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VITORIO - Some members of the church have used the scripture John 5:19 to explain that God the Father did an
atonement when was a mortal man on His round of creation.
In my opinion, the scripture is referring to Jesus acting the same way as God acts.
I know that there isn't any church doctrine on this topic, but do you know any quotes from General Authorities that
would explain something about it?
Here's the scrpture:
"Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he
seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." (John 5: 19 )
I have used this scripture many times to make other points; such as the possibility that if Jesus does what his Father
has done, it is possible that His Father gained His body by being born to earthly parents and lived on an earth also, just as we all have done. Joseph Smith and others have taught this concept,
"It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, and to know that we may converse
with him as one man converses with another, and that he was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us
all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ himself did; and I will show it from the Bible." (HC 6:305.)
but I don't find anyone saying that God the Father was the Savior for the Universe he was in. In the above quote Joseph Smith did say "the same as Jesus Christ did". Does that mean he also performed an atonement? It is possible. But when
we consider the idea that we all might become gods in the eternal future, without having been a savior, God the Father
might also have become God without having been a savior for the universe He once lived in.
The Prophet Joseph Smith said:
"As the Father hath power in Himself, so hath the Son power in Himself, to lay down His life and take it again, so He
has a body of His own. The Son doeth what He hath seen the Father do: then the Father hath some day laid down His life
and taken it again; so He has a body of His own." (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
Here Joseph Smith talks about the fact that since Jesus had the power to die and resurrect himself, God the Father had
that same power to resurrect himself at some time, but doesn't mention performing an atonement, although one might
consider the possibility based on this statement.
Joseph Smith also said:
"My Father worked out his kingdom with fear and trembling, and I must do the same; and when I get my kingdom, I shall
present it to my Father, so that he may obtain kingdom upon kingdom, and it will exalt him in glory."
(Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith)
It seems unlikely that Jesus had to work out his kingdom with fear and trembling like the rest of us are doing, so
could that mean that God the Father was not a savior like Jesus was? I don't know. All of this is pretty much speculation.
President Joseph Fielding Smith provided a proper perspective on your scripture when he said:
"From this remark we gather that the Son was doing what the Father had done before him. However, so far as the Father
is concerned, we will leave that until we receive further knowledge, when and if we become glorified in his kingdom."
(Answers to Gospel Questions, VOL. 2 by Joseph Fielding Smith)