Asking Why

Greetings, my dear readers!

I hope this message finds you in the best of spirits, finding the best of life, “living deep and sucking the marrow out of life” as Henry David Thoreau would say.  If not, I hope that my blog is able to lift your spirits, comfort your soul, and answer some of your questions, thereby bringing you closer to our Savior and Redeemer.

Today I want to begin with asking you a question.  Why are we going through this mortal experience?  What is our end goal?  Please take a moment to think about that answer (don’t scroll down just yet until you have thought about it).

A 3D drawing of a question mark

My answer to that question would be that we are here on this Earth to gain the mortal experience we need and to show our Heavenly Father, by our thoughts and actions, that we are choosing to follow Him and our Savior, thereby progressing towards eternal life.  In other words, our whole purpose for being is to eventually gain exaltation.

I would then ask you: what are the essential principles–the fundamentals–that help us to reach that goal?  (Please feel free to comment on what your answers are because I would definitely love to hear them).

My answer to that question would be what our Savior taught when He was visiting the Nephites.  In 3 Ne 27:19-21, our Redeemer taught,

 “And no unclean thing can enter into his kingdom; therefore nothing entereth into his rest save it be those who have washed their garments in my blood, because of their faith, and the repentance of all their sins, and their faithfulness unto the end. 

Now this is the commandment: Repent, all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me and be baptized in my name, that ye may be sanctified by the reception of the Holy Ghost, that ye may stand spotless before me at the last day. 

Verily, verily, I say unto you, this is my gospel…”

In other words, we enter into His rest after we exercise faith in Jesus Christ (see Gal 2:16 or Mosiah 3:9, for example), repent of our sins (see 1 Ne 14:5 or Alma 5:31, for example), receive the ordinance of baptism by immersion (see John 3:5, for example), receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (see Alma 13:12 or 3 Ne 27:20, for example) , and then endure to the end (see 2 Ne 31:15-16 for example).  These things are also taught in 2 Ne 9:23-24.

Let us look at another example.  Doctrine and Covenants section 76 is very important to Latter-Day Saints because in it we read of the Plan of Salvation.  The prophet Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon received this vision wherein they learned about the Celestial Kingdom, or the place where we receive exaltation and live with God again.  This is our ultimate goal and so it is important to see who gets to receive this privilege:

And again we bear record—for we saw and heard, and this is the testimony of the gospel of Christ concerning them who shall come forth in the resurrection of the just—

They are they who received the testimony of Jesus, and believed on his name and were baptized after the manner of his burial, being buried in the water in his name, and this according to the commandment which he has given—

That by keeping the commandments they might be washed and cleansed from all their sins, and receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of the hands of him who is ordained and sealed unto this power;

And who overcome by faith, and are sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, which the Father sheds forth upon all those who are just and true. (D&C 76:50-53)

This is the same gospel that our Savior taught during His ministry!  In order to obtain the Celestial Kingdom, all we have to do is exercise faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repent of our sins, be baptized as He has laid out, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, and then endure to the end–that is it!

Of course, dear reader, you are probably saying at this point that it is easier said then done–and oh, do I know it!  The challenge comes when you add that “endure to the end” piece, because that is the hardest part.  In my mind, and please correct me if you think that I am wrong or that I am missing something, enduring to the end covers A LOT of stuff–and those of you who know me well will understand why I think this when you consider my fascination with the word “diligence.”  So the next question I have for you is what exactly does “enduring to the end” mean?

To me, enduring to the end, includes all the things that Heavenly Father asks of us in order to be faithful.  He asks us to repent of our sins, to resist wickedness, and to seek to put His will above our own.  We are asked to become more like our Savior and to develop the attributes that He possessed.  He asks us to help and serve others, which includes preaching the gospel, perfecting the Saints, and redeeming the dead.  Above all, He asks us to be obedient in all things which often requires a great deal of sacrifice.

The truth of the matter is that this is a daunting task–to say the least!  This enduring stuff if really where the rubber meets the road, and where we prove our willingness to choose His way.  Fortunately for us our Heavenly Father has given us a number of helpers to accomplish this task (He sure does love us and shows it by helping us!).  The final question I have for you to consider is what are the things that Heavenly Father has given us in order to help us with this whole “enduring to the end” task?

My quick list of items (and I want to make this quick because I can see that I have gone on for quite long enough–thank you for sticking with me this long!) is as follows:

  • Prayer and the opportunity to talk directly with Him
  • Scriptures and scripture study
  • Prophets who teach and warn us
  • the Church organization which encourages the lifestyle He is asking of us and gives us a support network as well as opportunities to serve and bless others
  • our callings which stretch us and help us to grow and serve
  • the temple, a place of peace and refuge where we can commune more clearly with God
  • the Holy Ghost–our very own, personalized Comforter, Teacher, Testator, Guide, and Sanctifier
  • the saving ordinances themselves
  • our friends and family members who support and sustain us
  • the blessings we receive from obedience to His commandments which encourage us to continue in obedience
  • and finally the Atonement of our Savior, which helps us to overcome all things

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me regarding this subject and for taking the time to read my thoughts, I really appreciate it.  May you continue to find success in your journey and the best things in life!

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