We Shouted For Joy!


One of the saddest observations that I have made over the years as a priesthood leader is that many of our saints seem to feel discouraged regarding their standing before the Lord. Try as they might they never seem to live up to, in their minds, the “pattern” that is given. Elder Holland addressed this issue of “patterns” in the opening address of the Worldwide Leadership Training Meeting broadcast a few years ago.  In it he said this:

“Now, I hope this helps you understand why we talk about the pattern, the ideal, of marriage and family when we know full well that not everyone now lives in that ideal circumstance. It is precisely because many don’t have, or perhaps have never even seen, that ideal and because some cultural forces steadily move us away from that ideal, that we speak about what our Father in Heaven wishes for us in His eternal plan for His children.

Individual adaptations have to be made as marital status and family circumstances differ. But all of us can agree on the pattern as it comes from God, and we can strive for its realization the best way we can.

We who are General Authorities and general officers are called to teach His general rules. You and we then lead specific lives and must seek the Lord’s guidance regarding specific circumstances. But there would be mass confusion and loss of gospel promises if no general ideal and no doctrinal standard were established and, in our case today, repeated. We take great strength in knowing the Lord has spoken on these matters, and we accept His counsel even when it might not be popular.”

I have seen many members become discouraged as they envision that they will never fit or fulfill the “pattern”. When the plan of salvation was revealed to us in the pre-existence the scriptures say “The morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:7). I doubt we would have shouted for joy if we thought our chances of accomplishing the goal of exaltation was slim or none. The opposite would have the case. We would have left that council with gloom and doom thinking all is lost. But we didn’t, we “sang together and shouted for joy”. This implies that we thought our chance of success was great. In other words I don’t think we should let the “pattern” discourage us but rather  it was meant to set the way for which we should strive. I am encouraged and supported when I read a statement by Elder Bruce R. McConkie who in 1976 was addressing CES employees:

“You tell your students that far more of our Father’s children will be exalted than we think!” Elder McConkie was asked by one then present to explain what exactly he meant by this comment, to which he replied:

“All faithful Latter-day Saints — those who chart their course toward eternal life, receive the ordinances of salvation, and strive with all their hearts to be true to their covenants — will gain eternal life. Even though they are certainly not perfect when they die, if they have sought to stay on course, in covenant, in harmony with the mind and will of God, they will be saved in the highest heaven … We ought to have hope, [and] we [need] to be positive and optimistic about attaining that ­glory.” (“Odds Are You Are Going To Be Exalted” by Alonzo L. Gaskill).

Take heart and be not overly discouraged by misunderstanding the “plan of salvation”. There is a reason why our Heavenly Father provided a “Savior”. It is a great plan that is attainable, reasonable and desirable. It is through Him that we will be saved. We are loved and wanted by Him who is our creator!

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