an acquaintance with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son (Holland/Joseph Smith)

The Prophet Joseph Smith taught in the Lectures on Faith that it was necessary to have "an acquaintance" (that's his phrase) with the divine attributes of the Father and the Son in order to have faith in them. Specifically he said that unless we believe Christ to be "merciful and gracious, slow to anger, long-suffering and full of goodness," that unless we can rely on these unchanging attributes, we would never have the faith necessary to claim the blessings of heaven. If we could not count on "the excellency of . . . character" (that is also his phrase) maintained by the Savior and his willingness and ability to "forgive iniquity, transgression, and sin," we would be, he said, "in constant doubt of salvation." But because the Father and the Son are unchangeably "full of goodness" then, in the words of the Prophet, such knowledge "does away [with] doubt, and makes faith exceedingly strong" (Lectures on Faith 3:19–20).

Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, "Come Unto Me", BYU Fireside, March 2, 1997

http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=734

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