Posts Tagged 'Eternal Life'

Ponderizing – Week 12 Thoughts

The verse I have chosen to ponderize this week, is Doctrine and Covenants 59:23.

But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

The greatest blessings that can be ours, are peace and eternal life. The Lord promised this peace to his apostles during his ministry on the earth. We learn of this in John 14:27, when we read, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” God gives us peace. His peace, is a peace of mind. His peace keeps fear from our hearts. His peace is only available when we strive to live righteously. I believe that this is because, when we do works of righteousness, we invite the spirit into our lives. The spirit brings heavenly peace to our hearts and minds. The reward for doing right, is the companionship of the spirit and the peace we can feel in knowing we are going to be okay. This peace can encourage us to continue enduring whatever may happen in our lives. This peace can be a driving force in the choices we make, which will ultimately lead us to God and the gift of eternal life, which he offers to the righteous. This verse is a promise, that the best gifts will come to those who faithfully do good and bring the light of Christ to others through their actions.

With this verse in mind, I ask myself something like, what am I doing right now, to enable me to feel the peace that the Lord promises to me? What am I doing to ensure that eternal life will be my reward? Is this thing I am doing right now, leading me towards the peace of mind that I desire and the life in heaven that I hope for? If not, what do I need to do differently? If so, how can I continue on this path? I know that this principle is a true and eternal principle of life.

But learn that he who doeth the works of righteousness shall receive his reward, even peace in this world, and eternal life in the world to come.

In light of all the Christmas baking this week, my thoughts go to logic in the process of baking. I could not make bread if I did not add the right ingredients together in order to make dough. If bread is what I want, I need to add those things that are known to produce bread. Seven cups of flowers in my dough will result in a mess without any substance or shape. Likewise, works of unrighteousness added into my life, will not be able to result in a reward of righteousness. Do good to receive the greatest good.

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Ponderizing – Week 1 Thoughts

Moses 1:39

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

I chose this scripture this week, because my family has been focusing a talk given by Elder Rafael E. Pino during the April 2015 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. His talk is entitled “The Eternal Perspective of the Gospel“, and it references the verse I chose.

I have been looking at the bigger picture this week. This is not something new to me. In fact I do it quite frequently. But I have had some specific thoughts about it. First of all, I believe that part of the purpose of life, is to align my will with the will of God, so that I might become more like Him. If my will is to become aligned with God’s will, then my work needs to be a part of His work, the work “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man”.

First, I need an understanding of what this means. What is immortality? We live in mortal bodies, in a mortal world. This means that we all will some day die. This physical death became a part of the life of mankind, when Adam and Eve fell from the presence of God in the Garden of Eden. God’s work was to create a way for mankind to become immortal beings, in order to physically live forever. The atonement of His Son provided the way back. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “All are covered unconditionally as pertaining to the Fall of Adam. Hence, all shall rise from the dead with immortal bodies.” (Bible Dictionary:Atonement) Through the atonement of Jesus Christ, all people are unconditionally provided with resurrection after this life, and therefore, all mankind will overcome physical death and become immortal beings, with bodies of flesh and bone. (Bible Dictionary:Resurrection)

How can I be a part of this work of bringing to pass the immortality of man, when the Savior has already made this possible? I can be grateful for this blessing, because it gives me hope of life after death. I can share my testimony of this with others, and most especially, I can teach this gospel truth to my children. In doing this, I can bring greater hope to others.

What is eternal life? In the Guide to the Scriptures, it is defined as, “To live forever as families in God’s presence. Eternal life is God’s greatest gift to man.” Jesus Christ made Eternal life possible through his infinite atonement. In the Bible Dictionary, we read, “his grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts.” (Bible Dictionary:Grace) Eternal life is a gift, that unlike immortality, must be gained. We use our agency in this life, to choose if we will accept this gift. All are blessed to live after this mortal life, but it is up to us to choose how we will live.

How do I make this work a part of my work? First, I must choose to accept His gift of the atonement in my life. How do I do that? Eternal life is accepted when I live my life according to the commandments of God. The Savior has told men to come unto Him and to follow Him. He has shown me the importance of making covenants, such as baptism and temple covenants. The covenants of baptism are the gateway to eternal life and the temple covenants provide the blessings of eternal life, through the sealing power. In the Bible Dictionary we read, “Whenever the Lord has had a people on the earth who will obey His word, they have been commanded to build temples in which the ordinances of the gospel and other spiritual manifestations that pertain to exaltation and eternal life may be administered.” (Bible Dictionary: Temple) I have made these covenants for myself, and have taken the necessary steps to claim the blessings. Jesus taught many, the importance of renewing covenants by partaking of the sacrament, which I have the opportunity to do each week. The scriptures also teach me that I need to believe that He is the Christ, and live according to that belief. I do this most, when I live a life of charity towards others. When I do these things, I will come to know Him. In John 17:3, Jesus prayed, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

Second, I make this work my own, when I share this knowledge with others. I need to teach my children that they can have the ability to return and live with God again. I know these things to be true for myself, but if others are not taught, how will they know? I send my children off to school, so that they can become prepared for the rest of their lives. I want them to be successful, happy and have all the blessing that life has to offer them. God sends all people here, to the earth, to become prepared for the rest of their eternal lives. Now is the time to prepare. Now is the time to help others to know what amazing blessings await them. I will continue to make this my work, by helping others to know of Christ, to know the importance of baptism and temple covenants, and to know the blessings of repentance and partaking of the sacrament. Also, I have the opportunity to be a source of strength to others as they strive to endure to the end.

I hope that as part of this work, my testimony and thoughts shared on this blog, can help others to learn of these things.

For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.

This life is so much more that our current situations. It is so much more than even birth to death. We have so much to live for. I am so grateful for this understanding and I hope that I can have the courage and strength to do my part in the work of the Lord, that I might partake in His glory.

Joshua Chapter 14

The children of Israel were the posterity of Abraham. Abraham had been promised a land of inheritance from the Lord. That land was the inheritance of the Israelites, from that day on. The prophet, Moses, had led the Israelites to their promised land, and Joshua had helped lead them to conquering the land. The Lord had instructed Joshua to divide the land among the tribes of Israel.

1 And these are the countries which the children of Israel inherited in the land of Canaan, which Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun, and the heads of the fathers of the tribes of the children of Israel, distributed for inheritance to them.
2 By lot was their inheritance, as the Lord commanded by the hand of Moses, for the nine tribes, and for the half tribe.
3 For Moses had given the inheritance of two tribes and an half tribe on the other side Jordan: but unto the Levites he gave none inheritance among them.
4 For the children of Joseph were two tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim: therefore they gave no part unto the Levites in the land, save cities to dwell in, with their suburbs for their cattle and for their substance.
5 As the Lord commanded Moses, so the children of Israel did, and they divided the land.

The leaders of Israel divided the land of Canaan, under the direction of the prophet Joshua who had been commanded by the Lord to do so. All the tribes were given land, except for the Levites who were given a place to live, but no inheritance there. Nine and a half tribes received inheritances on the western side of the Jordan, while two and a half tribes had already received their land under the direction of Moses.

6 Then the children of Judah came unto Joshua in Gilgal: and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, Thou knowest the thing that the Lord said unto Moses the man of God concerning me and thee in Kadesh-barnea.
7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.
8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God.
9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God.
10 And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.
11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.
12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.
13 And Joshua blessed him, and gave unto Caleb the son of Jephunneh Hebron for an inheritance.
14 Hebron therefore became the inheritance of Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite unto this day, because that he wholly followed the Lord God of Israel.
15 And the name of Hebron before was Kirjath-arba; which Arba was a great man among the Anakims. And the land had rest from war.

Caleb had been with Joshua when the Israelites had sent spies into the land of Canaan, before they wandered for forty years. He had shown greater faith then the other spies and was blessed by the Lord for it. It had been forty-five years since that time, and Caleb was now 85 years old, but still strong and capable. Caleb asked for the mountain of Hebron, where the Anakims had been, and which had been promised to him in the days of Moses, as an inheritance. Joshua blessed Caleb and gave him the land he requested, for his inheritance.

There were greater rewards or blessings received by Caleb because he had shown great faithfulness to the Lord. Choosing a life of faith, can be hard these days. It can seem at times that those who are not faithful, receive great rewards and honors. These will not be lasting blessings. If we are faithful, we will receive greater blessings than those others, just as Caleb did. Rewards for the faithful, are eternal rewards that cannot be taken away by anything on this earth, but which require patience, faith and hope to achieve.

Deuteronomy Chapter 30

The Israelites made sacred covenants with the Lord, and were promised great blessings if they would be obedient to the commandments of God. They were also promised a lot of awful curses if they would not be obedient. Among those was a scattering of the people across the earth. This is what is called the scattering of Israel. The Israelites learn more of what will happen in this chapter. It begins:

1 And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath driven thee,
2 And shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3 That then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the Lord thy God hath scattered thee.
4 If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the Lord thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5 And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6 And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7 And the Lord thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8 And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9 And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the Lord will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
10 If thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul.

The scattered people would some day be brought to a remembrance of the covenants that their ancestors made. When they remembered these things, they would return to the Lord through repentance, and obey his commandments. The Lord would then deliver them from captivity and gather the house of Israel from every place to which they would be scattered. They would be gathered back to the promised land, and blessed with great blessings, as had been promised already to the fathers. In that day, the Lord would place curses upon the enemies of the Israelites. The blessings would be had among all those who willing gave all their heart and soul to the Lord, and were obedient.

Each of us becomes separated from the Lord as well, when we disobey any of his commandments. We also, need to be gathered back in through the repentance process. We return to the Lord, when we humble ourselves enough to admit to God that we have been wrong and have gone against His word. We receive the blessings, when we turn away from any sin and draw nearer to the Lord instead. I am so grateful for the blessings of repentance in my life. I have felt a great sense of peace and love, when I have used the atonement in my life, to turn back to the Lord and remember the commandments and the covenants that I have made with the Lord to keep them.

11 For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.
12 It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it?
14 But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

The people were reminded that the commandments and God’s law, were right there for them to live. They did not need to go seeking after it elsewhere, because it had already been given to them. When lived, they could in their mouths and in their hearts. The footnote of verse 11, for the phrase “hidden from thee”, reads, “too hard for you”. The commandments were not too hard for the people to follow. They were plain to them and anyone who desired to be devoted to the Lord, could follow them. Likewise, the commandments that we are asked to live now, are not too hard for us to follow either. In Doctrine and Covenants 93:31 it says, “Behold, here is the agency of man, and here is the condemnation of man; because that which was from the beginning is plainly manifest unto them, and they receive not the light.” These commandments are plain and so simple. I think of how often the modern day prophets have taught us, that in order to receive the blessings of God, we need to do simple things such as daily prayer and scripture study, having family home evening, attending church meetings and so on. These things really are simple and it’s easy to understand what is required of us, and yet there are many who feel these things are too difficult, and they “receive not the light”. We should desire to receive the light of Christ, through keeping the commandments near to us, in our own mouths and in our own hearts.

(Note: If you would like to know what the modern prophets and apostles have to teach us, you can learn a lot this coming weekend from the Latter-Day Saint General Conference. To read more of what General Conference is, you can do that here: What is General Conference?)

15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the Lord sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

In the words of Moses, he had given them the choice of life or death. Life, which was doing and gaining all that was good, and death, which was doing and gaining all that was evil. If they chose life, they were choosing to be obedient to the commandments and loving God. Likewise, they would choose the blessings that come from doing good. If they chose death, they were choosing to be disobedient to God’s commandments and turning from Him. If they made that choice, they were also choosing the consequence of curses, such as a promise to perish. Moses seals this promise by calling heaven and earth to record this covenant and its promises to stand against them. He pleads with the Israelites, to choose life.

What I see as the main purpose of this chapter, is the message of this last section. It reminds me so much of the words of the prophet, Lehi found in 2 Nephi 2:

27 Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are given them which are expedient unto man. And they are free to choose liberty and eternal life, through the great Mediator of all men, or to choose captivity and death, according to the captivity and power of the devil; for he seeketh that all men might be miserable like unto himself.
28 And now, my sons, I would that ye should look to the great Mediator, and hearken unto his great commandments; and be faithful unto his words, and choose eternal life, according to the will of his Holy Spirit;
29 And not choose eternal death, according to the will of the flesh and the evil which is therein, which giveth the spirit of the devil power to captivate, to bring you down to hell, that he may reign over you in his own kingdom.

Lehi was a prophet who knew and lived the law of Moses. He had the brass plates, which taught this law, and he had studied the words and lived them. His testimony here is a second testimony of this principle. “Life” in the words of Moses, can read as “eternal life”, which is the greatest blessing that God has to give us. It is liberty from Satan’s power, and freedom to enjoy the blessings of God through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the “great Mediator of all men”. On the other hand, the word “death” in Moses’ words, can read as “eternal death”. Eternal death is captivity to the power of the devil, and a cursing of the misery which will come in living in the kingdom of Satan, which is hell. Both Moses and Lehi teach us here, that it is a choice we make. All of us have our agency, which is the eternal gift of choice, and we need to be active in choosing our own destiny of eternal life and its blessings, or eternal death and its curses.

Do We Understand Our Divine Destiny?

As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of one of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction. As a worldwide sisterhood, we are united in our devotion to Jesus Christ, our Savior and Exemplar. We are women of faith, virtue, vision, and charity who:
Increase our testimonies of Jesus Christ through prayer and scripture study.
Seek spiritual strength by following the promptings of the Holy Ghost.
Dedicate ourselves to strengthening marriages, families, and homes.
Find nobility in motherhood and joy in womanhood.
Delight in service and good works.
Love life and learning.
Stand for truth and righteousness.
Sustain the priesthood as the authority of God on earth.
Rejoice in the blessings of the temple, understand our divine destiny, and strive for exaltation.

My next question in this series is do we understand our divine destiny? I thought I’d break this question down first to know just what to look for. To understand something is defined as perceiving “the significance, explanation or cause of” that thing. Are we aware of just how significant our divine destiny is? Do we have a knowledge of what that divine destiny is? Do we know why we have that divine destiny?

Starting first with a knowledge of what our divine destiny is, something divine is like God, devoted to God and sacred. Our destiny is those things that will happen to us in the future. More specifically, the destiny we are referring to is what will happen to us after this life in mortality. Our divine destiny therefore, is what is going to happen to us after this life, that will be like our Father in Heaven and sacred. In the gospel of Jesus Christ, we have been given the scriptures to teach us what that divine destiny is.

In 2 Nephi, chapter 9, the plan is laid out for us.

6 For as death hath passed upon all men, to fulfil the merciful plan of the great Creator, there must needs be a power of resurrection, and the resurrection must needs come unto man by reason of the fall; and the fall came by reason of transgression; and because man became fallen they were cut off from the presence of the Lord.
7 Wherefore, it must needs be an infinite atonement—save it should be an infinite atonement this corruption could not put on incorruption. Wherefore, the first judgment which came upon man must needs have remained to an endless duration. And if so, this flesh must have laid down to rot and to crumble to its mother earth, to rise no more.
8 O the wisdom of God, his mercy and grace! For behold, if the flesh should rise no more our spirits must become subject to that angel who fell from before the presence of the Eternal God, and became the devil, to rise no more.
9 And our spirits must have become like unto him, and we become devils, angels to a devil, to be shut out from the presence of our God, and to remain with the father of lies, in misery, like unto himself; yea, to that being who beguiled our first parents, who transformeth himself nigh unto an angel of light, and stirreth up the children of men unto secret combinations of murder and all manner of secret works of darkness.
10 O how great the goodness of our God, who prepareth a way for our escape from the grasp of this awful monster; yea, that monster, death and hell, which I call the death of the body, and also the death of the spirit.
11 And because of the way of deliverance of our God, the Holy One of Israel, this death, of which I have spoken, which is the temporal, shall deliver up its dead; which death is the grave.
12 And this death of which I have spoken, which is the spiritual death, shall deliver up its dead; which spiritual death is hell; wherefore, death and hell must deliver up their dead, and hell must deliver up its captive spirits, and the grave must deliver up its captive bodies, and the bodies and the spirits of men will be restored one to the other; and it is by the power of the resurrection of the Holy One of Israel.
13 O how great the plan of our God! For on the other hand, the paradise of God must deliver up the spirits of the righteous, and the grave deliver up the body of the righteous; and the spirit and the body is restored to itself again, and all men become incorruptible, and immortal, and they are living souls, having a perfect knowledge like unto us in the flesh, save it be that our knowledge shall be perfect.
14 Wherefore, we shall have a perfect knowledge of all our guilt, and our uncleanness, and our nakedness; and the righteous shall have a perfect knowledge of their enjoyment, and their righteousness, being clothed with purity, yea, even with the robe of righteousness.
15 And it shall come to pass that when all men shall have passed from this first death unto life, insomuch as they have become immortal, they must appear before the judgment-seat of the Holy One of Israel; and then cometh the judgment, and then must they be judged according to the holy judgment of God.
16 And assuredly, as the Lord liveth, for the Lord God hath spoken it, and it is his eternal word, which cannot pass away, that they who are righteous shall be righteous still, and they who are filthy shall be filthy still; wherefore, they who are filthy are the devil and his angels; and they shall go away into everlasting fire, prepared for them; and their torment is as a lake of fire and brimstone, whose flame ascendeth up forever and ever and has no end.
17 O the greatness and the justice of our God! For he executeth all his words, and they have gone forth out of his mouth, and his law must be fulfilled.
18 But, behold, the righteous, the saints of the Holy One of Israel, they who have believed in the Holy One of Israel, they who have endured the crosses of the world, and despised the shame of it, they shall inherit the kingdom of God, which was prepared for them from the foundation of the world, and their joy shall be full forever.

The destiny which awaits us after this life, begins with resurrection. We cannot become like God, unless we are resurrected as He was. Jesus Christ was the first to be resurrected and because he overcame death, we all have the divine destiny to be resurrected. After that resurrection, we will all be judged for our works. Those who lived righteously, will fulfill their divine destiny because of their deeds in this mortal life. The divine destiny of those who follow Jesus Christ, is an inheritance of the kingdom of God and joy for eternity. This is not where the divine destiny ends. The inheritance of all that God has to give, includes great power. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:19, we read of the promises to those who take upon themselves the new and everlasting covenant of marriage in this life. It reads, “… Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—…and if ye abide in my covenant, … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever. (emphasis added)” The power of God to have spiritual seed forever, is the divine destiny of all the faithful and covenant people of God. This means that part of our divine destiny, is to be spiritual parents of countless children who may inhabit worlds without end. It is the opportunity to forever be with our families we love so dearly. That is joy that is eternal.

This is what we can hope for as we travel this mortal journey. Are we aware of just how significant this divine destiny is, or why we even have a divine destiny? We learn from the scriptures, that this is the purpose of our being here. In Moses 1:39 we read, “For behold, this is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” The work of God and the purpose of sending us here to this earth, is to give us the opportunity to gain immortality and eternal life. The first, immortality, has been accomplished for all mankind, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He experienced the resurrection and caused that all of us will be resurrected no matter what. The second, eternal life, is the rest of our divine destiny that I wrote of above. In Abraham 3, the purpose for us being here is written as follows:

24 And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him: We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;
25 And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;
26 And they who keep their first estate shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

We are here to prove that we can be faithful and obedient to God, so that we can have the glory of God forever, or in other words, so that we can fulfill our divine destiny.

I wonder what it would be like to have just a glimpse of life in the pre-mortal world. From the gospel of Jesus Christ, we know that we are here because we chose to follow the Savior at that time. This life is our first estate that the scripture above talks about. We were obedient to God’s plan and used our agency to follow it. Our spirits, with the unveiled knowledge we had gained in the pre-existence, wanted to have this opportunity to show that we could choose for ourselves to return to live with God again. That desire is there in each of us. As we walk this life, we can sometimes loose our way because life and all it entails, fills our view and clouds the goal. I wonder how it would be if we could truly understand, that we all were excited to strive for our divine destiny. We were striving for that, because we understood then what our alternative was. Obviously, having that glimpse would negate the purpose of our being here to learn and grow through our choices, but it is something interesting to think about.

The plan of God offers an opportunity to use our agency, which requires a choice. The choice of our divine destiny, or a destiny without God and godliness. Alma 41 describes the other destiny in the following passage:

2 I say unto thee, my son, that the plan of restoration is requisite with the justice of God; for it is requisite that all things should be restored to their proper order. Behold, it is requisite and just, according to the power and resurrection of Christ, that the soul of man should be restored to its body, and that every part of the body should be restored to itself.
3 And it is requisite with the justice of God that men should be judged according to their works; and if their works were good in this life, and the desires of their hearts were good, that they should also, at the last day, be restored unto that which is good.
4 And if their works are evil they shall be restored unto them for evil. Therefore, all things shall be restored to their proper order, every thing to its natural frame—mortality raised to immortality, corruption to incorruption—raised to endless happiness to inherit the kingdom of God, or to endless misery to inherit the kingdom of the devil, the one on one hand, the other on the other—
5 The one raised to happiness according to his desires of happiness, or good according to his desires of good; and the other to evil according to his desires of evil; for as he has desired to do evil all the day long even so shall he have his reward of evil when the night cometh.
6 And so it is on the other hand. If he hath repented of his sins, and desired righteousness until the end of his days, even so he shall be rewarded unto righteousness.

Once we are resurrected, we are judged, and all that is good will be restored to good, endless happiness, and an inheritance of the kingdom of God. This is our divine destiny. But, all that is evil is restored to evil, endless misery, and an inheritance of the kingdom of the devil. The alternative to all the blessings of heaven, is an eternity of misery. If we could know in our hearts that this gospel of our destiny is true, I don’t think a single soul would seek after the things of the devil. That is the test of this life. It is living in faith, that will bring us our reward.

As people of God, we need to come to a personal understanding of our divine destiny. I believe that we are all seeking for happiness, but it is only when we seek after things that are Godly, that we will be rewarded with Godliness and true happiness for all eternity. It is so important for us to search the scriptures and learn what God wants for us individually. I have a testimony of the plan of salvation and I know that if I really, truly do my best to keep my eye on the goal of a divine destiny, my Savior and Redeemer will help me to achieve it. I want to live today, in a way that will keep me in line with that ultimate prize. I know that the blessing of returning to be with God again and receiving power and glory that He offers to us, is what makes this life worth living well.

Notes on Patience – Faith and Hope in Jesus Christ

Patience is something that is tested in my life every day, as I am sure it is for most of us. I thought that perhaps it would be a good idea for me to begin a study that was a bit more in depth so that I could know how to gain a self-mastery that I do not have right now. I hope that my readers will enjoy following this series of posts on patience and that it may help someone else out there, as much as it has helped me. To see more posts, check out Notes on Patience

Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; … (1 Thessalonians 1:3)

  • I have never been shown any physical proof that Jesus Christ lived or that he lives now. I have not seen evidence of the atonement or seen it make someone pure and clean enough to enter the presence of God. I do not have a full knowledge that there is a life to live after this life, where I can be with my spiritual Father or loved ones again. I believe in these things because of my faith and the hope I have in Jesus Christ and the possibility of seeing God again someday. I believe that as a member of the church of Christ, I must patiently live in hope of these things, or I cannot receive the things that I long for now.
  • What is the Direction of Our Lives?

    As a woman in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), I am a member of the largest women’s organization in the world. This group is called the Relief Society. Several years ago, a declaration was written for the Relief Society and the posts in this series are an attempt to apply this declaration to my life more. In this attempt I will be breaking down the parts of it into questions that I would like to try to answer through study. To view other posts related to this declaration, go here: Relief Society Declaration.

    We are beloved spirit daughters of God, and our lives have meaning, purpose, and direction.

    According to the first line of the declaration above, daughters of God have direction of their lives. What is that direction? In life, we have choices. Each choice can lead us one of two ways spiritually, either towards our Father in Heaven, or towards Satan. I love listening to Mary Ellen Edmunds and one of the things she talks about is the arrow of a religious life. I like her analogy, which basically says that we can be doing things on one of the three lines of an arrow. The first line is the center line, which isn’t bad exactly, but doesn’t get us anywhere. The second is the line of the arrow point which leads us down to the places we don’t want to go. The third line of the arrow is that which leads us up to our goal of returning to our Father in Heaven. I may not have her words just right, but the idea still applies. Really, we choose between two directions in life; up or down, good or bad, towards God or Satan. When we are taking any path, we have to eventually choose one or the other.

    As a daughter of God, I choose to follow the direction that He has given me to follow him. If I choose anything else, I am not living as a daughter of God, but rather a daughter of the devil. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want that second title for myself. The direction that God has given us, is precise and direct, while anything else can fall into the directions of Satan. We can find that direction in the scriptures and in talks by leaders of Christ’s church on earth today. We are given that direction in the teachings of our Savior, Jesus Christ. In John 14:6 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” He is the way. He is the direction. We should look to His example. 2 Nephi 31:16 says, “. . . I know by this that unless a man shall endure to the end, in following the example of the Son of the living God, he cannot be saved.” We need to study his life and mission as they are written in the scriptures. We can also learn more of His way, by attending His holy temples. In Isaiah 2:3 we read, “And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths. . .”.

    He, even Jesus Christ, is the one source that we can look to for the path to follow. In Matthew 7, the Lord taught the following:

    13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
    14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    His path is that strait and narrow way. He has taught us to live a good life, to repent of our wrongs, to come unto Him through baptism by water and the gift of the Holy Ghost, and how to endure to the end in faith. In 1 Nephi 10:18 we read, “For he is the same yesterday, today, and forever; and the way is prepared for all men from the foundation of the world, if it so be that they repent and come unto him.” Also 2 Nephi 31 teaches all of these things:

    18 And then are ye in this strait and narrow path which leads to eternal life; yea, ye have entered in by the gate; ye have done according to the commandments of the Father and the Son; and ye have received the Holy Ghost, which witnesses of the Father and the Son, unto the fulfilling of the promise which he hath made, that if ye entered in by the way ye should receive.
    19 And now, my beloved brethren, after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for ye have not come thus far save it were by the word of Christ with unshaken faith in him, relying wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save.
    20 Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
    21 And now, behold, my beloved brethren, this is the way; and there is none other way nor name given under heaven whereby man can be saved in the kingdom of God. And now, behold, this is the doctrine of Christ, and the only and true doctrine of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, which is one God, without end. Amen.

    There is a saving power that comes from study of all that the Savior teaches in the scriptures because as He taught the Nephites, “Behold I am the light; I have set an example for you (3 Nephi 18:16).”

    We can also be given the direction personally, through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost in our lives. We can ask God for this personal direction. In Alma 37:37 we read, “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy heart be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day.” We should do our best to recognize the hand of God in all that we do. Proverbs 3:6 reads, “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Acknowledging God shows Him and others in our lives, that we believe in Him and recognize He has the power to do marvelous things for us. When we do this we humble ourselves and open the door for God to work in our lives. In Doctrine and Covenants 112:10 it says, “Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.” The idea that the Lord would guide me personally touches me deeply. I can have that personal guide, if I am willing to acknowledge that He is my Lord, my Redeemer, and the only way for my salvation.

    Moroni 7:48 says the following:

    Wherefore, my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become the sons [and daughters] of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified even as he is pure. Amen.

    I know that the Savior has marked the path for us to follow. He is the Savior of all mankind and it is through Him that I can become a true disciple and daughter of God. He is the direction that is in my life and can be the direction in the lives of all the children of God. His example is the way to go. I hope that my testimony can be added to the many that have gone before, I know that the Savior will lead the faithful to eternal life and exaltation. I have hope in the blessings that come from living as He lived. I know that He came to this earth, lived His perfect life, and gave Himself as a sacrifice for all mankind, so that we could become like Him and our Father in Heaven. I am grateful for the guidance of the spirit in my own life, and the direction it gives me, so that I may know how to follow the path the Savior has given me.

    Exaltation

    To view the entire Gospel Principles chapter, go here: Exaltation

    What is exaltation?

    Exaltation is the reward given to mankind by God, for following his commandments, and making and keeping sacred covenants in this life. It is the ability to live with God again, in his presence. This is part of God’s plan of salvation. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), we believe in a spiritual life before this earth life, and a life after we die. We will be rewarded and receive a glory based on how we choose to live our lives. In Doctrine and Covenants 132 we read the following:

    3 Therefore, prepare thy heart to receive and obey the instructions which I am about to give unto you; for all those who have this law revealed unto them must obey the same.
    4 For behold, I reveal unto you a new and an everlasting covenant; and if ye abide not that covenant, then are ye damned; for no one can reject this covenant and be permitted to enter into my glory.

    Obedience to what we know to be true gospel is the key. We can only live in the presence of God again, if we receive his glory, which is the glory of the Celestial kingdom. This is the goal that we had before this life and is the hope of our Father in Heaven for each of us. There are two other degrees of glory which one can receive, the terrestrial and telestial. Only those who are the worst sinners of mankind, will not receive one of these degrees of glory, but will be cast into outer darkness with Satan and his spiritual followers. We should be striving for the glory of the Celestial kingdom, the highest of the degrees of glory.

    Exaltation is our divine inheritance as children of God. In Romans chapter 8, we read the following:

    16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

    We are promised that we will receive His kingdom and all that He has, if we are obedient and faithful followers of Christ. In obedience we must make the required covenants. These include baptism and confirmation, priesthood ordination for men, endowments, and celestial marriage. All of these must be performed after the patter God has commanded and through the proper priesthood authority. Then our obedience continues by faithfully living up to those covenants to the end of our days in this life. For those who do not have the opportunity to know of the gospel in this life, these blessings will be available to them through proxy after they have died.

    What are some blessings that will be given to those who are exalted?

    In addition to receiving the glory of God, we will be able to be like Him and have all that He has. In Psalms 16:11, we read, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” With exaltation comes a fulness of joy. I have felt some intense moments of joy in my life, such as the moment I held my third baby who I felt I had to fight for before she came. I was so overcome that I could not hold back the tears of joy. A fulness of joy is a feeling that I look forward to with great anticipation. Also from this verse we learn that we will have pleasures forever. There are plenty of things in this life that bring us pleasure, but these things are fleeting. Earthly pleasures do not last forever and they will not bring us full joy. We have the promise of pleasure for eternity, which is amazing.

    In Revelation 3:21 we read, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” If we receive exaltation, we will be able to be with God and Jesus Christ. We will be able to speak to them face-to-face. This blessing is hard to imagine, knowing that they are perfect beings and can only be with those who are also perfected. A blessing of exaltation is the condition of being perfected through our Savior, Jesus Christ.

    Doctrine and Covenants 132:20 reads, “Then shall they be gods, because they have no end; therefore shall they be from everlasting to everlasting, because they continue; then shall they be above all, because all things are subject unto them. Then shall they be gods, because they have all power, and the angels are subject unto them.” Those who receive exaltation, will become Gods without end and with all the power of God. When it says they have no end, I don’t think this just means they live forever, because I think that all resurrected beings live forever in their degree of glory. I think that this means, they have the ability to increase forever. That means that they can have an eternity of spiritual offspring, creating spiritual bodies just like our Father in Heaven created us. To support this, we read the following in Doctrine and Covenants 131:

    1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
    2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
    3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
    4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

    Celestial marriage, which cannot be accomplished without all other ordinances and covenants being made prior to it, is the key to receiving all that God has promised us. There are amazing blessings that await the faithful, including all power, all knowledge, and the power to rule over all things they create. (To read more about the blessings of those who receive a Celestial glory, read Doctrine and Covenants 76:59-70.)

    How do ordinances and covenants prepare us for exaltation?

    If we can learn to follow the commandments in this life, we will be able to live the law of the Celestial Kingdom. In Doctrine and Covenants 88 we read the following:

    22 For he who is not able to abide the law of a celestial kingdom cannot abide a celestial glory.
    23 And he who cannot abide the law of a terrestrial kingdom cannot abide a terrestrial glory.
    24 And he who cannot abide the law of a telestial kingdom cannot abide a telestial glory; therefore he is not meet for a kingdom of glory. Therefore he must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.

    We cannot hope to abide in the presence of God, if we do not know how to listen and follow his commandments. Some may think that this will halt progression, but it is truly the opposite. With obedience to laws, we become free to act as we choose without the fear of loosing all that we have been given.

    How does faith in Jesus Christ help us obey the commandments?

    If we gain a faith in Jesus Christ, then we know what we are living for. Faith in Jesus Christ, brings a peace of mind that cannot be forfeited by anything else. That peace is comforting and pushes us to give strict obedience to the commandments. I believe that faith is a word of action. You cannot have faith without doing something with that faith. Having faith in Jesus Christ, means having a willingness in our hearts to live as he lived, and to follow his teachings. In 1 Nephi 7:12 we read, “Yea, and how is it that ye have forgotten that the Lord is able to do all things according to his will, for the children of men, if it so be that they exercise faith in him? Wherefore, let us be faithful to him.” If we show our faith in God, we allow Him to work in our lives. He can give us a strength, peace, and happiness that we cannot get in any other way. With the gift of strength, we can find the will to obey the commandments.

    Why must we learn to follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to become exalted?

    I think that part of the reason is that we must learn to rely on Him for guidance, just as we need to learn to rely on our Savior for the atonement and on God for his love, justice and mercy. The godhead is one in purpose. In Mormon 7:7 we read, “And he hath brought to pass the redemption of the world, whereby he that is found guiltless before him at the judgment day hath it given unto him to dwell in the presence of God in his kingdom, to sing ceaseless praises with the choirs above, unto the Father, and unto the Son, and unto the Holy Ghost, which are one God, in a state of happiness which hath no end.” Each of the three personages that make up the godhead, follow the same plan. What the spirit teaches us, is what the Savior would teach us. Everything the Savior said, were the words of God to us. We must follow the direction of the Holy Ghost to put our desires and will in line with God. With all things in line, order and peace will remain in the eternities.

    What happens when we have endured to the end in faithful discipleship to Christ?

    When we have endured and done our very best to be faithful to the Savior, we will be welcomed with open arms into the Kingdom of Heaven. Our spiritual Father, will extend his arms to us with a complete and perfect love. He will then offer to us a place in His mansion. We will again learn at His feet and will continue to progress to our perfection in all things. In Matthew 25:23 we read, “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” In this life, we are given a few things to improve upon and learn self-mastery over. When we endure in faith, we can say to the Lord that we did all that we could with his gifts, then he can say these words to us. I know that I fall short each day, but this is a life to learn. It takes mistakes and trials to overcome and improve ourselves. I will be so grateful to hear these words from the Lord after this life, and so I want to try my best and be a little better each day.

    The Postmortal Spirit World

    Read the entire lesson here: The Postmortal Spirit World.

    There are three big questions of life, where did we come from, why are we here, and where are we going? One of the best things about the gospel found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that the answers are there. I’ve never had to wonder about these things, because the scriptures tell me exactly what I need to know. This lesson discusses that which happens after our mortal life.

    What happens to us after we die?

    When we die, our bodies and spirit separate from one another. The body is left in the mortal sphere, or the grave, while our spirits move on to the spirit world. We will each have the opportunity to work and learn in the spirit world. Those who did not have the chance to learn of the gospel in this life, will have that chance. Those who were covenant people of Christ in this life, will have the opportunity to serve and to teach others. At some point, we will all have the opportunity to be reunited with our bodies through the power and gift of the resurrection, which has been provided to all men by the Savior, Jesus Christ. When we are resurrected, we will never experience a physical death or a separation of our body and spirit again. In addition to experiencing resurrection, we will also be judged for our works in this life. Each of us will be brought before the judgement seat, to determine what glory we have earned for our choices in life. Then we will receive the reward that we have gained. We learn of life after death throughout the scriptures. In Alma 11 we read the following:

    42 Now, there is a death which is called a temporal death; and the death of Christ shall loose the bands of this temporal death, that all shall be raised from this temporal death.
    43 The spirit and the body shall be reunited again in its perfect form; both limb and joint shall be restored to its proper frame, even as we now are at this time; and we shall be brought to stand before God, knowing even as we know now, and have a bright recollection of all our guilt.

    There will be nothing unknown by God or ourselves and I believe that we will be completely reconciled with the reward we receive and will find our greatest joy no matter what that reward may be.

    What comfort do you receive from your knowledge that there is life after death? How can we use our understanding of the postmortal spirit world to comfort others?

    I think that the passing of our loved ones would be unbearable if we did not have a hope in life after death. Having the knowledge that there will be work to do, lessons to learn, blessings received, and mostly forever families, gives me the hope to live life the best I can. I know how to live here because I know what is in store for me there. There can be great comfort in the trials, hardships and losses of this life, when we know these things. Those of us who have an understanding of these things, can help bring comfort to others by teaching them. We can honestly support and love others through their difficult times even if they do not understand. Our hope and happiness can help to lift the most burdened souls if we are willing to share it. It is the duty of all people who have made the covenant of baptism with the Lord, to comfort those who are in need. In Mosiah 18 we read the following about this:

    8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
    9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

    We have the light and knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ and we should share that with others.

    Where Is the Postmortal Spirit World?

    It may be difficult for some to understand, but I believe that the spirit world is very near to us. There are countless experiences of people feeling the presence of their loved ones, and I believe that these experiences are real. I think that at times the veil which covers our minds and separates us from the truths of an eternal nature, can be very thin. I think that our loved ones are truly near us, and that even though they are probably hard at work, they are watching over us and even guiding us at times.

    What Is the Nature of Our Spirits?

    One of the understandings that I have gained about the nature of our spirits, is that we will continue to have the same appetites and desires after this life, as we have during this life. In Alma 34:34 we read, “Ye cannot say, when ye are brought to that awful crisis, that I will repent, that I will return to my God. Nay, ye cannot say this; for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal world.” For example, if we seek to gain power in this life and that is the desire which drives our actions, we will continue to seek that after this life. The difference is that everyone will have a full knowledge and those desires will not be able to be acted upon. I think that our own desires will bring our own torment and so we must attain to have righteous desires, which will be completely realized after this life.

    Why is it important to know that our spirits will have the same attitudes in the spirit world that they have now?

    This knowledge should lead us to live a righteous life. Our state in eternity, depends upon the attitudes that we gain here. If we have a knowledge given to us in this life, about what types of attitudes we should have, then we need to seek to gain those attitudes now.

    What Are the Conditions in the Postmortal Spirit World?

    Before we receive our reward, we will either go to spirit prison or spirit paradise. In Alma 40 we read:

    11 Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
    12 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.
    13 And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of the wicked, yea, who are evil—for behold, they have no part nor portion of the Spirit of the Lord; for behold, they chose evil works rather than good; therefore the spirit of the devil did enter into them, and take possession of their house—and these shall be cast out into outer darkness; there shall be weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth, and this because of their own iniquity, being led captive by the will of the devil.
    14 Now this is the state of the souls of the wicked, yea, in darkness, and a state of awful, fearful looking for the fiery indignation of the wrath of God upon them; thus they remain in this state, as well as the righteous in paradise, until the time of their resurrection.

    Paradise is a state of happiness. I think it comes from having an understanding of the plan of salvation which all will have at that point. The righteous will know that they have been seeking for those things that were right and good. In paradise, they will have happiness and find joy in working and serving God. This service will come through teaching others the gospel. Meanwhile, the unrighteous, will know that they have been living a life of little worth and will feel the torment of that in darkness. There is a difference between outer darkness and spirit prison. Spirit prison is for those who are damned because they did not accept Christ in this life, but who have the opportunity in the spirit world to hear the gospel and choose if they will accept him as their personal savior. In Moses 7:57 we read, “And as many of the spirits as were in prison came forth, and stood on the right hand of God; and the remainder were reserved in chains of darkness until the judgment of the great day.” The wisdom and mercy of God, is that we will continue to have the opportunity to progress after this life, as long as a physical being has performed the necessary ordinances in the flesh. Those who are not cast to outer darkness, may learn of the gospel and with the full truth in front of them, choose for themselves if they will accept it.

    How are conditions in the spirit world similar to conditions in this life?

    First of all, we will continue to have our agency. We will choose for ourselves, the reward which will bring us happiness knowing fully our own flaws and mistakes. Agency is an eternal principal and it will continue forever. Second, we will continue to learn and progress. In this life, we are constantly learning new things. These things are both religious and secular. Both are important in our overall knowledge. Our learning will continue after this life. The difference there is that truth will be plain. Something I read while studying said that our spirits will still have the ability to be persuaded towards good or evil, so that is also a condition that will continue which we know well today.

    I am so grateful for the knowledge of what is to come after this life. I am glad that death of those I love, does not cripple me. I find joy in my loved ones moving on to work for the Lord on the other side of the veil. I know that death is a welcome part of our eternal life and the eternal plan of God. I look forward to meeting many who have gone before me and sharing my testimony and understanding of the gospel with them. I love knowing that God is so kind and merciful, and yet that he is consistent and stable in his plan. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. I hope that I can live my life in a way that will make me a worthy spirit in the life to come, so that I can help further the work of the Lord.

    Eternal Marriage

    View the entire chapter here: Eternal Marriage

    The scriptures teach us of the plan of salvation, which includes what we did before life on this earth as well as what we will do after this life. Marriage plays a huge part in the outcome of the plan of salvation, specifically eternal marriage. I believe that marriage is ordained by God and that we have the opportunity to be married for eternity, not just in this life (see The Family: A Proclamation to the World).

    Why is it important to know that marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God?

    This knowledge gives greater value to marriage. In the world today, there are many who treat marriage lightly. A lot of people think that marriage is something that we is meant to be temporary. Knowing that marriage is ordained of God, is an indication that God approves of it and therefore it should mean more to us. I believe that it is not only ordained by God, but that it was created by God for us. I believe that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were married by God. In Moses 4:18 we read, “And the man said: The woman thou gavest me, and commandest that she should remain with me, she gave me of the fruit of the tree and I did eat.” Under its creation, marriage is a commitment entered into by a man and a woman. Nothing else fits within the definition of marriage that God has given us. Marriage will only be ordained by God, when the participants are a man and a woman. Marriage will only have the opportunity to be eternal when it is between a man and a woman.

    What is the Lord’s doctrine of marriage, and how does it differ from the views of the world?

    To the Lord, marriage is much more than a piece of paper or contract that allows us privileges in this life. Marriage gives a man and a woman the opportunity to work together as one. In Matthew 19:4-9 we read the following:

    4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
    7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
    8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

    God said that a man and a woman should cleave together as one and should not be separated by any man. It is only because of the wickedness of man, that divorce became something that was done. The world would have us believe that marriage is not meant to last and that divorce is a completely normal outcome.

    In the Lord’s doctrine, marriage is something that we can only do before our resurrection. In Matthew 22:30 we read, “For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” After we are resurrected, we are either blessed for making this sacred covenant with God by the proper authority, or we are allowed the opportunity to be angels. God’s doctrine is that it is better to have the blessings of an eternal marriage because that is how we can have the ability to progress and be like God. In Doctrine and Covenants 131 we read the following:

    1 In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees;
    2 And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage];
    3 And if he does not, he cannot obtain it.
    4 He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase.

    The world would have us put marriage off until all other things are in order, but this is giving it the least priority. Because our eternal progression depends upon us being married it should be on the top of our priority lists. We may not all be able to married physically during this life, but I believe that the opportunity will be made available to all who have the desire to be married and who make it their priority now.

    Why must a marriage be performed by proper authority in the temple to be eternal?

    Marriage is a covenant. The specific covenants we make with God, such as our baptismal covenants, must be done as he has commanded. The only way that this covenant of marriage can be eternal, is if it is performed by one who has the priesthood authority and power to seal on earth and in heaven. In Doctrine and Covenants 132:7 we read, “And verily I say unto you, that the conditions of this law are these: All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, oaths, vows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise, of him who is anointed, both as well for time and for all eternity, and that too most holy, by revelation and commandment through the medium of mine anointed, whom I have appointed on the earth to hold this power …, are of no efficacy, virtue, or force in and after the resurrection from the dead; for all contracts that are not made unto this end have an end when men are dead.” This eternal covenant is only available to those who are worthy to enter the temple, because this is how the Lord commanded it to be. This covenant is the most sacred covenant that we can make, and the promises made by God in this ordinance are the greatest that we can receive from this life.

    What are the blessings of an eternal marriage in this life and in eternity?

    One of the blessings from eternal marriage in this life, is the companionship of God in your married life. Knowing that my Father in Heaven will be there to help us at all times, is a huge comfort to me. As with all other covenants and promises we make with God, he will bless us according to our faithfulness. If we our faithful to our covenants, our relationship with our spouse will be watched over and guided by God. It is a blessing as well to know that our marriages can last after this life and that death will not separate us.

    The blessings of eternal marriage extend by definition into eternity. They are revealed to us in Doctrine and Covenants 132:19.

    And again, verily I say unto you, if a man marry a wife by my word, which is my law, and by the new and everlasting covenant, and it is sealed unto them by the Holy Spirit of promise, by him who is anointed, unto whom I have appointed this power and the keys of this priesthood; and it shall be said unto them—Ye shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection, in the next resurrection; and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, and powers, dominions, all heights and depths—then shall it be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, … and if ye abide in my covenant, … it shall be done unto them in all things whatsoever my servant hath put upon them, in time, and through all eternity; and shall be of full force when they are out of the world; and they shall pass by the angels, and the gods, which are set there, to their exaltation and glory in all things, as hath been sealed upon their heads, which glory shall be a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.

    These blessings include eternal life and exaltation, in the highest degree of the celestial kingdom of heaven. Those who righteously remain true to their eternal marriage covenants will have the opportunity to raise spirit children forever, and truly become like God.

    How can an eternal perspective influence the way we feel about marriage and families?

    Not only is this perspective a great source of strength and security, but it helps us to have the drive and determination to choose the right. I want to live a better life because I am the only one in control of whether or not I will be with my husband and children forever. In Doctrine and Covenants 130:2 we read, “And that same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there, only it will be coupled with eternal glory, which glory we do not now enjoy.” Because the relationships formed in our family can last forever, I want to strive harder to make them as strong as they can be. When we see the bigger picture, we should have a greater desire to live so that our spouse and children will want to live with us forever.

    What can we do to help youth prepare for eternal marriage? What can we do to encourage young people to set a goal to be married in the temple? How can we help them prepare for this?

    I think that the greatest thing we can do to help them to prepare is to teach them by word and by example. We need to live in a way that shows that an eternal marriage is the greatest relationship we can have in this life. We also need to spend the little time we have with our youth, teaching them of the blessings and responsibilities that come with an eternal marriage. A huge thing today, is the need to teach our children the proper priorities they should have in this life. Too many youth are making their careers and education the most important things, and they are setting their minds on putting off marriage until they have these things accomplished and settled. These goals are good, but our youth need to have the goal of eternal marriage and starting a family as the priority. This does not mean that it has to happen first, or that it is a guarantee that it will ever happen, but our frame of mind truly is everything. If our youth continue to put off marriage until their other goals are met, they may miss the opportunities that the Lord has in store for them.

    “And now I would that ye might know, that after my father, Lehi, had made an end of prophesying concerning his seed, it came to pass that the Lord spake unto him again, saying that it was not meet for him, Lehi, that he should take his family into the wilderness alone; but that his sons should take daughters to wife, that they might raise up seed unto the Lord in the land of promise (1 Nephi 7:1).” There is nothing in the scriptures that teach us to value career or education over marriage and family. There are however, many examples of the prophets of God teaching us that it is very important to do these things. From the beginning, this was given as a commandment from God. In Genesis 1 we read the following:

    27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
    28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth …

    We need to teach as the prophets taught their own children. We also need to encourage that they seek the guidance of the spirit. No one should make quick, unwise decisions about who or when they should get married. We should teach them to live so that they are worthy to meet the right person and to be able to marry them in the way that God intended for all of His children. If they are on the right path because they are living righteously, the spirit will guide them to know when it is right for them.

    I am so grateful for being sealed to my husband in the temple. My life has been so blessed from this decision. I know that there is no greater joy than that which comes from this choice. I hope that I can live as a good example to my children and that they will learn from me in a way that encourages them to make this same choice.


    About My Scripture Study Buddy

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I love the scriptures, but I am not a scriptorian. I've been told that I'm too "deep" for some, but if you are willing, I'd love to have others join me in my quest for a greater understanding of the gospel. Please feel free to leave me comments and hopefully we can help each other to learn.
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