The Prophet Joseph Smith explained that “all the minds and spirits that God ever sent into the world are susceptible of enlargement” (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith , 210). All of God’s children are on earth to be given the opportunity to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Members of the Church with differences or disabilities that affect their activities or interactions also have meaningful opportunities to minister, teach, serve, and lead. Every person’s contribution is needed in the Lord’s kingdom. And anyone with a desire to make sacred covenants may do so if he or she is worthy and demonstrates an appropriate degree of responsibility and accountability.
Our Father in Heaven knows and loves all of His children, and He is aware of the challenges we face. As taught in John 9:1–7, a disability is not a punishment—neither to the individual nor to the parents. President Russell M. Nelson taught: “A perfect body is not required to achieve one’s divine destiny. In fact, some of the sweetest spirits are housed in frail or imperfect bodies. Great spiritual strength is often developed by people with physical challenges, precisely because they are so challenged” (“Thanks Be to God,” April 2012 general conference).
We should treat people with any kind of disability with respect and look for ways to serve them and their families with Christlike love—and to support them as they serve others.
See disability.ChurchofJesusChrist.org for more information, including ideas on how to support individuals with disabilities and their families, policies and guidelines, gospel teachings, and additional resources.