The story of our existence begins before the world was ever created. We lived as spirit children of our Heavenly Father, where we grew and progressed as far as we could. Our Heavenly Father wanted more for us, so he proposed a plan.
This plan was risky in some ways, because we would be allowed to learn how to exercise the power of choice, which we often refer to as agency. We had learned enough that we would go, without living directly within the influence of Heavenly Father, to a world where we could experience good and evil for ourselves. Not everyone, once they experienced mortal pleasures, would choose the best and do what was needed to return back home to our Heavenly Father.
Since Heavenly Father is perfect and cannot force someone to sin, the world was created and Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden with conflicting commandments. Satan’s influence on Eve to eat the forbidden fruit was actually what was necessary to set the plan in motion.
So we all ended up in a world where people make terrible choices, cause others to suffer, and make mayhem more than anything else. It’s hard to accept that this is what we wanted, or that Heavenly Father could even begin to think this was a good idea.
He didn’t leave us without comfort and guidance. From the beginning, a Savior was planned. There was one Son of God who was perfect and could come down into mortality and remain perfect. He covenanted with all of us that He, out of his deep and abiding love, would come to teach, lead by example, and ultimately Atone for all of our sins. Through His mercy, there is opportunity to be comforted for all that has been lost or stolen through the trials of life, there is healing for our hearts and minds, and there is the opportunity to qualify to receive all that the Father has.
Of course, qualifying implies that, as much of a gift as the Atonement is, it is worthless without us putting it into use. We are not required to accept the gift, or to use it once we receive it. Using the gift means we will have to put out great effort:
- Love your enemies, pray for those who despitefully use you.
- Love your God with all your heart, mind, and strength.
- Love your neighbor as yourself.
- Mourn with those who mourn.
- Comfort those who stand in need of comfort.
- Do your (religious/church) duty.
- Be honest.
- Be dependable.
- Live with integrity.
Somehow, this doesn’t sound like fun. Especially if we think that all of the rewards of receiving the gift of Christ’s Atonement happen after we die. That’s where our thinking is WRONG.
We are promised for our efforts here:
- Healing (usually of our hearts and minds, but even physical healing through the power of the priesthood if God wills)
So, even though the to do list looks intimidating, the rewards list is even bigger!
If you are interested in what God has to offer you, try Mormon.org. You can learn more just by browsing the site. If you’d like someone to come and talk to you in person, you can arrange for a visit from the site, as well!