…’ I understand that the Father and Son are unified in everything and I understand that the Son is the Father because he has begotten us through the atonement and that He was also the creator. How would you explain that verse to someone just reading it for the first time? It sounds like a description of the trinity as many Christian religions view that the Father and Son are literally one being.”
Response: Foremost in this creation is the reality of Christ. He lived. He died, voluntarily, as a sacrifice. His death was unmerited. (1 Peter 2: 22; Alma 22: 13-14.) He died because of other’s sins, not because of His own. (1 Peter 2: 21-23.) He did so to make an offering to appease the ends of the law. (2 Ne. 2: 6-7.)
Law has one purpose: It establishes required conduct that when violated requires a punishment to be imposed. Without punishment there is no law. (Alma 42: 22.) We came here to live in a fallen state where we are subject to law and knowing when violate the law the result would inevitably require punishment. (Alma 42: 18.) Christ came to suffer that punishment. (1 Peter 3: 18.)
Overarching all else in this creation are the acts of two parties. Adam fell. (Moses 6: 48.) Christ arose. (Alma 11: 42.) Adam introduced death. Christ overcame it. (Mosiah 16: 8.) Through Christ the law was made unjust because death could make no claim upon Him, but He willingly died to suffer the punishment He did not merit. That forever satisfied death’s claim. (Mosiah 15: 9.) Once it had claimed the life of one who did not deserve to die, it could no longer make claim on Him or those He came to redeem. His punishment was infinite, because His sacrifice was infinite. If He did not merit death then death took from Him what was infinite and would have no end. (Heb. 4: 15.) He submitted. His death satisfied the need for dying.
Mankind still die. That is just; but after their death, Christ’s sacrifice makes it possible to live again, just as He did. (Jacob 6: 4.) But you know all this already.
The “Father” of your eternal life will be Christ. (D&C 35: 2.) He is your Father who is in heaven, because your continuation after the grave will come through His sacrifice. He will literally provide you with the resurrected body you will inherit. This makes Him the Father. (See Mosiah 5: 7.)
Secondly, they are His teachings which will provide you with more than just resurrection. He will provide the further possibility of glory to you on the conditions He has made possible through obedience to Him. The one you follow, whose teachings you accept, whose ordinances you accept, is also your Father. (1 Cor. 4: 15.) The role of the Father is to raise His seed in righteousness. Christ’s teachings are given in His capacity of a Father to all who will follow Him. Through His teachings you can have a new life here and now. You can be “born again” as His seed. (1 Peter 1: 23.) To do that you must first accept His role as your Father/guide. Then you must further accept His role as Father/Redeemer. When you do that, He gives you a new life by His teachings and new life by His ordinances.
Here, excluded from the presence of Heavenly Father Ahman, we have no way back except through Christ. (Mosiah 3: 12.) (For the name “Ahman” see D&C 78: 20 where Christ mentions His Father’s name.) He must become our Father to bring us back again into the Ahman’s presence. Christ visits here. Christ labored here, lived among us, ministers still among us, and though resurrected still walked alongside two of His disciples. He appeared in an upper room, cooked and ate fish on the lake’s shore, and appeared to many. He will come to dwell here again. The Father Ahman, however, only appears in a state of glory, has not stood here since the Fall of Adam, and awaits the completion of the work of Christ before He will again take up His abode here.
Christ is not the same person as Father Ahman. Christ becomes the Father of all who are redeemed through Him. Therefore, by redeeming you Christ has become your Father in Heaven. You will have many fathers, including Christ, Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and in our dispensation, Joseph Smith as well. And all these will also be children of Father Ahman.