Teachings and Doctrine

    This section contains core doctrine that applies to members with disabilities and their families.

    All children are alike unto God and created in His image

    “In today’s world, no matter where we live and no matter what our circumstances are, it is essential that our preeminent identity is as a child of God” (Donald L. Hallstrom, “I Am a Child of God,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 28).

    “God does not look on the outward appearance (see 1 Samuel 16:7). I believe that He doesn’t care one bit if we live in a castle or a cottage, if we are handsome or homely, if we are famous or forgotten. Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely.

    “He loves us because He is filled with an infinite measure of holy, pure, and indescribable love. We are important to God not because of our résumé but because we are His children. He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken. God’s love is so great that He loves even the proud, the selfish, the arrogant, and the wicked” (Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Love of God,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 22–23).

    We should recognize and celebrate our unique gifts

    “All of Heavenly Father’s children are different in some degree, yet each has his own beautiful sound that adds depth and richness to the whole” (Joseph B. Wirthlin, “Concern for the One,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2008, 18).

    “It is by divine design that not all the voices in God’s choir are the same. It takes variety—sopranos and altos, baritones and basses—to make rich music. To borrow a line quoted in the cheery correspondence of two remarkable Latter-day Saint women, ‘All God’s critters got a place in the choir.’ When we disparage our uniqueness or try to conform to fictitious stereotypes—stereotypes driven by an insatiable consumer culture and idealized beyond any possible realization by social media—we lose the richness of tone and timbre that God intended when He created a world of diversity.

    “Now, this is not to say that everyone in this divine chorus can simply start shouting his or her own personal oratorio! Diversity is not cacophony, and choirs do require discipline—for our purpose today . . . I would say discipleship—but once we have accepted divinely revealed lyrics and harmonious orchestration composed before the world was, then our Heavenly Father delights to have us sing in our own voice, not someone else’s. Believe in yourself, and believe in Him. Don’t demean your worth or denigrate your contribution. Above all, don’t abandon your role in the chorus. Why? Because you are unique; you are irreplaceable. The loss of even one voice diminishes every other singer in this great mortal choir of ours, including the loss of those who feel they are on the margins of society or the margins of the Church” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Songs Sung and Unsung,” Ensign or Liahona, May, 2017, 49–50).

    Disability is not a punishment

    “For reasons usually unknown, some people are born with physical limitations. Specific parts of the body may be abnormal. Regulatory systems may be out of balance. And all of our bodies are subject to disease and death. Nevertheless, the gift of a physical body is priceless. Without it, we cannot attain a fulness of joy.

    “A perfect body is not required to achieve a divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail frames. Great spiritual strength is often developed by those with physical challenges precisely because they are challenged. Such individuals are entitled to all the blessings that God has in store for His faithful and obedient children.

    “Eventually the time will come when each ‘spirit and . . . body shall be reunited again in . . . perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame’ (Alma 11:43). Then, thanks to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can become perfected in Him” (Russell M. Nelson, “We Are Children of God,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 86–87).

    “I must first, and with emphasis, clarify this point: It is natural for parents with handicapped children to ask themselves, ‘What did we do wrong?’ The idea that all suffering is somehow the direct result of sin has been taught since ancient times. It is false doctrine. That notion was even accepted by some of the early disciples until the Lord corrected them” (Boyd K. Packer, “The Moving of the Water,” Ensign, May 1991, 7).

    All of God’s children are to be taught the gospel

    “God would indeed be unjust if the gospel were only accessible to an intellectual elite. In His goodness, He has ensured that the truths regarding God are understandable to all His children, whatever their level of education or intellectual faculty” (Gérald Caussé, “Even a Child Can Understand,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2008, 32).

    “God judges men according to the use they make of the light which He gives them” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith [2007], 405).

    “The Lord loves all of His children. He desires that all have the fulness of His truth and the abundance of His blessings. He knows when they are ready, and He wants us to hear and heed His directions on sharing His gospel. When we do so, those who are prepared will respond to the message of Him who said, ‘My sheep hear my voice . . . and they follow me’ (John 10:27)” (Dallin H. Oaks, “Sharing the Gospel,” Ensign, Nov. 2001, 9).

    “All the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement” (Teachings: Joseph Smith, 210).

    As disciples of Jesus Christ, we must care for the poor and needy

    “What good does it do to save the world if we neglect the needs of those closest to us and those whom we love the most? How much value is there in fixing the world if the people around us are falling apart and we don’t notice? Heavenly Father may have placed those who need us closest to us, knowing that we are best suited to meet their needs” (Bonnie L. Oscarson, “The Needs before Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2017, 26).

    “I now realize that in the Church, to effectively serve others we must see them through a parent’s eyes, through Heavenly Father’s eyes. Only then can we begin to comprehend the true worth of a soul. Only then can we sense the love that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. Only then can we sense the Savior’s caring concern for them. We cannot completely fulfill our covenant obligation to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those who stand in need of comfort unless we see them through God’s eyes” (Dale G. Renlund, “Through God’s Eyes,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 94).

    “You will pray to know whom the Father would have you serve out of love for Him and for our Savior” (Henry B. Eyring, “Trust in That Spirit Which Leadeth to Do Good,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016, 18).

    “We must look after the individual. Christ always spoke of individuals. He healed the sick, individually. He spoke in His parables of individuals. This Church is concerned with individuals, notwithstanding our numbers. Whether they be 6 or 10 or 12 or 50 million, we must never lose sight of the fact that the individual is the important thing” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Gordon B. Hinckley [2016], 298).

    “Thus the Savior made the first public announcement of His messianic ministry. But this verse also made clear that on the way to His ultimate atoning sacrifice and Resurrection, Jesus’s first and foremost messianic duty would be to bless the poor, including the poor in spirit.

    “From the beginning of His ministry, Jesus loved the impoverished and the disadvantaged in an extraordinary way. He was born into the home of two of them and grew up among many more of them. We don’t know all the details of His temporal life, but He once said, ‘Foxes have holes, and . . . birds . . . have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head’ (Matthew 8:20). Apparently, the Creator of heaven and earth ‘and all things that in them are’ (2 Nephi 2:14; 3 Nephi 9:15) was, at least in His adult life, homeless” (Jeffrey R. Holland, “Are We Not All Beggars?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2014, 40).