Tuesday, September 1

My work and my glory

My wife and I welcomed our daughter into the world a couple of weeks ago. It was a beautiful experience, and one that I'll never forget. We're very happy that she's here.

Moses 1:39 teaches us that God's work and glory is "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". His divine mission is to help us learn to live like Him and consequently receive a fulness of joy. In 2Nephi 2:25-27, Lehi teaches us that "Adam fell that man might be, and men are that they might have joy". Jesus Christ, our Savior, came to "redeem the children of men from the fall", freely granting us immortality and enabling us to choose eternal life through repentance and faith in Him and His Atonement. That's the plan. Because of Adam and Jesus Christ, God's work and glory is a kinetic force, rolling forward worlds without end.

Having been taught this, it would be entirely appropriate to ask - "What is my work? What is my glory?"

My mission president once introduced the question "What is your work?" after quoting Moses 1:39 during a zone conference. He then provided an answer. Turning to D&C 11:20, he read: "Behold, this is your work, to keep my commandments, yea, with all your might, mind and strength".

It was then that I wondered, "What is my glory?" This prompted me to search the scriptures. I found my answer in Alma 29:9, where Alma testifies: "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy."

My work, my glory, and my joy is to keep God's commandments so that I may be an instrument in His hands to serve others by teaching them the gospel of Jesus Christ. I've been blessed with this knowledge. It's a privilege to know even a portion of God's truth, and also a great responsibility (see D&C 82:3, or the first Spider-Man movie...). Which leads me to this next question:

Why is it that I've been freely given this knowledge when so many billions more have had to live and die without it? It doesn't seem fair, right?

A quick glance at the state of the world could easily make you assume that life isn't fair. However, due to the Atonement of Jesus Christ, life is perfectly fair for each and every one of God's children. Everyone has an equal opportunity to receive eternal life. Jesus Christ is a perfect judge and knows how circumstance and knowledge can greatly influence the appearance of one's righteousness. He also knows that knowledge is not distributed equally during mortality. Due to the incomprehensible miracle that occurred in Gethsemane, Jesus Christ is the only one capable of judging anyone. He experienced the life of each individual son and daughter of God, one by one. The Savior knows what we know; He understands our understanding. "O how great the holiness of our God! For he knoweth all things, and there is not anything save he knows it." (2Nephi 9:20) With that knowledge, Christ is perfectly merciful and perfectly just. He loves us. He wants us to be successful and receive a fulness of joy. He condescended to lift us all to equal ground. Because of Him, you and I share the opportunity of eternal life with millions that never even had the chance to hear the gospel, "for the atonement satisfieth the demands of his justice upon all those who have not the law given to them" (2Nephi 9:26).

Elder Quentin L. Cook explained God's plan this way: "The marvelous doctrine revealed to the Prophet Joseph unveiled to us a plan of salvation that is applicable to all mankind, including those who do not hear of Christ in this life, children who die before the age of accountability, and those who have no understanding" (Our Father's Plan - Big Enough for All His Children).

During a recent Elders Quorum lesson, one of my neighbors mentioned that the temple is a symbol of how the Atonement of Jesus Christ made life fair for everyone. I'm grateful for that observation. It's helped me see Christ everywhere in the House of the Lord while performing work for the dead.

My testimony of the plan of happiness has helped me feel optimistic about the prospect of bringing a new life into this world. It's easy to be negative about life and focus on the awful things that occur here. A few minutes of the news can give you enough information about violence and hatred to make you want to hide under a rock forever. But I know, as Alma the prophet taught, that "whatsoever is good cometh from God, and whatsoever is evil cometh from the devil" (Alma 5:40). God created this world for us and wants us to experience mortality, so it must be good. I trust Him. There is enough good in the world to overpower the evil. Look for the good. Become the good.

Now that my wife and I have a daughter, it's important for us to remember our roles in relation to God's work and glory. We're united in our efforts to keep God's commandments so that we may have the power to teach our daughter the gospel of Jesus Christ and help her live a happy, fulfilling, and eternal life. We brought her here so that she might have joy.

In closing, I strongly invite you to study the following scripture passage: Moses 6:55-62. "This is the plan of salvation unto all men." It's also sometimes referred to as the doctrine of sanctification. I promise you that these verses will help strengthen your understanding of God's plan if you study them carefully (i.e. prayerfully).