When we are baptized, we agree to "bear one another's burdens". The church helps us to fulfill this duty through Visiting Teaching and the Relief Society. As a visiting teacher, I visit a few other women of the church in their homes along with my "visiting teaching companion", on a monthly basis. We share a spiritual message and look for ways to take care of any needs that our sisters might have. In the picture to the right, my companion Tara and I are visiting Bryanna, a young woman who has just graduated from high school and is preparing to attend college in the fall. Her needs and interests would naturally be much different from the concerns of an older woman or someone who has young children, so it's fun to share our different perspectives and gain insight and support from each other.
Our message for this month is called "All Human Beings Are Created In the Image of God". First of all, how do we know this?...and what are the implications of such an idea? We know that God has a body and that we were created in His image, because the scriptures tell us so. We also have the witness of the Prophet Joseph Smith who saw God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ "standing above" him. For some people, God is an intangible being who is everywhere all at once and yet, unknowable, without passions, etc. But we believe that God has a tangible body similar to ours and that we came to earth to experience life in a mortal body and to use that body for good and godly purposes.
It is very comforting to me personally to think about God as having a tangible (although perfect and immortal) body. Our current prophet and president of the church Thomas S. Monson has said, "God our Father has ears with which to hear our prayers. He has eyes with which to see our actions. He has a mouth with which to speak to us. He has a heart with which to feel compassion and love. He is real. He is living. We are his children made in his image. We look like him and he looks like us."
In the church, we most commonly refer to God as our Heavenly Father. I think that puts our relationship to God in the proper light, and I hope that when I see him again, He will give me a great big hug...just like the loving Father that I know Him to be!
Here are a few links to more information about Joseph Smith's Vision and about what we believe about God.
Joseph Smith - History (an account of the First Vision)
The Sanctity of the Body: by Susan W. Tanner
Building Bridges of Understanding: by M. Russell Ballard