Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Obedience and Blessings--the BYU Honor Code real-world application

I have a new favorite quote this week (hint: sarcasm); something a new friend said in a casual conversation just after I met her. She and another of our friends were talking about her experiences at BYU-Idaho this past semester. For those of you who aren't familiar with the Church's universities, students sign and promise to live by an honor code or a set of rules and standards can be viewed as more strict than probably any other university. For instance, students at BYU-Idaho have a curfew and at all BYUs girls have to be out of guys' apartments by a certain time at night and vice versa. The BYUs have dress and grooming standards and take cheating and dishonesty very seriously. Note that one reason the honor code is called the honor code is because the students are on their honor to follow all the rules; no one comes around checking to see if you are obedient. Of course when discovered, violations are justly dealt with but for the most part the schools trust the integrity of the students and we are left to our own integrity. And, of course, all Church standards must be upheld at all times. Strange? Well, we, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are a peculiar people.

In this conversation my new friend said, "I don't understand how some of the rules they have," (in this conversation she was referring particularly to curfew and guys out), "help us toward our eternal salvation but whatever, I'll get over it I guess." In my four years at BYU-Idaho and BYU and in my interactions with Latter-day Saint young adults in other places, I've heard many similar such complaints and many seemingly disgruntled students.

Such rules may seem harsh, strict, controlling, or ridiculous and one may feel that he or she is in college and old enough to handle or take care of his or herself and should be able to act as he or she pleases. Regardless, of whatever the argument may be, each student at Church schools signed the honor code stating he or she would live by the rules, and, as I said, a lot of which are not actively enforced; instead the students are expected to live on their honor.

I won't dwell on the question of why one would agree to follow a set of rules and then complain about rules and standards that he or she agreed to live. If one has a problem with such a lifestyle, he or she is more than welcome to attend a different school-one that has no rules and allows you to act in whatever manner you please with little or no repercussions from the admin office. But this post is not about that issue. Nor will I discuss the potential reasons and good intentions behind the rules and standards in existence at the BYUs.

Part I: "They"

The part of my new friend's statement on which I wish to focus is the "they" she used. The ambiguous, ever-present, all-encompassing "they" used so often in our speech. She disagrees with the rules "they" created because she doesn't see what purpose some of the particular and potentially "nit-picky" rules serve, especially in the grand scheme of things. Which is valid. We all pick and choose which laws from the governmental or rules in the workplace we want to follow based on our understanding of their importance. I jay walk when no cars are around that may endanger my life. Not the best thing in the world but sometimes I justify it because I'm not patient and I'm sure "they" understand that jaywalking when the streets aren't busy isn't dangerous. Still against the law. Some justify going five or ten over the speed limit or more on back streets when no cars are around. Not that big of a deal? Perhaps. Illegal in all situations? Absolutely.

I draw attention to the "they" because of who this particular "they" represents in my friend's statement. A person may be "fine" once or twice or even for a while not abiding by the BYUs' honor codes, perhaps even graduate without mishap. One can justify all he or she wants because one might believe that he or she is an exception or because the rule is "dumb" but that is a very dangerous road to travel.

Think for a minute who the "they" is that came up with these rules and standards: the university administration. The presidents of the universities signed off on all honor code standards. "They" are the presidents of the universities. "They" are men called of God to the positions they hold. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the presidents of the Church's universities are called through revelation by the Prophet. "They," both before and after serving as presidents of one of the BYUs, have been called to other positions in the Church. "They" include past and present mission presidents, a Presiding Bishop, members of the Quorums of the Seventies, Presidents of the Quorums of the Seventies, temple presidents, apostles, and a member of the First Presidency of the Church--a counselor to the Prophet.

"They" are some of the closest men to God on the earth. During their terms as presidents of the Church schools, "they" sought nothing save the betterment of their students and through revelation found those things that would help the overall academic and eternal well-being of those over whom they were called to watch and protect. "They" lost countless hours of sleep wondering what more they could do at their universities to adequately prepare their students for life in the real world both temporally and spiritually. "They" were trusted by God enough to have the future of the Church and the world delivered into their hands. "They" sought the glory of God and His righteousness. And the current "they's" continue to do the same. What do some of the rules "they" created have to do with helping us toward our eternal salvation? Everything.

I love the Church's universities. I went to two and was accepted to a third. I loved my time there, I was sad to leave both, but I am so very grateful for everything I learned in my college experience. I am so very grateful for the environment provided at the BYUs that afforded me so many wonderful experiences. I am not saying that one should not go to any other school or even that any other university is inferior simply because it is not run by the Church. But I would that you understood this one thing: the rules and standards upheld at the Church's schools aid the temporal and spiritual development of the students who attend in a way that cannot be found in any other institution of higher learning anywhere in the world because those who introduce and then uphold those standards are called of and sustained by God. Regardless of whether or not one understands the purpose of each of the rules and standards.

Part II: Practical application for each of us

Google Analytics tells me that very few of you who read this blog live in Rexburg, Provo, or Laie and therefore probably don't attend a university run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. But the principles and doctrines discussed in this post are applicable to all.

Each of us has a similar attitude toward some of the commandments and standards the Lord expects us to live. Someone may not understand the importance of keeping the Sabbath day holy or living the law of tithing. Some may not realize the importance of amply studying the scriptures each day, preparing for and
participating in all three hours of church, or not participating in media that "isn't that bad." And some may not understand why earrings, clothing, and our leisure-time activities are of any concern to the leadership of the Church. We each have our "favorite sins" that we justify, thinking, "how does that standard help us toward our eternal goal?" At times we all discount the counsel of our Church leaders.

But if we remember who is actually giving us commandments and standards and counsel, living the standards of the Church becomes much easier. God works through His chosen servants on the earth today. "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). God's work and His glory is to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man" (Moses 1:37). He desires our happiness and eternal salvation and exaltation because He loves us and wants us to return to live with Him for eternity. The commandments, rules, standards, and guidelines He gives us through His servants help us toward that goal. Jesus Christ taught, "What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken, and I excuse not myself; . . . whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same" (D&C 1:38). The men called to lead us are called by God Himself! Our Father in Heaven loves us enough to give us living prophets and apostles who give of their lives to help us back to live with our Father in Heaven and with our families for eternity.

I believe that our lack of desire or will power to obey all of Father's commandments simply stems from a lack of understanding of those commandments. Think about from whence those commandments come and why they are given. A complete understanding is not necessary for complete obedience and complete reception of the blessings that come from obedience. Remember, "There is a law irrevocably decreed in heaven upon which all blessings are predicated--

"And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated" (D&C 130:20-21). If you believe that the prophet is called of God, you do not need a complete understanding of why a particular commandment exists because you know it is of God for it came from Him through His servant. I am not talking about blind obedience, I am talking about trusting that your loving Father in Heaven knows best and hearkening unto His servants.

Jonah did not understand why he had to return to Nineveh, Zacharias did not understand how his wife was to have a baby, Naaman did not understand how washing in the river would cleanse him, the Israelites did not understand why they could only collect a day's worth of manna or how looking upon Moses' staff would heal them, the rich young man did not understand why he was required to sell all that he had, the apostles did not understand why they should throw their nets into the water once again when fishing had thus been fruitless, Abraham did not understand why he was commanded to sacrifice his only son whom his wife had borne in her old age,

In each case, if the person acted in faith and did as he was commanded although he did not understand, he was richly rewarded. But when the people did not exercise faith in God and do as they were commanded, as in the case of the rich young man, for instance, they received no blessing and "went away sorrowful."

"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5). How do each of the commandments and standards of the Lord help us toward our goal of eternal life? If by no other way simply by learning obedience to Him who gave us life and growing closer to Him. But there is always another way and another reason even if we do not see it at first. I know of personal experience, both following a commandment and living a standard and receiving the blessing and the understanding and not doing so and going away sorrowful. The choice is ours, trust God or trust man (see 2 Nephi 2:27-29).


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Agency and Consequences

I LOVE this picture. I laughed out loud when I first stumbled across it. To me, this cartoon is so completely ironic and 100% exemplifies the overall attitude of today's society. Before I continue, keep in mind that this post is not about the moral issues of abortion although for the record I oppose abortion except for rare circumstances that can be discussed at another time.

Society would teach you that you can act as you will and then also choose your own consequences. If someone opposes that mentality, he or she is being "ignorant," "intolerant," "narrow-minded," or "judgmental," and is acting with little or no regard to others' rights and feelings (see Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life.)

The reason this picture is so ironic is because the focus is completely off. The artist would have the viewers believe that a pregnant girl has no choice but to have her baby even if she doesn't want it because the "pro-life" advocates won't let her exercise her agency and choose to have an abortion. "NO CHOICE: You're having that baby!" No choice? What about her choice to engage in activities that got her pregnant in the first place? If she didn't want a baby and he didn't want to pay child support, why did they get together and make the choices that put them in that unfortunate predicament? If you don't want to harvest the crop, don't plant the seeds! Everyone absolutely has a choice whether or not to have a baby in less-than-ideal conditions: don't do the things that put you in those situations! The choice is as simple and as black and white as the cartoon heading this post.

Do not get caught up in the details irrelevant to the principle at hand. My understanding is that abortion during the first two trimesters of pregnancy is legal in all states including South Dakota. All of that is irrelevant. The real point is, the consequences for our actions are set and often well-defined whether or not we choose to learn about them beforehand. If you do not want to deal with a specific consequence such as bearing a child, then choose not to act in a manner in which such an outcome is possible. And if you make a decision with adverse consequences, own up to your actions--don't play the victim and blame another party.

On a different note, if you make a wrong decision, there is a way back. There is always a way back. Yes, you will have to endure some suffering--the road to repentance is not easy and always means work, but it is always worth it. The Savior of the world is your personal Savior. He loves you and desires your happiness. He does not forsake us when we sin and forsake Him. He is always there to welcome us back with arms outstretched. President Boyd K. Packer of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught this of repentance:

Nowhere are the generosity and the kindness and mercy of God more manifest than in repentance. Do you understand the consummate cleansing power of the Atonement made by the Son of God, our Savior, our Redeemer? He said, “I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent” (D&C 19:16). In that supernal act of love, the Savior paid the penalties for our sins so that we might not have to pay. "Cleansing the Inner Vessel," Ensign, Nov 2010, 76.

We are instructed sufficiently, we are free to choose, and all things are given us which are expedient unto man to make good decisions. We are, "free according to the flesh to choose liberty and eternal life, . . . or to choose captivity and death" (see 2 Nephi 2:5,27). The way is clear, the path strait and narrow. Some choices we make enable us to use our agency more freely and some choices we make inhibit our use of our agency. Repentance is open for all who desire to return to God. Ours is always the choice to come back. You are never too far gone.

I love the Savior and am so very grateful for His Atonement.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Live in Thanksgiving Daily

Thanksgiving is a fun time; for most Thanksgiving is a time to get together with immediate and extended family, a break from school and/or work, an excuse to do nothing but eat too much food and watch football, and a time to go shopping. And, for those Christmas purists out there, Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas season and you no longer have to resent Christmas decorations in the stores and Christmas music on the radio.

Perhaps for most this season brings thoughts and feelings of thanksgiving and we find ourselves in a more giving and grateful mood. A lot of people look forward to the holiday season and in general we are happier and more optimistic. One can attribute these warm, happy feelings of the holiday season to the decorations and the music and the fun clothes and Santa Claus. But I believe that those feelings originate from a deeper reason. I believe that the reason the holidays--beginning with Thanksgiving and climaxing with Christmas--bring such warm and happy feelings is because the holidays tend to produce feelings of gratitude and love. Thanksgiving prompts us to recognize all of the things for which we are grateful. We gather with family and friends and are surrounded by those for whom we love and care. Christmas should prompt us to be even more mindful of the selfless, compassion-filled life of our Savior. We hear and are involved in stories of selflessness and caring for those in need. When done properly, we find, make, and give gifts to express gratitude to important people in our lives.

Article of the Week

On Halloween in 2000 during a talk given at Brigham Young University, Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin (1917-2008) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles said, "[Gratitude] is a quality I have found in every happy person I know. It is a quality that instantly makes a person more likable and more at peace. Where there is an abundance of this virtue, there is happiness." His talk, entitled, "Live in Thanksgiving Daily," was reprinted in the September 2001 Ensign of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and is the early featured article this week.

Think of what Elder Withlin is saying--he has given us the key to success and happiness in this life. "Gratitude turns a meal into a feast and drudgery into delight. It softens our grief and heightens our pleasure. It turns the simple and common into the memorable and transcendent. It forges bonds of love and fosters loyalty and admiration.

"Living in thanksgiving daily is a habit that will enrich our lives and the lives of those we love." As we recognize and express our gratitude for everything in this life and especially for our family and for Jesus Christ and His Atonement, we receive that peace and comfort promised by the Savior in John 14:27, "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."

"Live in Thanksgiving Daily"

I recognize that for some Thanksgiving and the holiday season may not be as memorable or enjoyable. Some may feel that they do not have so much for which to be thankful, or people with whom they can spend a few days off. The holiday and all the preparation of food for guests may just be another stressor in life. The beginning of the Christmas season may even bring bitter memories and unwanted feelings.

To those of you who feel this way, Elder Wirthlin said, "In the Book of Mormon we learn that we should “live in thanksgiving daily” (Alma 34:38). Isn’t that a wonderful thought to live in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if you lived in thanksgiving daily? Can you imagine how your life would improve if others did the same? Do you think the world would be a happier place? less stressful? less angry? more spiritual?"

He continued:

"We must let go of the negative emotions that bind our hearts and instead fill our souls with love, faith, and thanksgiving. . . .

"Pray with all your heart. Consider the love your Heavenly Father has for all His children. Open your heart to His cleansing word. Feast on the words of holy writ. Cherish the messages of modern-day prophets and apostles. Forgive others who have offended you. Don’t waste another moment feeling self-pity. Every day drain from your heart the feelings of resentment, rage, and defeat that do nothing but discourage and destroy. Fill your heart with those things that ennoble, encourage, and inspire."

Remember, to the one leper who returned and "fell on his face at [Jesus'] feet, giving him thanks," the Master Healer said, "thy faith hath made thee whole." All ten were cleansed of leprosy; but only the one who returned to express his gratitude for what the Savior had done was made whole and therefore received a fulness of joy (see Luke 17:11-19).

"As I Have Loved You"

Gratitude is a principle with a promise and is made manifest best through our actions.

"We can live in thanksgiving daily by opening our arms to those around us. When was the last time you told someone you love how much they mean to you? When was the last time you expressed your gratitude to someone who has always been there for you, someone who has sacrificed for you, someone whose heart has always been filled with hopes and dreams for you?

"When was the last time you unselfishly reached out to help another in need? Every time we cheer another’s heart, every time we ease another’s burden, every time we lift a weary hand, we show our gratitude to that God to whom we owe all that we have and all that we are. . . .

"The blessings that come from opening our arms to others are among the choicest this earth has to offer."

Remember the challenge I gave you last week? To express gratitude and love to your parents and to one other person? Did you do it? Well here is a prophet of God telling you the same thing and promising you blessings.

The challenge this week? Find a burden to ease, a weary hand to lift, or another way in which you can serve and show your gratitude to that God to whom we owe all that we have and all that we are. Once again, I'd love to hear your stories and results of your actions here on the blog, on facebook, or via email @ rockinthecccp@gmail.com.

Just as President Monson says at the end of the video at the beginning of this post, "A grateful heart, then, comes through expressing gratitude to our Heavenly Father for His blessings and to those around us for all that they bring into our lives. This requires conscious effort—at least until we have truly learned and cultivated an attitude of gratitude."

As we go into this holiday season I have a renewed desire to live a more grateful life and encourage each of you to do the same. Gratitude is something that we all can work on and what better time to create or strengthen an attitude of gratitude than during the holidays. Perhaps you could begin by expressing thanks to the Savior for His Atonement, for without Him, nothing would be possible.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Because of Your Faith

The article of the week is coming a bit early this week.

During Institute this week we read and discussed a talk by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles from the most recent General Conference entitled, "Because of Your Faith." In our discussion, one girl pointed out that this talk is the perfect Thanksgiving talk. I thought her comment was quite insightful because although Elder Holland may not have said much about the doctrine behind the Christlike attribute of gratitude, he expresses so much gratitude to so many people for their service in the church and to each other.

Elder Holland references "Mormon culture" a lot so those of you who aren't familiar with the green jell-o and girls' camp references, bear with him and finish reading; you will be touched with a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude.

I challenge each of you to do two things this week: 1- Call or visit your parents and express your gratitude to them for whatever you feel appropriate. Do this. For a lot of you this will be relatively easy and simple because you may see them on Thanksgiving. But I know that some of you are sitting there reading this thinking that your situation is unique and that you aren't in a position or don't have the desire to talk to your parents. I don't care. Do it anyways. Although I do not pretend to understand your situation I do know that if you call or visit or in someway express your gratitude to your parents in words if not immediately someday it will bless each of your lives. 2- Recognize some act for which you should express gratitude to someone else in your daily life. You can do this too. When you have accomplished either or both of these tasks, please feel free to share your stories with me and the other readers by either commenting here on the blog, on facebook, or via email @ rockinthecccp@gmail.com.

This is the second in a series of Thanksgiving posts in the spirit of the season. Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life

We live in a time where the adage "eat, drink, and be merry" is widely popular and the attitude that one is free to act as one chooses and it affects no one is largely accepted. Should someone say or act against either of those mentalities, he or she is considered "ignorant," "intolerant," "narrow-minded," or "judgmental" with little or no regard to others' rights and feelings.

In the purest respect, we are free to act as we want; agency is God-given and all are endowed with the power to choose for his or herself. The prophet Nephi taught, "Wherefore, men are free according to the flesh; and all things are expedient into 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" (2 Nephi 2:27).

This verse teaches us that while we are free to choose our actions, we cannot chose the consequences of those actions. Some choices we make even limit our future ability to use our agency. Indeed, "Those who followed Satan [in the preexistence] lost the opportunity to receive a mortal body, live on earth, and progress. Because of the way they used their agency, they lost their agency." In a similar manner, those who choose to use abuse drugs-legal and illegal alike-tobacco, alcohol, or become involved in pornography or gambling likewise lose their agency and become victims controlled by their previous choices. (To learn more about how addictions affect the use of our agency see, Russell M. Nelson, “Addiction or Freedom,” Ensign, Nov 1988, 6, and M. Russell Ballard, "O That Cunning Plan of the Evil One," Ensign, Nov 2010.)

Elder Robert D. Hales of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles gave a talk in the most recent General Conference entitled, "Agency: Essential to the Plan of Life," in which he spoke about agency and our ability to choose. He taught:

Our agency—our ability to choose and act for ourselves—was an essential element of [the plan of our Heavenly Father]. Without agency we would be unable to make right choices and progress. Yet with agency we could make wrong choices, commit sin, and lose the opportunity to be with Heavenly Father again. For this reason a Savior would be provided to suffer for our sins and redeem us if we would repent. By His infinite Atonement, He brought about “the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice" (Alma 42:15).

We even had agency in our premortal existence when we lived with our Heavenly Father. Elder Hales continued:

But think of it: in our premortal state we chose to follow the Savior Jesus Christ! And because we did, we were allowed to come to earth. I testify that by making the same choice to follow the Savior now, while we are here on earth, we will obtain an even greater blessing in the eternities. But let it be known: we must continue to choose to follow the Savior. Eternity is at stake, and our wise use of agency and our actions are essential that we might have eternal life.

Agency is ours so long as we do not abuse it. But more than just preserving our ability to choose for ourselves in this life, the righteous use of agency—the use of our agency to follow the example of our Savior and do as He commands—enables us to live with Him and our families forever.

So go ahead, eat, drink, and be merry for someday we all die. But know that some of your actions will affect you more deeply than you think and you will affect those around you and your posterity for untold generations. Yes, each of us is free to act and free to live according to our desires but God does not approve of the unrighteous use of the agency with which He blessed us. The mentality that our decisions affect no one but ourselves is not correct and we will be accountable for all of our actions in this life of which we have not repented. The test of this life is to prove that we are strong enough to show our love for our Heavenly Father through our actions.


See also Dallin H. Oaks, "Love and Law," Ensign, Nov 2009, 26 (Article of the Week, October 25, 2009)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Gospel of Jesus Christ

"In many cookbooks there are pictures of the perfect dishes that recipes make—the fulness of the joy of cooking. These pictures are important because they help us envision the outcome if we strictly follow the directions as given in the recipe. It is important to begin with the end in mind, but the end represented by pictures in cookbooks is an end that is only possible if everything is done right. If directions are not followed or an ingredient is left out or miscalculated, the desired taste and appearance are seldom attained. The picture of a perfect dish, however, can serve as motivation to try again to create something that is both delicious and beautiful.

"When we think of eternal life, what is the picture that comes to mind? I believe that if we could create in our minds a clear and true picture of eternal life, we would start behaving differently. We would not need to be prodded to do the many things involved with enduring to the end, like doing our home teaching or visiting teaching, attending our meetings, going to the temple, living moral lives, saying our prayers, or reading the scriptures. We would want to do all these things and more because we realize they will prepare us to go somewhere we yearn to go."

Above are excerpts from a talk given by Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles in the April 2008 General Conference of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In his talk entitled, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Elder Perry taught that, "Essentially, the gospel of Jesus Christ is a five-ingredient recipe for eternal life." The five ingredients are faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism by immersion for the remission of sins, laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

Of faith Elder Perry taught, "In order to embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, people must first embrace Him whose gospel it is. They must trust the Savior and what He has taught us. They must believe that He has the power to keep His promises to us by virtue of the Atonement. When people have faith in Jesus Christ, they accept and apply His Atonement and His teachings."

Faith is essential in our quest for eternal life. Faith is the beginning and the purpose, faith is what drives us to the rest of the gospel.

Of repentance Elder Perry taught, "Our faith also leads to action— it leads to the commitments and changes associated with true repentance. As Amulek taught in the 34th chapter of Alma:

Therefore only unto him that has faith unto repentance is brought about the great and eternal plan of redemption.

Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you; “Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save (vv. 16–18)."

In repentance is our faith made manifest.

Of baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost Elder Perry taught, "it is an ordinance denoting entry into a sacred and binding covenant between God and man." We promise God to serve, to obey, and to proclaim the gospel; God promises us the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost and eternal life. "Baptism and receiving the Holy Ghost are the prescribed ways to enter the strait and narrow path to eternal life."

Both baptism and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands are ordinances performed by the Lord's anointed—by those who have been given authority from God.

Of enduring to the end Elder Perry taught, "this is not an easy task. It is intended to be difficult, challenging, and, ultimately, refining as we prepare to return to live with our Father in Heaven and receive eternal blessings." Enduring to the end requires the Savior's redemptive powers as we continually strive nurture and grow our faith through constant repentance and otherwise fulfill our part of our baptismal covenant.

The gospel is our pathway back to our Heavenly Father. Prayer is our line of communication to Him. Revelation through the holy scriptures is one of His main lines of communication to us. We must work to develop faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement. We must repent of those things in our lives keeping us from experiencing true happiness, we must participate in saving ordinances, and we must endure to the end of the path which leads to eternal life. If we do so, we can live with our families forever.